Monday, February 2, 2015

(Not) The Marrying Kind

Recently I read an article that said, "If you care about your happiness, you should avoid marrying a neurotic person."

The author, Drake Baer, wrote, "Neurotic people are more likely to detect threats in their environments, which can lead to mood swings and obsessive thinking about what could go wrong. They have been found to be more easily distracted, less self confident, and to have lower salaries than their more emotionally stable peers."

Almost everything he wrote describes me, because this entire blog is proof of the fact that I obsess over almost everything; (hence my screenname, Neurotic Workaholic, and my blog title, "Obsessions of a Workaholic"). I've come up with some other reasons why I fit Drake Baer's description of neuroticism to a T:

1. One of my guy friends told me that I put off an "unapproachable vibe." When I'm out in public, I discreetly grip my keys in a certain way, so that if any guy tries to attack me I can use the keys as a weapon and stab him in the eye and/or the crotch. After years of being harassed, groped, followed down the street, and in one terrifying case, nearly abducted by random creeps in Chicago (I screamed and fought back, which apparently scared off the abductor), I've cultivated a "back the hell off or I will CUT you vibe."

2. Most of the guys I've dated thought it was weird that with the exception of the hello/goodbye kiss, I didn't like to kiss in public (especially if his version of kissing meant "I'm going to touch your tonsils with my tongue" or I didn't like the guy, in which case I was all "back the hell off or I will CUT you"). I've never even been comfortable with holding hands or letting the guy put his arm around me in public. I've never liked public displays of affection, because I think that there is a time and a place for everything, and so basically anywhere that has people in it who are not too drunk to notice IS NOT THE TIME NOR THE PLACE.

The last time a guy held my hand, I spent 50% of the time thinking about how long I had to hold his hand before I could wipe off my sweaty hand on my pants without looking rude, and wondering if I could ask him to wipe off the sweat on his hand, and maybe put some hand sanitizer on as well, because I also spent the other 50% of the time on our date thinking of the germs on his hand that could potentially infect me with the flu because he coughed two hours before. (If there was any doubt in your minds that I am completely neurotic, I'd say this paragraph pretty much proves it.)

3. Since I don't even like to hold hands in public, I would definitely not be charmed by a public proposal, where the guy gets down on one knee in front of a restaurant full of other customers, or in a park filled with a singing/dancing flash mob that he organized. Then I'd just be all, "Are you asking me to marry you, or are you asking me to make you famous on Youtube?" I also think that public proposals put way too much pressure on the person to say yes.

Note: If you are married and your spouse proposed to you in public, I hope you don't think that I am saying that public proposals are unromantic or wrong, because I'm NOT; I'm saying that if I ever did get engaged, that's not how I would want it. As an introvert, I'd prefer to have that moment be something that's just between me and the man I love, not me, the man I love, and dozens of people who are filming us and will post the video on Youtube.

4. Recently, over the past few months, I became closer to a guy I liked, who I did not describe on this blog for various reasons. He was much more laid-back than I am. I eventually realized that he needs to be with someone who actually means it when she says, "I'm fine," and I need someone who understands when I'm not fine and will listen patiently, say the right things, and talk me out of stress eating peanut M&Ms (and of course, I would do the same for him).

5. If I ever got married, my parents would want to throw a huge church wedding and invite all their friends, including the friends who keep asking why I'm in my thirties and still single, and especially the friends who think I'm a lesbian because I'm in my thirties and still single. Planning a wedding is stressful enough, but planning that kind of wedding with two Type A personalities like my parents (two guesses where I got my personality from) just might push me over the edge.

I've attended weddings that cost six figures. If I had that much money, I would use it to buy a home or start a college fund for my future children, not blow it all on a party that lasts one freakin' day or one weekend. My "dream wedding" would go one of two ways: either I'd get married in City Hall and then go out for a nice lunch with my husband and some close friends (like Carrie and Mr. Big did in Sex and the City) or I'd get married in a community garden and have a small reception in a nice restaurant, like Miranda and Steve did on SATC.

Although I am a big fan of Sex and the City, I am not Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte, or Miranda. I'm the female George Costanza, because I wear glasses and I'm usually pissed off at somebody. Basically, if you marry someone as neurotic as I am, be prepared to marry the entire cast of Seinfeld. That means that the majority of your conversations (til' death do you part) will be like the obsessive, nitpicky conversations that George, Jerry, Kramer, and Elaine had in the coffee shop every day. It's one thing if you are also neurotic, but it could be very stressful or hard for you to understand or relate to your partner if you are not also overly self-conscious and over-analytical. However, although I have those "George is getting upset!" tantrums on a regular basis, I know that I am capable of making someone feel happy and loved.

I don't know if I'll ever get married, and there is a part of me that thinks that my neurotic personality and workaholic nature will decrease my chances. I also know that it is important to make compromises and address my own flaws in order to make a relationship with someone work, though I don't think I'll ever be able to completely change who I am (and I wouldn't want to anyway).

I've also started to realize that there are worse things in life than being single, such as marrying the wrong person just so I can have kids, won't be alone, or can finally prove to my parents and their friends that I am not in fact a lesbian ("not that there's anything wrong with that!" as Jerry would say)

I will also add that some of the best writers I've ever read and some of the guys I thought were the most attractive were also the most obsessive, neurotic people I've ever encountered. Actually, my ideal husband would have Jerry Seinfeld's personality (and Chris Hemsworth's looks and Channing Tatum's dancing ability, if I'm going to be completely honest).

