Comfort Zones

August 24, 2015

in Uncategorized

I’m not planning to see the movie Paper Towns, but I saw the preview. At one point, the female lead is talking to the male lead. She holds up her thumb and index finger half an inch apart and says. “Your comfort zone is this big”. I assume this is followed by all kinds of wild, possibly dangerous, and legally questionable antics, with plenty of teen sexual angst thrown in. However, that scene is great.

Life begins at the end of your comfort zone. © Jusakas |

I’ve noticed a lot of folks have comfort zones inversely related to their age. The older they get, the less they are willing to try new things. I know folks in their 70’s who might as well die because they’re no longer living. Of course I know others the same age who are still out there doing life full on, so it’s not a given.

Comfort zones are an issue in most marriages because usually one spouse has a much larger comfort zone. It can also be a mixed bag; maybe she’s more open to new people while he’s more open to new experiences.

Problems arise when the person with the bigger comfort zone runs over the person with the smaller zone. As someone with a comfort zone measured in miles, I can run Lori down and not even fell the bump. I’ve had to learn to check with her often and look back to see if she is laying in my ruts. I do this because I love her and I don’t want to hurt her or leave her behind.

The other side of this is allowing your spouse to stretch your comfort zone. Lori has often thanked me (later, or much later) for helping her stretch her comfort zone. She’s found new things to enjoy and has grown because she allows herself to be stretched.

In your marriage are you the larger or smaller comfort zone person, or is it some of both? How do you deal with that, and should you make some changes?

~ Paul – I’m XY and I’m down for almost anything that’s legal, moral, and not completely suicidal.

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{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Lynn August 24, 2015 at 2:44 am

‘Might as well die because they’re not really living’ – well, not too hard to guess from that statement that you have a wide comfort zone! And not too hard to guess, from my reaction to that statement, that I have a narrow one. Before we married, I used to tell my husband that he is a grasshopper and I am an ant. It really is good that he helps me be more of a grasshopper. We’ve done more recreational activities this year of our marriage than I did in my whole life previous to it, and that’s more than 50 years of it. On the other hand, he’s saddled with tens of thousands of dollars in debt and we live off my income and savings, and I worry quite a bit. But, narrow range, I get it.


Paul Byerly August 24, 2015 at 10:59 am

@Lynn – No question we need the balance. I benefit from my wife as much as she does from me. (Actually I think I got the better end of the deal, but don’t tell her!)
Paul Byerly recently posted…Boost the SignalMy Profile


Debbie August 24, 2015 at 11:39 am

You hit the “hot button” with this topic. Do you have suggestions for where to get help to stretch those narrow comfort zones, specifically ones that pertain to intimacy?

I like order, and discipline. I find freedom in established routines. While traveling new places, exploring new routes, trying new menus, are enjoyable; these are things that are outside of myself. However, as an introvert I do not like exposing, experimenting, exploring areas that are personal, intimate areas. Those rattle my inner core and often results in me feeling worse about myself. I suppose it has to do with insecurity, low-self esteem.


Paul Byerly August 26, 2015 at 9:24 am

@Debbie – I think it’s possible to stretch comfort zones while having order and routines. Set baby step goals. Have a stretch day regularly.
Another option is to do these things in your mind before you do them for real. Try the, rehearse them, become comfortable with them in your thought life first.
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Keelie Reason August 25, 2015 at 7:05 am

I am the sort of person that has a very huge comfort zone. I’m pretty comfortable saying and doing a lot of things, just by nature. Marriage has definitely stretched me beyond what I even know was a possibility. It’s really important we are willing to get out of our comfort zones in all areas of our life.
Keelie Reason recently posted…Don’t Start Nuttin’ Won’t Be Nuttin’My Profile


Paul Byerly August 26, 2015 at 9:35 am

@Keelie Reason Yup – if marriage don’t stretch you, you’re not doing it right!
Paul Byerly recently posted…She’s Brave, I’m Just CrazyMy Profile


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