On Dating An Adrenaline Junkie

My boyfriend is an adrenaline junkie. He jumps out of airplanes on Saturdays, runs yellow lights, laughs on roller coasters, and will never be the first to give in to pain, should you challenge him. He is batshit crazy, at least in my eyes.

I, on the other hand, am the complete opposite. I fear all things heights, only feel happy when obeying the speed limit and feel sick to my stomach when I am not, at least, 20 minutes early to a movie. So how on God’s green earth does this relationship work so well? Perhaps that age-old saying, “opposites attract,” or perhaps it is the idea that you admire in others what you lack. I’d say a little of both.

My boyfriend has been like this forever. He tells me stories about racing the dunes with his truck in the town where he grew up, jumping from a plane for the first time and feeling that high he was always chasing, and completing hell week during SEAL training and how the only thing that kept him going was the adrenaline (and being batshit crazy).

I have also always been this way: Always a bit nervous, anxiety-ridden and rule-abiding. I have never liked the way it feels as if I am going to die, fast and painful, on a roller coaster and I really can’t stand not to put my cart back in the designated cart area at Target. I take people’s opinions to heart and the meanness of others often hurts me, something that seems irrelevant to my adrenaline-junkie counterpart.

Being an adrenaline junkie is an irritating, terrifying and strangely attractive characteristic to a worrier such as myself. I find his ability to take risks, both by jumping out of that damn airplane and in business, to be what keeps him excited about life. When he lands on the ground after a jump with his friends, the smile on his face is rare. Pure and complete, from doing something that makes him so unbelievably happy. I admire that. He doesn’t have a death wish, he isn’t jumping off cliffs with a sheet or driving fast without a seat belt, but he is enjoying life 100 percent. He loves the view of the sky when he is in the clouds, he treasures the rush of a new investment and he is hungry for life, for the feeling of living. He told me once that the adrenaline comes from facing the fear, not the actual act. He said every time he goes up in the plane he gets the same nervous feeling he did before his first jump, but overcoming the fear and going for it is the feeling he loves.

This rush he is always chasing isn’t only there to make me crazy (although my panic attacks would disagree), it also makes him successful. He takes risks in business and although he has failed his share of times, he never lets it change his willingness to “jump.” He is often the one in my ear telling me I can do anything and be anything I want. While others might roll their eyes when I tell them my goals and dreams, he celebrates them. He gets more excited than I do sometimes and for someone like me, always nervous of the risks, his excitement breathes energy into my life.

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This one trait that makes us so different, brings us so close. Since our relationship began, I have gotten on many roller coasters while crying tears of fear and I have accomplished more goals than I thought possible. Every time he goes up in that plane I have a mini heart attack and every time he lands I realize just how much he is enjoying life. Although I don’t plan on abandoning my love of rules, punctuality and safety, he makes me want to abandon most of my other fears in life. Through his example my fear of failing has diminished, because at least I tried. My fear of dreaming too big is gone, because there is no such thing and my fear of not pleasing others has faded because I am damn pleased with myself.

So while I hope if you see him at a party you don’t dare him to be shocked with a Taser, because he will accept the challenge willingly, I do hope you learn the lessons an adrenaline junkie can teach you. To give it all you got, to never let fear stand in your way and to never be so scared you don’t jump, because you could be missing out on the most amazing experiences life has to offer.

I can’t attest to all relationships, but I can say that this difference balances us. His extremeness meets my nervousness and life is somehow level and beautiful in its contrast. Embrace your inner adrenaline junkie, say yes to something scary and do something that makes you feel really, truly alive.

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