Wildlife Observed

If you’ve subscribed to a monogamous relationship paradigm and have selected a mate with whom you cohabitate, you know that for every heartwarming affirmation of affection and compatibility, your partner will also throw at you some idiosyncratic choice or habit that has you scratching your head as if observing a blue footed booby fumbling over dry land.

And that’s exactly what I recommend you do: imagine you are sighting a rare species in its wild habitat.

  • Does your partner prepare sacrificial mounds of toenail clippings?
  • Have their opposable thumbs not evolved to change a toilet paper roll?
  • Are they constantly asking you to hold things that could just as easily be squished under an armpit or set on the ground?
  • Have they confused stentorian snores for a favored secondary sex trait?

We could nag our partners in vain to alter these dumbfounding rituals, or we could curiously observe our mates’ peculiar displays, as if enjoying a bird of paradise courtship dance. That’s just pure entertainment.

So far this all sounds fairly condescending, and yes, at times the role of curious observer will melt your frustration into amusement, but at other times, it may increase awareness that your picture of the world is not accurate; that the lens through which you interpret the melding of limited human senses is of an entirely different hue than your partner’s (or friend’s, or mother’s, or brother’s, etc.)

Instead of allowing your petty preferences to obfuscate the beauty of the life you share, you can choose to appreciate individuality in all its glittery glory. The fact that we can never truly know another (and another can never truly know us) can either be lonely, or it can be fascinating.

You don’t know everything. Enjoy your partner. I’d bet they’re pretty great if they snatched you up.


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