This morning we played through a scene we know very well: Matt is up a couple of hours before I am, and spends them happily reading and drinking coffee. I waddle out of bed, brush my teeth, and before I get ready to settle down to my book, I go over to Matt to greet him with a smooch on the cheek, and he does not even look at me, much less respond. Sometimes he heaves a great sigh and looks at me with a pained expression.
It always makes me mad, and today I actually didn't even get all the way over to his chair because I just didn't want to start out the day by taxing him for two seconds of attention.
I'm telling the story like I'm still mad, but I'm .... not exactly.
Anyway, I ended up standing awkwardly kind of near his chair and saying "hey," then quickly turning around to get my coffee. A window in our wall frames the face and hands of the person sheepishly pouring coffee, so he watched me with an exasperated grimacey smile, and then said very pointedly, GOOD MORNING.
This is how the morning goes between a serious introvert and a 1% extravert. I KNOW that he doesn't want to have a big conversation first thing in the morning, and neither do I, really. I'm not jumping onto his book and laying across it like a cat. I need a few seconds of human affirmation to start my day, just one smile and two words. To me, it doesn't seem like much to ask for something that feels so important to me- look up from your book which you've been reading in complete silence for two hours to say hello and then I'll leave you alone until you want to talk to me! To him, it feels like a huge intrusion for something that shouldn't be so important to me. We both think the other person is being selfish.
On my good days, I compromise and wait for him to greet me. I can understand that he would like to choose at which point to put his book down, so I try to restrain myself. Sometimes I don't mind.
After 2.25 years of marriage, I think I can now (slightly saltily, of course) advise those interested in getting married: the introversion-extraversion differential is the source of very deep (if not the deepest) conflicts. I don't say the most explosive conflicts, simply the most stubbornly innate.We can talk about chores, religion, and tastes in relatively dispassionate tones, but nothing can change the fact that I need a little bit more interaction than he does, and he needs a little bit more solitude than I can bear. We overlap quite a bit on the introversion-extraversion axis, but the fringes where we differ are still baldly glaring. If we were more different I can see that it would be big trouble. This is something you don't realize about a person until you've lived with them for a while, and as far as I can see, there is no way around it, especially not first thing in the morning.
And I suppose that is where love comes in, no, actually, I do believe that is where love comes in, but that doesn't mean that it's easy or I know what to do. We can talk through or compromise our way around everything else, but these opposing needs comprise the last imbedded stone in our way. It is not moveable by reason or bitter self-effacement.