Category Archives: Relationships

Opposites Attract? We Think So!

 

On Saturday, Mr.D and I celebrated six years since we became a couple. So to mark the occasion we thought we’d go to the theatre (for me) followed by a meal at Mr.D’s favourite steak house (for him!) I quite enjoyed the theatre performance but Mr.D. wasn’t so impressed:

Me: I’m so glad that you came to the theatre with me today.

Mr. D: Hmmm.

Me: Usually I have to go on my own or with friends. But never with you.

Mr. D: Hmmm.

Me: Did you like it?

Mr. D: It was Ok, I guess.

Me: I thought it was very interesting.

Mr. D: I’m not really much of a theatre person. I much prefer going to the cinema.

Me: Well it’s not too dissimilar from the cinema. And the action is unfolding right in front of you.

Mr.D: The play wasn’t really my thing. It was all about feelings and stuff – not my cup of tea.

Me: Of course not. You prefer to watch movies where people are battering the crap out of each other!

Mr.D (laughing): Sure I do. It’s more interesting!

 

This interesting little exchange highlights just how different we are in many ways. It was very obvious that we were chalk and cheese when we got together but after a few years of marriage when you pretty much merge into one person you sometimes forget about how different you are. But it’s episodes like this that remind me of our unique personalities and interests.

A while ago I did a blog post on how similar my mother and I are although it would appear that on the surface we couldn’t be more different. Now I’m thinking about how Mr.D. and I seem to be total opposites. But is that such a bad thing…?

1. TOWN MOUSE AND COUNTRY MOUSE

 

 

I think the biggest difference between me and Mr.D is the great geographical divide. I was born and raised in the city. It’s what I know and love: the hustle and bustle, the sounds, the lights, the sights, the excitement, the fact that there’s so much to see and do… whichever city you’re in, I don’t think it’s possible to feel bored. Admittedly city life has become a lot more congested than it used to be but having tried country living – something I’d wanted to do for a long time – I realise that life in the fast lane is the right place for me as I thrive on the energy and vibrancy of city life.

Mr. D. however is a country boy through and through. He cherishes fresh air, open spaces, green fields, and a quieter, slower pace of life – more so after a very long period of living in the city which in his opinion is akin to living in purgatory! Mr. D. has made no secret of his desire to up sticks and head back to the country but as we both work in the capital, that just isn’t possible right now. I know at some point we’ll have to move some where that has a bit of what we’re both looking for but right now, the city it is!

We do, however, both love the beach!

2. THE GREAT OUTDOORS VS. THE SNUG INDOORS

 

 

 

Give a man a fishing rod, and he’ll feed himself. Give a man a tent and he’ll live outdoors for the rest of his life and never come home!

One of the disadvantages of living in England for Mr.D. is that the often miserable weather means that he spends more time indoors than he would prefer. If the weather was glorious all the time, he’d never be indoors as he’d be out pursuing all kinds of sporty and leisurely pursuits: camping, archery, rowing, tennis, canoeing, football… being stuck indoors (or worse trailing around the shops after me) is most definitely not his idea of fun – but at least he has his video games to keep him quiet!

Now the only thing outdoorsy about me is shopping and al fresco dining! Admittedly I can be a bit lazy and on weekends, I can often be found snuggled under the duvet watching movies… or blogging! And I’m certainly not one for all the active stuff that Mr. D. is in to.

Although he did on one occasion insist that I join him on one of his outdoorsy activities. I impressed him so much with my ability to just get on with it and not complain that by the end of the day he presented me with a little box with a ring inside…

3. THE CLUBS ARE ALIVE WITH THE SOUND OF MUSIC

Even though we don’t frequent nightclubs and bars as often as we used to, if it’s a special occasion then we’ll definitely go. The difference here is that while Mr.D. couldn’t care less if he never saw the inside of a bar or a club ever again, I really don’t mind it. True, I often feel like someone’s nanna when I set foot into one of these establishments but I love getting all glammed up and I do like the social aspect of it: having a drink and a laugh with your mates, and if it’s a club that’s playing my kind of music – wild horses couldn’t drag me off the dance floor (wheareas they wouldn’t be able to drag Mr. D. onto the dance floor in the first place!)

