On the morning the article, Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person, appeared in the New York Times my friend called to tell me about her date the night before with a man she’d been seeing for seven months.
She thought she knew him well; but he surprised her the night before when they decided to share a baked potato. When the potato arrived, he globed butter on top before she could ask for her half plain.
“I don’t like butter,” she said.
“You’ll love this,” he said spreading the butter all around.
“No, really, stop,” she said.
“It’s good,” he continued.
“But I won’t eat it,” she said.
The above mentioned NY Times article suggests we ask early on in a relationship, And how are you crazy?
My friend and I joked about how her date seemed so mild-mannered. Why did it take seven months for this side of him to appear?
I asked my husband, “If we were on a first date and I asked you, And how are you crazy? what would you say?”
“I’m relentless,” he said. “In every way. At work. In relationships. All the time.”
“Good answer,” I said.
“But what’s bad about me is also what’s good about me,” he added in true narcissistic fashion. “I get things done.”
I thought that was interesting. And true.
“How am I crazy?” I asked.
“I wouldn’t call it O.C.D,” he said, gingerly. (Mind you, my husband does not have a degree in psychology. Essentially, he is not qualified to diagnose.) “But you’re super, highly, sensitive.”
By sensitive, he means visually sensitive as in I hate closet doors left open. I hate loud noises, okay any disruptive noises: lawn mowers and construction in particular. I am also hypersensitive to smell and touch and okay, my feeling get hurt easily too.
But what’s bad about me is also what’s good about me, I thought taking on my husband’s view. It’s because I’m sensitive, highly sensitive, that I’m empathetic and responsive.
Does any of this matter? Would knowing a person’s quirks early on in a relationship change anything?
“The infatuated person also begins to magnify, even aggrandize tiny aspects of the adored one. If pressed, almost all lovers can list the things they do not like about their amor. But they cast these perceptions aside or persuade themselves that these defects are unique and charming.” –Helen Fisher, Why We Love.
In The Anatomy of Love, Helen Fisher discusses why we love who we love. The tagline of the book: Know Thy Brain, Know Thy Self, Know Thy Partner.
(Take Fisher’s Love Test and learn more about yourself and your love interest.)
Fisher says that couples want to know everything about a potential life partner before they tie the knot.
But when I first met my husband, I didn’t care if a closet door was left open. People change.
And maybe that’s the point.
According to the article Why You Will Marry the Wrong Person, “every human will frustrate, anger, annoy, madden and disappoint us—and we will… do the same to them.”
The advice given is to “adopt a more forgiving, humorous and kindly perspective”.
Helen Fisher claims that the ability to sustain positive illusions about your love interest is the marker of if romance will last. (Helen Fisher, How To Make Romance Last.)
Love blindness is the answer.
This might be so.
This might be wonderful advice, advice I should consider applying because honestly, my husband is much better at smiling when I need a closet door closed immediately than I am when he insists I eat food (sushi, smoked salmon) that I don’t want.
I was under the impression that if I tried to frame his relentlessness as charming it would feel like a lie or denial.
But maybe I should be more flexible in my thinking because someone could look at what my friend’s date did with the baked potato as generous, maybe even romantic.
We are all different and because of our specific “love maps”, our childhood experiences and our brains—one may see kindness where another sees a red flag.
It is my opinion, that even though we should try, we can never really know another.
We often don’t know ourselves.
So we can ask, and how are you crazy? But the answer won’t even matter.