Dating, sex, love, basic human connection is hard. But fear not my sweets, we’ve got just the little snack to help. Ask An Alfawhore, the sex and love advice column from the tell-it-to-ya-straight, sex-positive, uber feminist older sister you always wanted is back. This week: when is different, too different?
What do you do if the very things that you love about your partner are also things that start to make you uncomfortable in terms of planning for the future? The fact that my partner and I are so different makes for wonderful conversation and gives him the ability of pulling me out of certain situations by making me see something I hadn’t. But at the same time, when it comes to outside issues, or if it hits too close to home, I don’t want another point of view. I want us to want the same things.
Dear Worried AboutEndGame,
An older, wiser relative of mine once told me: no one knows you quite like the people from your hometown. If this is true, then it’s no wonder that yours truly has spent the last decade getting as far away from that town as possible. A younger Auntie Alfawhore longed to broaden her horizons, and I guess she figured that that would be near impossible if one was forever framed via the lens of their past selves – how could one ever grow beyond the limitations of others? The point of all this being: different can be good. Different challenges us, makes us grow as human beings, and shows us life from a slightly different perspective.
But there is a reason that conventional wisdom for long-term relationships calls for shared life goals and values. Opposites attract, but more so initially, and can make lasting commitments more complicated in time. While someone who likes slow jam R&B when you’re more of a punk rocker can be intriguing at first, the same doesn’t really apply for heavier topics like parenting (if that’s something you’re into), or long term cohabitation. So here are some of the questions you need to be asking yourself: if your partner doesn’t change their mind, and always disagrees with you on an issue — will you be ok with that in a year? 5 years? 10 years? How long do you envision this relationship lasting? If the answers to those questions are: “no, no, no,” and “ehhhh,” in that order, it’s time to stop kidding yourself and call it like it is: a beautiful aprendizaje that is going to drive you crazy the longer you hold this person to expectations they aren’t willing to meet.
On the other hand, if you feel there is room for compromise on both parts (yes, you too my worrier) and a willingness to come to that middle ground, then a balance of two distinct frames of mind can be a beautiful thing. Of course, as always dear love birds of the world, open communication is the underlying foundation of any great romantic relationship. As is the persistence to keep things heading in a forward direction that mutually feeds both parties, which often means adapting your own behavior. And hot sex. So, if you have those things a net positive amount of the time I say it’s worth making the effort to communicate and meet them somewhere in the middle.