Linda: When Charlie and I met nearly 50 years ago, it was inconceivable to either of us that this relationship could go anywhere. He was an introvert who prized his solitude. I was an extrovert who loved to make contact with people. He didn’t care much for parties. I have always been super social and love them. His life was chaotic; mine highly structured and tightly organized. Charlie spent a lot of time up in the clouds, a dreamer, impractical. I’m down to earth. Practical is my middle name. He loved baseball; my take on it? Booooring. He drove a motorcycle; I was petrified of them. I believed in a strong work ethic and personal responsibility. He believed in fun and play. Even our styles of working out our differences were different. He came from a very expressive family where everyone freely indulged in their desires to let it all rip whenever they felt like it. My family had taught me to be a good girl and to keep my mouth shut as much as possible. Like many of my friends at the time, I was conflict-phobic.
Charlie: We were very different, in backgrounds, personalities, worldviews, and styles of relating. It seemed impossible that there was any way that we could ever bridge the gap enough to create anything long-term together. Yet our connection was obviously intense, and the passion that we shared was a hell of a kick. Though it seemed very unlikely to me that this would be a very long ride, it would definitely be a gas while it lasted.
One of the primary ways in which Linda and I have always differed is in the ways in which we process information. As an introvert, when I’m under stress, I find it easier to get clear about things by being alone and self-reflecting, rather than interacting with others. Although I often find it helpful and interesting to use a relationship as a means of gaining greater clarity, my initial inclination is generally to look within myself first.