4. DRESS TO IMPRESS OR DRESS TO BENCH PRESS

 

Years ago we were on the tube when we saw this fifty-something year old couple. The lady was extremely glamorous, clearly took pride in her appearance and had a keen interest in fashion. Her fella was in t-shirt and shorts and looked as thought he was going to do a couple of laps around the park. Then it dawned on me and Mr.D. that the couple were a more mature version of us!

“Do you think that’s what we’re going to look like when we get to their age?” asked Mr.D

“Well considering we look like them already…” I replied.

Years later nothing much has changed. I’m not image-conscious or vain but I do like to make an effort with my appearance, and although Mr.D. is always smart and presentable for work, outside of work you’ll just have to take him as you find him in his mega casual and sometimes sporty gear.

5. WE’VE BEEN THERE ONCE SO WE’RE NEVER GOING THERE AGAIN!

 

If there’s a place I’ve been to that I really like, whether it’s a town, country, restaurant etc. It’s always my intention to revisit it again at some point. And why not? If it’s a particular region, I’d like to go back to do more exploring, and if it’s a restaurant, I’d like to go back to sample more dishes. And I love visiting Spain because it gives me a chance to use my language skills.

Mr.D. can’t see the point in revisiting places we’ve already been to. The way he sees it is that the worlds a big place with so much to discover that if you keep visiting the same old places, how will you be able to experience what the rest of the world has to offer?

He has a point but I see nothing wrong with making the odd trip back to a place that I really enjoyed.

The jury’s still out on this one!

6. HOW CAN YOU EAT THAT?

 

My mum was always keen to stretch our taste buds so we grew up eating all kinds of food and are still eager to try new things. As a result I’m not one of those people who can eat the same thing day in, day out and definitely need variety. Mr. D. on the other-hand is Italian-American to the core and is happiest when a plate of something Italian-American is put in front of him. Plus he’s a massive meat eater, while I struggle to finish a whole steak. In a nutshell, our tastes in food are very different!

Since meeting me and moving to London, he has since tried a variety of different cuisines and dishes – something that seriously impressed my father-in-law! However even though he can eat spicy food, he’s still getting used to a lot of the hotter stuff and he’s still a bit of a fussy eater and has his list of can’t eat/won’t eats!

7. WORDS AND NUMBERS

 

I’m an English teacher, language learner, blogger, writer and avid reader and once upon a time, I used to write songs. It goes without saying that words are very important to me. I love putting words together in an expressive way that gives meaning. I love bringing words to life. That doesn’t mean that I don’t suffer from an attack of writer’s block because sometimes I do, but words are very much my forté.

My husband however doesn’t feel that writing or public speaking are two of his strongest points (and often gets me to help out with these. But he  is very much a numbers man and is more geared towards maths and science. It’s what he works with every day and he has absolutely no problems with working out what is simple arithmetic for most normal people, but for what I would require a calculator, pen and paper, and use of my fingers and toes before seeking someone out for a second opinion!

8. HOW MUCH???

 

I wouldn’t say that either of us are big spenders (oh look – a similarity at last!) Despite the fact that I spent a fortune on a bespoke wedding gown (come on, it was for my wedding!) I couldn’t justify spending a grand on a coat or handbag knowing that I’d have to be buried with it just so that I could use it in the after life to get my money’s worth (that’s what my wedding gown will be for!)

However every now and again, I like to spend a little more than I normally would on little luxuries – especially if I feel it’s well-deserved. But I don’t go mad and it is just an occasional thing.

However it’s not something that Mr.D. would ever do (actually come to think of it, he did once pay something scandalous for a beef Wellington that wasn’t even that good!) but he knows I like to have my little splurges – although I prefer not to mention it because, even though he doesn’t mind, he would tease me merciliessly!

9. LEISURE PURSUITS TO SUIT… OURSELVES!

 

Just check number two for Mr. D’s favourite hobbies and activities. But along with shopping, blogging, having coffee/cocktails and a natter with the girls, I also love cooking and anything crafty that allows me to release the artist in me.

