For anybody who doesn’t know, I’m a huge Taylor Swift fan. I’ve loved her and her music since I was 15 years old, and she wasn’t much older. Cory is also a huge fan, and our mutual love for her has been a special part of our relationship.
When we got married, we used multiple songs of hers in our wedding. Cory and the wedding party went down the aisle to “Ours,” and I walked down to “Love Story.” Cory danced with his mom to “Mary’s Song (Oh My My My)” and I danced with my dad to “Never Grow Up.”
We’ve also been to several of her concerts together—Fearless, Speak Now, and Red. They were all fantastic, of course! We even had tickets for 1989, but ended up having to resell them because we had baby Cody at that point and he was insanely high-need so we didn’t feel able to leave him. Then we had Abi and couldn’t afford tickets to Reputation, but when Lover came out we got tickets for that one—which were unfortunately cancelled due to Covid. But the point is, we adore her!
I’ve stayed up until midnight for her album drops numerous times, watched her documentary twice, and her Reputation concert on Netflix many times. I know every lyric to every song she’s ever put out, and I could recognize her voice or one of her songs within seconds of hearing it. About 75% of the time I listen to music, it’s hers. Obsessed is a good word, I would say!
Anyway, that went down a rabbit hole and Taylor Swift wasn’t actually the topic I was planning on writing about today. But it was good opener, at least.
All of that to say, the other day I was listening to Swifty in the car as usual, and “Love Story” came on. Immediately I was taken back to my wedding day, and I felt a lot of happy memories about that time in my life. I remember how excited I was on my wedding day, and how deeply in love I was with Cory.
The next song that came on was a new one, called “We Were Happy.” Some of the lyrics that hit me most with this song are these:
“When it was good, baby, it was good, baby
We showed ’em all up
No one could touch the way we laughed in the dark
Talkin’ ’bout your daddy’s farm we were gonna buy someday
And we were happy
We were happy
Oh, I hate those voices
Tellin’ me I’m not in love anymore
But they don’t give me choices
And that’s what these tears are for
‘Cause we were happy
We were happy”
This song hit me hard, because I can relate so strongly to it. The reality with my marriage to Cory is that nothing is wrong. Nothing went wrong, nothing bad happened to make things change between us. We still love each other, and damnit, we have had an absolutely amazing relationship for as long as we’ve been together. Despite the doubters early in our relationship who told us we were too young to be in love and too young to get married, we have been rock solid for our entire relationship and marriage.
We’ve had fights and struggles, but we’ve never doubted our choice to get married or to be together. We’ve never regretted building this life together. We are soul mates, and I believe that our paths being intertwined was always part of God’s plan.
So my struggle lately has been reconciling those truths with the way that I feel now about us. Now that I’ve found a powerful romantic, emotional, and physical relationship with someone new, it has made it painfully clear to me that I don’t feel the same way towards Cory anymore. I love him and care about him very deeply—and I treasure our friendship, the way we work so well as a team doing life together, and the family we’ve created. But as far as romance and physical affection, I don’t feel the desire or even openness to those aspects of our relationship anymore.
I have learned that soul mates aren’t always romantic, and that romantic love doesn’t always last forever. I used to say that love is a choice. That in marriage especially, love is a choice and that when the feelings of “being in love” fade, which is natural and normal over time, the choice to continue to love the other person becomes the driving force of keeping a marriage together. And keeping our marriage together has been one of the most important things to me, for the past 14 years—even before we got married, I always said that I would never get divorced.
Now I’m not saying that I want to get divorced now. We still are happy—it’s just in a different way. There are a lot of reasons to stay married to Cory, even if our marriage is a platonic one now. We have a family and want to keep it intact—separation from my parents who shared custody of me as a child was incredibly traumatic for me. That’s not to say that other families aren’t better off with the parents being separated or divorced! In many cases, I believe that is the best choice for everyone involved. But in my case, I’m not there and I don’t know if I ever will be. Because we live very harmoniously as a family right now, and everyone seems happiest with the situation as it stands.
But what I am coming to understand is that marriages and relationships in general sometimes aren’t meant to last forever—and that’s okay. It doesn’t mean the marriage or relationship was a failure, especially when there are so many beautiful and happy memories to treasure in the relationship. I think it’s okay to celebrate what was and still accept that it is no longer that way, without seeing it as some kind of tragedy. It’s okay to say “we were happy,” and view that as a positive season in one’s life, even if it’s now over.
In my case, I’m still working through what it means for the romantic side of my marriage to be over. What does it mean for our future together? What are we now, and what does that look like in our day-to-day lives?
I am embracing the non-traditional more and more these days. I am embracing that every relationship can be whatever you make it, regardless of what other people think or what society expects. Cory and I can be married and choose to have absolutely no sexual relationship—and we can still kiss each other goodnight. We can sleep in the same bed when we want to, or not when we don’t. We can tell each other “I love you” and be physically affectionate, even though we aren’t “romantic.” What is being “romantic” really anyway? It’s for us to define (or not), and the way we interact can be however we’re both comfortable.
I’m just fine with all of that, and so far it feels like we are finding our new normal and it’s working out pretty well.
Where the wrench starts to get thrown into the machine is when I have powerful desires to connect my life to my boyfriend, RJ’s, more and more, and it’s not necessarily compatible with the life I’m currently committed to living with Cory. More than anything, I want to live with him, and Cory may not be ready to accept him into our lives on such a full-time basis, at least not yet. Even if Cory was ready, RJ isn’t quite settled on what he wants to do at this point in his life. If I didn’t have a family of my own, I would have so many more options. But of course, my family is my life and they have to come first, before my own desires.
When I think about my future now, there are a lot of unknowns. I know that RJ will be in it, and of course so will Cory and the kids. I just don’t know yet how all of the puzzle pieces will fit together. Half of me is afraid to hope for more with RJ, and the other half of me is afraid to not hope for that. Co-habitation—that’s the dream at this point. Is it a reckless dream? Impossible? I don’t know. But for now, I’ll just keep on dreaming.