Wednesday, September 7, 2016

When Pizza Isn't Enough: Making a Love that Lasts

I love pizza.  (Okay, most food.  Practically all food.  Whatever.)  But pizza is up there.  I like it in nearly all its many and various forms.  I'll even tolerate Imo's if I'm in the right mood for really shitty pizza.  And yes, I know those are fighting words for some people.  I make no apologies.

Mark and I have practically made a study in local pizzas over the past few years, both together and separately.  We haven't hit every pizza joint in town, but we've done some damage.  We've bounced around here and there, been obsessed with some places, and been disappointed one too many times by others.  We've tried to find good bad pizza.  We've eaten pizza out of desperation.  We've compromised on toppings.  We've both made our own pizzas, experimenting with crust and sauces and toppings.  I've deemed him the resident pizza expert, due to his past work experience at Pizza Hut.

I've even eaten pizza while drinking champagne with my divorce-maids after wrecking my wedding dress.

Last week, Mark made what is (for now) my new favorite pizza: sausage and cashew.  It's certainly not a combination I would have come up with on my own, but as soon as he told me about it I was intrigued.

And now it's love.

Like most love, it was unexpected.  I can't guarantee it will last, but it definitely seems to be something to build on.

Now obviously, pizza isn't love.  If you love me, you might make me pizza or bring me pizza, but pizza can't be the entire basis for a relationship.

... or can it?

Probably not.

So if pizza isn't enough, what is?

What makes for a strong relationship?  What sets apart that one pizza, er, person from all the others?

And what right do I have to talk about relationships, anyway?  There are plenty of jokes to be made about the divorced woman or man sitting around and giving marital advice.  After all, I'm divorced, which automatically means I failed at being married.  Right?  What would I know about a good relationship?

Well, I don't profess to be an expert, but I at least know what a good relationship isn't.  I know the warning signs.  I know the regret.  I know the unhappiness that comes from staying in something that is, at its very core, so incredibly wrong.  I know that I should have listened to the little voice inside me that kept whispering that I should cut my losses and run before it cost me ten thousand dollars and seven years of of my life.  I know what it's like to struggle almost daily to have a good relationship, to do everything in my power to not fail at being married.

But what about what it takes to have a good relationship is?  How do you build a love that will last longer than my first marriage, or at least longer than a good pizza?

There's so much that goes into it, and much of it subject to personal taste.  For me, a good relationship is being with a man who cares enough about me to consider my needs and to try to make our lives better, who believes in me, and who I believe in.  It's knowing that he has a good heart (in spite of what he sometimes thinks about himself).  It's the fact that everything in my life is better with him than without him.  It's the fact that I want to build a life and a home with him instead of trying to find my fulfillment outside of the relationship.

Mainly, I think it comes down to trust.  No, not crust.  Trust.  You have to trust that person.  And not just trust that they won't cheat or lie or steal (though those are all very important as well), but trust them with your whole self, with your secrets and desires and hopes.  You have to let someone else know you like no one else ever has.  The past three years have been a whole new experience in what intimacy really means.  It's not just sex.  It's emotional, it's mental, it's the whole vulnerable package.

It's a terrifying risk, the ultimate trust fall.  Because if they drop you, what then?

That's simple enough.  You pick yourself up and try again.  Or don't.  Be your own perfect relationship.  Order a delivery pizza and eat it all by yourself.

If there's one thing being divorced does make me an authority on, it's the fact that the end of a relationship is not the end of the world.

We all deserve good relationships, good sex, and good pizza.  While it doesn't hurt to have some bad every now and then, it shouldn't ever be something we settle for because we're hoping it will get better with time.  The good is out there.

Go out and try a little of everything until you find just the right one.

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