With us pursuing different interests, you might wonder how we ever get to spend quality time together but we do!

10. THE CALM BEFORE, DURING AND AFTER THE STORM

     Everyone who knows Mr.D. knows how quiet he is. He’s also extremely good-natured, very calm and rarely gets worked up about anything. I, on the other hand, am the complete opposite and have been known to get very emotional, scream my head off over the most trivial of things, stomp up the stairs, slam doors and generally release my inner fifteen year old!

BUT IT’S NOT ALL BAD…

 

It’s not that we don’t have anything in common at all of course. The things that Mr.D. and I do actually have in common are things that matter. We both have old-fashioned morals and values; we believe in treating others the way we would like to be treated; we understand the importance of hard work and the value of money; our family and friends mean everything to us, and despite us coming from different cultural backgrounds, we’ve had similar upbringings and both come from big families.

 

Some people prefer to be in a relationship with the male/female version of themselves but I actually like being married to someone who’s very different to me.  That’s not to say that the differences haven’t frustrated us both at one time or another but I feel that on the whole we complement and balance each other out. The things that one of is lousy at, the other one is great at. True, Mr.D. and I have two distinct personalities and abilities, different interests and hobbies, and our own beliefs and opinions but I actually appreciate the differences between us  because it’s kept things interesting and enabled us to learn and experience new things from the other. One of our friends even remarked how wonderful it must be to be in a relationship where we are continually learning from each other. And for the most part it is – except for when the ‘learning from each other’ leads to a heated debate!

 

So I’m just going to leave you with a clip from How I Met Your Mother about the infamous ‘Olive Theory’. Incidentally How I Met Your Mother is Mr.D’s favourite show. I’m more of a ‘Lobster Theory’ Friends chick!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write From The Heart: We Can’t Stop!

 

 

Just read that good-girl-turned-batshit-crazy Miley Cyrus has penned an open letter to her ex-fiancé, the superbuff Liam Hemsworth apologising for her antics and asking if they could meet to talk things through. Miley, despite going on Ellen to say that she’s “the happiest I’ve ever been,” isn’t handling the break-up too well and still loves and misses Liam.

 

Well I don’t know how much truth is in this story about an ‘open letter’ as the public hasn’t seen anything yet. Any kind of letter that Ms. Cyrus might have written is bound to be a private one, written for only Liam to read – just as it should be.

But the story brought back a lot of memories for me…

A few years back, my then boyfriend and I realised that we couldn’t make it work and decided to call it a day – though not before a heated exchange! As this wasn’t my first stay at Heartbreak Hotel, I pretty much knew the drill: I’d cry a bit; have this hollow feeling for a while; wonder if this ‘love stuff’ was worth the hassle, before deciding that it was and trying to get a ride back  on the Love Train. I knew I’d be fine again at some point soon.

 

But this time it felt different…

I’d been brought up on that old adage never to run after a man or a bus as there was bound to be another one coming along soon. However, try as I might, I couldn’t shake off the feeling that what ever the next man (or bus!) was like, I wouldn’t like it as much as the one I’d just lost (or missed!) I knew that if I didn’t make one last effort to win him back, I’d regret it forever. Sure, he might laugh in my face and tell me to take a hike (or bus ride!) but I had to try. So I turned on my laptop, signed in to my email and began to write…

 

And did my gamble pay off? Well, let’s just say that the recipient of that email is right this minute sat in front of me playing his beloved computer games, snacking and leaving a pile of wrappers, cartons and bottles scattered all over the floor. Am I thrilled? You bet! I’m so glad I realised what I had before it was too late and swallowed my pride. It just goes to show that you always know when something’s the real deal and worth fighting for.

Hopefully Miley’s story will have a happy ending too.

 

 

So Much For Sisterhood!

