By Dani Alpert
My lover and I have often marveled at the fact that we have nothing in common. I suppose that’s not entirely true. We’re both socially liberal, we share the same political affiliation, we believe in abortion, women’s rights, and neither if us are fans of greedy Wall Street douchers. I am in awe of Mary Matalin, and James Carville’s relationship.
We believe that sex is mas importante in a relationship and we have it a lot. We’d have it more if he’d turn the friggin’ television off before bed, but that’s another article for another time. After six years of togetherness, we still make each other laugh in the most juvenile of ways, which is hands down, the best kind.
However, what we don’t agree on would fill volumes, and if you described us on paper, I do not believe that anyone would think that we were a match.
We don’t share the same references, and our cultural backgrounds are worlds apart. Don’t even get me started on what we know, or don’t know, in the pop culture world. I should have known that this wasn’t going to be an easy ride when we were first dating and he didn’t know who Joni Mitchell was. That was a huge ass red flag.
When it comes to music, art, theater, and film, I cannot say that we are evenly matched. At all. This is my world. It’s where I come from, work and live. He comes from business, real estate, deals, and math. I can barely add.
Yet, in spite of all of this, we are still doing the dance. I often wonder why, if we are so fundamentally different, in so many areas, we do not split up. Am I a glutton for punishment, or just lazy?
There are many things to consider before walking away. What is important to you? What are your must-haves? We all compromise, negotiate and sacrifice, but there are those things, that only you are privy to, that you simply cannot and will not live without. If these do not exist in your relationship, then that is when considering a break-up becomes real.
Must-haves change throughout one’s life and in one’s relationship. Needs change. Do you look to your partner to fill all of your needs? After complaining to a friend about my boyfriend not liking to talk a lot about feelings, she said, “Dani, he’s not one of your girlfriends.” One person cannot be the end all, be all. It is unfair and unhealthy.
A spiritual teacher once said that, to have a healthy, fulfilling and lasting relationship, it is our job to give our partner what they need, if we can, even if it is not what we need. I think this is key. Okay, so he doesn’t like Woody Allen (say it isn’t so) but will he go to a Woody Allen movie with you because you want to go? And will you bring home another woman, so he can have the threesome that he’s been whining about?
Garden variety disagreements and differences of opinions in a relationship are perfectly natural. If the relationship gets contentious, and there is a lack of tolerance or respect for those differences then that is a problem. If you or your partner are incessantly picking, criticizing, or judging each other, then perhaps it is time to reevaluate. If you think that you are going to change your partner and make them see things your way, or do things your way, you are going to be disappointed. You cannot change someone’s DNA. Although opposites may initially attract, sadly, that attraction doesn’t always last.
Sure, I would like to have in-depth, emotionally vulnerable, hour long conversations with my lover. You bet I would prefer it if he understood the life of a writer and performer, and wouldn’t ask me, “Are they paying?” every time I tell him that I got a gig. But alas, these are not meant to be, for this is not who he is.
However, I haven’t cooked a meal in years, the sex is fabulous, we are going to Switzerland next week for a romantic trip and he can make me laugh until I cry. That's enough. For now.
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