the psychology of reason


It means more when it comes from family.  I don’t care if you hate your family; you still, as much as you might hate to admit it, weigh what they say…more.  Their last words kind of hang on you, seeming truer, more wise, just because it’s family, old family, and they must know something you don’t. 

I had a professor in college, a lady with winged hair.  I arrived to her classes early and sat, like the nerd I was, toward the front of the class, near the green chalk board, taking notes.  She handed out small strips of paper, folded.  Everyone got one.  You were certain it was a secret santa of sorts.  I was handed a slip of paper that read, "Birds of a feather flock together."  He, yes he (because I’m realizing the memory wasn’t of a she but he) asked how many of us agreed with what the slip of paper said.  You know, typical show of hands thing.  Everyone raised her hand.  We all agreed.  The thing of it was, exactly half of us were handed the slip of paper I was, and half of us were handed the exact opposite sentiment: "Opposites attract."  Yet we all agreed.  Long story short, and to my detriment, I’m afraid, we learned that actually, while opposites may attract, they rarely last.  It’s birds of a feather that seems to work according to our text books and our professor and his multitude of supporting studies.  Likeness, he said, leads to liking.  And I agree.  Yet, still, I definitely, without pause, married my opposite.

I am a Libra.  He is an Aries.  And when I even bring this fact up, he rolls his eyes.  PERFECT!  That’s exactly the way it’s done.  I don’t believe, at all, in horoscopes, even the NY POST.  I believe in general observations about signs though.  I’m diplomatic.  I am argumentative but without seeming so.  I’m almost apologetic when asking something of someone.  I’m balance.  I like harmony, not loud voices.  I like pretty things and have an affinity for very nice things.  I’m at peace when things are tidy and pretty.  When the world around me is harmonious, when things smell nice.  I’m very much a girl.  When I even mention being a Libra in defense of my indecisive nature, Phil rolls his eyes so far back, I worry it might hurt.  Exactly.  We’re just so so different.  He wants answers.  He’s impatient.  He’s loud and yells and is far too opinionated.  He thinks he’s right, and dammit, so do I.  It’s a total disaster!  Our being "opposites" is about the only thing on which we agree.  So I begin to question us, the validity in it.  I mean, birds of a feather and all, and we’re nothing alike, so what are our chances?  I mean really?  Given that I’m sure I’m annoyed and resentful more than anything else.

When questioned about what we miss of NY, our answers couldn’t be more different.  He misses having a local bar where everyone knows your name.  He misses a Cheers life, where you can order a Jack and Coke, and it comes in a pint glass, where everyone strolls in, and no one cares about much more than the next game.  I miss the new.  The openings.  That there’s always a new restaurant or store opening.  There’s always an event, a new must-go place.  I miss the turnover, the ability to find somewhere seemingly unknown.  We both miss the convenience of things, but mostly, even what we miss, about the exact same city, is so so different.  I miss having a French bistro.  A place with steak frites and goat cheese onion tarts and tumblers full of Sancerre wine.  And he misses goddamn sawdust bars (or close to it).  We couldn’t be more different. 

A new friend is considering opening a new bar here in Austin.  And he wants to attract all of us.  A place with really good beers and liquor.  He knows the ladies want something sweet.  But we need atmosphere too.  I tell him all we really want is martinis with floating orchids and a good playlist.  Phil wants good beer on tap.  And almost by way of apology I say, "Yeah, we’re total opposites."  And the strange bit is exactly where I began this.  We hold so dear the words of our family.  My grandfather, Papoo, a larger-than-life storyteller, an eccentric, when I was very young, told me, very seriously, that I’m a Libra woman and would be best served with an Aries man because he’d challenge me, and I’d never bore of him.  And I’ve held onto that, the words of a man who was an Aries himself, and of course thought of himself as the superior breed.  And I clung to it, thinking he had to know things like this. 

