This may sound stupid to many of you but I have a question about the ability to hear the notes in the tune. I am asking this because I don't believe I hear the same as some other, perhaps as most others. I cannot tell the relative position of notes. I am not even talking about picking out keys or other similar actions. If I am tuning the guitar (using 5th fret to 5th fret technique) I can only tell if it is in tune when the wavelengths are not in conflict. If I am using a tuner I cannot tell whether the note played is above or below the desired note until it is a long way one way or the other. If I am picking out simple melodies (we're talking Mountain Dew or Cindy here) I find the notes by playing up and down the strings until I hit something that sounds close. I have been doing this for ten years and not gotten any better at it. I get by because my significant other is an award winning singer song writer and I can ask her to tell me the key, chord progression and notes. She can play the song better after one listening than I can after one month.
So is this reasonably normal? Do all people hear the relative pitch if not the perfect pitch? I know I stood too long at the end of runway in the USAF and had some hearing loss, but I don't think I ever had the "ear" that others have. I'd be interested in any feedback anyone cares to give me about this. I know Dan counsels walking away from the tabs but I'm not sure its possible.