 

I’m really appalled by Katie Hopkins’ latest round of controversial comments but I really don’t want to give too much attention to a woman who clearly gets paid to be so vile – and take pride in it too. Katie has been very open about her lack of remorse in taking her now husband away from his first wife. Everyone knows about Katie’s penchant for married men so this doesn’t come as a surprise. She’s clearly not someone who believes in women sticking together, and sadly there are other women out there who come from the school of thought that if you see something you want – take it. And they do take with very little regard as to who it belongs to or who gets hurt.
Naturally, as a happily married woman, this doesn’t sit well with me. Mr. D. is without a doubt a real catch; the best thing to happen to me. He’s as gorgeous on the inside as he is on the outside. It doesn’t surprise me that he catches the eye of other women. But I would hope that he’d tell her where to go. However, I would hope that a woman would have a strong sense of sisterhood to not even go there in the first place.

Sadly, there are plenty of women who don’t have this sense of solidarity  – and so would go there without a second thought.

 

No guilt…

Earlier this year, on a night out, I got acquainted with the friend of someone I know. Kerry* was hardly what you could call shy and retiring but even I was amazed by a later confession – probably fuelled by too much alcohol – in which we got talking about ex-boyfriends and she revealed that hers was already in a relationship when she met him.

“Oh my gosh,” I said, “he lied to you! So when did you find out about his girlfriend?”
“Er, when he asked me out,” she replied, clearly thinking I was an idiot.
“You went out with him even though you knew?” I asked incredulously.
“Yes!” Kerry replied, a little defensively, “his girlfriend and his relationship are his business. Nothing to do with me. I was the one who was single so I was free to do what I liked.”

 

Let’s just say we didn’t promise to add each other on Facebook at the end of the evening.

With friends like these…

Amanda* was a girl I knew from school. She was definitely not the kind of girl you wanted to mess with but one thing that did impress me about her was her strong sense of loyalty to her friends. And they did seem to be a pretty tight bunch of people. As someone not cool enough to make it into this elite ‘girl gang,’ I have to admit, I did feel a little envious of their close bond.

Fast forward six years and guess who runs off with her best friends husband? That’s right – Amanda! What was surprising was that many of Amanda’s friends – as shocked as they were by what had happened – stood by her. Amanda, herself, didn’t feel any remorse over what she had done, claiming that her friend Emily and husband Sean had had a very unhappy marriage and weren’t suited. She even claimed that Emily had even cheated on Sean once. It all worked out very well for Amanda as she is still with Sean and they now have two children together.

 

I actually bumped into Amanda several years after we had left school. By then she was expecting her second child – a daughter. It was a super quick catch up, in which she talked mostly about her children. She obviously wasn’t going to tell me about how she met her fella – and she didn’t know that I knew what had happened through mutual acquaintances.

Once again, there were no offers to keep in touch as I had no desire to keep in touch with anyone who treats their friends so shoddily. To sleep with a stranger’s husband or boyfriend is bad enough but when it’s the boyfriend of a friend or family member… it’s just not on.

Ruth* knows only too well the pain she felt when she realised that her husband, Simon*, was cheating on her with a woman she considered to be a friend, Erica*:

“I returned from a business trip and found things that things were not in it’s usual place or in the order they would normally be arranged. The biggest giveaway were the sheets being changed – something my ex-husband wouldn’t even know how to do. I asked a lot of questions but his answers were very vague and I instinctively knew that something wasn’t right.”

Eventually it was a local café owner who told Ruth what had really been going on:

“I mean we live in a town where pretty much everyone knows everyone. I can’t believe he was so stupid as to think he wouldn’t get caught. What I learned is that he had been seeing her for a while and that they had been seen out together. I now believe that whenever I was away working, he’d bring her over to the house. I didn’t know which was worse: the fact that everybody knew or the fact that he’d brought her into our home. It tore me apart that he cheated with a woman that I was quite friendly with. It was the ultimate betrayal.”

Ruth confronted her husband and her friend, before kicking her husband out. He then tried to work things out with Ruth but when it became clear that she wasn’t going to take him back, Simon then moved in with Erica and the two of them carried on their relationship for the next four years:

“I was never going to take him back. He’d destroyed my trust. There was no way our marriage could ever work. I was devastated though when he went to live with my former friend. Devastated but not surprised. However, what made it easier was knowing that he still loved me – if you could call it that – and that he was only with her because he was so needy and didn’t want to be on his own. Even our mutual friends agreed he’d be back tomorrow with his tail between his legs if I’d agree to have him back. Strange as this may sound even though I hated my ‘friend’ for pursuing my husband the way she did, I also felt sorry for her because it was so obvious she was second best.”

