A Surprising Part of Relationships

Are you in a long-term relationship? I’ve realized something…

I’ve been dating my boyfriend Andrew for seven years, and we’ve officially exchanged every story of our lives and the lives of anyone we’ve ever known. With years, comes comfort, and with comfort, comes an embarrassing dynamic that I wouldn’t trade for anything. We interrupt one another, steal food off each other’s plates and spar over things like the merits of Dijon mustard and our sleep schedules. And who doesn’t? But for our friends’ sanity (and ours), we’ve learned to keep these quarrels happily contained in our 175-square-foot studio apartment.

When I was reading ‘Company Man,’ in David Sedaris’s latest collection of essays, he explained this hilarious dynamic with his boyfriend, Hugh:

    “Guests usually take the train from London, and before we pick them up at the station, I remind Hugh that for the duration of their visit, he and I will be playing the role of a perfect couple. This means no bickering and no contradicting each other. If I am seated at the kitchen table and he is standing behind me, he is to place a hand on my shoulder right on the spot where a parrot would perch if I were a pirate instead of the ideal boyfriend. When I tell a story he has heard so often he could lip sync it, he is to pretend to be hearing it for the first time and to be appreciating it as much or more than our guests are. I’m to do the same and to feign delight when he serves something I hate, like fish with little bones in it.”

I was laughing out loud. How true is that? And it feels good! Of course, you can’t always keep it together the whole evening/weekend/trip. “I really blew it a few years back when his friend Sue came for the night,” wrote Sedaris. “‘She knows too much.'”

What about you? Does this ring true to you, too?

P.S. How you know your partner is the one, and funny marriage pet peeves.

(Photo by Suzanne Opton/The LIFE Images Collection/Getty Images.)