Sunday, January 21, 2007

The need for personal space

When I am contacted by a potential match, we exchange a series of introductory questions. The questions are selected from a long list of prewritten questions and choice of answers. It's an easy way to break the ice and try to learn about each other.

It's no surprise to me that I've frequently been asked to assess my sense of humor. Probably everyone likes the idea of having someone with a sense of humor. I'm not that humorous a person. Even though my dad's good at cracking jokes, our household was fairly serious when I grew up. I failed to develop a lighthearted or funny personality. Only once I'm comfortable with people am I usually able to crack a simple joke or two. People probably think I'm pretty boring and overly serious at first glance.

Another question I've repeatedly been sent by all of the men is this, "in a relationship, how much personal space do you generally find you need?"

My initial thought about this is that perhaps it is a reflection of an older single population. Many of us remain single for longer and therefore have a lot of free time to enjoy our lives. It's nice and, frankly, we get used to doing what we want when we want as the years move on. Many of these men appear to have multiple hobbies and activities - sports, music, poker, etc. I can't help wonder (and as always it's probably more so the negative part of my mind) how much they are concerned about retaining their independence in a relationship? How much do our expectations around retaining our personal style affect our ability to be successful in relationships?

Of course, no one likes a clingy partner. I can completely understand not wanting someone who demands 24/7 attention outside of work hours. Then again, who knows, maybe you'll come to like the person so much that it won't seem like a sacrifice because it'll be the better choice.

On the other hand, maybe some of these guys are clingy and want someone who's willing to spend lots of time as a couple.

I simply want balance. I hope that I meet someone who likes days of just being at home with me. We don't have to do everything together, but I like knowing he's nearby. I also like the idea of both of us having a couple interests that don't overlap. If he has a weekly class or sports evening, that's great. On the other hand, I'd feel like I just had a roommate if my future someone was out every night and gone half of the weekend due to his hobbies and friends.

It's nice to have these starters, but I also know that things can change. Unless their answers are extreme or strange, their guides not rules set in stone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I just stumbled upon your blog on the need for personal space.

My wife and I just recently celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary so I will comment as an old married man. Yes, a little space is nice sometimes, but you were right when you said, "maybe you'll come to like the person so much that it won't seem like a sacrifice because it'll be the better choice."

We frequently do the grocery shopping together, just because we like to be together. By most people's standards, I would probably be considered clingy. But I like being in love with someone whom I like so much that I prefer her company to my own.