On Mixed Marriages

I’m a teensy bit surprised, even given the low feedback to anything posted on the website (which is a good thing, I try to think), that there’s been no comment yet about Gary Westfahl’s essay posted yesterday morning, Notes from a Mixed Marriage, Or, The Lady and the Monster, which is all about a sci fi guy living with a non-sci fi partner. I would think this is not an uncommon situation.

My own situation is similar enough that I empathized with Gary’s essay, even as I noted that Gary (being for this website a film reviewer) focused his essay on film, and not at all on books, or the activity of reading. My own situation has analogous issues, but more related to books and reading than to seeing movies. I try not to think of myself as especially disadvantaged; I must reasonably assume that every relationship has issues of preferences and priorities that, to some degree, are worked out sufficiently well to maintain the health of the relationship…

Yet I still have this abiding curiosity about how other ‘mixed’ relationships do manage this. In my own case, my partner is not a book person at all, and has been given to opine, over the past 9 years, that reading is something only young people or single people do; that people in relationships do things together, like going on trips, going out to shows or restaurants, or doing pretty much anything as long as it’s together; reading, being a solitary activity, is essentially a selfish, self-indulgent thing to do.

That has been the ongoing issue in our relationship, which is why I spend more hours per week watching whatever happens to be on the Food Channel, or watching Dancing with the Stars, than in reading any kind of book. If I find time to read, it is in the interstices of our mutual schedules, and is in inverse relation to however much time I put in on the website (which consequently, lately, has been very little). I’m not completely happy about this, but I try to work around it as best I can, and I recognize it is as the cost of maintaining this particular relationship. And the cost of doing some small service to the SF community, at the expense of actually participating in it in the sense of reading the books that are its reason for existence. We have friends, I should say, but not book friends; I don’t have much interaction with SF people except for attending con’s once or twice a year.

Still, I expect this will change presently; the current website upgrade activity will level off to some new plateau, I expect within a few months, and I’ll work my way back to my pursuing my appetite for reading, ideally attaining, at least for a time, my ideal of 100pages/day that I was maintaining a couple years ago. I have this huge stack of books waiting to be read. I know everyone says this, but I bet my stack is larger than yours.

4 Responses to On Mixed Marriages

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  2. After many, many decades of marriage, the spouse and I continue to orbit our own separate interests. I would no more think of his going to a science fiction convention that he would think of me going to a basketball game.

    In the case of a science fiction movie, what matters most to both of us that it be a good movie, not the genre.

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