So – Did I ever tell you about a funny little incident that occurred right after my twelve year old son moved to New Mexico to live with his dad?
My son – I’ll call him Graden here – was happy and settling in to his new digs, and I was going berserk. So I flew out to visit my son, using his “back to school night” event at school as the excuse.
I knew it would go over like a lead balloon – Just when Graden thought he’d gotten rid of me, and was fast on his way to living a happy bachelor existence with his dad, there I was to make sure he remembered what it felt like to have a mom around.
So, I decided to keep it a surprise. His dad picked me up at the airport, and we were on our way to Graden’s school to meet up with him. It was also to be my grand entrance into the life of Graden’s new teachers. Now they were all going to know that – yes – my son has a mom – and yes – she still cares.
As we approached the school, Graden’s dad (my ex-husband) called him to arrange a place to meet. Graden apparently said he was hanging out with Tanya.
“Who’s Tanya?” my ex asked. “Is that your new girlfriend?”
All I could hear was the sound of my son’s voice, and my ex’s reply, “Friends with benefits?! What does THAT mean?” he roared, laughingly.
Thus began the lengthy conversation about what it really does mean to have “friends with benefits” in the eyes and psyche of a twelve year old boy.
He of course said that it didn’t mean anything except to hang out and call each other all the time, and spend time together. That they could say they were “hanging out” and not “boyfriend / girlfriend,” “dating” or “going steady.”
Okay. I have to pause here and say that first of all, I am not an idiot. I think my son really DOES know in his head what it means to be “friends with benefits” – at least in terms of in society and in the media. If you hear that phrase referred to in a movie or television, you know these two people are screwing around, with no commitment. I get the sense that my son is pretty savvy that way.
But Graden’s explanation sounded awfully familiar to dating among my own peer group. I can’t tell you how many thirty-something friends of mine STILL avoid the “D” word (dating) or the “BF/GF” i.d. and say “yeah, we’ve been hanging out.”
Had I heard that about seven or so years ago – just after my divorce, I would have reacted far differently – probably worried that my son wasn’t learning how to be solid, or committed or caring. Not so now. I found my son’s comment quite funny, and was proud that he could be so open about himself and his life.
Now, here is where I am going to get a little controversial.
I know. You’re thinking, ‘Ms. Cheevious? Controversial?’ I admit, it’s a stretch.
But I’ve always thought I was cut from a different cloth than most girls. I think having friends with benefits is quite healthy. As a matter of fact, I have always taken that line of thinking further than most. For instance, when I was married, I use to tell my husband I wouldn’t mind if he had an affair. And I meant it. I just always believed very strongly that men needed more in their lifetime. They can certainly CHOOSE to be with one woman, but that is another matter. Men are just different.
Okay now. All you players out there – I don’t want to receive any HATE MAIL, or HATE POSTS for that matter, from your girlfriends or wives. My observations and beliefs about male/female relationships are NOT a source of ammunition. They are just my own personal beliefs and preferences.
Let me break it down for you:
I love to be treasured. I think men like to be treasured as well.
There is a distinct difference between treasure and possession. I don’t have any interest in possessing – and I certainly cannot be possessed. But I also can’t be with someone if I am not respected or cherished – if I am not longed for, or in the heart, or on the mind of that special someone. There is nothing like that feeling when you care for someone, and they reciprocate.
But I am my own person too. I love what I do, and I love becoming the “me” that I am from day to day. I don’t need to feel that my man is all mine.
The fact is, many women are NOT built that way. I suspect my son’s friend Tanya had NO real idea what she was agreeing to (I’d be happy to be wrong, here). In her mind, it probably just sounded cool, or made her sound cool to all the other cool kids.
The truth of the matter is, most of my lovely girlfriends are very possessive about their men. And that is OKAY. It’s what they want! They want their man, and they want him to want them – in a Wuthering Heights, romantic sort of way. I don’t blame my girlfriends. I love them and respect them in all their dreams for their lives! Hey – I love to be showered with affection and attention, and I love to bestow it! Who doesn’t?
We humans all start out young and vibrant, then we age, and grow older and wiser, and we hopefully learn to appreciate beauty when we see and experience it. But don’t forget, all things do come to an end. None of us gets out of this life alive. If that doesn’t put an end to something, I don’t know what will!
On the Friends with Benefits note: I’ve been there, done that. It was fun and adventurous while it lasted. Then it ran its course and ended. I am still friends with that guy (or guys), but we’ve evolved to being just that – friends. Like all “things” that must come to an end, so ended our friends with benefits “thing.”
My philosophy? I love just enjoying every single moment. Enjoy the people you know, and let them enjoy you.
Okay – whew! That’s it for now folks. How was that for a walk through the philosophical musings of Ms. Cheevious?! Who would have thought a harmless comment by my twelve year old son would take me down this path?! Kids are amazing.
Tune in next time when I tell you about the Pirates Who Pillaged Las Vegas! Talk about Treasure! ARRGH!
Have a great weekend everyone! And LOVE THE ONE YOU’RE WITH!
Love you people!
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