When Alex and I first started dating, my friend Randy pointed something out…
“You and your past boyfriends were yin and yin,” he told me. “You and Alex are yin and yang.”
He was right. Before Alex, I had dated guys who were like me — energetic, outgoing, anxious. Alex, on the other hand, couldn’t be more laid-back and unflappable. As we fell in love, got married and had kids, that balance has been key. For example, I plan our dates and family adventures, and he calms me down when I have my 11 p.m. nightly freak-out. The only catch is that, as an introvert, he sometimes craves alone time, and I’m like, WHYYYYYY??????
We’re also different in random ways:
* Alex would keep anything and everything, while I love clearing out our home to the point where a month later, we’ll be like, “Wait, where’s the can opener?”
* Public speaking is his phobia. I’m happy in front of a crowd, but I’m scared of basically everything else (elevators, the dark, you name it).
* He has read all the history books on WWII, while I go for emotional deep dives.
* He likes desert heat, and I prefer a misty rain.
What about you? Similar couples can work really well, too, of course. Years ago, before their wedding in Vermont, my friends Abbey and Tim met with a minister. “We didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “We’re nervous, and he greets us and gives us lemonade on his porch and we’re sitting there. And he’s like, so, have you ever done the Myers-Briggs personality test?” Abbey and Tim explained that they were both INTJs — which basically means thoughtful introverts. The minister’s only concern was, who will make the friends? “We did have to work harder on that part because we’re both homebodies,” she said, “But it worked out in the end.” Now married for 12 years, Tim and Abbey are happy as clams with two sweet children.
My friend A. and her husband are both introverts, and they revel in it. They rented an old cabin on Airbnb for a couple weeks last summer, and they’d spend the time alone, cooking, reading and doing woodworking. “We had a couple friends up one weekend, and they said, ‘What should we do today?’ and I was like, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to be whittling my spoon.”
Are you similar to your partner (or past partners)? Or opposites? How does that balance work for you? I’d love to hear…
P.S. A first date ritual, and how do you know if your partner is the one?
(Photo of Beyoncé and Jay Z at the Louvre.)