it doesn’t have to be hard

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Ugg boot love
Ugg boot love

Early on when the G.O. and I realised that he and I were an “us” and were negotiating our way through a new kind of relationship, his wise words were it doesn’t have to be hard. Last week we clocked up 8 years of cohabitating, and that simple philosophy stands us in good stead still.

During the week one evening before the G.O. had arrived home, changing from my office clothes into my around the house ensemble I caught my reflection in the mirror, laughed and thought what a woman to come home to, lucky he’s not fussy… My attire, as usual, was a checked flannie over an old t-shirt, with equally old, faded ripped jeans and Ugg boots, and wild hair scraped into a sort of bun-knot.

The moment brought to mind a conversation last weekend after a family lunch to celebrate the G.O.’s mum’s 80th birthday. We were discussing various family members, and my M.I.L. mentioned a cousin’s wife “she’s the talk of the town, she goes to the shops wearing his old holey shorts”. I said nothing but I could see in my mind summer-me attired in a pair of the G.O.’s old boardies, nipping into the shops after the beach. I have never seen my M.I.L. and her sisters dressed in anything that could be considered casual… even the M.I.L’s gardening clothes put many items of my holiday clothing selection to shame. Different generation, I guess, is the explanation.

Later, after the G.O. arrived home and showered, I wandered past the bathroom and thought to tell him how lucky I was but before I could I just had to laugh, again. There he was: trying to tame wild hair that won’t see a barber until summer & beard that never will, outfit matching mine but even older flannie, blue truckies singlet, trackie dacks and of course Uggies. He couldn’t understand my amusement…Β  “you look fine” was his only comment.

Last night as we walked, enroute to see Adam Hills’ Happyism show at the Enmore Theatre, the G.O. gave me a good shove. As I looked around to ask what the? I automatically high-sidestepped a young woman sitting on a bench calmly vomiting onto the footpath… “thanks Gorgeous” I said “that was kind of you”. He said “no problem, it’s always that last schooner”.

Walking home after the show we stopped at Bench to have a drink and share a couple of plates of tapas. As I forked one of the last 2 pieces of grilled haloumi I chose the smaller, leaving the other for the G.O. Reciprocally, as the number of garlic-chilli grilled prawns dwindled, he said about the last “that’s yours”, and so on as we divvied up the remaining tiny olives and maple macadamias.

It’s these simple freely conveyed gestures, like whoever is home first packing away the washed dishes and clothes, or caring acts such as making tea or coffee for the other, and topping up wine glasses… we once had a houseguest who sternly admonished me that delivering a glass of wine to the G.O. seated on the couch, would be the ruin of me.

Adam Hills may have touch the frog as his Happyism mantra but it doesn’t have to be hard works just fine for us.

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43 thoughts on “it doesn’t have to be hard

    Celia @ Fig Jam and Lime Cordial said:
    July 14, 2013 at 4:53 pm

    Lovely post, ED. You’re right, it doesn’t have to be hard, but by the same token, don’t underestimate the amount of work you put into your relationship so that it doesn’t have to be hard. Your post tells of a couple who are in tune with each other, accepting of one another’s strengths and weaknesses, and shows the enormous trust you have in your relationship, such that delivering a glass of wine will never lead to a power imbalance. Thanks for sharing your happiness with us! xx

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 14, 2013 at 9:04 pm

      Thank you, coming from someone who does it so well, and shares so generously that’s very kind πŸ™‚

      Like

    dadirri7 said:
    July 14, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    love it .. and the story … why can’t we see a photo of those at-home ensembles? … they sound so fab!!! (p.s. those little things are what work for us too … 40 + years on :))

    Like

      acflory said:
      July 14, 2013 at 5:01 pm

      Celia said it all, except maybe that I envy you two more than I can say. -hugs-

      Like

        EllaDee responded:
        July 15, 2013 at 6:09 am

        Thank you. We’ve each been down our own roads, and know how fortunate we are that they came together at the right place and time, so we can now travel together πŸ™‚

        Like

          acflory said:
          July 15, 2013 at 8:49 pm

          I suspect you’ve both also learned a lot while you’ve been travelling down those roads. I think your happiness has been earned. πŸ™‚

          Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 14, 2013 at 9:07 pm

      Why can’t you see a photo?… My ’round the house ensemble scares even me… the G.O. appears to be made of tougher stuff. Yes, finally, I learned… looking after the small stuff reduces the chance of having to deal with the big awful stuff.

