Move Over, Carrie is a witty, whenever-I-feel-like-it series of The Unreal Life
where I talk about the sociology behind relationships.
No pictures, no GIFs--just writing.
If you're new, you can check out the first Move Over, Carrie here.
Today's topic: opposites. We've heard it said that opposites attract, but how opposite is too opposite?
It's no secret around this little blog that lately I've been dating someone. And I'm not really sure if we could be any more opposite. Like true, start-from-the-bottom opposite. He dropped out of school at sixth grade. I am one of 778,000 graduate students in America who have decided 16 years of schooling just isn't enough. His biggest stressor is working 14 hour days to pay for himself and his beautiful little girl. My biggest stressor is convincing myself to study for a program I willingly chose that will give me the job I ultimately want. Communication, while improving, is still a daily task. And I mean a task. It takes work and a lot of repeating and a lot of patience.
There's a lot of education on both our parts, but mostly I feel like it falls pretty heavily on me. Because we have to start from the basics. There are concepts he's simply never heard of--graduate school, conference, charity, nonprofit. And these are the concepts that define, structure, and build my life.
A few weeks ago, we were sitting at dinner and he made an off-hand comment about how maybe there was someone else I'd like to be talking to. I instantly got offended and asked him why he would say that--I was here, wasn't I? I'd been going out with him for weeks, right? He just shook his head and I kept pressing for an explanation of why he continually brought up this lack of trust in my monogamous interest. He pointed at my eyes. "It's here."
And I knew what he meant (shocking). M has never questioned opening up to me for one minute. Which is part of the reason I fell for him. He tells me everything, no hesitation. It may take two hours to get through the story as we work out the spanglish, but he doesn't stop. I, on the other hand, have never talked less in a relationship. So I knew what he meant. It wasn't that I didn't want to be with him, it's that I didn't trust him to be able to comprehend my stories and what mattered to me. And that was a huge disservice to him.
So I tried. Slowly. Just one story. Something I was stressed about. And I was pleasantly surprised. He listened attentively. And he followed up. He asked how it was going for days afterwards, and even called the next morning. "I had a dream about your problem--tell me how it is going!" So even though we are miles apart and even though we come from two completely different backgrounds--it's the follow up that gets me, every single time. M has a consistency that I've never found in someone I've dated before. So I tried again. A different story, a potential work lead that I was really excited about. This time--zero follow up, zero interest. Nonprofits were something that before a week ago, he'd never heard of it--so can I blame him for not asking questions? Do you have to share your whole life with someone, or is it okay to have certain parts that they just don't understand?