I don't understand (I find myself saying that a lot when it comes to other people!) how people can be married or in a long term relationship with someone and not know anything about their hobbies, professions, interests, beliefs or friends. Maybe it's just that I take "HAHA women" and "HAHA men" comments more seriously than I should. Maybe I should stop watching movies that pretend to be real. Maybe I had an unhealthy family upbringing, I don't know. But it seems to me that most relationships are actually quite terrible.
I started thinking about this when I read this blog post, where the author said,
You’re married to someone, and you aren’t interested enough in the person to know anything about what they do with nearly 40-50% of their time, aside from their job title? Is it dangerous to draw a correlation between high divorce rates and the lack of interest that people have in their partners lives? [....] And if you don’t have even a basic understanding of what your spouse does with 40+hours of his/her week, then you’re not on a team.and I realized that this is extremely common. It makes me sad and confused. Why are there so many people staying in relationships with people they don't like? It's not impossible to find someone who shares your passions. The only thing we have is this life, so why stay unhappy and unpassionate?
How can you not care about the things your partner cares about? I can understand not being enthusiastic about your partner's hobbies, but just simply not understanding even the fundamentals of it? How can you not ask questions or understand why they'd enjoy it? How can you not get excited and be happy to see your love enthusing about one of their interests? How can you just tune them out whenever they start to talk about something they are passionate about? It's... it's... it's shameful!
The other thing I don't get is people not liking their partner's friends. Again, I can understand not wanting to be BFFs with your partner's friends, but if you flat-out dislike them all... have you ever considered that maybe you and your partner are less compatible than you think? Clearly there's a reason they like these people: some personality traits in your partner that makes them compatible with their friends. If you don't get along with those friends, doesn't that mean that there's a large part of your partner you don't get along with, either?
Look, I know I'm an exception here. My boyfriend, "T", and I have lived together for two and a half years now and the longest time we've been apart was something like three days. We go to class, eat, shower, travel, sleep and visit friends together. T's friends are my friends and mine are his. I have hobbies like scrapbooking that he doesn't participate in, and he has his projects that I don't help with (mostly because I don't have the electrical engineering background that is necessary). And I understand that! He plays a few genres of games that I don't, I read some different types of books, but in the end... we're very, very alike. I cannot imagine T being friends with someone I actually don't like - it's unthinkable!
I really do think a lot of the problem is that people often neglect to become friends with someone before they date them. I could not imagine doing such a thing - I actually cannot become attracted to someone unless I know their true personality. My best friend has said he had a similar revelation; you lose a depth of connection when you start dating someone without actually knowing them first. I cannot conceive how people can simply go out somewhere, meet some stranger and expect them to be able to have an enjoyable relationship! I want my partner to be a best friend who I have awesome sex with, not just someone who I tolerate because they have a few traits I like or because I happened to settle in with them comfortably.
It reminds me of the problems people encounter when they wait until marriage to move in together and/or have sex. You cannot know who your partner is without living with them. You can't; it's impossible. Moving in with someone is the biggest stress to your relationship that you could ever encounter (excluding betrayal of trust) and people think it's this special thing that should only happen when you've already agreed to spend the rest of your lives together. How can you make an agreement like that having never lived with them? Even worse is waiting until marriage to have sex. Sexual compatibility is one of the three pillars that a relationship is set upon - it is extremely important. (The other two pillars being emotional and intellectual compatibility.) Sexual incompatibility ends relationships; it's not "just" sex. An unhappy sex life is an unhappy life.
It comes as no surprise to me that many marriages fail - lack of communication, lack of shared beliefs, unfamiliarity with living with someone, incompatible sex drives. People seem to accept these things as how it should be - they chalk it up to the differences between men and women (we know how I feel about that!) and think this somehow excuses the sore lack of communication that happens in most relationship. "Oh, women, always being emotional and upset, gossiping with her harpy friends and shopping. Oh, men, always being sexually unfulfilled, watching football and drinking with his rude friends." We've created an idea of what a normal relationship is supposed to look like - but to me that normal relationship is dysfunctional, unhappy and unpassionate. And it makes me sad.