So You’ve Fallen in Love with a Non-Humanitarian

My girlfriend is terrified of going on airplanes, she absolutely loathes them. She certainly doesn’t understand how I fly 20+ hours at a time for my organization, or why I would that fly that far, or why I am so passionate about my cause. When it comes to a powerful news story, I’m the one crying and she’s the one looking at me strangely. I’m not saying she is apathetic and heartless, she is a very caring and loving person to her friends, family and me. Honestly anyone compared to me would appear at least mildly apathetic. Really, I am hyper emotional and empathetic.

Honestly, before I started dating her, I thought my ideal woman would be very much like myself- someone in the aid or non-profit sector, probably working in education development and/or with kids.

I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I’m not saying that two humanitarians couldn’t have a successful romantic relationship, I’m sure many do. (I’m in no way shape or form an expert on other people’s relationships.)

I could write a 10 page essay on all of the things about my girlfriend that I love – but I will spare you (you’re welcome) and list out a few reasons why being with a non-humanitarian makes me better at what I do.

  • She balances out my emotional tendencies – which helps me think more objectively about my work and the world.
  • She challenges my worldview. We can debate and discuss global and domestic issues; we might not change each other’s minds, but perspective is definitely expanded.
  • She cares because I care. My work is important to me, so it’s important to her.
  • She tries to understand what I do. I can talk about my day and she is truly interested and asks questions.
  • She respects my passion. No, she doesn’t get it all of the time, but she respects that part of me and allows me to feel how I feel.

Like in any relationship, balance and respect is essential. Could I have found that with a humanitarian? Sure, but other humanitarians will have the same emotional hangups and the manic bouts of passion towards a cause. Which could be good for some people (again, not a relationship expert), however, I would not be great at it. Really, I just imagine us being in separate corners curled up in the fetal position.  How could we be emotionally supportive of each other if we were stuck in our own heads, worrying over the state of the world?

What makes being with a non-humanitarian so special is that she cares in spite her worldview. I get a peek into a different worldview and so does she. She helps me draw myself out of my head. She is my rock and my balance. I wouldn’t be the humanitarian I am today without her.

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