I am with a man who couldn’t be more different.  A man who likes simple, who doesn’t like planning parties or being social.  Who says insensitive things, things like, "no one but you gives a shit!"  A man who likes having control, who argues for a living.  Who, yes, is as stubborn as I am, but who’s far more forceful, and it scares me sometimes.  "Lower your voice," I say, and it enrages him.  He is certain my saying this is only deflecting things.  "You spend so much time telling me to be quiet just to change the course of the conversation.  You’re deflecting the real issue," he says.  He thinks my expressed discomfort in his tone is a manipulation.  It’s my way of changing the subject, he thinks.  And all I can think is, "how did I come to marry someone who screams?  Why does he have to get so frustrated?  And when he’s frustrated, why can’t he be quiet and gentle until he’s figured things out?"  Genuinely, I’m not deflecting; I feel off-balance and cannot concentrate on anything other than his tone.  I feel attacked and defensive and want to run away from him.  His tone frightens me.  I cry.  I’m not used to yelling.  Can’t we just discuss things?  But he’s LOUD and doesn’t know he’s loud and then shouts, "I’m not yelling!"  I urge him to use "a restaurant voice," the kind you’d use publicly, where no one would turn to look.  But Phil argues for a living, so I rarely get my way, even about his volume.  And he’d argue the opposite, that I always do.  And neither of us ever feels like we’re getting our way.  We both feel like we’re always, ALWAYS, compromising.  And compromising, to me, will always feel like work.  And in these moments, I wish I’d chosen someone closer to who I am, someone who agreed.  Someone easier.  But my family assures me that someone would bore the shit out of me.  It’s never easy.

Phil would be happy in this life, just us.  The two of us, or four of us.  He doesn’t need to be around other people.  He doesn’t care so much about interacting, about hearing other people’s stories.  He kind of has to be dragged out.  Don’t get me wrong, once he has friends, he wants their company, but if I happen to meet a new mom and suggest we go out on a double date, he kind of grunts.  "Do we have to?"  I thrive, I’ve learned, in the new.  I absolutely LOVE being around other people.  Commiserating, sharing embarrassing stories. I feel most alive around other people, with their own histories, with a chance for me to escape, yet still completely appreciate, my own life.  That’s what I love so much about socializing.  I love hearing her stories, nodding, knowing exactly how it is.  Agreeing, then looking across the way, seeing Phil telling his own story, reminding me that I’m with her and her stories about poop and sleep and crying and proving me wrong, exactly, but I’m with her and still with him.  I LOVE THAT.  Those moments of comparison, where I love my life yet understand hers.  And she knows mine.  And it reassures me.  Tells me it’s okay that I picked a man so different from who I am.

I am, by far, the laid back one in the relationship.  When it comes to our children, we are a balance.  I am, without a doubt, the zen mother.  I don’t over-think.  I don’t worry.  I don’t panic.  I’m exactly as my mother was with me.  They’re beautiful children and will be fine.  I don’t google conditions using quotation marks.  I don’t scour message boards.  I trust my instincts and know they’ll be fine.  He has me call the doctor with questions.  He talks to experts.  All my mommy friends admit they’re exactly like Phil.  And I laugh, feeling almost, just slightly superior, in that I can trust so much, that I can inherently know so much without doubting myself.  Still, Phil and I balance each other.  Opposites.  But sometimes, it doesn’t feel like balance.  It feels like different.  Not complimentary colors different.  Wrong, different.  It feels like, "you can’t possibly understand because you’re nothing like me."  And when it feels like that, it’s hard not to wish I’d married another Libra.  That I’d chosen someone just like I am.  But when I had that chance, I complained that he was too much like me, that he over-reacted when he just should have written me off as slightly insane.  Haven’t we all been there?  Dating someone we just wished understood and accepted us for our crazed ways ?

I once dated another Libra.  Or maybe I like to remember him that way.  Maybe he’s not a Libra.  A Sagittarius, actually.  Who cares.  We were, are, the same.  Exactly.  We get each other.  Know exactly how it is, where we are, where our thoughts make sense even when they really don’t.  But when we were together, we didn’t get far.  Because we were too much of the same.  I’d freak out, overreact, and he’d react to that.  It was a cycle.  And I remember at that time, drunk, writing on this blog how I just needed someone who didn’t read too much into every spoken line.  I needed someone who didn’t take me so seriously, who could say, "Yuh, Stephanie’s overreacting again," and laugh, and discount it, not analyze it.  I needed someone who didn’t take my dramas too seriously, and now that I’ve found that someone I just complain that he doesn’t take my dramas, my feelings, my words, any of it, seriously enough.  And I rely on the ancient years of my once-alive grandfather to steer me.  And I don’t know what’s right, only what’s now.  What we make work, what we choose for ourselves and commit to.  The promises we keep.  I know that.  And I can always believe in my choices, even when I question them, because I chose them for a reason. 



  1. I just wanted to say that I have been reading you, this forever. I've never posted before and I love that I'm doing it now.

