I find it amazing that after 28 years together with someone we still manage to discover differences between us. Now, this one we "knew" but we didn't realize how it has affected our relationship up to this point.
I am an introvert, Ben is an extrovert. And I know they say opposites attract and that is definitely the case for us. I am quiet and shy, he is loud and outgoing. There are times this comes in handy...but other times it confuses us about each other.
Our latest conversation about this involved social media and messaging. I use social media to get a good laugh a.k.a memes. Messaging is used for passing on information or to ask a question, sure sometimes it is to catch up with someone, but that mainly has to be when I "feel" like it...not a daily occurrence by any means. Ben on the other hand, uses messaging as an outlet for his extrovertedness. He feels connected with people when he is in conversation with them over the web or in person. He craves that, he needs it everyday....several times a day. When he is excited about something, he wants to share. When he is frustrated, he wants to share. When he is bored, he wants a distraction by chatting with someone. All this time, well not all 28 years because there was no online chatting back when we first got together, I had no idea why he felt this need to constantly be conversing with someone. Because I do not have that need, my need for companionship/conversation can be fulfilled with those in my house, and honestly it would be perfectly suitable with me if it didn't happen everyday. hahahaha
I know that probably sounds horrible for all you extroverts out there, but it is the truth. We can take an hour (or longer) drive and I will not say one word....and I am perfectly content to do so. Ben on the other hand, wonders what is wrong, if I am ok or if I am upset. When in reality I am just enjoying the quiet, while we are technically together, I am off enjoying my own company. hahaha
On the other hand, I love to read....I would read all day everyday if I could. I will carry around my Kobo and read snippets whenever I get a chance. In fact, right now I am writing this and making lip balms and soap....if I was not writing this, I would be reading in-between stirring and pouring. Reading fulfills the introvert part of me, my cup runneth over (as they say) when I have enough reading in my days. I feel like I can face the world full of people...after I have enough me time. To be honest, messaging (chatting online) drains me, no offence to those whom I do converse with online, but it just does not fulfill any needs within me.
So, this conversation helped both Ben and I realize that while we are a couple, we are still a couple of different people, with different needs when it comes to contact with those outside of our relationship. We concluded that neither way is right or wrong, that we are just built differently and we should allow the other to get their fulfillment however works best for ourselves. So, while it used to bother Ben that I read all the time....thinking I was ignoring him (well, I kinda was but not because I did not wish to spend time with him...hahaha) he now knows that is how I prepare myself for dealing with other humans. And while it used to bother me that he was online chatting with people, I now realize that he needs that to fill his "cup" of interaction with others.
Do I believe from here on out, everything will run smoothly and perfectly? No, cause life is real and nothing is ever perfect, but I do know that because we now know this about each other, this should be one less obstacle in our path to being the best versions of ourselves, separate and together as a couple.
Please do not judge us for taking this long to figure this out, you must remember we married young, and have had 5 children over the years...all of which takes away from the "getting to know you" that should happen in a marriage. There were also many years where one or both of us were working....but now that we both work from home at our business, we are finding new and interesting differences between us.....also similarities but that will be another whole blog.
With that being said....if anyone wants to chat with Ben, I am sure he would love to converse with you....and if anyone has any good books (fantasy is my genre of choice) recommendation, please pass them on.