Six Questions, Two Perspectives

Photo Credit:  Mo Speer Photography

Photo Credit: Mo Speer Photography

A few months ago, I met this guy on the internet. (Isn’t that how all stories start these days?) He was home in Detroit for spring break, I was home in Detroit between back to back trips, and we happened to both swipe right on each other in that precious window of time.

We clicked damn near instantly, but then quickly realized that this whole Iowa to Michigan, 10 hour distance thing probably wouldn’t work, and so we resigned ourselves to being friends. But here’s the thing - this boy and I have something in common - we’re both really stubborn when it comes to chasing something we want.

Fast forward to now and we’re actually dating. Crazy, I know. We pushed past the distance and it’s actually working really well. Not only that, but this boy is truly invested in me being an entrepreneur (he’s brainstormed Instagram content for me, proofread speeches, and even agreed to the blog post you’re reading now). Knowing that we have so much in common and that he’s willing to be involved in my entrepreneur life, the idea for this blog post was born.

Six questions, two perspectives. We’ve both spent the past month working on answering the six questions below and then we individually sent our answers to Caitlyn. She compiled them for us into this blog post and then we both read through them together, finding where we agreed and disagreed.

Photo Credit:  Mo Speer Photography

Photo Credit: Mo Speer Photography

the questions...

1. What do you remember about the first moment we met? (Online, in person, or both)

DANNIE: Online, I remember looking at his profile and reading his bio and thinking that there was something more to him. Something that wasn’t obvious or something that he was hiding. It made me want to swipe right, so I did, and then I immediately began crossing my fingers hoping he’d swipe right too. I had no idea that he actually lived in Iowa and that we got SO incredibly lucky we were both home during that sliver of time! We might have never met! In Person, Honestly? I was BEYOND nervous to meet him. I bought a plane ticket and flew 600 miles across four states to meet him after only knowing him on the internet and the entire time I was like “what the hell was I thinking?!” Once I landed, I had to go to the bathroom to put some cold water on my face to calm down before I went out to find him. As soon as I found him, we both smiled, and I immediately pulled him in for a hug and kissed him (which is SHOCKING because I never make the first move). I was visibly nervous still, but his presence soothed me and by the time we got to his apartment, it was like we were old friends catching up after time apart.

MADDOX: Honestly, I remember looking at Dannie’s Tinder profile and reading her bio (yes, I actually do that) and thinking two things: “damn this girl seems hella interesting,” and “damn this girl seems like a boss ass bitch.” The next feeling I had was just a sensation of KNOWING that if I swiped right, we would match. Then immediately came another thought that said “well even if you do match, she probably won’t want to talk to you anyways”. But I ignored that internal dialogue, and swiped right anyways. Sure enough, it was a match. I had this feeling that I NEEDED to message her. At the time, I had no idea why, but I just KNEW. No doubt at all that we would match, and I KNEW I had to talk to her.

When we met in person, and I drove to the airport to pick her up, I was nervous. I was worried about making a good “first impression,” worried that I wouldn’t be anything like she expected me to be in real life, worried that we wouldn’t connect face to face like we did via text and talking on the phone. I was subconsciously running through all of my flaws and thinking “What if she doesn’t like this? What about that? Oh god, what am I gonna do if the weekend goes horribly and I’m stuck with her for an extra two days? I can’t just drop her off at home and ghost her like the last girl I met off tinder (which is a different and hysterical story). What if she doesn’t find me attractive in person, what if she hates this stupid sign and doesn’t think it’s funny?” etc etc etc. I was running through those thoughts and getting more nervous as I waited in the airport lobby in a shirt and tie, holding a valet sign that said “Richard B. Harry” and getting looks of derision from the pastor that was on Dannie’s flight and his pastor friend that came to pick him up, undoubtedly disproving of my sign, sure didn’t help my nervousness. Then Dannie came around the corner and it all vanished. All the anxiety, the nervousness, everything just disappeared as soon as I saw her smile and heard her say “Come here, you” and pulled me in for a hug. I immediately felt comfortable with Dannie. I wasn’t stressed, things felt natural, and on the drive home we talked like friends that simply hadn’t seen each other in awhile. We talked about music, shared what we were listening to with each other, laughed, and just enjoyed each other’s company. There was no pressure, no awkward “getting to know you in real life” phase. The connection we had in person was easy and instantaneous.

