So I’m still not reading much (though I did manage a re-read of my favorite romance novel of all time, Mary Balogh’s Slightly Dangerous). I have, though, been paying a lot of attention to real life romance because that’s where I am at right now.
Believe it or not, I spend a decent amount of time bonding with my ex over how much better we work together as friends and how much happier we are with other people. And this despite the fact that he’s back to dealing with young children again (our youngest child is fifteen) and I am dealing with a significant other who is often away. Both of us have done a lot of thinking and analyzing of why we didn’t work as well together as we wanted to. Part of it, definitely, is that we married so young. I’m not sure anyone knows exactly what they want at nineteen. I thought I did, but then I pretty much thought I knew everything back then. I’m not sure anyone should get married when they still think they know everything.
Honestly, there are some things I had no idea I even needed in a relationship until I started getting them consistently without even asking for them.
I am also, as it happens, a fan of the Myers Briggs personality inventory. I get that not everyone loves personality tests (in fact, one of my daughters can’t stand them). But I find it useful to refer back to reading about my type when I am in the middle of life changes, or when I am trying to figure out why something bothers me. For me, it’s helpful. I couldn’t resist having my new significant other (for the sake of anonymity, we’ll call him Marine Guy) take it too. I’m an ENTJ; he’s an ESFJ.
Now, my crash course in online reading suggests that we make a fairly uncommon – and perhaps not ideal – match. Happily (?) part of my personality is that I don’t like to be told what to do, and if I can make something work by sheer force of will, I’ll do it. Part of his is valuing relationships in a very committed and traditional way – and pursuing them quickly and enthusiastically, which is certainly what happened.
You can get some good laughs out of looking up fictional characters who share your personality type (though who takes the test for Captain America, who apparently shares a type with one of my sons, I couldn’t tell you). I may be Tom Riddle and Magneto, but I am also Rocket from Guardians of the Galaxy, Lady Mary from Downton Abbey, and Amanda Woods from The Holiday (the last is funny because I often described myself as similar to her during my dating phase). Marine Guy in apparently Cher from Clueless, Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy, and Emmett from the Lego Movie.
Getting back to actual reality, much of what I read suggests that people of similar communication styles (if you nerd out on this, it’s the N/S (Intuitive vs. Sensing) deal better together than those of opposing styles. To explain it in a super-crash course kind of way, Sensors are more detail oriented and Intuitives are more “big picture” thinkers. Curiously, ex and I are both Intuitives now in relationships with Sensors. Both of us are – at least currently – finding this charming, probably because both of us tended to fixate on the realm of ideas to the point that little details got ignored and became a source of contention.
“She replaced the light in the refrigerator!,” my ex enthused (in a tone that suggested that this was a feat akin to climbing Mount Everest. And maybe it was. That light had been out forever and would probably have stayed out until we bought a new refrigerator).
Marine Guy knew after one date exactly how I liked my salad (I order like Sally). And, when waiters fail to bring my lemons he notices and makes sure they bring them. When I am too far into the realm of the hypothetical, he can bring me back down to earth. When I was obsessing over the family changes – me moving out of my house and into his, and ex’s girlfriend essentially swapping places with me – I said something to the effect of “My kids don’t know what it’s going to look like after I leave.” He replied, “It’s going to look like