Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
My girlfriend is what I’d call an emotionally energetic person. She gushes over puppies and babies, she cries for the lost, the hurt, the hungry and the sad creatures of the world. She loves me with a warmth that surprises me and has given my life new meaning. But she seems to have no common sense whatsoever and that scares me.
I’m very practical. My idea of an enjoyable break time activity is solving sudoku and crossword puzzles. I like to figure things out by rational deduction and creative reasoning. I haven’t done anything on impulse since I was five years old. I am cautious with my emotions and I hold back until I have a reasonable sense of where the lay of the land is.
I guess my question would be, is my girlfriend all wrong for me as far as a long term relationship like marriage? I have a hard time with her emotional approach to life because it goes against every practical bone in my body. But at the same time, I feel complete and happy when I’m with her in a way that I never do by myself.
What is your guess for our future?
I can’t predict your future but I can talk about balance and appreciation. You have described the duality of human nature: we are both heart and mind. What is true for the heart is not necessarily true for the mind and vice versa- yet they can both at the same time be absolutely true. I call this the 50% rule. In any situation if you go past 50% heart truth you start to loose head truth and as you go past 50% head truth you start to loose heart truth. A contented life has to be a balance of both. This is why opposites attract. It isn’t a game of who’s right and who’s wrong- you are both right and you are both wrong. The rules of the game revolve around learning to be open and appreciate the qualities in another of which you do not have yourself. If you appreciate your girlfriend for who she is and find value in the way she sees the world then you will not make the typical mistake of trying to change her. You have to find your girlfriend forever amusing and fresh or you will instead find her ever more annoying.
Heart truth lies in empathy and head truth in data. Think how lucky a child would be to be raised in appreciation of both. But more commonly, opposites are attracted to each other then spend the rest of their lives in a silly competition trying to change or “beat” each other.
If you can step back and appreciate your future will be content.
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says: any relationship relies far more on the tests of time than on initial attraction. Yet if your partner bores the crap out of you, why bother?
I am guessing that you and your girlfriend are still fairly young with some maturing ahead of you. You seem like a dependable and solid citizen, albeit somewhat emotionally empty. She sounds like a sunny and sweet person with a good heart, albeit somewhat unfocused.
But life is what brings us all into focus. You may be surprised at the hidden strength your girlfriend might display when confronted with a threat to her family or loved ones. You may surprise yourself by learning how to be playful and warm.
None of us knows what we are capable of until we are tested through experience. Your relationship has the potential to be a life long journey of love and learning…or a codependent nightmare that ends like one of these bad Lifetime movies of the week, with some jilted sobbing bonehead climbing into the tub with a toaster. The picture that grows will be the one that you paint. For best success, take a few lessons if you feel uncertain of yourself. Then get to it!