Hey Grown Man,
I love the outdoors and everything about it. My idea of “a good time” involves kayaks, climbing harnesses, tents, and Wyoming.
My question is, what does this mean for my (hypothetical) lady-friend who doesn’t dig the outdoors? I can put up with cuddling on the sofa watching the Notebook, but enough’s enough.
First, I’d like to publicly chastise you for coming up with your own nickname. How dare you sir, how dare you indeed. As the proprietor of this here blog, I take great joy in reading a question like yours and coming up with an oh-so-witty salutation. For instance, I might have started this reply with, “Dearest Timothy Treadwell” or “Guy Who Secretly Loves the Notebook and is Seeking My Approval for His Nicholas Sparks Obsession.” However, you did come up with a passable nickname, so… I forgive you. On to more pressing matters.
How is a man of the wilderness able to coexist with a woman of worldliness? Oh no, wait, here’s a better one: How can a gentlemen of the outdoors love a woman of shopping mall stores? I should’ve quit on the first one. Anyhow, it’s a tough question. Because really, there’s no silver-bullet that will somehow help you and this hypothetical woman co-exist in a perfectly balanced tent and town-house life. The real question is: To what extent are you willing to compromise? Answering this question will go a far way in solving your initial query.
Here’s what I’m talking about. Relationships aren’t meant to change or define, but rather to refine. It’s a fine line but one that must be guarded at all times in order to avoid resentment from either party. While a dream scenario may be to get her to completely convert and become an REI shopping, Kavu wearing, get lost and love it type of person — she just may not be wired that way. Certainly you can understand, can’t you? You aren’t wired to enjoy an evening of window shopping, dining at Chili’s, and cuddling at home in front of the latest Julia Roberts project, “Eat, Pray, Dying Career”. But, even though you’re not going to redefine each other as individuals, you can still meet somewhere in the middle. So, here are your options:
1- Compromise. If this woman is worth giving and taking a little bit for, do it. Do your best to show her what you love about nature without overwhelming her but also suck it up a bit and learn how to give a crap about her world. Compromise is key — for both of you!
2- Cheerlead. Sometimes, there is no middle ground and you’ve got to take a sideline, cheerleader, approach. For instance, Mrs. Grown Man likes to run marathons. I, conversely, really like to not run marathons. Therefore, I’ve got a job to make her feel supported without directly participating in what can only be described as 26.2 miles of insanity and torture. So, I go to the races and clap with the rest of the wise non-marathoners and I make sure to tell her how amazing she is at least 50 times for each mile she’s run. Mountain Man, Uptown Girl may not be able to get stoked about your world and, additionally, you may not be able to get jazzed about hers. But, can you at least be excited and supportive of the other person. Right?
3- Be done. Everyone, you need to pay attention to the next statement: Marriage doesn’t fix anything that’s busted in dating or engagement — it only magnifies it. Therefore, Mountain Man, if this is a big issue that no amount of compromise or cheerleading can fix, you’ve got to both ask each other if this is a relationship worth keeping. I know this is an extreme response to a difference of interests, and I really hope you guys can find a way, but if you can’t and this is a big deal, it’ll only get bigger post-nuptials. Sorry, bud.
So as I see it, those are your three options. My encouragement to you would be to be bold in finding which of them works for you guys and pursue it with gusto. Also, you really should move to Wyoming — it’s freaking beautiful out there, man.
Into the Wild,