Normally, I love to know people’s backgrounds. Where they came from helps me figure out why they are who they are. I don’t often ask questions, but usually let things come out organically, only asking questions to supplement that.
My partner Trydaen is, well, fairly closed up about his past – not that I think that it is an on purpose, to spite me thing. It seems to me that he doesn’t find it terribly relevant to the present – which is almost exactly opposite of how I see the past, but I can understand it fairly well. I’ve found that the more time I spend with him, the more little tidbits come out about his childhood through his 20s – including about his marriage.
He was technically married (but separated) when I met him and several years later when we started to date, but I never met her – I know nothing about her, short of the little bit I have gleaned from stories/context from him. It seems that she was not relevant anymore to his relationships at that point in time, so why bother? This has bothered me more and more over time – this was clearly someone he cared about enough to say yes to marriage when she proposed it and spent a large chunk of time with. Why? What happened there to sour him to notion of ever doing it again? It clearly didn’t sour her – she was remarried six months after the divorce was finalized.
But I have never known how to ask about that. How do I treat it? As I would, with all the curiosity I have? Cautiously? I don’t actually know whether it is a sore spot for him or whether it is simply no longer relevant, so no longer worth speaking about?
So I am trying. And I am proud of myself for that. When we were watching an episode of Bones a few weeks ago and (spoiler alert) Booth and Bones get married and Bones’ dad gives her away (after a speech from her about how it is just to make him happy and not a symbol of the passing of bride from father to husband) I got up the courage to ask whether his ex-wife had been given away by her father. He didn’t remember – didn’t think she had, but didn’t remember.
So that’s one thing. But what other questions can I ask to get to the why?
1. I am a strong woman and a good girl (generally).
2. I am super picky about purses and shoes, but still adore them.
3. I have more Earl Grey tea in my house than any other tea, and it isn’t even my favorite kind.
4. I found out today that one of the sweetest co-workers I ever had died of cancer. He was only in his 30s (by my calculations).
5. I strongly prefer the smell of well-mixed essential oils over perfume/cologne.
6. I love my Dr. Bonner’s soap.
7. My ears are naturally symmetrical.
8. I am a Trekkie and a Whovian and I am not ashamed.
9. I love cheese more than any lactose intolerant person ought to.
10. It takes me a long time to fall in love with someone and even longer for it to fade into nostalgic love once the connection is gone.
11. I am a library junkie.
12. I have only had a handful of crushes in my life, none of which turned into relationships.
13. One of the best indicators that I love a book is that I will put it in a friend’s hands and tell them that they must read it.
14. I love the ocean, even if I am perpetually cold when I am there.
15. I like wearing hats.
16. I check my email on my phone way more often than I do on my computer.
17. One of my favorite possessions is my wall clock that I bought at Goodwill for $4.
18. I am happy with the way my body looks, but would still like to lose weight.
19. I am very good at suppressing my inclination towards hypochondria.
20. I am mildly dyslexic.
21. I adore my scars.
22. I recently discovered that I like sweet potatoes and many different kinds of nuts after a lifetime of avoiding them because I thought I didn’t like them.
23. My ideal house would have one room just for all my books and a comfy chair to read them in.
24. I am not sure how well I would live without my phone.
25. Despite having a very well-adjusted childhood, I draw more strength from my family of choice than my family of birth.