Welcome back to the Coming Out Happy Blog! Dani and I (Keely) are very different. It was a challenge at first because we have so many differences in interests. We have different hobbies. I love to be more active and Dani tends to not love the same activities. We grew up differently.
When we first got together, we were always trying to figure out what we're going to do together, and we didn't really have that traditional start to our relationship where things clicked and sparks just flew. It felt like we were taking the time to get to know each other and build something. One of our main things that we loved to do was go to eat, which we still enjoy going together, but we also wanted to find other things to share.
One of the coolest things that we focused on was just being open to one another. For example, Dani loves movies. I have to tell you, I usually fall asleep at every single movie. I've definitely gotten better, but that was something that I wanted to hear more about and to ask questions around because it was something that she really cared about.
I wanted to know, why does she love movies? When did she watch them growing up? What did she watch? Asking these questions helped me to understand more about her love and excitement and things that she’s interested in.
For me (Dani), it was being outdoors. I’m a New Yorker, and being outdoors is not something I’ve been super interested in. On Long Island, we just stay inside. We go to all these movies. Maybe you go to hang out with some friends. Yeah, that's really all that we have. Keely really wanted to go camping, so she got me a tent. Talk about a hint!
We set it up in my apartment in the living room and hung out there. We didn’t even sleep in it! And I was thinking, I don't like this at all. I wasn't used to it. That tent stuck around for a few years just sitting in the closet before Keely had the idea to set the tent up on our bed. It wasn’t that bad. I think my hesitation was because I didn't grow up that way, so I wasn’t interested in it. And that was really all it was. It was an activity that I was used to.
Then one day, we decided to go hiking, and I really liked it! Now, we’ve got hiking boots and I love the outdoors after a while because I felt connected to this new hobby. Something that I've been discovering over the last few years is that many of us tend to leave our hobbies because of work or our relationships. We just forget about the things that we liked to do when we were young or forget to try new things that make us feel like we're experiencing life. For a really long time, I had been caught up in work and caught up in moving to California and starting a new life that I forgot about doing things that made me feel alive and happy.
I’m usually buried in my phone, but just being in nature and walking outside, as silly as it may sound for somebody that grew up like I did, is so relaxing and freeing. It was just something that I hadn't done before.
For me (Keely) bringing Dani back to where I was from, Colorado, and letting her experience what I love so much got her excited about camping. Now after a bunch of years, Dani has every single appliance that you would ever need to go camping. We took the Jeep out this past weekend and slept in the car, which was something we’ve never done before. It’s so cool to see how invested she’s become by just taking small steps to understand something I’m interested in.
It was all in her own time, and she spent a lot of that time asking deeper questions and understanding what I loved about it. Then, we had that shared experience together. It’s so important to do separate things and have other friends, but having these shared experiences is also something that's been important to us.
Even if we're different people, we still care for each other and explore different
types of love for each other by exploring the other’s interests, culture, and life. It was a really cool thing to immerse myself in Dani’s family because I grew up Christian and she was raised Jewish. At one point her grandma was sending me boxes of matzo ball soup with instructions!
Food is something that has always meant so much to us because it's been a really big part of our relationship and families. So finding ways that have felt manageable to us to explore each other and be open to one another has been great for our relationship.
We've been able to enjoy different experiences to share that love with each other. Finding things that we do have in common instead of looking at everything that is so different has been something that's really been a game changer for our relationship. We're just finding out whether the connection points are the winning strategy and will continue to grow and see how we can bond over things and learn from each other.
That's the best part about being somebody that is different. We have very similar morals and values, and that’s the heart of our connection and the things that really matter. When you can really get to know one another and experience new things, being different is no longer a bad thing. Take it as an opportunity to grow and learn and step into a different version of yourself that you never knew before.
Dani & Keely
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