    Breakups and breakthroughs? It hangs on my fridge,emailed to my BFF. I'm also the blog on watching everyone else getting engaged and wondering why I'm not.

    I date a Capricorn, all have been Capricorn except my first boyfriend who was a Libra, like me. We got along great, it was just too great. Capricorns are hard but I don't know if I had have any other way.

    Your babies are wonderful, your life is one that I hope to have one day. Where everything might not make sense, but fits anyway.

    I live in San Antonio and when I found out you moved to Austin I was as excited as if my long lost BFF moved in next door.

    Take care, have a wonderful Mother's Day.

  2. Had a fight, huh?

    FROM STEPHANIE: Actually, no, no we didn't. Things are great. I had the most wonderful day. I just realize the way things are, the choices we make, and sometimes what we think we want we really don't. Maybe I thought, and sometimes think, I wanted something different. But I chose what I did for a reason.

  3. I'm sure you know this, but not all characteristics can be attributed to what sign you are. An excellent example of that is that I too, am a Libra, and you and I have very different values.

    Also, you, are clearly an extrovert. Sounds like Phil is an introvert.

    A good compromise is where both people feel like they got part of what they wanted.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Yes, in case I didn't make it clear. I am so NOT the girl who lives and dies by her sign. It will be so interesting to see Abigail and Lucas, both Sagittarius babies, growing up, I'm sure, quite differently. Of course values come into play. But overall, the fact that LOUD yellers make me uncomfortable, that people who scream, who cannot talk things out calmly, really disturb me. It's almost a violation dealing with someone so aggressive. That has nothing to do with values.

  4. I don't know about that professor and his studies but my parents are complete opposites and will have been married for 27 years in August. It sounds like my dad is similar to Phil in the way that he reacts to frustration. He screams, he yells, he makes wild gestures. He spits in your face. (That sounds bad. He's the greatest dad. But it's true. He has literally spit.) He is the life of the party and everything he does is big. My mom is quiet. She doesn't like big scenes. But they work. They so work. You go to one parent when you need calm and rational and the other when you want passion and excitement. I don't know about marriages where two people are exactly alike, but it doesn't sound so hot to me.

  5. Have a great Mother's Day, I doubt if this year you will be getting breakfast in bed but soon.
    Take care

  6. I can so relate to this post! I am a Virgo– getting married to a Libra in exactly 4 months, and supposedly, everything points to us "not relating" and that our relationship will be extremely hard work.. and yet, as many other seemingly "perfect" astrological matches that I've loved and lost, it's this relationship of challange that has held me for 5 years. What makes us work is the opposing points of view, the realization that we do have to prove our side, fight for our beliefs, and have it be such a relief and surge of joy when they or we relent and finally agree (or agree to disagree). F*ck perfect "compatibility," I vote for disorganization, intelligent disagreements, and sheepish unseemingly orchestated appeasing giving-ins (for now at least!) :)

  7. My husband and I are both Libras and couldn't be more different. I am the laid-back, non-confrontational one; he's the one you described in your 6th paragraph – the one who makes you uncomfortable – the screamer, etc. In fact, that entire paragraph is my life. My husband also argues for a living. You captured my feelings perfectly. To say that the yelling disturbs me would be the biggest understatement ever. I don't think it has anything to do w/ what sign we are. We were raised so differently. Growing up in his family they fought constantly; in mine we talked and it was peaceful. Now, we're adults, and his way of dealing w/ things is to fight it out, (b/c that's what he was taught), and as soon as he raises his voice, I withdraw. Like you, I don't hear what he's saying when he's yelling b/c I'm just concentrating on the fact that he's screaming, and I hate it. When I tell him to lower his voice, he gets angry and says, "this is how I sound when I'm frustrated". I wasn't screamed at as a child. I cannot tolerate it now. I fantasize about playing anger management tapes while he's sleeping, so maybe they'll subliminally sink in. You never know…

  8. Since my ex-fiance destroyed our relationship six months ago I have stopped in on your blog from time to time with interest. This particular entry hits on the crux of most of the relationship problems we experienced. In some ways we were far too alike for comfort, and in others far too different. For two years we were able to work through anything because we both recognized the decisions we were making and wanted to work through any problems because right up until the end we always enjoyed eachother's company more than anything in the world.