2. Who has more power in this relationship? If there is a power dichotomy, what kind is it? How does that impact you?

DANNIE: Oh gosh. So we are both very strong people with very strong personalities. I think we’re both unafraid to go after what we want and we’re both self made in our own ways. That being said, I definitely take some solace in letting go around him, smiling more, and listening. I think that even though the power is balanced in this relationship, I naturally defer to him, and I am truly more than okay with that.

MADDOX: I don’t believe that either of us has more power over the other. I think that we both are powerful people, but it manifests itself in different ways for each of us. I think that since we both had our own series of struggles to overcome in life, we have both become extremely stubborn, strong-willed, and self-reliant. However, despite these two powerful personalities interacting in a closer manner, there hasn’t been any collision (yet, haha). I think that despite the fact that we are both powerful people, we are able to find balance. There hasn’t been an overt power struggle within our relationship and it’s refreshing and uplifting. I think that we are able to help push each other to succeed in our own unique endeavors, because the power that we have used to fuel our own successes allows us to see the same drive and desire in the other person.

3. What were you drawn to about the other person / what made them different?

DANNIE: I loved that he holds all of these ideals really strongly but he didn’t pressure me to conform to them. A lot of our overlap (lifting, spirituality, etc) has been coincidence or organically started conversations. I also love that he’s not afraid to give me shit - there’s something to be said for a relationship where you can tease the hell out of each other but you both are also well aware of where the line is. I also think that he’s beyond strong and emotionally intelligent, even if that doesn’t seem immediately obvious. He’s been through so much in his life and because of that, he’s been able to understand a lot of what I’ve been through without me explaining it in profuse detail.

MADDOX: I honestly don’t know where to begin with this question, as there are so many things that make Dannie different. The more I learn about her and the more I experience life with her, the more I’m drawn to her. In all honesty, she is the complete opposite of the last girl I dated in just about all regards, which is a HUGE draw. From the early conversations that we had, it was very apparent that she is very self-motivated and independent, and derives all her success from her own hard work. I really appreciate the fact that she is not afraid to do her own work, and to get her hands dirty while doing it. She puts in the labor so that she can reap the fruits of her own work. She does it all without relying on external motivators. Dannie’s attitudes and perspectives are also different from anything I have experienced while in a relationship. She understands that it is not a requirement of me to devote 100% of my time to her in order to sustain a relationship with her. Her understanding and empathy are unlike anything I’ve encountered. She is completely understanding of my brokenness as a person, and yet her love is unwavering. She doesn’t turn away from or judge me for the negative experiences that have shaped some of my behaviors, and only reacts with kindness to my flaws. She sees my truth, as ugly as it may be in some areas, and embraces it. I feel like no one has been able break down my walls as quickly and effectively as she has, and I feel like her ability to see the real me, enabled her to do so and makes her stand out from the crowd.

Photo Credit:  Mo Speer Photography

Photo Credit: Mo Speer Photography

4. What do you think each person brings to the table? What is a weakness in the other person that you can help support?

DANNIE: Mads brings a lot to the table. In a weird way, his busy lifestyle allows me to chase my dreams without feeling guilty or like I’m dragging someone along with me. He’s incredibly kind and generous and he goes out of his way to make me feel special. The “key” moments in our relationship have been really well curated because of him - he gives these speeches that I tease him for (and often accidentally interrupt) but they also mean so much to me. He’s just incredibly genuine and unafraid to be who he is.

I think a weakness that he has is his lack of confidence in himself. It’s self-nurtured but also externally created and I hope to be someone who can ease some of that and encourage confidence. I think him seeing how confident I am, especially in overcoming body insecurities in the past year and being bold in how I put myself out there, will encourage him to be moreso as well. I also think that I can reassure a lot of his insecurities because I’m unafraid to speak my truth and bare my feelings. Inversely, I think that he can encourage me to step away, to disconnect, to be more in the moment. I’m so afraid to miss a work moment, it’s like I have career FOMO. He’s been incredible about nurturing a more present-focused intention in me.

