'I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid to leave the comfort that I have because I don’t know how." [AN interview]Read Now
MW: How old are you?
Anonymous: I am 33. Gonna be 34 in September.
MW: Are you married?
Anonymous: I am. We’ll make eight years in October.
MW: Was it a long engagement? (laughs)
Anonymous: It was a very long engagement. We’re high school sweethearts. We were together for close to nine years, and then we got married in 2006. So, a long time.
MW: What is that like – being with one person for so long?
Anonymous: It’s nice. I married my best friend. We grew up together. We went through – I mean, I think it’s nice. I can say that. He’s like my best friend. He’s the person that knows me best and there’s some comfort in knowing that. You know, I can rely on him for anything. I always go to him for every decision that I make in my life and I know he has my best interest, and we also have a lot of things in common as well.
MW: I don’t mean to be all up in your business but like, is he the only guy you’ve ever… been with?
Anonymous: You didn’t know this?
Anonymous: Yeah. (laughs)
Anonymous: I mean it wasn’t necessarily planned that way. I wasn’t that girl in high school saying, I’m gonna marry the first guy I give my virginity to. It justhappened that way. We had a brief break up for about a year… it was probably in like 1999 – 2000, so about 2 years after we initially started dating. He ended up moving back to New York because that’s where he’s from, and I did one year of college away from home and then came back to the city. So there was a break up of a year and it was hard to get over it because he was my first love. I dated but I never went there with anyone. So then we kind of rekindled our relationship while he was in New York because I went out there to visit with my boss at the time, and I met up with him and yeah… it was there. The love had never been lost. So we kind of rekindled and in the summer of 2001, he came back here for good. So yeah, he is the only man that I’ve ever been with.
Anonymous: I’m surprised you didn’t know that!
MW: I don’t even know how to ask what I want to ask…
Anonymous: Just ask.
MW: What is it like to develop a sexual and emotional relationship with one person for all that time? Are ya’ll like masters of it by now? (laughs)
Anonymous: I don’t know because it’s all I know. I mean like I definitely sometimes live vicariously through my girlfriends. They tell me their stories. Some of them are horror stories and some of them are great, beautiful love stories. But, you know, he’s the man I love. He’s the man I have two beautiful children with. I don’t have… I mean I think that for what we have, it works for us. I think that we complement each other very well. There are times when we get on each other’s nerves –probably like today – but you know, it happens. There’s a bond. It’s weird. It’s almost like we’re – and I don’t mean it in a sick way, obviously don’t take it that way – but it’s like we’re brother and sister in a way, but we’re like best friends, but we’re lovers. There’s such strong connection that we have. We know each other. We know what each other is thinking. We know sometimes what each other’s next move is going to be. So there’s some comfort in knowing that.
MW: Are you comfortable in knowing what your own next move is going to be?
Anonymous: No. Sometimes I’m not. No. I think it’s more like we know each other’s moves. Like, we can make decisions for each other but it’s hard for us to make our own decisions. I rely heavily on his opinion and I think he does the same. For me, I second guess myself myself a lot. I over analyze things. And what’s great is that he can, in my situations, see the bigger picture. He may know ultimately what I want. I change my mind a lot, Because sometimes I don’t know what I want. Or I think I know what I want but then it’s like… the fear for me is being wrong. That’s my fear. But then he helps me understand that like, sometimes there’s not a wrong decision. It’s just a different path. And so I have to find comfort in that. And him telling me that and reassuring me is when I find comfort.
MW: I’ve asked this question to other women in different ways… But for me, the hardest part about being in a relationship is, I change a lot. And I won’t even see it coming, I’ll just look up and I’m different. And then when you’re in a relationship with somebody, those changes can negate… they’re dealbreakers, like, so…. I didn’t sign up for this. With you having been with him for so long, through so many phases of your life – turning 21, and then the blossoming at 25, and then having babies and being married, and juggling work and all that – have you found yourself changing in ways that you aren’t sure that you can share with him? Or do you suppress any changes because you don’t know if it’s a violation of your original agreement to be who you said you were going to be… or since he’s your best friend are you able to communicate those changes, or does he see them coming?