    I am the arguer, always love to win, and definitely have the strong voice on things. She was much the way you describe yourself. What I have come to realize after the months of depression, drinking and general bad choices following our break up was that what made everything work was that even in the worst of times we could share the warmth of an embrace, know the forgiveness of a tear, and feel the love of a smile. With these things all else is possible. For us it fell apart because I was three thousand miles away to finish up school and she found her comfort with another man – it was the inability and unwillingness to take the time to express true feelings and thought.

    In short, I think you can be as alike or different as possible – all that really matters is that there is a shared willingness to communicate and try for success in everything you do together.

  9. As I am reading this I thought that Phil is just like me and Stephanie is just like the hubby. Then I got to the astrological signs part and laughed. I am an Aries and my hubby is a Libra. I yell also. My hubby tells me to quiet down and I am shocked because I don't even notice that I am yelling. It's the one thing I hate about myself.

    My husband drives me INSANE. I am not kidding. But, I swear, If I were married to any other kind of person, it wouldn't last. It's not who I am. I need to challenge and the going back and forth because at least there is something going on. Something that always makes us grow. We never stagnate. We can't. We are always moving foward even if were fighting.

    And, compromise will ALWAYS be work, because it's never what we fully want. Compromise makes us uncomfortable and being uncomfortable is good because we grow. I f-ing hate compromise. :)

  10. I've never commented before Stephanie, though I read you often. I just wanted to say, that was a beautifully written post, and, well, I can relate…

  11. Happy Mother's Day Stephanie! I hope you enjoy your day. Start a tradition!

    As for Phil…all will work out. I look at how my husband has changed. He was once like that. He yelled, he cursed and he threw "hissy fits". I talked and talked till I was blue in the face and explained to him that I wasn't going to tolerate it. The kids do not need to have to grow up with yelling and screaming. Give him the option of toning down or explain to him how it will affect his children. Put your foot down! He'll come around when he sees how foolish he is acting and what he has to lose.

  12. This is information to file away:

    I know you said nothing like "split", but lest one day in the heat of it, you swoop off and decide to head back to NYC, know that the courts in TX can and most likely will order your children returned to TX if Phil stays there. TX law presumes that the best environment for a child is in TX, so if two parents split and one lives in TX, that parent is presumed to be providing a better environment for children than the parent living outside TX, all other things being equal.

    You've both had a lot of changes in short order. I'm betting sleep isn't as plentiful as it once was. That's sort of a bumpy combination for anyone. If you can hang on a few months until you are better rested and "zen" in your new locale, I promise you he will irk you less and vice versa.

    Did you ever get that nanny?

  13. Loved your last few lines. Am trying to make some tough decisions myself, so this really hit home. To me, it's almost too easy to anticipate all kinds of future scenarios regarding my tough issue, including future regret in the manner of "Why did I make this choice?"

    Trying to make this tough decision, I find it hard because I'm so aware of both its merits and its demerits. I can literally picture my future self, looking at herself in the mirror and thinking back to this moment of uncertainty. You mentioned choosing for a reason, and I really feel this. It seems so elemental to choose consciously; if or whenever doubts arise, as long as I've chosen for a reason, I think I can stand tall and trust those reasons.

  14. Reading your blog was fun.
    Gemini and Aries is an interesting combo…a fair amount of shouting,evasion, charming, confrontation, etc.

    It works too. :) A Gemini man would drive me crazy with all the same things that I do. Aries is solid, assertive, self confident, a provider. I am blessed. He wins too b/c it never will get boring and Gemini is very communicative, affectionate, self confident in a different way.

  15. I miss the New York French bistro's here in Austin too. Probably the most of anything from NYC.

  16. I simply could not be with a man who communicates the way you say Phil does. Yelling? Um, no. I'm sure there are women/people who thrive in relationships that involve yelling, but I could not. Ever. No matter what else we had going for us.

    I understand the frustrations about being different. I also agree that finding someone who was completely similar to you would probably not work, either. The ideal would be a good mix – a partner who was different from you in ways that were not difficult to deal with on a constant basis, and who was similar in ways that made things easy sometimes. But like you said, we choose who we choose for lots of reasons, and rarely do we get everything we could ever want. There is a lot of "dealing with it" that has to be done in a marriage.

