Alicia and Brice. Day 9.

“To love is to be vulnerable.”

 

Alicia

1. Tell us about your day!

Today we woke up and got ready to head back home! I was packing up and Brice was very sweet and made me a sandwich to have for the road. Then we drove back! Brice's car was shaky after being pulled out of the mud, but he did not act upset about it, although I wouldn't have blamed him if he was! We were able to have a really good discussion about relationships on our way home. Brice and I have quite a few differences in how we approach relationships and even life. Brice is more logical and is able to internalize his emotions and work through them, I tend to be more emotional and need to talk out my emotions to work through them. Brice really values independence in relationships. Something I want to change about how I approach relationships is that I become more dependent than I would like. I asked him how we can both come towards each other and find a compromise between these two approaches. This led to a somewhat philosophical discussion about relationships specifically compatibility, commitment, compromise, connection, crocheting, and caroling out in the snow. But not actually the last two, I just wanted to roll with the words that started with "c." I think relationships take flexibility and adapting and sacrifice. From my understanding, I think Brice puts more weight on compatibility. He shared that on our first date he thought we had a lot of compatibility, but as we have gotten to know each other, we have some pretty significant differences. So I did a little research...

I'm not trying to prove my side, but I found some cool things! An article quoted a Russian novelist who said, "What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are but how you deal with incompatibility." The article goes on to explain that unity is more important than compatibility, which I would consider unity and commitment similar. Another article talked about how the couple views compatibility as being more important than actual compatibility. Unhappy couples value compatibility as important, whereas happy couples did not think it was that important and instead believed it was their commitment that helped the relationship survive over time. I know these are both blog type websites, but they are quoting pretty legit people. I asked Brice about needs he has in a relationship and asked how I could help fill those needs for him. He responded that I can "put up with him for the next twenty something days." I'm all about that commitment, so that won't be hard to do! (And I did reassure him it wasn't "putting up with.")

https://www.brides.com/story/why-compatibility-isnt-the-most-important-thing-in-your-relationship

https://verilymag.com/2017/09/marriage-compatibility-gottman

 

2. What would you like to do differently tomorrow?

Tomorrow I would like to enjoy my time with him and not put too much pressure on emotionally connecting.

 

3. Scale from 1-10 how comfortable do you feel with your bae?

I am feeling more and more comfortable! And I hate numbers. They are so objective! I totally get Brian Regan's dilemma whenever I go to the doctor and they ask me to rank my pain. It's not that easy! But, to assign a number, I would say 6.75. It isn't quite a 7, because that seems really high! This weekend really helped me feel more comfortable with Brice. I know that I can be open with him about some things, but other things, like more personal and emotional things about me, I don't know if I can fully go there yet. I feel comfortable when I am around him though!

 

4. It’s Sunday. Drop a truth bomb. What are you learning about relationships?

Maybe I should have saved that research paragraph above for here. The things I am going to write are not related to TDB, but I talk about relationships to lots of people. I feel like a lot of us out in this dating battle have been really hurt. I get it. But avoiding dating by filling your life with traveling, work, success, or whatever your life is filled with is probably keeping you a little too busy to be in a relationship. If you avoid relationships you won't get hurt, cue C.S. Lewis quote. "To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” For real though, do what you need to to heal and get back in the game. Connection is worth the pain. Also, a surefire way to guarantee you won't get married is to stay in relationships that aren't going to lead to marriage.

 

Brice

1. Tell us about your day!

Alicia and I headed back up from Southern Utah this morning. This car ride was a little better in terms of quality of conversation. We talked more about our expectations from TDB and how we can help each other with that. I shared with her my recent thoughts on how commitment is good, but there needs to be a foundation of compatibility first (my own thoughts, not sure if it's true yet...). Alicia countered that by saying that a relationship requires flexibility on both parts for it to work. In broad terms, I agree with that. There are some things that aren't a high enough priority to make it a sticking point in a relationship. For example, how clean you like to have your house. That's something a couple can come to an agreement on, but may require some flexibility with regards to how often or how clean to keep the house. On the other hand, something like religion may be a non-negotiable. If you enter into a relationship sharing the same beliefs, but your partner falls away later from those beliefs, that may be a point where no amount of flexibility can save the relationship.

In our case, Alicia and I have very different views as to what a relationship should entail. For example, I'm not one to vocalize assurances of how much I care for someone nor do I expect that from others. I just assume that it's there. Alicia likes to assure and to be assured though. So what can we expect the other to be flexible on? Is this something that's non-negotiable or can we come to an agreement?

A good metaphor for this is the emotional bank account from 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. The metaphor is that your relationships are like bank accounts. You have a balance and you can make deposits or withdrawals. You can make deposits by doing things like using words of affirmation. You can make withdrawals by doing something like showing up late for a date. The goal is to keep a positive balance in your emotional bank account with people. From the previous example, it's definitely making deposits is something I can work on whether that looks like assurances or what have you.

So some words of affirmation are a negotiable in our relationship. But there are some things that may be less negotiable in our relationship. Alicia likes to connect with people through emotions and I'm pretty neutral emotionally most of the time. I think that's made it hard for us to connect so far. The question that I don't know the answer to is how much can commitment carry you through those rough patches where you don't necessarily align in your wants/needs in a relationship.

2. What would you like to do differently tomorrow?

Tomorrow, we're planning on going to make soap for a date. I want to use that time to learn more about Alicia. We've talked and spent time together, but I still feel like I don't know much about her. Maybe it's because it's only been a week of knowing each other.

3. Scale from 1-10 how comfortable do you feel with your bae?

7. I'm pretty comfortable talking about anything with Alicia. However, I find myself unsure at times. Like, I'm don't know what to say or do in some situations.

4. It’s Sunday. Drop a truth bomb. What are you learning about relationships?

It's not as simple as liking someone. Relationships are a complex beast that require you to deal with each one individually. Each relationship will have it's own challenges. Finding out if you can overcome them and remain committed is the trick.