In part one we talked about the importance of self-love and how there are many kinds of love, including: authentic love, higher love, generous love, divine love, music love, book love, tango love, friend love, nature love, doggy love, bloggEE love,...you get the idea. Now, we travel to the wild world of partnerships. The comments below were sent to me from you, dear readers. Thank you!
A few sample dating challenges:
…”It’s harder to reciprocate when you’re so bound up calculating whether you can say this or that without scaring them off. It’s hard to build a meaningful relationship around a fraction of yourself…”
“…let’s pretend like you found someone that said, ‘Huh … I never thought about that,’ less than 15 times through the course of The First Date. This one has potential! And there are bonus points offered if they can spell ‘potential’ correctly!…”
“… I’ve lost track of how many times someone has said, ‘You know, you’re the smartest person I’ve ever met, I’m worried I won’t be able to maintain your interest.’ I find it too easy to manipulate others into doing what I want while thinking it was their idea all along. (I do feel bad about that one, though.) I see trends well before anyone else does and get bored waiting on the sidelines for everyone else to catch up.“
“…There are times when my passion for life, learning, and instinctive desire to form deep, meaningful connections freaked out women who thought I was ‘too serious, too soon.’ Wait, what? Too serious, too soon? What’s that? I was just being me…”
What you may be looking for:
“…Someone that can remember to pay our bills on time (one of us probably should?) … but finds the way that I can both forget my birthday and remember the square root of 12 endearing. (It’s 3.464101615137755.)…”
“…I would love to find someone that challenged me intellectually – or, at the very least, just doesn’t tell me that I ‘overthink everything.’ I want to have a reason to learn about something this special human is into that I didn’t even know existed, yet is endlessly fascinating when they tell me about it. I want someone emotionally capable of listening to me reason through the 18 different ways any given situation could resolve. And then, I would love it if they could show me a flaw in my logic that negated 16 of those paths..”
“…What is really important to me in the other is that they are open to engaging in prolonged 1-1 conversations about anything and everything; they are open to changing their worldviews and challenging mine; they see and accept me – and themselves – as different, not special (i.e. moving beyond notions of superiority/inferiority). With my partner, this is all true, and the bonus (as we discovered during extended periods of lockdown in different parts of the world) is that we appear to be compatible in the smallest, everyday things. On conflict, he is naturally more conflict avoidant, I am naturally… not; but, with both of us being aware of our natural tendencies and having a shared goal of how we want to navigate conflict, our disagreements usually turn out to be healthy, robust discussions in which each side airs their point of view, feels genuinely listened to, and we end up dealing with the heart of the matter…”
“…I do still see a reason for her to be with me. My wife is simultaneously a fighter and a lover of humanity. Loves dogs and cats more but still, she loves the beauty of humanity a good bit. In me, she gets a hyperactive smart alec sans filter who loves to poke fun and call out silly things people do. She sees that I view life through the kaleidoscope eyes of a fly so end up picking up subtle clues about people and situations that allow me to infer greatly as to reasons why and the impacts of situations. I do Big Picture well as I absorb and synthesize details to understand and have a truly childish (childlike at times) joy at learning new things which I believe is infectious. I think this part contributes to why she stays…”
A RFM with nonRFM:
Version One: “… I have been sharing my life with a non-RFM person for 35 years now, and what I have grown to understand is this: the efforts must come from both sides. He needs to understand, respect and accept my differences and limitations just as I need to understand , respect and accept his. Because we ARE different. Being different does not mean that we cannot share life nor love each other. It is crucial for my partner to understand and live with the fact that I am much faster than him and that my brain works differently from his. But as long as this is not clear to myself, I cannot explain this to him. For many many years, I walked around totally blind to my own needs and to my own RFM nature, because I had had no guidance to what a RFM is. I was 48 when I realised I am a RFM, so I can clearly see a “before” and “after” in my relationship with my partner. Things are much clearer now between us. My partner needed me to explain what the RFM means to me, over and over again, until it became a fact, a fact that we now can joke about (oh, the ego is a mighty enemy!!). But he needs my help to understand how I work. So first of all, I needed to figure it out myself, I needed to accept myself as a RFM and also understand how I work, who I really am and what my specific needs are. If I know what I need in my relationship, it’ll be easier to express this and to help the other one understand and respect my needs. And no, my partner does not love everything in me as I don’t love everything in him, but we can talk about it and find compromises – joke about our specificities, and be tolerant. Because what unites us is much stronger than what separates us!..”
