Tips for Living with a Non-Sharer

I suffer from a slight aversion to sharing, food that is. This not to be confused with stinginess. I’m somewhat sharing-impaired. I get my back up a bit when someone suggests sharing a bunch of little plates for dinner until I know what type of “sharers” I am dining with. You see, I’ve been burned.

I wasn’t born a non-sharer. I think it all started in my childhood—hold on, let me lay down on a couch. As I was saying, I was an only child until I was almost 7. And then suddenly, my parents had three more children within four years. I went from having it all…to sharing it all and usually ending up with nothing.

Flash forward to my dating years. I think until this point, I’d be considered a fairly generous person. That all changed after one visit to the movies with my new boyfriend who later became my husband. I felt like I had met the man of my dreams when he revealed that his favorite movie candy was the same as mine: Raisinets. I waited patiently through the previews for the movie to begin before reaching into the box for my first handful of candy only to find… 2 shriveled-up little Raisinets left. The man had finished the box before the movie had even begun! Who does that?! My life would never be the same. This is the moment when I realized that often people that call themselves “sharers” are actually something entirely different: they are takers. They take—a lot—without remembering that they are supposed to be sharing!

Troubling situations like these reoccurred throughout the first year of our relationship until I decided it was time to protect myself and my food. My husband’s absent-minded impulse to dive into my plate before I’ve had the first bite has resulted in sitting on opposite sides of the dinner table in social situations. At movies, I put a child between us to protect my candy.

Takers or sharers?

My husband and I have considered and discussed this subject at great lengths. It’s become a fun topic in social situations where we have discovered that 9 out of 10 times, within couples, one person claims to be a “sharer” and the other a “non sharer.” This can make for a complicated dynamic in a relationship so, I thought I’d share a few tips for mixed marriages like mine so your non-sharer can feel at ease.

1.  If you want more than one of my french fry, get your own. Don’t say that you only want one french fry when deep down inside you know that you want the whole container. You might think you should only have one, but let’s be realistic: no one stops at one. Obviously, the same advice holds true with Raisinets.

2. Avoid sneak attacks. Never unexpectedly sweep in with your fork and grab food off of your partner’s plate without asking first! (Sorry to shout) This puts the non-sharer on the defense. Situations like this have resulted in bodily harm in my experience. Ask first and be prepared for a “no.”

3. When the non-sharer offers you a bite, occasionally reply “No thanks.” This will gain you serious bonus points and reassure the non-sharer that you’re not always after what’s theirs. If you’re reading this article, you probably owe them several “no thanks” replies for all the times that you previously swept in and took their food.

4. Never, I said never, take the last bite. I guarantee your skittish non-sharer has purposefully left the most balanced and perfect bite for last. Don’t deprive them of that moment.

5. Realize the humiliation that comes from this label. Do I feel badly about my issue? Of course. Do I want to heal? Hell yes. Who wants to be known as a non-sharer? We all know our flaws. I’m working on it! In the meantime, be patient and don’t push the issue. Don’t take, grab or stab; don’t even ask. Build up the trust and allow the wounds to heal. Then, slowly and thoughtfully, take the plunge and give sharing a shot.

If you follow the tips above, eventually the “non-sharer” and the “taker” might find the perfect balance for their relationship. In fact, you might end up losing your mixed-marriage status and become two perfectly happy sharers. Although I have not arrived at this point with my husband, we are actively trying.

Maybe someday I’ll be like these 2 little love birds.

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Author: Heather Zachariah

Former Art Director for Home Magazine, Heather Leahy Zachariah, left her career in publishing after baby number number one. She now works from home as a freelance graphic designer and a chauffeur to her 3 busy kids. "Working on TipsFromTown has been a wonderful outlet for me. It renewed my love of publishing where I can design colorful, enticing pages online and allows me to share the things I love about being a mom." Heather grew up in Shaker Heights, Ohio, a place that still is near and dear to her. " After living in Brooklyn for 18 years and studying Graphic Design at Pratt Institute, she now lives in the Jersey burbs. "I love living so close to NYC, but in my heart, I'm an Ohio girl."

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