In the Blog
Love and Relationship Series: Embrace the New
Editor’s note: To get you excited for the upcoming winter issue of Shameless, we are posting a series of blog posts every Friday on the theme of love and relationships. What does love mean? Who are our relationships with? What kinds of love are there? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
Look for the new issue on newsstands in January!
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by Allison Maxwell
I was one lucky gal in finding my mate for life so young - really really young actually - but marrying at 20 years old is a discussion for another day.Whilst I was building a life and a home with my partner, my friends where out and about playing the field and chasing tail. While some friends still love the fancy free dating game,eventually a good deal of my friends wanted out of “the game” and into a stable relationship. Being the only young one in a relationship I spend a lot of late nights up with said friends listening to them whine about how they haven’t found somebody to love.
While I was listening to these friends I noticed a common phrase was used when dismissing a potential love interest. It was that old adage, “We just don’t have anything in common!” Now I don’t know who first said this or why we have perpetuated this idea that having everything in common is the most important thing in a relationship, but I want to put a stop to it. It has always struck a wrong chord with me and brought up a lot of questions. Why do we think we should look for someone the same as us? Haven’t we been working so hard to fight against sameness? Haven’t we been asking our society and the world to embrace us all as individuals and equals regardless of interests? Don’t we all want to be loved for being special, unique snowflakes? Why did we think we should pair up with ourselves?
I think giving up a prospective love interest because they wanted to take you hiking is a wasted opportunity to experience a whole new world of adventures. There is so much value is trying new things. Maybe you are a canoe person but you meet someone who is a kayak person- do you really think you want to spend your whole life only canoeing, wouldn’t it be great to change it up? When I think of all the wonderful adventures I would have missed out on because my partner and I have nothing in common, it makes me sad. I’ve learned so much about things I would have never looked into and I in turn share my passions with him. He would have never picked up a toy camera if it weren’t for me, and think of all the shots he never would have taken. Think of it like this: if you love reading and watching TV, wouldn’t a lot of your weekends look similar and sedentary? Think of injecting a new person in your life to not only share all your books with, but to take you out of the house and do something you would’ve never dreamed of doing like sports, or punk bands and a new cuisine. It’s impossible to know the wonders an opposite can share with you, a whole new world of things to learn and do.
I think part of the issue can be a divide in our minds, people can be very judgmental of high and low interests. We tend to divide what we think of as acceptable, intelligent interests and what are unproductive and useless interests. Like we think reading is time well spent but spending our weekends watching Netflix or playing with Lego is something to be considered “guilty pleasures”. I think we can all agree judgments of people are bad, so we too in turn need to stop being judgmental about others interests. You will never know how much fun killing zombie is until you pick up an Xbox controller with your main squeeze. Who cares that it’s not a documentary about global warming, it’s fun, you’ll laugh and it might even improve your hand eye coordination.
However having different interests is a lot different from having different morals or core values. If you are a super independent, globetrotting person you might clash with someone whose main value is family life and has vision of six kids in your future. The disconnect in your priorities might not make your life more interesting but it might make for a nasty conflict if you can’t marry your two futures because they are at opposite ends of the spectrum. Same goes for a butcher and a P.E.T.A toting vegan. I’m not suggesting a fundamental Christian can’t love and build a life with a Richard Dawkins quoting atheist, but your morals and values are of such a bigger importance and often determine your priorities. When your priorities don’t match it usually spells disaster because that is the stuff that really matters, not whether or not you are into rock climbing.
In the end you might not like all the new things you are exposed to, maybe knitting will require too much patience, spinning class is too hard or video games make you nauseous. But your partner will appreciate your effort and I bet you will even have some good memories of giving something new a try. So embrace the beautiful, snowflakes in front of you. Appreciate the delicate or jagged pattern, follow the peaks because you never know what beautiful new adventures await you.
Alli Maxwell is a consultant for special education services for a sub-arctic community in Quebec where she lives with her husband Max, hedgehog Tenzing, cat Gatsby and hamster Ollie. She is a graduate from St. Thomas University in Fredericton, New Brunswick. She has a passion for reading, Netflixing, Ernest Hemmingway, whiskey, photography, collecting hobbies, candy and doing everything herself. She would love to write professionally someday, but for now she just practices her skills on her blog Our Misfit Isle. Her real passion though is helping orphans through fundraising for adoptions, highlighting the importance of older child adoption, sharing the realities for children if they age out and exploring the issues of HIV positive child adoption. She hopes to start her own family through sibling group older child adoption next year.