Get Clucky!

Thursday, April 07, 2005

The personal politics of new-wifey

So, my Uncle is getting remarried. He got divorced just about the time I broke up with my long-term college boyfriend, and started dating new-wife about the same time I started dating B, so we have had weirdly parallel lives for the last five years or so. I’m glad he’s marrying someone with whom he is really compatible and who is a nice woman who loves him.

That’s the good news.

The bad news is that, as though it wasn’t already weird enough to be at the “same” dating phase of life as your uncle who is twenty years older than you, good old Unc has decided to make it weirder for me because:

a.) new-wife is much closer to my age than to his

and, as though that weren’t already enough to make me feel all squirmy and uncomfortable in relation to him/them/my family when its gathered together, the extra special weirdness is that

b.) new-wife HAS MY SAME NAME.

So the niche I had filled in my extended family—ie, the young professional woman embarking on adult life—is now also filled by her.

And this really sucks for me. It sucks for me personally because now I have to compete with new-wife for my space in the family, because I can be neither an adult or a child in the same way that I was before. This isn’t her fault, and I admit that partly it is just my own competitiveness and neuroses that make this so frustrating.

But it sucks for me politically, because I am SO BOTHERED by this intergenerational relationship. And this is her/their fault. It makes me like my family less, that this is happening in it. I try not to map my political standards inappropriately onto the relational decisions of others (as conservatives do, troublingly, all the time), but at the very least it makes me feel that in my family, which usually is so liberal and great, there is this weird other value system—one in which wealthy older men find much younger new-wives who give up their otherwise successful careers to accommodate them—is taking root. And I don’t know how not to judge that, or how to, in good faith both to family and to politics, express or not that judgment.

I have just received their wedding invitation, and this is what motivated my post today. You will not, perhaps, be surprised to hear that new-wife has sent my invitation to Mr. And Mrs. B’s Last Name. She did!

As though it weren’t irritating enough that new-wife has taken my name—she has gotten it wrong.

So irksome. Everybody get excited for what’s going to happen when new-wife and I have babies at the same time! Yay!

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