Tuesday, August 03, 2010


You may have noticed in my last two Weekend highlights posts that I mentioned meeting up with friends at Mandance, while Spouse stayed home.

Although we're alike in many ways, Spouse & I are also different in many ways. One of them is going to clubs/bars. He absolutely hates it, while I find it enjoyable at times if I know my friends are going to be there.

For the majority of our 14 years together (god, writing that made me feel really old all the sudden) we have not gone to clubs or bars. He doesn't drink alcohol and thinks its boring to 'stand around'. I drink and sometimes have fun hanging out and talking/laughing with friends, or better yet, dancing.

Every once in a blue moon he will acquiesce to meeting up with friends at a bar of club, especially if we're out of town. God bless him, he was a trouper when we were in NYC with David Dust and others and did our old school East Village gay bar crawl. He also went out when we were on vacation in Portland last Sept, and again with me and a bunch of friends on New Years Eve. But make no mistake: he would ALWAYS prefer to stay home and flip between the multiple home shopping channels.

Two Saturdays ago Mandance was having a Lady GaGa night and I made those GaGa-inspired glasses. Originally Spouse had said he would go with me (and meet up with a bunch of friends there) but then changed his mind. I was not about to let all my hard work on the GaGa glasses go to waste so I decided to go anyway, without him. He didn't mind at all. In fact, he encouraged me to go and have a good time, presumably so he could stay home and have a good time. So I did, and I had a ball! It was like I had somehow 'forgotten' that I loved to dance. I danced my @ss off and really enjoyed myself, without him.

This past Sat Bryan & Jason tried to convince us to go to Mandance. I needed no convincing but Spouse hemmed and hawed and finally gave them a 'maybe' answer. As I suspected, he wound up staying home again, but encouraged me to meet up with Bryan & Jason (and others we knew would be there) so I did. Again, I danced my @ss off and had a really good time, without him.

At first I felt a slight tinge of guilt for having such a good time without Spouse. Some couples regularly enjoy independent interests, and there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Our life as a couple has not been like that. We almost always agree to do something or go somewhere together, even if one of us has to coerce the other. But what has happened is some interests (like dancing) weren't experienced or enjoyed for years because the other person never wanted to. Until recently.

If only it was just as simple as agreeing to occasionally enjoy independent interests. Obviously a balance needs to be found. My fear is that if we do that too often, we may find it harder to compromise, and instead just tell the other person "I'll do my thing and you do yours tonight". I wouldn't want that to become the default. I want us to do the things we both enjoy, yet occasionally do together the things that only one of us enjoys. Compromising sometimes helps people see that something is not as bad or unpleasant as they think it is. But find that balance is like walking a tightrope.

Also, if I were to go out dancing most Sat nights without him it might cause people to question the stability of our relationship too. Although that may sound silly to those of you in big cities, such thoughts and comments are reality in small towns where everyone knows everyone.

So, we both seem to be okay with occasionally enjoying independent interests, but I'm wondering if any of you have any advice regarding how YOU successfully balance independent interests and couple things?

Crush du Jour: Leonardo Corredor


behrmark said...

I'd be interested in knowing more about this "Mandance" of which you speak. And it goes without saying that Leonardo Corredor is an absolute cutie.
Behr Hugs!

Cubby said...

A suggestion: Drive separately to the dance and your Spouse can leave when he wants and you can stay and dance with your friends.

A Lewis said...

Believe me, you're not alone. Any two people in the whole world will be different in some respects. It only because a little more complicated when it happens to be two partners. We even take one separate trip each year. And I'm typically the one sort of wanting to go to a bar or club once in a while. Give permission to each other. Say Yes to each other. It's easier that way.

anne marie in philly said...

spouse and I do things together AND things apart. we are not jealous or possessive of each other. we believe separate interests make a relationship stronger for those together times.

I too have been the outgoing one in our relationship; with my encouragement (or nagging, he might say), spouse began to seek out ideas and concepts that fascinate him. his hobbies would bore the snot out of me, and vice versa. but it gives us something to talk about when the day is over.

after 18 years, we ain't going anywhere!

Mind Of Mine said...

I think it's cool that you have seperate interests and that both of you are cool enough to let the other person have their own time.

I have had relationships were it was such a struggle to try and too things seperately without there being an argument.

Leslie said...

I have my parents' 51+ year long relationship to thank for the example of closeness being enhanced by a bit of distance and pursuit of independent interests. My Spouse and I are similar to you and yours - I'm much more interested in getting out and doing things than she is, and sometimes I really don't like going alone, but other times it's exactly what I need, and yet not what Spouse needs. Our separate time is important to us both as individuals and as a couple.