Where Logic Meets Love

The Gift of Being Understood

Monday, September 3, 2012

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This past week was spent with my extended family, most of the week with one branch and then with everyone for a cousin's wedding. My parents and sister flew in from Chicago for the wedding. It was incredibly fun to spend time with everyone -- my family's awesome.

Mike, unfortunately, had to work last week and stay on campus for Labor Day weekend, so we've been apart for the past week. I miss him a lot -- it always surprises me just how much. But I was also reminded of just how much better he knows me than anyone else does.

I know this isn't the case for everyone's relationship, but we have such open communication and suspension of judgment with one another that I feel like I can always be honest with him. I don't have to worry about him interpreting "I like things this way" as "You did something wrong and you suck," so I can share with him all the weird pet peeves, preferences, and anxieties I have.

Here are some of the things I was reminded of this week that Mike understands about me:

I'm a flexitarian. There are a lot of ways I attempt to tell people what I'll eat -- e.g., I'm a pescetarian who will eat meat if it's humanely raised without hormones or antibiotics; I'm a vegetarian but, yes, I will eat seafood -- but I'm grateful that Mike just gets it, and doesn't ever get confused or judge me if I have a rare moment where I decide to eat some meat. Other people seem to want to pepper me with questions about what exactly I will eat so that they can attempt to place a precise label on me. Or they use heuristics from other "vegetarians" they know: My aunt thought vegetarian meant I still eat chicken. I appreciate everyone adapting to make sure I had things I could eat, but I missed the ease of eating at home.

I'm a satisficer. And so is Mike. So if he offers me a few choices of something and I pick one, he knows he doesn't have to keep going over all the specific details of all the possible options and coming up with additional options to ensure I'm going to be as happy as possible. If I find something that satisfies me, I'm good. My aunt and my mom are both maximizers, so they enjoy going over the pros and cons of ever possible option before making a decision. If I decide to make myself a sandwich for lunch, yes, there might be something I'd like more in your fridge, but I will also be perfectly content if I just go ahead and eat my sandwich.

I don't like to serve myself first if I'm not cooking. This is a super-specific weird thing about me. I've been in too many situations where somebody makes an assortment of dishes and sauces and then invites me to serve myself first, and I make a fool of myself because I don't instinctively know which things go on top of which other things. I much prefer to watch someone assemble their meal first. When Mike and I are both guests and told to serve ourselves first, he will step up so I don't have to be the first one.

I don't like people to read the menu to me. I already wrote a whole post about this, but people seem to be unable to help themselves. Mike knows how much this bothers me and if anything will only ask if I want help finding something I can have.

I rarely want to watch TV. I watched more TV this week than probably the last three months combined. I didn't mind that my family members wanted to watch TV, but it amused me that they would leave the TV on when they left the room or the house with the assumption that I was watching it, even if I was on my computer. Mike will almost always put headphones on to watch TV unless I specifically express interest in watching something with him, and then he'll turn it off when he's done watching his show.

Those are just a few things I thought of this week. I'm looking forward to heading home today and seeing Mike again!

What are some things about you that only a few people in your life "get"?


  1. I can relate to the TV thing... whenever I go back and visit my parents, I find myself sorta overwhelmed by the amount of TV they watch and how the set almost always is on if someone is awake in the house.

    Granted, my partner watches a lot of television, too... but since we do Internet television (Netflix + Daily Show + Colbert Report) TV isn't so much of a passive activity. We just don't leave it on if weren't not watching it, we pause it and get back to it later if we're going to not watch.

    1. That's a good point about watching TV shows on the Internet; it's generally done very intentionally. And that's how Mike will watch a show, too, since he often watches shows after they're on DVD. I understand sitting down to watch a specific show even if I don't do it often, but the idea of leaving a TV on for background noise or to watch intermittently is strange to me. However, I recently met someone who is very extroverted and works in a tiny office by herself, and she leaves talk radio on low all day just for the sound of other people's voices. That's something that would exhaust and distract me, as an introvert, but I can understand how someone might feel that need.


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