Originally appeared here.
Apropos nothing, I remembered a post by a frugality/early-retirement blogger who is of some note in the early-retirement blogging community. She and her husband have achieved financial independence and are now homesteading somewhere in the Northeast.
What matters here is her post on when she knew she’d marry her husband. The pair dated in college. In their senior year, she was taking a women’s studies/feminism course that she really enjoyed, so she kept talking about it to her boyfriend with great excitement. Lo and behold, one day she showed up to class, only to find her boyfriend sitting in the audience, grinning. He had rearranged his senior-year schedule (he was majoring in a technical field, very different from her humanities major) in order to enroll in that class with his girlfriend; he did not speak to her about it first, he just did it.
She thought that was super romantic and showed her that he really listened to her when she effused about the course. They seem happy, so good for them!
In contrast, when I read her post, I thought her then boyfriend was being creepy and boundary-violating as all f*ck. When I was young, if my boyfriend had done that, I might not have broken up with him, because at the time I didn’t believe I had the right to many of the things I wanted or needed, including my own boundaries, but I know for a fact that I would’ve freaked out and felt very, very uncomfortable. Today’s me, if I were that girl in college, would likely break up with the guy and drop the class.
It’s nice that the blogger’s boyfriend was interested in what the girlfriend had to say. But don’t freakin’ hijack her experience! Maybe that’s just me. Apparently, my creepy and boundary-violating is someone else’s romantic, committed, and paying attention. But I generally need a lot of space, seemingly more than many people. DH gives me space, and I am really grateful for it.
Dear reader, what are some ways in which you feel that you are—at your core—different from many people around you?
My guy early on learned that I don’t like surprises. He did take an econ class at his college (we went to different universities) because he wanted to understand more what I was doing and could use econ 101 to knock out a gen ed. But he mentioned it before actually enrolling. (IIRC, I was like, that’s great but you don’t have to if you don’t want to.) Which is not the same as showing up in a class as a surprise.
I will stand up for myself, when most other people won’t.