    One thing I had to learn in my relationship with my husband is to let go of some of my expectations of who We, as a Couple, would be. My husband is less social than I, and would rather die than do something like go out on a double date with a new Mommy friend of mine and her husband, whom he's never met. So we don't do those things. I've had to learn to feed my own needs (for friendship, outside interests, etc) on my own, not as part of a We. So for us that means that I have dinner on my own with that new Mommy friend, or I take tennis lessons on my own, or I take a weekend trip to a place he has no interest in, because these are things that I am interested in and he's not. And it works the other way too. Certainly there are times where the other person does something that he/she isn't interested in, for the sake of the partner. But as a lifestyle, we are much more independent than I imagined myself being in marriage. And I'm OK with it.

    Sorry, don't know if any of that applies to you or not. My point was that I think actively being OK with being separate individuals can help with dealing with the vast dissimilarities.

  17. PS. When I teach Intro to Social Psych I always use a variation on the demonstration your professor used. It's nice to see that maybe students actually do remember this stuff!

    And if what Sallie says is true about TX and divorce, I'm appalled. Does anyone know if any other states work this way? This is offensive to parents in general, to suppose that the geographical location of the child is a better measure of benefit to the child than the parent him/herself.

  18. I'm a Libra too. :)

    Remember you are only in your first year of marriage and you've added two new members in your family. I've always said that the first few years are like a tug of war with each person trying to find their power in the relationship. One day you will realize that it has been weeks/months since you had a completely stupid argument about something that didn't matter at all. As long as you and he never let it go so far that one walks away, you will get there.

  19. I think the worst is being in a relationship with someone who thinks they are never to blame for anything. So, even if he raises his voice etc can he accept if he is in the wrong in some way? and apologise. I think if he can admit to being in the wrong etc and can discuss things in a reasonable way (despite the raised voice) then that is a good sign. Also, maybe you are different in a lot of ways but the values that you really care about are similar.

  20. I'm so glad you are the "Zen Mother". The babies I'm sure react well to someone more calm and collected. Although I do remember a few freak outs when you were pregnant with them so I was worried, but so happy to hear (for the sake of the sweet beans) that you are the more cool calm collected Momma they need :)

    Happy 1st Mother's Day to you!!

  21. That's really sad. Maybe I'm the only one who sees it. My husband grew up with parents who fought (much like you described your relationship with Phil) and it really affected him.

  22. "But overall, the fact that LOUD yellers make me uncomfortable, that people who scream, who cannot talk things out calmly, really disturb me. It's almost a violation dealing with someone so aggressive. That has nothing to do with values."

    It sounds like me who is saying this. I shut down when people yell, and generally will flat out walk away. I've made it clear my entire life that I won't take part in any type of argument like that. I am rational and calm, almost to the point of irking others. The consequence: people mistake my calmness as not being upset or affected, and recently, when someone started to yell, my sister, in a quite mocking tone, answered, "Dana doesn't LET people yell at her." She's a Sag; I'm a Taurus :)

    Happy Mother's Day :)

  23. (This might be a double post; my finger slipped to I know not what keys, and the screen disappeared)

    Sallie, what you describe isn't unique to TX. In almost any case of a parent taking child(ren) to a different state, the child(ren) will be ordered back to their home state pending court action. A NY child removed by one parent to TX would most assuredly not be ordered to remain in TX.

    Stephanie, you did marry someone like you. A metro NY are Jew of E. Euro descent. While you are proud of your Greek & Puerto Rican ancestry, you did not grow up in a culturally Greek or Puerto Rican milieu. For example, spending most summers of your childhoods and adolescence at a sleepaway camp is hardly a universal experience. In fact, it's downright alien to many of your commenters, as well as to many people I've encountered in my life. While you've never mentioned where Phil went to college, I'd bet money the name is instantly recognizable, which along with your attendance at Barnard and acceptance to every selective school you applied to, is another culturally specific experience which the vast majority of Americans do not share.

    My point is that Phil's big mouth and your idiosyncracies notwithstanding, you did marry a bird of your flock. And that's great. Not sharing a cultural shorthand can kill a marriage no matter how great everything else is.

    Your marriage sounds very stressful to me. I was married for 12 years to a shouter/finger jabber/eye roller, and not until it was over did I take my first deep relaxing breath in 12 years. I've been breathing deeply ever since. But as you've written here before when people comment on your marriage, all's well and you're just venting.

    Happy Mother's Day!

  24. Your differences will make for a more interesting marriage and your ability to recognize the differences will make a more successful one.
    I HATE women who act like their relationships are always perfect. I never believe them.

  25. The best thing my husband ever instituted was a no yelling rule. No matter how bad things get, they never get that bad, because of that. It was a big change for me, who came from a loud family, but it the impact speaks volumes (you might say!)