Anonymous: Yeah, I mean I think we bring those changes to the table. But because we have so many ideas and thoughts of what we want to do, we talk about them and… like for instance, he wants to move out of state. Within five years, that’s what he said he wants to do. But like I said, we complement each other very well because we bring that balance to each other. So for me, I’m like, oh my God, I can’t make a decision. He’s often the same way too. But I think more so, I’m like that. So he’ll tell me, don’t worry about it, whatever, that’s okay. I may be frustrated about an issue with my mom and we’ll talk it out and he’ll say, listen, this is why your mom said it this way. This is her point of view. He does that for me. Now for him, a lot of times he’ll have these ideas or just opinions about something and I’ll have to kind of, bring him to reality. Like his five year plan, for instance. I’m like, one, you gotta remember we’d have to make sure we’ve saved enough money. And is five years doable, to save money for a down payment on a house? Our kids will be in school and those are things we need to think about when we move. So I sometimes bring that to the plate.
To be honest, I don’t feel like I’ve changed a lot, and sometimes it’s like… I don’t know, sometimes I feel like I’m disappointed in that because I feel like I should be changing. You know, like I should be… I should shed my skin, you know, like a snake does, but I don’t and I get disappointed in that. Maybe I need to just do something different. I mean, I’m fully capable of doing something different. Sometimes I just… I’m afraid of the unknown. I’m afraid to leave the comfort that I have because I don’t know how. It’s just the unknown and that scares me.
MW: But let me ask you this though – is your comfort comfortable right now?
Anonymous: Probably not. I mean I guess if I have to think about it, probably not. I was going through Pinterest and there was this quote and it was saying, don’t be predictable. And I kind of feel like right now my life is predictable. I don’t have anything new. My life has just been… eh… you know? I feel like maybe this is a time for me to be bold and do something. So right now I’m trying to figure out, like, is that moment now? What’s the moment? I don’t know.
MW: It sounds like it’s now.
Anonymous: I don’t know.
MW: Well, I’ve never heard you talk like this before.
Anonymous: I just happened to see that quote and it was like, I think I’m predictable. And I don’t want to be predictable, you know? I want to do something. I need something new, something different. Just something… like I’m Mom, I’m in mom mode.
MW: It’s hard… motherhood is like a forest and you can’t see out. That mom piece is hard, especially when you have kids as young as your son. It’s like being in a cloud and you can’t see your way out.
Anonymous: Now you’re getting me all teary eyed, thinking about it.
MW: Girl that’s what we do here. We cry. That’s what we do. So what do you want to do? If you could do anything?
Anonymous: What do I want to do? Travel. It’s what I want to do. It’s on my bucket list, just to travel and experience things. So, I do it in little ways. Right now it’s just experiencing new restaurants, you know? Trying different types of cuisines or reading about different countries and cultures. That’s something I would like to do. Maybe it’s just getting a job where I can afford to travel, or doing something where I have the opportunity to travel.
MW: Right…because sometimes once you have a job where you can afford to travel, you can’t get any time off…
Anonymous: Right. But that is a passion of mine, to learn about different cultures.
MW: You told me once that your husband wanted to move away. Where does he want to move?
Anonymous: The east coast. And I love New York. If we could move there, I would love to. But at the same time, New York is so expensive… I don’t want to live so far outside the city and not be able to enjoy the city itself because of money and stuff like that. So I feel like in order to be able to live in New York, you gotta make that nice money. I don’t want to live in the closet.
MW: But don’t people tend to make more money in New York?
Anonymous: Yeah, because of cost of living. So, yeah, I would love it. My daughter loves New York too. It’s funny – the week before her nature school ended I was talking to her teacher and I said, so next week is the last week right? Can I bring something? And she said no, but your daughter said she’s not going to come. And I said, what? She said, yeah, she said she’s going to New York. And I’m like, no, she’s not. (laughs)
But yeah, she’d love to live in New York as well. Except for the walking you have to do, because she don’t like walking. I like it. It’s different. And you know what? At the same time, I was born and raised in Chicago, but I would love to be that person to be like, I’m from Chicago. I’m from the Midwest. But I don't live there anymore. (laughs)
It’s not like I’m trying to stop us. I guess maybe I am, by saying, oh well we have to think about these things. But I more so meant it like, if this is going to be a goal of ours then we need to set some goals. We need to be strict on a budget and say, this is our fund for when we move out to New York.
MW: So you’re saying he doesn’t…
Anonymous: He doesn’t plan.
MW: So when he says he wants to move, you can’t take that seriously because you can’t see how it’s going to happen.
