Note: Reid and I came up with this idea to write about why we thought our relationship has lasted. We each wrote our accounts not knowing what the other was going to say. This is what we wrote.
Many people wonder about the unlikely relationship between me and Reid. He’s thirty years older than me, six feet tall with an all American upbringing that included swimming, boating, surfing, and the sixties. I’m five feet tall, look fifteen years younger than my real age, with features people have diplomatically called exotic due to my distant southeast Asian ancestry, though I’m a native New Yorker, and I remember when boy bands were the hottest thing in this hemisphere. We are an unusual couple to say the least, but twelve years after we’ve met and nine years of being in a steady relationship we’re still going strong.
What is it that has kept us bonded when “perfectly” matched couples fall apart in half the time? For you cynics out there, it sure isn’t money! Here’s my top 7 reasons why I think it works.
- He treats me like a queen. In other words, I get back rubs on demand, great night time sessions, dishes done for me, even yummy meals cooked for me if I asked, and at least a couple compliments throughout the day. It’s a huge bonus if a man has some domestic skills.
- He listens to what I have to say and actually wants to know my opinion. Sometimes he even acts upon my suggestions. So many men don’t listen, don’t want to know, and won’t take advice.
- He’s fun. Who else would run down a quiet suburban street with his son howling like the dogs from Jack London’s Call of the Wild? Being spontaneous and unconventional in small ways keeps it interesting.
- He’s a good father to our son. He gives our six year old, Darshen, lots of attention, indulges him way too much, and takes pride in his achievements. At the same time Reid teaches Darshen all kinds of skills that I don’t have like painting, sculpture, working with tools and more.
- We have similar interests. We both do yoga regularly, are devoted to eating healthy and thinking good thoughts. We work on projects together so we always know what the other is up to, which is very bonding.
- Since we sailed together on the longest sea voyage in history, we are the only people who know what it’s like to be at sea for hundreds of days, completely off the grid, in a place unfriendly to human existence with beans sprouts as the only source of fresh food available. While most would call that eccentric, we know what the other has been through.
- He doesn’t try to change me. He doesn’t tell me what I should wear or what he’d rather see me doing even if it doesn’t seem useful at the moment. If I’m happy, he has no problems with that. As long as it isn’t hurting anyone, people ought to be allowed to do what they want to do sometimes without having to hear about it.
So does age make a difference? Only a little. Does ethnicity matter? No. It’s really more about being kind to one another and sharing experiences. If we didn’t light up and feel joy next to one another it wouldn’t be a very good relationship. Unconventional as our relationship may seem, it works for us and we have had the ups and downs to prove it, including two full years physically apart but still committed to each other.
If you’re in a long term relationship, what do you think is the glue that keeps you together year after year? Share your comments below.