  26. For the Aries man the wooing is the fun for them. Once that is over, they're bored. He got his prize, now he's over it. Stephanie, if you're not happy, then don't settle. You have the right to live the life YOU want. And that life doesn't have to live up to expectations. Happiness should be more than moments of fine. I'm sure you'll figure it out. But please don't make the mistake of confusing compromising with progress. Best of luck.

  27. all I kept thinking when ready was how ballsy it was for you to come out and write the things a lot of people think in their marriage. I think it's totally healthy and NORMAL to question the choice you've made in a partner, especially after the crap you (we all) have been through with past ones.

    Happy Mother's Day! and thanks for a good read. I'm always one of the on and off again fan/semi-annoyed people who read your blog and am firmly on the fan side today. :)

  28. Thank God you post this stuff. Every time I even hint about marital trouble on my blog everyone tells me I'm dysfunctional. As always, love the honesty – it makes me feel better about my own fella and our drama… and thanks for being such a damn good internet pal. Happy first Mom's day.

  29. Wow, I relate to so much of that. He's as matter-of-fact as I'm emotional. I often find him overly confrontational. He loves pubs and his old friends; I love meeting new people, that buzz which comes with finding common ground in unexpected places. I'm Cancerian and he's Virgo.

    Great post.

  30. I love this post and amen! to the commenter who said she hates women who act as if thier relatiosnship is always perfect. Puhleeze. Thanks for keeping it real. Happy First Mommy's Day.

  31. The one I miss the most is Raouls on Prince St.
    It makes me want to cry to think about it.

    FROM STEPHANIE: I love Raouls as well. Funny story- Phil was taken there by someone trying to woo his business. He sat down. They gave him the menu on a chalkboard, and a huge roach fell from the ceiling onto the board. Invariably he left right away and refuses to go back even when I've called him from the corner table with friends and a bottle of Syrah. The person who took him there is now one of Phil's best friends and was a witness for our wedding vows. How the world works…

  32. (clarifying for Barbara)

    That's not quite the extent of it. Let's say Stephanie and Phil split, and she retains primary physical custody. Then she wants to move to NY. Under TX law, she can very well liose custody, because in the eyes of TX, TX is THE best environment for a child, ALL OTHER FACTORS BEING EQUAL.

    intersting read: Lebowitz v. Lebowitz, 403 S.W.2d 871 (Tex. Civ. App. 1966)

    Also, Texas no longer automatically gives custody jurisdiction to another state when the child has been residing in said state for six months or longer. They used to turn it over to the state of residency, but now the presumption is that TX still knows what is best even for chilren no longer living in TX.

    TX law is not like other states, and I know a number of people who have been taken by surprise when they find that out.

    FROM STEPHANIE: Please, let's stop playing the "if you split game." Neither of us is going anywhere.

  33. i can relate to the yelling thing. growing up, my mom did all the yelling. my dad was the cool/calm one. and i just assumed that was how men were supposed to behave. boy was i naive….thankfully, I am engaged to a non yeller. we have a no yelling policy in our home. he may not be as calm as my father but he understands that frightening me might not be the best strategy to solve issues.
    Happy mother's day!

  34. I was reading this and couldn't help remembering a post you wrote when you were pregnant after an ultrasound. Something along the lines of "Zen baby… definitely the suitor's child". It's so funny how our perceptions of ourselves can change according to our situations. I can relate to how you're feeling though. I am an accountant, with a passion for ballet and classical music. My husband is an artist with a passion for comic books and japanese cartoons. Sometimes I look at him and wonder how I managed to wind up with him, rather than one of the scores of musicians that I dated, and part of me misses that life, having someone who shared my passions. Then I realize what's better is having someone to learn from.

  35. Sallie, I'll be damned. I never would have imagined a state would overrule another state's residency timeframes. Lebowitz v. Lebowitz AND GW Bush?? That state has a lot to answer for! :P

  36. "Different strokes for different folks" just couldn't be truer. My husband and I were having lunch on Saturday and were discussing how my sister and her husband always fight over how to spend their tax return. We ended up spending the whole lunch discussing how ridiculously lucky we are that we nearly always agree on everything from money to decor to where to vacation to what to watch on TV. Boring for some, I'm sure, but never having to argue about that stuff does wonders for my stress level. I'm not saying we never fight, of course (the old Mac vs. PC battle is a big one in our house!), but being part of a team that agrees on nearly all of the "big" stuff just makes life soooo much easier. I wouldn't trade that for anything.

