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When opposites attract you may wind up in a relationship where one of you is more adventurous than the other. You can still have a long and happy union as long as you find ways to accommodate each other’s comfort zones.
General Principles for Balancing Different Tolerances for Risk
1. Accept each other. Studies show that sensation seeking is more like an overall personality type than a single behavior and it has a strong genetic basis. Choose your partner carefully and clarify what traits are important to you. That way you’ll have a better chance of living happily ever after.
2. Respect each other’s strengths. Risk takers spark innovation and generate a sense of excitement. More conservative types encourage stability and often help the people around them to find consensus and feel validated. Both qualities are valuable and often mesh well together.
3. Communicate constructively. Try to understand each other’s point of view even when you disagree. Ask for what you want and be open to negotiating solutions that make you both feel like winners.
4. Manage your finances. Coordinate your earning, spending and investing activities. You may each need to give a little and set boundaries. Before starting your own business, save up a rainy day fund and decide how long you’ll wait to see a return on your investment before returning to a conventional job.
5. Create a satisfying love life. Share your fantasies and use them to draw closer together as a couple. Be open to expanding your repertoire while ensuring that you both feel comfortable and free from pressure.
6. Coordinate your approach to parenting. Agree in advance on major issues like curfews or acceptable attire for school so you present a united front. Kids need consistency.
Tips for the More Adventurous Partner
1. Go solo. If your significant other dreams about vacations full of antique shopping rather than bungee jumping, schedule your own fun. Get together afterwards to share your experiences. Bring home a t-shirt or a sample of the local cuisine to show your partner you were still thinking of them.
2. Find like-minded friends. Adventurous personalities tend to be more social in general. Know that your marriage may be solid even if your spouse sometimes prefers to stay home gardening while you reunite with your old college buddies.
3. Take wise risks. Make sure your good times come at an acceptable price. If you’re having trouble controlling your drinking or other habits on your own, there are professionals and support groups that can help.
4. Drive responsibly. Aggressive driving deserves special mention because it’s a common outlet for risk taking in modern society. Breathe deeply, listen to music, and allow yourself more time to reach your destination.
Tips for the Less Adventurous Partner
1. Take on new challenges. Sensible risks are good for you. You’ll boost your self confidence and be better prepared to respond in a crisis.
2. Engage in experiential learning. Supplement your book learning with some hands on training. Doing things affects your brain differently than just listening to information or watching an event. Go skiing or volunteer at a hospital.
3. Show off a little. You may sometimes feel overshadowed if your partner is a big mover and shaker. Celebrate your own accomplishments and remain engaged in activities that you find meaningful and rewarding.
You and your partner may score differently when it comes to sensation seeking, but you can still have a sensational life together. Combine the best of both worlds so you’ll get to enjoy your adventures without neglecting your responsibilities.