      Like

    Vicky said:
    July 14, 2013 at 7:07 pm

    A beautuful post and true soulmates I’d say πŸ™‚
    The warmth and feeling you have for each other shines through your words.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm

      Thank you πŸ™‚ Lovely for you to see and say that, and coming from the happy space I see of you and T, it means a lot.

      Like

    davidprosser said:
    July 14, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Love comes in many forms, like Garlic-Chilli grilled prawns. If it works, it works. We see with different eyes the ones we love.
    Huge Hugs to you both and thanks a million for posting the pic of my Mum. She’s have been delighted to be invited to Australia. xxxxxxxx

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 14, 2013 at 9:30 pm

      Ha ha… like garlic-chili prawns we can get a little heated but it doesn’t last for long… mostly we’re mellow like the glass of Pinot Noir I enjoyed as well.

      Like

    metan said:
    July 14, 2013 at 9:24 pm

    I love this little slice of your love story, happy anniversary. πŸ™‚ it is so nice not to have to worry about being comfortable in front of each other.

    Sharing the packing away of dishes of washing though…. *sniffle* oh how I envy you! I do get a cooked breakfast in bed pretty much every weekend though, it must be love if he can happily deliver his prize to my bleary-eyed messy-haired form that’s for sure!

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 9:19 am

      Thanks, that anniversary sort of gets lost but it popped into my head when I considered my mid-week mid-winter self in the mirror… He’s still here!
      Win win? Lose lose? here as far as housework goes. Whoever is home does it.
      Breakfast in bed… nice πŸ™‚ If I was sick maybe the G.O. would bring me dry toast (he doesn’t “do” mornings!).

      Like

    Kourtney Heintz said:
    July 15, 2013 at 3:42 am

    That’s an amazing relationship mantra. 8 years together–wow that is wonderful. πŸ™‚ I love how comfortable you two are with each other. It’s really adorable.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 6:11 am

      Thanks πŸ™‚ I think it helps a lot that we we’re friends first, and still are. After 23 years we know each other pretty well.

      Like

    cecilia said:
    July 15, 2013 at 4:31 am

    What an excellent piece of writing, you two sound grand together and you are SO right, it does not have to be hard at all.. finding that peace in a relationship is a joy.. c

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 6:17 am

      Thank you. We have a back story a little reminiscent of you & John, and the now of it took a while to sort itself out. Passing time can be the bearer of hidden gifts.

      Like

        cecilia said:
        July 15, 2013 at 6:34 am

        It certainly can, and one of those gifts is CALM! wonderful… c

        Like

    diannegray said:
    July 15, 2013 at 6:44 am

    It’s lovely to have a companion/BFF as a partner. You serve all the drinks you like to the G.O. because it will always be reciprocated. This is what makes a beautiful relationship πŸ˜€

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 11:01 am

      Thanks. It’s so much easier to be in a relationship, for me anyway, knowing the other person so well beforehand. Haha, yes, it is reciprocated… if I’m busy sitting on the couch and the G.O. is up, I’m quite happy to say “can you get me a…” πŸ˜‰

      Like

    roughseasinthemed said:
    July 15, 2013 at 6:47 am

    Clothes don’t matter do they?I wear his. The pockets on the shorts are stronger. The T shirts are looser. We’re up to 28 years of co-habiting and were oddly discussing it today. He’s working all hours under the (hot) sun again and still jumped to do all the washing up. Little gestures do matter.

    We once went to his sister’s new year party. I went to get the food for both of us. ‘Oh’ said a friend, ‘you are getting food for your man.’ Well yes, I was better at it. So I did. We’re still together, hardly our ruin. In fact I even got seconds.

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      EllaDee responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 11:11 am

      Yes, I remember you saying you wear A’s clothes when it suits you, as I do the G.O.’s – the second, practical wardrobe is great.
      Our domestic duties get done by whoever is home, which atm is mostly me but the G.O. makes sure he still does whatever he can, and it’s nice but on the other hand if he’s really tired I’ll say sit, I’ll pack up… the gestures are the key.
      I like that story – people judge on the oddest things. I would have thought oh that’s lovely. The G.O. prefers to choose his own food but I’ll often grab him a biccie and dip etc or a dessert if he’s busy chatting at a party.

