Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Daring and doubt

One potential break-up factor I've never mentioned is adventurousness - when one person is always keen to try something new or act on impulse, and the other is more cautious.

It causes friction between Jenny and I from time to time, Jenny being the adventurous one and me being the one who puts a spanner in the works, finding lots of excellent reasons why her idea isn't so good, or at least not right now.

Sometimes this works out well, when we realise later it would have been a big mistake to go ahead with something - quitting a job, or moving house, or inviting someone to stay. But at other times it causes a serious rift, when Jenny is passionate about something and I'm not at all convinced.

We've been at odds the last few months over whether to improve the house. Jenny's dead keen on a loft conversion and rear extension while I've been voicing my doubts.

We've finally agreed to go ahead, but not without some rather emotional scenes and bitter outbursts. Luckily we always manage to work through our splits and come out safely the other end, but sometimes we wonder if it's a bust-up too far.

Things would be a lot easier if I was as adventurous as Jenny, and we agreed on things more quickly, but it simply isn't in my character. We just have to hope our relationship is strong enough to take the strain. Which so far it has been.

(And in case you're wondering, Jenny is looking over my shoulder and agrees this is a fair and accurate portrayal etc etc)

Re my posts on prostitution: I liked these thought-provoking notes on the related subject of pornography (one and two) by wisewebwoman.


Medbh said...

Balance is an ideal that you have to keep searching for and tweaking as you go along. Dust-ups are part of having a meaningful relationship, flaring up from time to time, but then, at the other end, it proves the strenth and bond you have. Good for you and Jenny for being candid about it, Nick. You can't just go along with what your partner says all the time. It's unhealthy to always avoid conflict.
So you are re-doing the house then?

Nick said...

We certainly don't avoid conflict Medbh, there are many many things we disagree about, including politics, the environment, art, literature, housework, clothes, you name it. But as you say, dust-ups are part of a healthy relationship and if that tie is strong enough the conflicts are all grist to the mill. I think what binds us together is not having shared opinions so much as a shared sort of mental functioning, if that makes any sense.

Medbh said...

We're the same way. Mr. M and I hardly see eye-to-eye on many topics but what keeps us grounded is intellectual curiosity and the ability to question-puzzle over it all.
Cheers to you and Jenny.

Conortje said...

I also think it sounds perfectly healthy. It's when there's a lack of communication that there is a need to worry I reckon. So what was the deciding factor in the extension plans? When do you start?

Nick said...

Medbh - that's it exactly, intellectual curiosity and the ability to question. I'm always amazed at people who never seem to question anything and just drift through life quite vacantly. Though I have to admit they often seem perfectly happy....

Con - Yes lack of communication is always fatal. And not always apparent until the relationship has gone seriously awry. I didn't know the recon (as the Canadians put it) was going to arouse such interest. First step is to find a reliable architect to organise all the work for us, which could take a while. Watch this space - will keep you informed!

Wisewebwoman said...

Thanks for sharing this insight into your successful relationship, Nick. It sounds to me like the secret is never in personalizing the different opinions (name-calling, castigating, belittling).

I have dear friends who have been married over forty years and disagree on just about everything (including raising their four children - to the point where she raised two and he raised two!)but can go off by themselves for a week to the seaside and talk non-stop to each other. I view them as a highly successful couple and they are always so surprised at my evaluation which I find absolutely delightful and even more endearing.
Good luck on the renos. A loft sounds pretty 'kewl' (as my granddaughter would say!)
Thanks for the mention of my pieces on porn.....

Nick said...

I think you're right, www, what causes the trouble is getting personal. And disagreements don't matter as long as you can communicate and as long as you love each other enough. Liked the idea of parents raising two children each!

Oops, reno not recon! I see loft has a different meaning in Canada - either a loft apartment or an outside chalet. Here in the UK it just means roof space or attic so it's nothing special. We'll just be converting the attic into a liveable room instead of a junk store.