  37. I haven't read the other comments yet so forgive me if there's any repetition.
    My definition of 'birds of a feather flock together' is people who possess the same values, hold the same life expectations, same religous values, sense of responsibility, similar family virtues, hopes for the future, maybe education, basically… what's 'familiar'

    "opposites attract" means, (to me) that you sense something in the other person that does one of two things. Repulses you or makes you tingle from head to toe. That person who challenges your thinking. Perhaps that person has a je ne sais quois (spelling?), that you would never, ever in a million years allow yourself to be or do but they want you as much as you want them. They handle things differently and much to your amazement, gets results in ways you never thought possible. Maybe they are quiet while you're a screamer, maybe they lash out while driving while you wave a person on in front of you. Maybe you like to go out and are not motivated but the other person is always on the go… so that encourages you.

    I married an opposite. I'm a Leo and he's a Scorpio. It works. However, I realize we are also birds of a feather when it comes to the fundamental things. No arguing about what a family 'should' be. No debates about whether or not to have children. He's a slob and I'm anal. :) (as an aside, THAT has been interesting. We have yet to work that out, but he does make me see that obssesive clean is not feasible and I make him see that there is a sense of peace when everything is in its place) Where the opposite thing came in that absolutely worked was finding out about my being pregnant with twins and finding out our son would be born with a disfiguring birth defect. I freaked and worried and panicked and cried and blamed myself and researched and cried more. His first words upon finding out about what was to come while I was sobbing in the perinatologists office wondering what to do… how to 'get out' of this, were, "We thought thought we'd never have children and now we'll have three. We take what God gives us and make the best of it." Opposites. He didn't freak, he didn't cry, he didn't even yell or tell me to calm down. He just said those words. He didn't research, he didn't plan, he didn't do anything. And that's ok. Because we're opposites. Again, I'm anal… I'm a planner, he just goes with the flow. Should I have been mad that he didn't panic like I did? It actually helped me. He let me do what I had to do and supported every decision and watched from the sidelines and made mental notes and observations he shared later. It was good. Yet, we're birds of a feather because our fundamental values are the same.
    So all that Miss Stephanie to say, you are probably much more alike than you know in all the important ways. All the differences is what I like to call the seasonings of a marriage. (If you can think of marriage as an ongoing recipe) :) The differences too are what will fascinate your children. They'll know more than one way to problem solve. That there's more than only one way to handle a situation. Now I have to go and yell at my partner in crime as to why the children are NOT in the shower getting ready for bed. The way I would do it. And he'll shake his hand at me because he's planting flowers with them and tell me not to worry about it. But I will Because there is a 'specific' routine and bed-time and he'll do it his way and you know what? It'll be ok and tomorrow is another day. :)
    Happy Mother's Day Stephanie

  38. I'm confused. I thought you said earlier, when you and the suitor were dating, that he wasn't a yeller/screamer, which was one of the reasons why you loved him. I thought you described your ex husband as the yeller/screamer and that you would never be with another person who treated you like that again? Was that in your book?

    Boundaries Steph. No one deserves to be screamed/yelled by the people they love and love them in return. You are not one of Phil's clients; he should not treat you like one.

    Remember, we teach people how to treat us. What are you teaching Phil?

  39. I have to say, this "Hey are you two getting divorced?" stuff strikes me as absolutely classless. Sallie – would you say something like that to someone in person? When a friend mentions an argument he/she had with his/her spouse, do you rattle off details about custody battles and give them "information to file away" regarding divorce laws? I mean really!

  40. I haven't read this post yet, but out of all the mom blogs I read, (there are many!) I just had the urge to come over and wish you a very Happy First Mother's Day. Truly, you are blessed! Stephanie aka Manic Mom

  41. Relationships are organic. Regardless of people's astrologicaly signs or personalities — Some merely survive — a lot of them — and then there are the ones that truly thrive. They need feeding. I think it is what you have said about the choices you make — opposites and birds of feather only make a relationship work if both people have chosen to commit to the relationship and grow through it.

  42. I love this post. I am a big believer in astrological signs influencing your personality (more than a daily forecast, which I'm not certain I believe in). Your children are fire signs, your husband is a fire sign, you are air – you're all compataible, it's wonderful.

    Fire signs go with air (I'm an air – A Gemini), and I recently heard that parents who want a peaceful life manage to have compatiable starsign children (as you did). Parents who want a challenge go for starsigns that are not compatiable. Interesting.