MW: I follow the relationship coach Kenya K. Stevens online. One of the things that she says that I like, is that men say what needs to be done and women figure out how to get it done. And I have found that’s true, that men are very good at telling you what they want to happen. They have good ideas. But then they can’t tell you how it’s going to happen. So that’s your job. But you put your mind to it. It sounds like right now your mind is turned away from it because you’re thinking it's his job to figure out how to make that plan happen, and you know he can’t do it. So you aren’t investing in it. But if you put your mind to it, the two of you can get that done. And then he would support the decisions you make, because you said you have trouble making decisions.
Anonymous: Yeah… we haven’t really sat down and talked about it. But if that’s going to be a goal of ours then… I think that should be a goal of ours. We should have that planned. I like to plan things. Again, because I always focus on the here and now, it’s hard for me to see that. So if he can see that, I can see this – the steps to get there.
MW: What are your spiritual beliefs?
Anonymous: I believe in God, I believe there’s a God, I believe in hell. I’m not practicing. I just know that there’s someone bigger than me, than us. My kids have been baptized. For me, I think it was more about tradition. And also again it goes back to the unknown. Baptizing a child for me was, well, if your child was to die then they’re accepted by God and so they’re accepted into heaven. That’s kind of how I grew up. So although I’m not very religious, that was one of the things that I’m like, what if something happens? What if that is true? And they can make their own decisions when they get older. I fully support whatever religion they decide to practice, if they decide to practice a religion. I’ll be fully supportive of whatever. But it was the unknown and also the fact that it was a tradition. I had been baptized, my family has been baptized, my mom asked about it… it made my mom happy to see that and so… we kind of only go to church on the major holidays. I feel like a hypocrite sometimes… but we say grace before we eat… sometimes.
MW: But if you really believe in God like you say, are you interested in an actual relationship with the force you believe made you and guides you? Do you feel like God has a plan for you?
Anonymous: I feel like I do, in my own way. I don’t know… I feel like I do have my way. I do believe in God. I love Him, or It, or you know, It’s being. But I feel like if It wanted me… if It needed me… If It wanted me to praise It in that way, It would lead me to that. But I don’t feel like I’m being led for that. I feel like if He needed me to have more of a spiritual connection He’d lead to me to that. And I feel like now - the connection we have – I’m okay with it. Who knows? Things might change. I know that sounds bad but I think that maybe there would be a time in my life that, you know – if it happens, then I will. So I have to just leave it to the universe, and as much as I am trying to be so controlling of things, I have to let it be. I have to realize that whatever is going to happen is going to happen.
MW: I understand. You mind if we switch gears for a second? I don’t want to make this all about sex and stuff but since you said you’ve only been with one person your whole life, my readers might have questions. (laughs) If there was an alternate universe where your husband would still love you and not judge you, would you ever want to know what…
Anonymous: Yeah, of course. It’s not to say that I don’t have those curiosities. I just know there’s a price that comes with it.
MW: Have y'all ever talked about it? Because he has to know that you…
Anonymous: Yeah… but we’re not at that point in our relationship where we’re like, cool, you can do your thing and I’ll do mine. For us I think it’s still the ultimate betrayal so I wouldn’t. I love him and I have the utmost respect for him. I would like to think that if there ever came a time where I didn’t love him and I wasn’t attracted to him sexually and I started finding myself into someone else and I think it may lead into something, I’d like to think I would tell my husband. That’s what I’d like to do – tell him I’m feeling someone else. Would it happen that way? I don’t know. There’s definitely been curiosities but… I have a lot to lose. I have a wonderful husband… an amazing husband. I’m definitely lucky.
MW: Do you still have a crush on him?
Anonymous: Yeah. There are moments. There are a lot of those moments where I go back to when we first started dating. He’s the funniest man I know, and for me, to get to my heart, it’s through humor. So yeah. But shoot, if I could have my cake and eat it too? Idris Elba… who else would be on my list? A bunch of people…
MW: Do ya’ll do everything?
Anonymous: Yeah. You know what though? We’re very reserved. Sometimes it’s like, I want to go there but I want you to be comfortable going there. And so sometimes there is that hesitation between us. And I told him, I was like, we shouldn’t have this. We’ve been married for eight years, been together for 17 years – we should be doing any and every thing.
MW: Like what stuff, specifically?