Version Two: “ ..I think the fact that we both chose to enter the relationship with each other at a point in our lives where we were more or less contentedly single and had both done plenty of inner reflection definitely helps. If I had to put my finger on what works in our particular rainforest-coniferous case, it would be that… he accepts me exactly as I am (the reverse is still a work-in-progress for me) and his sense of self-worth isn’t threatened by the way that I am. What enables that (apart obviously from his amazing innate character) is that I do a LOT of explaining about what’s going on in my head, which helps him to understand me better. I ask him for his point of view. And he never fails to respond, helping me to understand – a bit – what’s going on in his head (he reminds me that I have a relatively unusual capacity to articulate my inner workings, and that he and many other people function quite differently). His concern is about not being enough, mine is about being too much. But we’ve talked about this since the beginning of our relationship, and check in often, supporting each other on our own personal growth journeys. Part of accepting me as I am is accepting what he calls my ‘special needs’, which have consequences for our everyday life – regularly going to bed early at around the same time; quiet, low-stimulation evenings; limited background noise (e.g. TV/radio); living more ethically (no meat, no car, a LOT of research into material objects before purchasing, volunteering, donating a percentage of our income, working in the for-purpose sector). What are the challenges? I think they mostly centre around me learning to become less judgmental and more compassionate. My wilful inner moral compass means that I have a LOT of opinions about everything and get so frustrated about ‘people who should know better’. I’ve learnt over the years to be much more diplomatic externally, but not with those in my innermost circle. This means that sometimes I end up saying things that can make my partner feel ‘less than’, for example, when I don’t understand why he is fascinated by football results, or playing video games, or why he is not into reading THIS INCREDIBLE BOOK that I just took pages of notes on. And what makes me feel even worse is that he is so supportive of my idea of fun – taking a multitude of online courses, listening to behavioural science podcasts, reading ‘challenging’ books, writing this email to you 😊. I don’t know why or how he manages to be so understanding of my less-than-ideal character traits, but he is, and I am truly blessed that he came into my life, and decided to stay…”
Version Three: “You have a lot of fights about finishing his sentences because he talks too slow and you know what he’s going to say already anyway.”
Version Four: “…My partner is emotionally and intuitively very smart but he is more ‘down to earth’ and practical than I am – which helps me a lot as well for example when I am overthinking and in analysis paralysis (this usually happens when I am on vacation and my brain has not had its usual complex problem-solving activities. That’s my theory – when I do not give my mind complex tasks it uses the power elsewhere on its own, creating a lot of mess in my head) So when I get like that, my partner helps me to come back down to earth and just chill. What I absolutely love about our relationship is that my partner treats me like a normal human being. I have had people crushing on me because ‘You are so smart I cannot even be at your level’ -this has created a lot of pressure in my life already since I am a kid (like I have to fit some kind of a smart person role) and behave differently and not like ‘superficial’ things for example. Yes, my partner recognizes my giftedness but to my partner, I feel, it is the same as me having long hair – just a characteristic that is only a part of the whole picture. We share the same core values, the vibe of life and the need for a lot of personal freedom. That, I think, is the glue in our relationship. Our communication also works very well – we talk things through if something is bothering and we analyze our problem together from both points of view…”
And so, these are some glimpses into how some of you rainforest-y types navigate relationships and what you are looking for. Part Three will include examples of RFM with RFM partners, the views of a happily single multipotentialite, and resources for more information! Stay tuned.
To my bloggEEs: I know this is not a typical post. How was it for you? What was it like to read these examples? Did some of them resonate? What might you add? What are your thoughts, feelings, and questions? Thank you, as always, for being here. Sending you as much love as I can muster. I have Covid right now, but not a terrible case. So there is still a lot of love to muster. And having you to join me, during the Covid-ride, is a blessing for sure!