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12:06 p.m. - 2010-05-22
Why Opposites Attract.

Living with Mick is a trip. Seeing myself through his eyes is wonderful. It's also startling.

Life with the ex was a different gig altogether. He and I met in college and there'd always been the assumption of intellectual parity. Brilliant dean's list students, both. Ditto when it came to doing other things. Rebuilding an engine, stitching a wound, making art, rescuing a hurt animal, whatever we turned our hands to, we did and did well. Trivia dorks, history buffs, science geeks with a fierce creative bent whatever we did, wherever we went Mike and I saw things from nearly the same perspective. We'd know its taxonomy, its history, its significance in the natural order, we shared the same liberal politics, had equal breadth of knowledge, we'd taken the same classes, read the same books, and lived with each other since we were teenagers. For whatever problems we had trying to be married to each other (and they were HUGE) our life together was also remarkably harmonious in an odd sort of way. It's because we had so much in common that our dopey dysfunctional marriage limped along for as long as it did. Surely two people who enjoyed so much of the same stuff, were delighted by the same quirks of nature, who happily stopped to read each and every historical marker and visit every limestone cavern and explore every tumbledown abandoned mill or overgrown cemetery, who liked the same movies and music and never gave a thought to how 'weird' we were, surely such a pair could figure out how to make a marriage work.

Obviously we could not. Romance was our problem. I needed it and he sucked at it. Great as friends, hideous and horrible as lovers. Whatever.

Now I'm married to a man I have nothing in common with. In fact it's almost guaranteed that he and I will see things in diametrical opposition. What we like, how we approach a problem, hell, even what constitutes a problem is up for grabs. What doesn't fosh me in the least is a big honking deal to Mick. Whereas I'll be flipping right the hell out over something and he's all, "No prob, Baby. I got this."

I love parties and people and stories and life's odder corners. I never measure myself or my possessions against others'. It's entirely foreign to me to change my behavior because of what other people might think. It doesn't occur to me that they'd even be watching. Mick? Mick is competition personified. Everything is measured and weighed against some standard that Mick believes applies to everyone, and that everyone is in concordance with. Rules? Mick's got them. In spades.

Despite growing up within 40 miles of each other, our pasts are so different that we might have grown up on separate planets. Values, experiences, the very texture of our lives could not have less in common. I'm forever bumping up against Mick's radically different take on things. Constantly being halted in my tracks by what he'd never been exposed to. "What? You don't know that?" "Huh? This? It's a Tibetan prayer flag/cider press/fire newt/glass noodles/fallout from the Rockefeller drug laws of the 1970s."

Yet for all his rigidity of thought and rather boxed in life experience, Mick is the most generous person in his appreciation I've ever known. How glad he is about the things I show him! How exciting it is to him to be challenged and made to explain himself and his beliefs! I can't imagine there's anyone who's as willing to open himself to new ideas than Mick. I know I'm not. I have my values and my prejudices firmly in place and I do not like having them disturbed, thankyouverymuch.

With the ex I think we shared too many of the same strengths…and weaknesses. What we were indifferent to was too much the same. No stretching involved. Too much taken for granted. Mike the ex would never be impressed or grateful for anything I thought and did, he could do it too. Or if he couldn't, he didn't care that I could.

Mick? Mick is constantly wowed. Stimulated, impressed, amazed, tickled by, even sometimes overwhelmed by the constant influx of new. Parity is not a given. He's no pushover though. He makes me think too. His take on some things is so off from mine that I do a lot of reassessing too. And that's a healthy thing. Especially for someone like me. Got a bit complacent I did. Talent and ability were givens. Of course the downside to that is losing perspective. If you and your mate take it for granted that you can do something (fry a perfect omelet, rewire the fuse box, bathe a baby, read Sanskrit) then the ability to do those things becomes expected and ordinary. No biggie and therefore not worthy of notice, praise or thanks.

When 'been there, done that, BFD' becomes a way of life, things get soggy. Life is never soggy around Mick. Our differences and imbalances keep us both on our toes. Mick brings fresh eyes to our life every day. While he never, ever doubts I can do anything, it's never less than wonderful to him when I do.

I like that in a man, ~LA

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