They’re so dif­fer­ent. How can they be happy?

The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - el­liead­ DEAR EL­LIE

Q. Can there be too many dif­fer­ences be­tween two peo­ple and love still keep them to­gether?

One cou­ple among my friends don’t seem to fit to­gether.

She’s more spir­i­tual and a reg­u­lar church at­ten­dant; he doesn’t go at all.

He’s a smoker, she’s not; he likes to drink but she doesn’t. She’s al­ways de­cent but he tells all man­ner of jokes.

One loves par­ties, the other doesn’t.

Once, she at­tended a party but left early with many ex­cuses — she didn’t feel well, wasn’t com­fort­able among friends who drink and drive, was wor­ried about her kids, and tired.

That was her first and last party with our friends.

She later said that her strict fam­ily back­ground in­flu­enced her life­style.

How­ever, the cou­ple had some things in com­mon: they’re both im­pul­sive. Also, de­pend­ing on the news they read, they had ei­ther an ex­cel­lent day or a re­ally bad one. Both eas­ily in­flu­enced by news!

They seemed in love with each other. Will their re­la­tion­ship last?

A. If this is re­ally about a friend, your guess is as good as mine.

If it’s re­ally about you — that’s some­times the case when peo­ple write to ad­vice col­umns — then the out­come de­pends on you as much as him, plus the cir­cum­stances you’ll face over time.

Can love con­quer all odds? Yes, but it takes a lot of will and re­spect along with a strong emo­tional con­nec­tion.

Ex­am­ple: Some­one who doesn’t like to drink can ac­cept that a part­ner does en­joy it, and both can de­cide if they’re com­fort­able with one at­tend­ing drink­ing par­ties and the other avoid­ing them.

Mar­riage is a long-haul ride to­gether. There are bumps and ob­sta­cles, but there’s also the com­fort of com­pan­ion­ship and the shared goal of achiev­ing hap­pi­ness to­gether.

The two peo­ple de­scribed are both im­pul­sive yet sen­si­tive, keep­ing in­formed and at­tuned to a larger world they care about.

They have as much chance of stay­ing to­gether long-term as any cou­ple that looks on the sur­face like “a per­fect match.”

Be nice to of­fice man­ager

Q. I love my work but I don’t care for the of­fice man­ager. Sev­eral years ago, we both were of­fered a higher-pay­ing po­si­tion.

She turned it down stat­ing she doesn’t like han­dling money. I jumped at the op­por­tu­nity.

Since then, the man­ager’s been mak­ing my life hell. When our di­rec­tor’s gone for long pe­ri­ods, the of­fice man­ager will com­plain to our board of di­rec­tors that I don’t say good morn­ing to her.

Or, she’ll flat-out lie that I THROW files on her desk. In the last year, I’ve been pulled into two meet­ings with the chair when the di­rec­tor wasn’t present and told I have an at­ti­tude prob­lem which must change.

Each time I’ve told the chair that with as many or­ga­ni­za­tions as I’ve worked with in the past, I’ve never been brought into meet­ings for an ap­par­ent at­ti­tude prob­lem.

What can I do to en­sure this doesn’t hap­pen to me or change the of­fice dy­nam­ics? We are a very small staff.

A. It’s called “ha­rass­ment” and stems from jeal­ousy that you now earn more than her.

In such a small staff, you need to be strate­gic in re­sponse.

Be “nice.” Say “Good morn­ing” so all can hear. Bring files to her af­ter email­ing that you’ll be do­ing so, then de­liver them care­fully. Keep the email record.

Also, keep records of any­thing you feel can later be turned into a wrong­ful com­plaint to the board of di­rec­tors, with a copy to your im­me­di­ate di­rec­tor.

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