I wake up with zest, but my partner is mired in cynicism

I wake up with zest, but my partner is mired in cynicism

My boyfriend and I had been in a committed relationship for years when he asked me to marry him. I agreed with reluctance and fear. A year later, at 31, I called off the engagement and requested time to get perspective on what was troubling me: the inherent differences in our approaches to life. I wake up with zest, ready to take on life’s challenges, but he takes a cautious, analytical approach mired in cynicism. However, we also have a deep, loving connection. I’m torn between love and frustration. Am I better off alone? Should I wait to meet the “right” man?

If you ever find the perfect guy, please give him my number. You’re right to address concerns before you get married. And yes, most of our expectations about love and harmony are very unrealistic. The art of relationships is the art of negotiating differences; keeping a relationship rewarding requires us to become experts at listening, accommodating and, when all else fails, requesting change in a way most likely to encourage it. On the other hand, some differences are so fundamental they won’t yield to any amount of negotiation. A person of high energy and a person of low energy will likely run into trouble; one partner will always feel he’s dragging the other around, and one will always feel dragged around. As life speeds along, the differences that once attracted the partners will become a source of irritation. You are a positive person, while your fiance dwells in cynicism. Persistent negativity is just plain painful to be around. Zest leavened by caution and analysis–an attractive package. The danger is when the caution and analysis are not signs of a probing intellectual style but a manifestation of anxiety and depression. If every situation you both encounter elicits the same response from him, then it’s cause for concern. Such invariability suggests an underlying mood disorder. The good news is it’s treatable, with cognitive behavioral therapy, drugs or both.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Sussex Publishers, Inc.

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group