While describing my history with Arwyn, it’s not unusual for someone to ask if she ever seemed to like having sex with me. And the answer to that is yes she did at the very beginning. 2-3x per day every day for a couple of months, in fact. So on the surface, it looks like she did a total about-face and I would have a difficult time arguing against that.
However, she’s not the only one who did a dramatic turn around. Mine might have even been more profound.
The Myers-Briggs temperament scale measures 4 dimensions of personality and temperament resulting in 16 different temperament styles. The first is the introversion-extraversion dimension. When I first took this test 16 years ago, I was solidly an extravert. With 10 questions measuring this dimension, 9 of my answers were on the extraversion side. I took it again a few years later and I was still the same on that dimension. To everyone around me, I was super-extraverted. I met new people and made new friends very easily. And this was the case when Arwyn came on to the scene. I was the leader of our adult Sunday school class and the church singles group. I was kind of out there and I’m sure she found this attractive. She found something attractive enough that she came out of her introverted self enough to ask me out. That was a gutsy move I’ve only appreciated more over the years.
The last time I took the test a few weeks ago, I was no longer extraverted. On 10 questions measuring this dimension, 8 of my answers now fall within the realm of introversion. I’ve done an almost complete flip. When, how and why?
The when is about the time Arwyn and I became committed to each other. Which might help explain why. Because looking back, I can see that I really and truly have always liked a lot of “alone” time. However I don’t like being lonely. For the longest time I was a lonely loner so I stepped up and out and did what was necessary to find and get companionship. I joined social groups and the “intuitive-thinking” dimensions just sort of propelled me into leadership type positions. So my temperament in the old days was identical to FTN’s ENTJ/Field Marshal style. That’s how I looked, at least and it’s how I felt.
But once Arwyn and I were committed, I no longer felt driven to be out in front. In fact, other people annoyed me more often than not. And so my extraversion rapidly powered down. I still had to work with and around people, but even there I was more on my own and liked working more independently.
Thinking about it, it must have been terribly bewildering to Arwyn. Here is this seemingly charismatic, outgoing character who suddenly turns out to be almost an antisocial hermit! I still end up in the spotlight through teaching adult Sunday school, but I’m not nearly as gregarious as I was when Arwyn and I first met.
So what you’re witnessing is what can happen when two introverts get married. Or when two people who get married turn out to be introverts. Introverts, by definition tend to be avoiders. They are not going to seek confrontation much less conflict. FTN is going to confront his wife, and Aphron is going to be confronted by Sybil, his wife. Even within a household with two introverts, I would expect the lesser introvert to confront the other. Or maybe the one with the most issues. Who’s to say?
The major point of this post is to simply put a bit of balance into it by stating that Arwyn wasn’t the only one that changed. I suppose the argument could convincingly be made that her withdrawal was a response to mine and if I was the first to change, she merely reacted to me not being the person she knew before.
I don’t have a ready response to that, except to say this is something that has worked in both directions. We both have watched and allowed things to Cascade downward.
Last night we actually did have a lengthy conversation about things. We somehow got on the subject of nasty divorces with her dad and step mom plus Donald and Gina who are all going on two years since filing. Arwyn basically said she never wanted to have to go through something that messy. I said I had really never heard of a peaceful divorce and she pointed to her parents who actually did come to some sort of amicable agreement and still talk cordially to this day.
Somehow I managed to broach the subject of possibly living in separate houses. She instantly asked if I had some other woman on the side, and I told her I didn’t. I told her that if I did I’d be seeking a divorce not another house. She actually didn’t react strongly one way or another. She could see advantages to such an arrangement but she said she hoped there might a chance that we could find a way we each could be happy while still together. And that is at least a hopeful sign. Even though she hasn’t made a move towards improving anything this was at least a step in the right direction.