Ruth has since remarried and has very little contact with Simon – who is no longer with Erica.

“Thankfully they moved away shortly after they started living together which made things a lot easier for me. It took a while but I slowly picked myself up and moved on. I met Craig* about two years after my divorce. He restored my faith in men and relationships and we’ve been together for nearly nine years now. Simon even made an attempt for us to get back together just after I met Craig but obviously it never happened. By then, they’d broken up. I think she [Erica] was expecting Simon to propose after the divorce came through. It never happened and the relationship didn’t last long. I see Simon from time to time at weddings and other events. We are civil towards one another but I don’t know anything about his private life. As far as I know he’s not with anyone.”

I’m glad that Ruth got her happy ending and that Erica didn’t come out of this so well. I just hope she’s learnt her lesson and won’t hook up with a man who isn’t available ever again.

The same thing applies to men and ‘brotherhood’…

Sadly it’s not just women who have a lack of respect for relationship boundaries. Men can be just as bad too.

Gavin* has been with his wife Amy* for thirty years and married for just over twenty. The reason why it took so long for them to walk up the aisle is because Amy was already married with a young daughter when they met.

“It would sound odd to a lot of people but with Amy and me there was no sneaking around or hiding. Our relationship was common knowledge – even to her husband Rick*. Her husband had hoped that this would be something that would fizzle out and he was worried that if he’d pushed her into not seeing me again, she might leave him. As a result it just made me have absolutely no respect for him at all.”

Rick and Amy then went on to have a second daughter. Many people hoped that this would strengthen the bond between them and that she would stop seeing Gavin. But there was a twist in store…

“We all limped along for another six months after Lilly* was born, but the truth eventually came out: Lilly was my daughter – not Rick’s. Rick already suspected it so the news wasn’t that much of a shock. It was the end for Rick and Amy after that as he knew that I just wasn’t  going to go away. Amy moved in with me and we got married about a year after her divorce came through and we’ve been together ever since. People used to ask me if I was worried about Amy doing to me what she did to Rick but the honest truth is I don’t. They weren’t compatible and the truth of the matter is that if it wasn’t me, it would have been someone else. Amy and I love each other even after all these years – we were meant to be.”

However for those of you who think that Gavin sounds a little too much like the cat who got the cream, it may be a comfort for you to know that it hasn’t been all plain sailing…

“Amy and Rick had a daughter, Rosie*, so naturally Rick was always going to be around as he had to play a part in his daughter’s life. Despite everything and how I felt about him, I was never going to take his daughter away from him – even though I love Rosie as though she’s my own. The three of us decided to behave as adults and put her first. This has meant that Rick’s been present at every sports day, school play and presentation evening. And it’s always Amy and him who went to Rosie’s parent’s evenings. At Rosie’s wedding, he obviously was the one who walked her down the aisle which I accepted; there isn’t much of a role for stepfather’s at weddings even though I helped raise her too. When the kids were young, we used to have him over for Christmas as Amy felt it was best for Rosie. And now that there are grandchildren, we still occasionally have to have Rick – along with his second wife Beth* – over for Christmas dinner. We’ve all learnt to be civil even though we’ll never be great mates but I’d be lying if I said I miss not having Rick over for Christmas. It’s not ideal but what can you do?”

I’m sure there are plenty who don’t feel any sympathy for Gavin – and who can blame them?

I remember a conversation at secondary school, in which I asked a friend if she thought it was OK to go out with a boy who was already seeing someone else.

“No”, she replied quite matter of fact.
“Why not?” I asked.
“Because I would hate it if I had a boyfriend who did something like that to me,” she answered,”so I couldn’t possibly do that to someone else.”

Wise words from someone who wasn’t even sixteen at the time. Too bad people twice that age don’t take that advice. The world might be a happier place with less heartbroken people.

* Names have been changed

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