Move Over, Carrie

November 2, 2013

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?

How opposite is too opposite?
What opposite personalities, values or traits 
have you run into while dating?

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  1. As long as each of you is willing to meet the other person halfway, or whatever ratio depending on the issue, then you aren't as opposite as you might think. I don't think it's a question of opposite-ness, it comes down to maturity and willingness to give of yourself to the other person.

  2. It seems like you both have a good mindset to have a good, healthy relationship. You really are such an amazing writer, you should do "Move Over, Carrie" more often! :)

    1. Thank you Brooklyn! This is one of my favorite series to do. I love writing it, and I love all the interesting comments people leave.

  3. Looks like the two of you are just right. If you are willing to open up to him, you found a keeper. Even if his follow up isn't always what you want it to be, maybe your right and he just doesn't understand a few things. But you can see his willingness to try :)
    But I really like this guy for you

  4. My husband's background and my own probably couldn't possibly be more different. I mean, yeah, country, ethnicity, religion, education, native language, family shape/size/style, finances. But somehow we ended up with extremely similar priorities and values, and I think that was very important to me. We can come from two totally different cultures, but we agree wholeheartedly on the things that matter most, and I like that.

  5. Opposites attract because your genome make up and his are so varied that together you would create the ultimate offspring. Fierce, strong and resilient. You can't argue with science.

  6. There comes to a point where opposite is too opposite - you can't agree on anything, your morals and beliefs are disregarded, and it becomes a chore to even be friends. But you're no where near that - in fact, yall's opposite works! You're both open to new ideas and each other. I think that's an awesome base to a relationship.

  7. What an interesting post idea - I love how sweet he is with you and how much he is intent to listen to you and wants to encourage you to open up to him about things. Maybe it's hard for him to understand everything you want in life but he is willing to listen and try to understand and ask questions if he doesn't that's very hard to find.
    I hope you continue being able to trust him and open up to him about things and I hope he continues being open with you about things in his life. Your opposites sound like they are definitely working in your favourite right now long may that continue :)

  8. I think as long as you are both willing to make it work and put 100% into it, then you should be fine. You'll both learn a lot :)

  9. Great question. I think being opposite can work both for and against you in a way. You'll never get bored, always have something different to talk about, lots of different opinions to discuss. On the other hand, you have to work extra hard on communication and meeting in the middle. But it sounds like you guys are off to a good start!

  10. I think that being too opposite can be a good thing to a certain extent. Now you can learn more about people that are more diverse, and get an outsider's perspective on stuff. IT's good to expose yourself to different people.


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