The Misanthrope’s Guide To Falling In Love With An Eternal Optimist

My wife is the most optimistic person I’ve ever met. She stalwartly refuses to look on the dark side. Her hopes are always high, and she enthusiastically encourages everyone around her to do the same. Her optimism surrounds her like an aura of sunshine. I’m not like that. I dislike most people, think the worst of every situation, and always plan for disaster. Falling in love with each other was an epic study in opposites.

Optimists deflect negativity bombs like nobody’s business.

Your pessimistic attitude doesn’t have a chance. Optimism comes on a spectrum, so the shiny happy person sneaking under your dark cloud of doom and cynicism will probably have different superpowers and levels of tolerance than anyone else’s. My personal Pollyanna is relentless. Her shields are almost bulletproof—almost.

Dimming an optimist’s shine is like not clapping for Tinkerbell.

Someone who’s genuinely enthusiastic about life gets this look in the eyes when some misanthropic jerkface (like me) dumps a bucket of water all over her or his excitement. I’ve seen it. Worse, friends—I have caused it. It’s just like extinguishing a fire: the flames go out, the light disappears, and one more sweet stargazer watches a distant light blink out in the sky. Poof. That’s the look of hope dying.

You should get used to a lot of positivity—a lot.

You don’t want to cause that look. Don’t do it. Yes, interacting with other people is typically an exercise in aggravation, but you have to join in and clap your hands sometimes. You have to compromise. Do you want Tinkerbell to die? I don’t. I’m a scoffing, sneering caviler, yes, but I’m not a monster.

Apparently, optimism metabolizes into everlasting energy.

My wife—we call her Peanut—can find energy for almost anything. She somehow survives on five or six hours of sleep even when she has the opportunity to sleep in longer. She can accomplish 84 different things before I even make it out of bed in the morning. Misanthropes tend to lag behind our darling idealists because, as we know, it’s dismal under our doom clouds.

There are pros and cons to that much energy.

The pros are … well, they are exceedingly pro. The pro-est. The pros are bigly. Making out, sex, planning out adventures, putting together surprises, spoiling their gloomy Gusses rotten—all benefits of boundless energy. However, optimists also have an unlimited amount fervor for things like cleaning, organizing, and being productive members of society, which is awesome—except, Ms. or Mr. Misanthropist, your ardent lover expects the same of you.

You will stop and smell all of the roses.

You’ll also pet a lot of dogs, stroke scores of cats, coo at hundreds of babies, and watch thousands of people blossom beneath your cheerful partner’s smile. Try as you might to avoid your lover’s sunshine, it’s going to get under your stormcloud and shine a light on the little things. It’s hard to hate everything when it’s filtered through the eyes of a dreamer.

It’s hard to provoke someone who’s so positive.

I’m an antagonistic little jackhole sometimes. Lots of haters are—that’s what we do. Like say, you probably won’t want to rain on your optimist’s parade, but even if you feel like picking a fight, it’s not easy. My one and only dreamer can put up with so much crap from me. It’s tempting to view it as a challenge and to accept it thusly, but you won’t want to do that forever. It’s mean, for one thing, and for another…

The argumentative misanthrope is always the douchebag.

Seriously, you look like a jerk for picking on a starry-eyed Pollyanna who believes the best in everything. Even if you insist you’re realistic, not pessimistic, it’s like picking on a unicorn. Who wants to be the butthole going around bullying unicorns?

Your happiness means the world to your precious puppy dog partner.

That seems horribly patronizing, reading it over, but I stand by it because I don’t mean it that way in the slightest. What I mean is that your partner’s desire to make you happy is as infinite, selfless, and sweet as a puppy’s. It’s just one of the traits that can make a solitary cynic willing to venture out into the public, engage in small talk, and crack a smile.

But you have to compete for your lover’s time.

Because of their vast stores of energy and their enthusiasm for everything, optimists tend to take on new tasks all the time. They say yes to almost everything and love every stressful minute of it. It understandably spreads them pretty thin, though. You won’t always come first—but you’re a loner, right? So it’s kind of a pro.

Optimists love receiving attention.

They’re happy to give it to you, but this ain’t a one-way train. You have to praise your optimist, even for the small tasks. Know why? Because optimistic people tackle the most innocuous jobs with vigor and zeal. That deserves attention. Asking about work or a project, that’s a must. You also need to meet your partner’s needs for physical and emotional attention. You get paid back in spades all the way around—remember that.

They expect romance, too.

Many optimists are romantics at heart, of course. That’s because they have such a pristine, idealized view of the world. Plenty of them are also romantics in the sense that they want their partners to sweep them off their feet. Grumbling an “I love you” every so often isn’t going to work.

Meltdowns happen rarely, but they’re intense.

Not only is it hard to provoke a hardcore optimist, but your excitable partner probably stays chill under pressure as well, yeah? Samesies. However, when Peanut pops her shell, y’all, that girl is gone. She’s got a temper. Unrelated: it’s hot as hell when it’s not directed right at me.

The glass isn’t just half-full, it’s spilling over the sides and you better drink

up, bucko. An optimistic lover is like a glass of champagne. My love bubbles over, all fizz and sparkle. It’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen. Sometimes I can’t see her rose-colored view of life’s possibilities as more than a blur, but I find myself getting drunk on it all the same.

Your optimistic lover won’t force you out of your antisocial bubble.

At least, not if she or he truly loves you for the dark, misanthropic soul you are. However, your Pollyanna might tempt, coax, or bribe you—always with a smile, a kiss, a stroke of your cheek. It works. Don’t fight it.

That rosy outlook is insidious, and that enthusiasm is infectious.

You can’t fight it. It gets under your skin and into your head. It seeps into your eyes and behind them. It’s not as though you’ll wake up bursting with positivity or anything, but maybe your pessimism will turn into realism and perhaps your realism will edge more toward optimism. It happens. Don’t worry, though. You’re still a cantankerous killjoy. It’s ultimately a good thing because…

Too much negativity will kill your unicorn.

You have to give a little. Make small talk. Try new things. Take risks. Don’t take doom dumps all over everything. Stop predicting rain because there’s a cloud over the sun. You’ll suck the wide-eyed wonder out of your hopeful heartthrob. If you need your partner to tone it down, communicate and compromise. Don’t kill the unicorn.

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