Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The worst thing a man can do to a woman

In a previous post, I explored Blaming, Shaming and Complaining -- the three worst things most women do their men according to the book How to Improve Your Marriage without Talking About it. I would be remiss to not show the other side, so here goes. The worst thing a man can to do a woman is ... to leave her ALONE -- alone in her dreams, alone at home, alone in her fears, alone in bed, alone period.

Alone at Home:I'm fortunate that I wasn't born during my parent's generation when child-rearing was solely woman's work. My partner does his fair share and often more. This is a no-brainer -- our family wouldn't function if one person was left doing all the chores. I'm very grateful that we are equal partners. My problem is that I do not express my gratitude often enough. At times, I resent having to say thank you for something that's clearly his responsibility. Yet I know that it's imperative to my partner's happiness to feel appreciated. In fact, he's ready to give more when I show my gratitude, so what's stopping me?

Alone in Her Dreams:
Spouse, kids, health, career, house, leisure time. What more could a girl ask for? At the risk of sounding like an ingrate, I'm not done dreaming. There's more I want out of life and I often feel like my partner is impatient with me: "Isn't what you have enough woman?" He's uncomfortable with hearing me talk about my dream of owning my own business (not sure what yet) and would rather I stay put in my stagnant, stifling and utterly depressing (yet secure and well-paying) job. Until I can provide some guarantees on the financial viability of a new business, my ideas are pointless. That's okay, I can still blab to my friends who don't mind listening -- they have nothing vested after all.

Alone in bed:
Sex is NOT the the same as intimacy. I need to feel connected before sex, he needs sex to feel connected. Hello? It's no wonder sex is such a charged issue for many married couples. Often I feel like I'm living a Rewards Program -- everything he does for the me and the kids earns points towards sex. Hell, I know it's that way in other marriages too. Acceptance is where I'm at with this. It's futile to try and change someone else -- and what, turn him into a woman? Familiarity + routine + sleep deprivation + kids does not equal va-va-va-voom! Luckily for me, I've discovered that my feelings towards sex are mostly based on how I feel about my self. Staying healthy and fit is my key to an active sex life.

Alone in her fears:
According to this book, women's primary fears are of rejection and abandonment. It's worse when men retreat to their caves. I am particularly prone to this one, which I think stems from my childhood and was further exacerbated in my 20s with a string of dysfunctional relationships. Luckily for me, the security of a committed relationship has squelched this fear, for the most part. On occassion, the pain of rejection rises up and takes hold of me. It's those times in particular that remind me that marriage has not ruined my life. I'm generalizing here, but men underestimate how real this fear is. It's okay to turtle from conflict and pull away in order to come back more loving. I do this too sometimes. What's often missing is that tiny bit of reassurance -- "everything is cool, I'll be back, don't sweat it." THAT makes all the difference in the world.

I question how wise it is to generalize like this. Men and women behave differently in relationships and at times we swap roles :-P. I certainly spend a lot of time navel gazing and it's easy to lose perspective. Hopefully it helps to try and step into his shoes.

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