What do you think? What kinds of personality traits do you think are important for a happy, loving relationship, and what kinds of personality traits do you think could make a relationship fall apart?


  1. I think you just have to find a person who understands you. Two people with specific personalities may or may not make a relationship work. One type of personality isn't doomed--they just won't mesh with *everyone.*

    I'm a shy and reclusive person, and my fiance knew I would absolutely hate being proposed to in public, so he proposed in our apartment. It was perfectly fine with me :)

    1. Hi Sarah,
      I didn't know you were engaged! Congratulations! And you're right about finding someone who understands you; I think that's been my problem with most of the guys I've gone out with, which is that they didn't understand me and I didn't really understand them either. I think it would help to find someone whose personality is not necessarily exactly like mine but someone whose personality complements mine, like someone who encourages me to stay a little more extroverted without making me go to bars every weekend (which, seeing as how I am a teetotaler, would be my version of hell).

  2. There is someone out there for you. You need someone who can balance you out. After reading some of the reasons why you're not the marrying kind then I am in the same boat, because most of those reasons fit me too.

    1. Hi Murees,
      I've known several people who were neurotic who were able to establish happy, loving relationships; they were able to find partners who didn't dismiss their neuroticism as just examples of them "freaking out" but understood that that was how they were. One reason it's been difficult for me to make a good match is that it's difficult for some people to understand why I obsess over things that they hardly think about or that don't seem like a big deal to them.

    2. I understand. I'm really neurotic about safety and nobody seems to get it. Most people don't get me and i always attract mean people. So, until I meet a nice guy, I will just stay single.

    3. Hi Murees,
      I hope that you do meet a nice guy, and I'm sorry that you've encountered mean people in the past. I think that safety is a valid concern, because it's important to be alert and to protect yourself.

  3. One one hand, analyzing things so much could lead you to analyze any guy out of the running, but on the other, it's very, very good for you to know exactly what kind of guy would be the best fit for you.

    I'm with you on public proposals! I've told my daughter---if any guy does that to you, you say no. Proposing that way seems more about attention-seeking than the relationship.

    I say, if you find yourself in the situation of your parents wanting to take over the planning of your wedding, just let 'em. I could see my mum and I would do nothing but fight so I stepped back and let her make 85% of the decisions. She did a nice job.

    1. Hi Nicki,
      You're right that it's not good to over-analyze guys; I must admit that I've done that in the past and it never ended well. With this most recent guy, we both liked each other but I finally realized that it was never going to work out in the long run; we were just very different and dealt with things in opposing ways.
      I think a public proposal would make me feel really nervous and upset, because like you said, a part of it is about seeking attention. I wouldn't want a whole crowd of people watching that moment, because I'd feel like I was being put on the spot.

  4. Truthfully, I think there's a match out there for any personality under the sun. My dad totally admitted he never would have picked my husband out if we lived in a society where parents did the choosing. BUT we're perfect for each other. We're the same kind of crazy--if you know what I mean. =)

    1. Hi Crystal,
      I know what you mean! :) Although I do fit Drake Baer's description of neuroticism in many ways, at the same time I don't entirely agree with his claim that neurotic people are more likely to make their spouses unhappy. I think that a lot of people are neurotic, but they are still able to find ways to maintain healthy, loving relationships. I think it just takes work and commitment on the part of both people in the relationship.

    2. Totally agreed. Anything worth doing takes work, and if you're totally in love with someone, you're especially willing get through the rough patches. =)

    3. Hi Crystal,
      I think that was the issue with the guy I described in this blog post; that is, we liked each other, but we couldn't make it through the rough patches because we weren't in love with each other.

  5. I'm a neurotic who is very good at keeping it hidden. My husband is a very laid-back man but enjoys me bringing a little unexpected drama into the mix. I totally agree with your statement that it's better to be single than marry the wrong person. Or marry just to prove something. So true!!!!

    1. Hi Karen,
      I wish I could keep my neuroticism hidden. But anyone who spends even just one day with me can tell what I'm really like, because I usually freak out at least once a day. :)
      I wish my relatives shared your beliefs about marriage, because then they would stop questioning and criticizing me for being single.

  6. I'm totally neurotic and I've been married almost 20 years. My husband says my saving grace is that I have a sense of humor about it (most of the time) and he can tease me about my various weirdnesses. By the way, I also hate noise; if a UPS truck is idling outside the window, I can't even hold a conversation until it drives away.

    1. Hi Me,
      I don't like noise either, and in Chicago it's noisy more often than not, especially in my apartment building, where my hard-partying neighbors apparently never sleep, sighhh...
      It's encouraging to hear from people like you who have had long, loving marriages; that shows that the author of that article, Drake Baer, is wrong about neurotic people.

  7. great blog, very inspiring
    lets follow eachother! just let me know and I will follow back :)


  8. Levelheaded rational thinking in a calm kind caring person makes for a good partner. Someone who's distrustful yet can't be trusted or relied on themselves could be disastrous.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out