It was pointed out to me that when describing a typical boyfriend girlfriend relationship, that I usually refer to it as a Partnership and not the gender roles of one being the boyfriend and one the girlfriend. It was also implied that I may do that because I have taken time in couples therapy in the past and that's generally how you are labeled in that setting.
It kind of was a weird feeling to think of it that way. Not because therapy is bad. The notion that couples therapy is only for a failing relationship is so outlandish, but then again mental health stigma in our culture is as common as sun in southern California.
In fact, I think that even if you're in the healthiest of relationships, you could use a trip down to the couples therapy session every now and then to make sure everything is right in its place and the two are on the same track for the future. It's like taking your car in for a check up, then again, I haven't had regular maintenance on my car in a while.
I felt a little odd that I had to justify that Partners means more to me than boyfriend and girlfriend or husband and wife. Mainly because all those titles have a long history of gender roles attached to them. Wife implies the home maker, the child care person... ultimately the submissive of the two. Husband and boyfriend seem to constantly be seen as the provider, the protector and the patriarchy oozes straight out of that one that it just doesn't hold any interest for my taste.
My Partner. That's what I call the person I choose to walk this life with. Because aside from "being my best friend", the significant other should be, first and foremost, your partner. the partner in crime, the partner thick and thin. To me it's not a derogatory definition. It means a lot more to me to be equals and honestly, calling the person you're spending your time and life with should be your equal.
Sometimes you will lack the ability to carry yourself. Sometimes your partner will be the one that needs the help. But through it all, you are a partnership and lifting up them when they're down should be the given. If you apply it to Girlfriend or Boyfriend, it implies that the woman should be feminine or loving and not at all in the position of power to be the strong one. The same, boyfriends and husband just gives the impression that they can't show an ounce of weakness or they'll be failing when it comes to being a protector and provider of the relationship.
These things are small, but I do think that they change the perception of the relationship and the roles in it, that should always be defined and evolve with the way the relationship grows in who has the strengths in certain areas while not always conforming to social norms. That's why I say Partnership. That's why I define as a gathering of two people to better the lives of both as exactly that. There could be weak partnerships, there could be strong ones. There could be wrong partnerships. There can be amazing partnerships.
But through it all, you and the other person are in it together as exactly that - A Partnership.
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