Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Love Woes

We fought last night. Not a big one, barely a blip on the blowup radar actually, but a fight nonetheless.

Here's the thing with David and me. We never fight about ACTUAL problems. Practically, we get along perfectly. We don't fight about who does what, we don't fight about the baby, we don't fight about all the myriad everyday things normal couples fight about. Instead, we will have long, drawn out screamfests over THEORETICAL subjects. Such as the time we watched the movie 300 and David said he thought it was stupid to die for a country or a cause, that survival was more important than a shared belief, and I accused him of being a coward (I was pregnant, remember) and of not caring about anything enough to lay it all on the line or some such nonsense. This fight lasted for hours, people.

The crux of the problem? I am an idealist. I cannot express this enough. I see life entirely through these idealistic lenses, and it colors every choice I make. So when this idealism comes up against David's equally strong sense of realism, there is trouble. Big T trouble. Because to him, my idealism should more correctly be called naivete, and to me, his realism should more correctly be called cynicism. And I hate cynicism more than anything in the world; I see it as an enemy to happiness. But whatever, that's a rant for later.

The point is we go head to head over entirely unimportant hypothetical situations. Mainly because we feel threatened by the other's position, threatened by the idea that we could have possibly chosen a life partner who goes against everything we stand for. An understandable reaction, but for one small issue: We actually agree on most things.

How to explain this... The fact is, I am an idealist, but most, if not all, of the people I like and care for most are of the sarcastic/cynical/realist persuasion. That's because I'm an idealist, but not a simple idealist. Because when I meet simple idealists, those starry-eyed, head-in-the-clouds, self-important dreamers who insist the world shape to their standards, I get extremely irritated. I find them exceedingly pedantic, and yes, naive. I prefer the idealism that has to feel its way through the dark, that is prepared to compromise when necessary--not for selfish gain, but because the world we live in is unpredictable and doesn't follow any set of perfect laws. Idealism cannot be championed at the expense of reason.

And as for David, he may be a realist theoretically, but he is a closet idealist (as many cynics are). He is passionate about justice, about fairness and kindness, about making the world a better place. But, like me, he gets annoyed by people who can't seem to see the world as it is.

So we put each other into these categories, and hear the argument of the category instead of what's actually coming out of each other's mouths. With that stupid fight over 300, it took us hours to realize we were saying the same thing: We both of us would have died to save Jews in World War II, a cause worth dying for, but we neither of us would die for the abstract notion that is "America"--whatever that means.

I think in some way we don't trust each other. We look on everything the other says with suspicion, as it comes from someone who professes a different world view than ours. It's fascinating, really. Because even knowing this, we can't seem to get out of the pattern. So while our practical lives roll on in harmony, our mental lives are always in conflict.

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