As a woman in a romantic relationship, I have had a lot of obstacles. I’ve been single practically my whole life. Now I have a partner, who adores and loves me. We share thoughts, ambitions and weaknesses. A couple we aimed to be like was Frank and Claire Underwood. A true power couple. One that doesn’t allow love to be a thorn in their goals or agendas. I was a bit sad to see how they triumphed in Season 3, but overjoyed when they got their shit together in Season 4.
When I re-watched the first season, as I approached episode 7, I realized that there was more to Frank and Claire. When I saw season 3, I wasn’t really thrilled at how it ended. Claire abandoned the team. Not just Frank. And it was disappointing.
I used to relate to Claire. Admire her. Then the Season 3 happened.
- She was way too empathetic. Had a bleeding heart.
- Let herself get overshadowed by her husband.
- Wasn’t completely open with her teammate.
Of course, if you saw the next season, she definitely restored my faith in her. Claire was more cunning, stealth and calculated. I appreciated seeing a woman find her way back to herself. Many may say it was finding her way back to her husband, but it’s not true. This character is complex as are many human beings. She felt like she was losing herself and blamed Frank. But the fact was, Claire was the one changing plans and herself, Frank stayed the same. And I can relate in a way.
One of my fears is becoming “a wife”. I love organization and planning, but I am not a “homemaker”. I never quite understood what that meant or how that was comfortable for many women. Of course I’d love to entertain guests in my home, or cook for my husband. I am more concerned with being only that. Being the only person who cleans the house because I have Mondays off. Or the only person that washes the communal items from the house cause I’m the only one who thinks to. And the only person who makes the grocery list because my spouse never thinks to. (Clearly these are things I'm hung up on.)
I never want to be in a relationship where my ambitions don’t matter. Growing up, I’ve heard about the moms who put aside their dream because they wanted to make sure their kids had someone at home. Or religiously makes sure dinner is ready for their husband when he gets home. I don’t want to be forced to be that woman. I want children, and maybe I will want a job position that allows me to pick up my children on time. And there are certainly times I love cooking feasts for my spouse. But I’m not into the idea of me being a mom or wife before a woman. No.
Back to Claire. I believe a lot of women have times like season 3. You want to support your husband, but you do not want to lose yourself. But as my boyfriend tells me constantly, “Stop making it up in your head that I’m trying to make you subservient”. And he’s not. In a way, neither was Frank. They had a plan, Claire was cool with it, but then once inside of the plan, she realized it wasn’t what she wanted. It’s okay to change your mind, you just have to include your spouse. That’s what being a team player is all about.
Quick note to all those superwomen out there: I understand that you want to put everyone else first. Just remember, you can't put on everyone else's oxygen masks before putting yours on first. Got it?