Anonymous: Oh gosh…well there’s certain stuff that we have no interest doing. Like anal is one of them. He has no interest in it and I’m very grateful that he has no interest in it, although I would do it if he wanted me to but I would have a lot of hesitation beforehand. But everything else, we do. I mean not like, a threesome. He says he wants to but I think that’s kind of like what he thinks he wants.
MW: Has he ever been with anyone else?
Anonymous: Yeah, but remember, it was forever ago.
MW: But you’re the one who hasn’t…. so if you have a threesome it should be with another guy, for you. (laughs)
Anonymous: Yeah but I don’t think he would be down for that. I should say, hey, maybe just for a day, you could give me this gift… but nah, he ain’t having that. But then I could get sprung. It could happen. So I’m sure he doesn’t want to take that chance. I think that we’re definitely… we’re satisfied. We experiment and do things. But one of the downfalls I think, of two Virgoes together is that we get comfortable. You know? We get comfortable. But that’s just a downside. But there are those moments where one of us turns on the switch and the other is like, whoa, okay, I’m down.
I’m more of a sexual person than he is. I probably have never turned him down – maybe a handful of times. He has turned me down. He’ll say, ah, nah, I don’t want to. So that kind of sucks sometimes. I’m like, I shouldn’t be initiating it.
MW: So…what if your daughter brings a guy home from school and says, I love him, we had sex, that’s it. He’s the one. That’s it. I want to be like you and Dad.
Anonymous: You know, our situation is very uncommon. I don’t know anyone else that has done it. I would tell her that sometimes things might not work out the way you want them to work out, but that’s okay. I would say, okay, but you have to continue living your life. Your life doesn’t end with just him. You have to go to school, you have to get a job, you have to go out and explore the world.
MW: Do you feel like you took that advice?
Anonymous: Um… sometimes I regret… sometimes… but then I realize that if I didn’t do what I did, I wouldn’t be where I’m at now. And I’m okay with where I’m at now, for now. But when I went away to school, I was dating my husband so I didn’t really get to enjoy my first year at college being away. I was still stuck on him. I would call him every night. I ran up like a thousand dollar phone bill because I was calling him and I was all about him. And it also affected my grades. I didn’t do so well at the end of the last semester of my first year and I was going to be placed on academic probation. And so I decided I just want to go back home and go to community college because I felt like the school was a little too hard. I wasn’t ready for it. And my mom said, it’s only four years of school, it will fly by, just hit it hard, it’s only four years and then you’ll be done. But it took me almost seven years to get my bachelor’s degree, just because of who I am. I was hard on myself.
My mom definitely instilled that I had to go to college. That was not an option for me. I had to always do something. It was hard for me to relax because she never relaxed. She worked a lot. Like she worked all the time. She went and got her nursing degree, and then at 31 or 32, had her second child. She was a single mom. So that was my example, always running, always having to do something. And so I don’t feel good about myself if I take a day off. You know, taking the day off, sending the kids to the babysitter, I’m just going to do me…I feel guilty. It is very difficult for me to do that. Growing up I was always taught that you have to do something. You have to work and go to school – that’s what it is. You have to do that. Everyone does that.
So I would push myself. I would do it too much to where it affected my grades. I worked full time and went to school full time because I felt like that’s what my mother wanted. That’s what she wanted to see. That’s what she would be impressed by. And I’m just not that type. I would see people do it but I had to realize that people learn different. I learn different. I just realized that some people learned a lot quicker than I could. And so it affected my grades. There were times where I didn’t do so well. I would get a D… obviously that seven years could have been cut down if I had just focused on school or just focused on work. Because when I was in school, I always put work first. I saw so many people do it. People said, you can do it. You can be amazing at work and you can be amazing at school. You can do it. I fought the fact that…
MW: You couldn’t do it.
Anonymous: I couldn’t do it. I didn’t. It was a long journey for me to finish. But I regret the fact that I didn’t enjoy the ride.
MW: It took me seven years too.
Anonymous: And it took me awhile to accept that’s okay. As long as I was done, right? But at the same time I was like, I didn’t get to enjoy my time away. But at the same time it was like, I had another plan. I get to be with him and have my family.
But back to the question about my daughter – I wouldn’t shoot it down and say you can’t be with him or it’s not going to work out. Because I don’t know. It could, and it could not. But I just want her to understand that things may not work out the way you initially want them to work out and you have to be okay with that, and know that. It’s okay, things are going to be fine. They’ll work themselves out.
That’s still something I gotta say to myself, too. It will be okay. You know?
MW: I know.