      Like

        roughseasinthemed said:
        July 15, 2013 at 2:54 pm

        My problem is that I loathe taking out a bag ie a handbag (to the extent that I take a small backpack thing instead). So using his shorts means I can put keys, cash and cards in pockets. Women’s clothes are not designed for that 😦 So discriminatory – launches into rant on the sexism of clothing, oops, not my blog.

        I think for someone who is working more than 50 hours a week to still do something around the house (usually hangs out and gets in the washing too on the grounds I am rubbish at it) is pretty good. That’s one reason I am up at 6am putting his food together, and getting some things cooked for it the night before eg roasted peppers,

        Years ago, I was working longer hours ie 8am till after midnight, but that was then and this is now. And we’re older. Need to look after each other.

        Bandy and Marry (well actually Barry and Mandy but we always changed the letters for some whacky reason) were so impressed, or at least Barry was, that Mandy was sent to get his food too. We spent the whole evening chatting to them. A knew them before but they were great company so we never bothered with anyone else. Sounds odd, me the staunch feminist getting the food for both of us, but to me it’s about who does what best, and also best use of time. What’s the point two of us going to choose food when one of us can do it perfectly well and save disrupting the conversation? I would have got Bandy and Marry’s food too, makes no odds to me. I wasn’t a waitress/teawoman/sandwich hand for nothing πŸ˜€

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          EllaDee responded:
          July 15, 2013 at 4:01 pm

          I’m not big fan of handbags either, and will happily hand the G.O. the cash and house keys if we go out for dinner locally or whenever I can get away with it. I have 2 bags I cart around on workdays – carrying the necessities plus book, umbrella, lunch etc but I recently found the perfect sling/satchel for weekends which is just like not carrying a bag at all.
          I truly think happy couples are the norm who have worked it out, who compromise and are flexible… but it seems to be the unhappy people that get noticed. The G.O. and I just had this conversation yesterday which touches on something I posted about a little while ago… we have no news because we’re happy with our not perfect but good enough lives… There are people we know who share nothing but unhappy news but don’t seem to be doing a lot else about it.
          50 hours – 6 days is a long week, for both of you… I know.
          Good point, and feminism doesn’t preclude courtesy or niceness… I used to get comments because I’d happily go and get my male boss a coffee or lunch… it made sense, he was busy and making money – my job was to assist him to do that. When he wasn’t busy he’d get me a coffee.

          Like

          roughseasinthemed said:
          July 15, 2013 at 4:22 pm

          I forgot to say those tapas prices were a bit steep! I hope they were good.

          When we go out he’ll often say, don’t bother with your keys, I’ll take mine. We then launch into a totally pointless discussion about what if we get divorced (this is invariably at the weekend so obv no solicitors around anyway), but we have been caught out a couple of times when we’ve changed plans and one has gone home separately, inevitably the one without the keys. Still, have steps to sit on, no problem.

          Acceptance is key. Not that you shouldn’t have goals, but being happy and content with what you have is so important for peace and tranquility. Not to be always thinking ‘if only’ or ‘I want’. We were talking about our relationship yesterday – for some strange reason – and both agreed we hadn’t ever met anyone else we were interested in (ie post us). Although it was quickly added that I was a pain in the neck, totally scruffy, don’t wash up enough etc etc.

          Fifty five hours at the moment including Sats, but if he gets asked to work a Sunday (he has done before), he’s putting the foot down. So he says. We’ll see. Because Sunday is double time ….

          Indeed. I don’t see helping someone out if they are male as being non-feminist. There is a difference between being expected to do something because you are a woman and being courteous and respectful to others. My boss, the chief exec would wander round the meeting room pouring the coffee for everyone. A nice touch I thought, just like you and your boss. In the UK, my partner would be hanging out the washing in the garden and so would Martin, and they’s chat over the fence. Martin worked from home, A was self-employed and the two women were in offices. What else were they going to do? Leave the washing all day?

          I love the title of your post, by the way.How wonderful to have a man who says something like that.