MADDOX: I think that the both of us bring a lot of emotional baggage and motivation to the table. We both come to this relationship broken in some manner from our previous experiences that definitely impact the way that we interact and the things we were looking for in our next relationship. Despite the fact that there are a lot of painful discussions regarding past traumas at the hands of previous partners, it makes us stronger as a couple because we are extremely open about the lessons that those mistakes have taught us. These past lessons motivate us to be better partners for each other, and not repeat history.

I think that I can help Dannie remember to take breaks. I think I can get her to disconnect from the internet, both intentionally and unintentionally because there’s no/minimal service in BFE Iowa where I live and stop working all the damn time. I think I can get her to SLOW DOWN and stop and smell the roses and enjoy the little things, like short hikes to waterfalls and beverages on the patio. I think I can help her fight the urge to constantly check her phone/emails because we all deserve some down time. Inversely, Dannie is really conscious of the horrible things that were said to me during my last relationship and how they impact some of my behaviors. She goes out of her way to reassure me in any and every way that I need. She is affirming without being patronizing, and she is slowly helping me become more confident and self-secure.

5. What do you think that the other person's greatest success will be?

DANNIE: Maddox is already building an incredible legacy. He literally touches dozens of kids’ lives through his work as an Athletic Trainer. I see how they look up to him, lean on him, and see him as a true support system on the path to their dreams. In many cases, he’s the first person they text when something exciting or scary happens. Even that first weekend I spent in Iowa when we went to the alumni soccer game, it was an incredible thing to watch how the players interacted with him and almost looked to him for affirmation that they were on the right path. He is truly changing lives and it’s incredible.

MADDOX: This is actually a really hard question to answer because I feel like Dannie is light years ahead of me in terms of how close she is to establishing her legacy. Her brand is already established and out there and doing well. Yet, she keeps putting energy in new endeavors and she’s going to manifest whatever vision she has. That’s just who she is as a person. She doesn’t take no for an answer and she finds a way to get what she wants. I honestly think that the sky's the limit for her. I want my greatest success to be the relationships I have with others, whether they be patient/professional, interpersonal, or romantic. I am the best version of myself when I’m surrounded by good people, and I have a higher quality of life that circumstance as well. I want to be influenced positively by those around me.

6. Do you think we ideologically align? Where do we differ? What are the roots of our individual belief systems and how do those inform the belief system we have as a couple?

DANNIE: It’s a funny thing to talk about ideology. I think that our generation looks at other things first as signals for a good match and only considers ideology after the fact. But ideology is what builds lasting relationships, what sets up the foundation for co-parenting, etc. In many ways, Mads and I were raised with the same base ideology - we both went to Catholic school, we were raised in stricter households, etc. We’re the kind of kids that were taught to write thank you notes, to put family first, to always be kind, etc. I think a lot of that shows up in our belief systems today and even though we’re pretty different on the surface (i.e. pineapple pizza, beer), we’re actually ideologically almost identical. A lot of the deeper values-based conversations we’ve had have seen us sync up nearly perfectly - rather than having to compromise from the outset we’re actually already perfectly in sync.

MADDOX:  We absolutely ideologically align. At our core, our belief systems are uncannily similar, and it makes the beliefs that we have as a unit so much easier to cultivate since there are no compromises that have to be made, or a middle ground that needs to be found. The only difference that we have ideologically is that Dannie is a heathen that thinks pineapple belongs on pizza. That’s the only belief I can’t compromise on or get behind. On a serious note, I feel that we only differ on the superficial level. Our likes/dislikes, our thought process, how we take our coffee, etc, are the only things that set us apart.

Photo Credit:  Mo Speer Photography

Photo Credit: Mo Speer Photography

our thoughts...

As we were reading through our answers together, there was a lot of "holy shit" and "did we really just say that" happening. In some cases, we even used the same language to answer the same question. The similarities between our answers were uncanny and even a little scary (but in a good way, I promise). 

Let us know in the comments below what you think and if you have ever done something like this with your partner!