They say opposites attract. They also say one should find a partner who has the same values and interests as one’s self. However, if this were true, my man and I would have either gone our separate ways or killed one another many years ago.
Recently we had our anniversary. We don’t really celebrate anniversaries. As a matter of fact, I usually have trouble remembering the date. He put it in capitals on the calendar this year: “32 YEARS”. No “anniversary”; no circling the date. It stood out like it was saying “32 BLOODY years” or “how did I get this sentence? I’d get less for murder”.
My partner is a quiet man. He only talks when he has something to say. He never asks how my day has been, even though I always ask him. I know it won’t take long for him to tell me about his day. His answer is usually “OK” or “good”. I asked him once why he never asks about my day. He said that he knows I’m going to tell him without him asking. Early in our marriage, I realised that if it was going to work I needed him not to change me. So instead of sticking with him at parties, I circulate. He plonks himself in front of the TV and I get on with socialising. I love interacting with other people. He doesn’t need human company to feel complete.
Then there is the matter of tardiness. I can’t stand being late. It spoils my day. He is always late. He was even late (and therefore made me late) for my father’s funeral. If I have an appointment and he says he’ll drive me, I usually say no – I’ll take the bus. I know that even with the best intentions he will make me late. It could also be a product of my organisational skills from when the children were little and I had to have them ready for school before work. He is never organised.
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My man loves shopping. He can take a whole day just browsing. I run in, pick what I want and leave. My life is too busy to browse. Before mobile phones, I was forever getting him paged to the front of stores. I mean to say: two hours in Kmart is the limit.
He was a country boy. He moves slowly and with purpose. I dart around him. He starts a project and keeps focused until he completes it. I start many things, all at once. Most get completed eventually.
The range of social, volunteering and special interest groups I attend could be beyond many people’s imagination. He is not particularly interested in these groups, so he doesn’t join in. He answers the phone and if someone wants to speak to me he says “she’s not home, she’s never home”. But he never complains to me, even though I sometimes feel like I’m neglecting him.
It’s possible I’m more proactive than he is. If we need to complain about something, he gets me to do it, as I’m better with people (or so he says). However, if there is ever any really stressful event in our lives, he clams up and lets me do all the organising, complaining or whatever. I am then considered by others to be the ball breaker and he is the poor downtrodden man. He can’t cope with stress. I just bottle it up. He sleeps it off and is fine the next day whereas I stress for days, internally.
There is one thing we do share. Bathing and walking the dogs. They are a handful so both of us need to help. I guess many readers will think it is sad that the only common interest we have is our pets.
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In about two years he will retire from work. I took early retirement several years ago. I ask him what he wants to do when he retires, as I went to a seminar where they said to make sure both are on the same page. He doesn’t want to travel overseas. Aren’t I lucky that I spent my early 20s travelling the world? There is no way he would come with me now. He would like to see more of Australia so we will do that.
I asked him about hobbies he would like to take up. Nothing really. I asked him about any groups he’d like to join. Same result. I know he has a natural ability for music, so I will get him a guitar and lessons. I might be able to get him to join a men’s shed. But then again, I might not.
Even our children used to ask why we ended up married to one another. When small children notice that their parents march to the beat of a different drum, it must be pretty obvious.
When two people are so different, I guess each one has certain strengths. Together they make a whole.
Have you found love with somebody so different? Or do you prefer the company of people similar to yourself?
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