          Like

          EllaDee responded:
          July 15, 2013 at 4:38 pm

          I linked to Bench, knowing you have an interest in the menus but now I check, it is similar but not the same menu we chose from. Locally those prices are on par. I did comment to the G.O. that I wouldn’t bother paying those prices for the veg plates. We had a snack and pre-show drink, so we weren’t starving but needed a last drink and simple nibbles to end out what was a very good evening.
          Ah well, the G.O. had to trot that line out a few times before I settled down and got on with it. I’m glad you like it πŸ™‚

          Like

          roughseasinthemed said:
          July 15, 2013 at 4:50 pm

          The menu was interesting but yes the veg ones were expensive, as they often are. One reason when we first went veg that we ate non-veg out. Better value for money.

          Nine bucks for papas bravas? Twenty one for a cheese platter?!!!!!

          To be fair, there was more choice for veggies than you would get in Spain. But hey, you’re in Sydney.

          As for the line, maybe it comes with age, but it is so perfect. Here we have a relationship, let’s enjoy it.

          Like

    philosophermouseofthehedge said:
    July 15, 2013 at 8:46 am

    UGS! (Molly has only eaten part of one…it’s still wearable – I had some really strong thread)
    I’ve tried to tell my daughter feeling “comfortable” is important with relationships – and how you work in tandem.
    Just love that “walking home…”paragraph – that’s the way it is.
    Congrats on choosing wisely. If it works, it works.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Thank you – I’m glad you liked that paragraph… it made me remember my first very young husband who would steal food off my plate if I didn’t put chilli sauce on it…
      The G.O.’s are the Uggs which are odd colours… one worn too close to the fire. They are so hardy, and get a bit of character once they are marked or chewed πŸ™‚
      I was thinking about similar… if I’d tried to tell twenty-ish year old me about comfortable, and friends being the best partners, she’d have laughed me out of town.

      Like

    mybrightlife said:
    July 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    Oh EllaDee, so cool! Eric says “you guys are juniors”, I just read your post to him as we drank our morning tea in the garden – which I always make – We clocked 17 years two days ago and his comment I suspect was to divert from the moisture in his eyes! These dudes get emotional with age I find. So I have sent him off to make the coffee now while I comment. I hope we will still be sharing special bits of our lives for years to come. Happy thought, that.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 15, 2013 at 3:32 pm

      Thank you. I hope so too… I find WordPress is wonderful in that I conenct with people who share the happy positive aspects of their lives, and if times are tough are at least constructive and philosophical. And I of course share as much of my lovely WordPress world with the G.O. as he can handle πŸ˜‰ 17 years πŸ™‚ – something for the G.O. and me to aspire to. I think it’s fortunate that during our long friendship, we’ve been there done that with other partners, otherwise a lot younger and a lot less wise, we wouldn’t have lasted 8 months let alone 8 years.

      Like

    Leanne Cole said:
    July 15, 2013 at 8:28 pm

    Sounds like heaven and a partnership made from there.

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      EllaDee responded:
      July 16, 2013 at 5:59 am

      Thanks… yes, well it might have been the masterstroke of a somewhat complicated pre-life plan πŸ˜‰

      Like

    Pete Denton said:
    July 16, 2013 at 2:19 am

    Congratulations on celebrating your 8 years together. It is great to find someone to share the journey and be yourself with. πŸ™‚

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 16, 2013 at 5:58 am

      Thank you. It seems both like forever, in a good way, and just yesterday πŸ™‚

      Like

    Richard Guest said:
    July 16, 2013 at 3:27 pm

    Cool, practical philosophy – I also like, “it’s always that last schooner.” πŸ™‚

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 17, 2013 at 7:04 am

      I laughed, as I was high-stepping, at that as well πŸ™‚ I did feel sorry for her though.

      Like

    ChgoJohn said:
    July 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    You’re so right, EllaDee, it needn’t be hard. That insight, though, often comes with a certain level of maturity. Too bad. My 20s would have been so much more enjoyable had I only known.

    Like

      EllaDee responded:
      July 17, 2013 at 4:18 pm

      Same for me… and most of my thirties πŸ™‚

      Like

    totsymae1011 said:
    July 24, 2013 at 10:01 am

    I agree. It definitely shouldn’t be hard. Always good to be in an easy place with someone.

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      EllaDee responded:
      July 24, 2013 at 11:17 am

      Thank you πŸ™‚ It’s a lesson it took me a while to learn.

      Like

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