You want to go out and be sociable; your lover prefers watching TV.
What do you do?
Draw up a social calendar with events you'd like to attend and activities you'd like to participate in as a couple. Let's say there are 10 events in a month. If your partner doesn't really want to go to any of them, perhaps you can agree on going to the Top Five.
Result: Nobody is getting what they really want. You'll be miserable watching Law and Order repeats when you know something more exciting is going on elsewhere. Your partner'll be miserable on the days you are going out - making you also miserable for having to drag 'em out and look at their miserable face all night.
Who needs friends when you have the perfect relationship? Who needs face-to-face interactions when there are dramas to be witnessed and lived out through the magic of the silver screen and YouTube? You stay in with your other half and spend time together, cuddled up on the sofa. There may even be foot-rubs for a while, if you're into that kind of thing.
Result: Eventually, your dreams turn into technicolor avant-garde chaos, and during waking hours you resent your partner for not paying attention to you anymore. Not even during commercial breaks. You find yourself working late trying to schedule meetings for 5.30 pm, and more often than not you want to scream. You also get too tired to actually go out and do something. This completely confuses your partner, who at this point is trying to understand what's wrong with you, because they never asked you to stay in with them in the first place.
3. Break up
Life's too short to spend it in front of the TV - you're going out there and finding someone who's also into going out!
Result: Your new lover is spending so much time and money on all their hobbies and friends that there's no time to be had to just relax and be. You wonder if they're slightly mad, and all of a sudden your quiet ex doesn't look half as bad anymore. And if you're really honest with yourself, a) you kind of begrudge 'em the attention, and b) you're tired and want to stay in tonight.
4. Honor Your Preferences
Understand that your brain is wired to need a larger amount of outside stimuli to feel alert. Understand that you will feel drained and without energy if you don't interact with the actual real-life outside world. Understand that your partner's brain is active and processing most of the time anyway, so having outside stimulation and trying to follow 3 conversations, say, at a social gathering is quite literally frying their circuits. Understand that they feel most alert and energetic when they have time to reflect.
Result: You go out by yourself, meet friends, do your thang, as it were, and then come home and tell your partner about it. They'll live through you and love hearing stories and anecdotes. And if you invite one or two friends at a time to your house, your partner will slowly get to know them and vice versa.
Adios resentment, buh-bye miserable face, hello loving encouraging equal respectful learn-from-one-another partnership.
If you or someone you know is struggling with this or other relationship issues, may I interest you in my MBTI® for Couples? :-)
Image by metku, Flickr, Creative Commons License.