    (I'm air- Gemini).

  43. When did it become alright for a spouse or significant other to scream or yell at you? The posts suggesting that this is a good sign (not astrological) of a balanced relationship is insane. Spitting in your face because they're so engaged in their argument? Sounds more like a bar room brawl than a discussion or debate with a loved one.

    My parents oddly enough are Libra/Aries and they've been married for over 45 years now. Lots of great memories growing up, but the ones I recall the most are the screaming matches.

    So for those of you who are happily moving forward with weddings to their screamers, why?? Certainly explains why all the good guys are still walking around out there. Lots of women happily marrying the frustrated, angry ones.

  44. I have to agree with the people who say that screaming /yelling/shouting is really not acceptable. Once a year, maybe…but anything more than that is just wrong and shouldn't be tolerated as just "a part of who he is." (I'm an Aries and hate and am scared by yellers too, so it has nothing to do with the sign.)

  45. So… you married my husband's brother…

    Alot of people here seem to be thinking that you posted about Phil yelling AT you when you disagree….but I didn't get that from this post (was I wrong?)….instead, what I got is that when you and Phil disagree that he is a "yeller".


    I argue for a living as well…in fact, so does my husband (imagine the yelling in our household)….and yes, our voices probably get raised more often than most (we notice because the dog cowers when we do raise our voices)…however we're usually not yelling at one another…it's that our brains (and hearts, to a certain extent) are trained to solve our problems with passion and verve….it's not always the right way to proceed but we're become hard-wired and it's an automatic reflex.

    A judge doesn't permit objections from counsel that raise with a "ssshhh…..what will the other courtroom think!"….or "sshhh…there's no need to yell"

    SO we train ourselves to speak louder, speak faster and make sure that our partner/friend/parent/sister/lover knows that we are speaking from the heart and can't be dismissed.

    We've often tried to change (and we've tried to soften our ways)….it's hard…but I don't think it makes us bad people…and I don't think our dog (and future children, we are in the process of adoption) will grow up scarred and screwed up.

    Rather, I'd hope that they will grow up knowing that it's ok be in disagreement on important points and that it's OK to be passionate about things…as long as there's balance and love which glues a relationship together. We always ALWAYS apologize, never go to bed angry….and although we don't always see eye to eye (even at the end of a yelling match) we continue to respect one another. So far so good…we are 9 years in.

    I've been lurking for quite awhile here on your site and find it interesting that people not only love to comment but also love to tell you what to do….please be true to yourself on this and everything else in your life.

    You seem like a phenomenal woman on an exciting path who prides herself on honesty…thanks for sharing your world with me (us)!

  46. Phil needs to seek anger management counseling. I would give him an ultimatum (sorry, Phil) because there is no excuse for him yelling and screaming like that, not when you have children in the house. No matter his sign, his temperament, his job, his past, or how he was raised, it’s unacceptable and you need to put your foot down. If anything for your children. Don’t be one of those mothers who sacrifices her own children for the man she loves.

    I think I’ve shared with you before in email exchange about my folks. My mom finally had to tell my father you change or I leave, it’s that simple. And he sought out anger management counseling, and you know what? It helped! They’re still together, and he still has to restrain himself many times, but rather than yelling and screaming like he did in the past he scowls and pouts instead. BUT he gets over it.

    From what you’ve told us about Phil and the videos, I think Phil is a great guy, loyal to the bone, and I too am a yeller if I get angry enough, but I also had to receive counseling in how to handle my emotions. I did it for my little boy. I didnt want him to grow up to be this angry person who lacks control in handling his emotions.

    If not for you, he needs to do this for his children.

  47. Okay, I just realized how old this post is…how did I end up in here?? 2007?
    grrr. Your new layout is killing me. :)

  48. and one more thing on the more general theme. i think your family is wrong. i think it is better to be similar to your spouse. i have a very muted version of your situation, really almost identical in that ‘what i miss about new york’ thing etc.
    ive really come to the conclusion that we want someone to deeply understand our passions, to ‘get’ us and to see us. it is very depressing not to have that, both in practical terms (you want parties, he doesnt) and emotionally. i feel alone. actually i dont feel alone. there are several men who get me, very clearly, but they are not my husband.

  49. I think we all question who we married and why. Sitting at 17.5 years and still questioning my decision. Seemed right at the time and most days feel I chose well. The other days? Well that would be TODAY ;)

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