There are several theories that say women talk three times more than men. There are other studies that contradict that finding. I’m don’t really believe either, as I think it really depends on the person, and my mother has partly convinced me it is reliant on their sun sign (Geminis are apparently the most talky). Nevertheless, after having a discussion with my roommate and friend, A, after we both bickered with the leading man of our lives – I’ve concluded that in arguments, maybe the ladies do use their words more.
I’m not an argumentative person and it takes something pretty drastic to anger me. I tend to be pretty level-headed and understanding, and while I may be emotional from time to time, I’m hardly ever furious. But when I get pushed to that point or when something happens that makes me rationally (or irrationally) rationalize anger, I have this uncontrollable urge to work it out. Mainly because, I don’t really like to be upset. And really, I don’t like to have a lingering disagreement above my head or worse yet, above the bed. Intimacy and connections don’t build on tangled sheets and dysfunctioning thoughts.
As we commiserated over our shared current state, we talked about how men often just want to shut off, shut down, and let the problem or the discussion come to a stammering halt, and then pick up the next day, as if nothing happened. They throw out accusations that we’re being “too much” or we’re “overreacting” or we’re being “emotional” – when it reality, we’re just trying to express how we feel. Perhaps we show our stress differently than they do, and maybe there is evidence to claim we go overboard from time to time, but that doesn’t make us women, that makes us human.
So when we’re not getting the answer we want or the reaction we need, we ask the question a different way. We try a new approach. Healthy or not, we play off what we know will get them, what we know will evoke a response, and we go from there. And as it always does, the conversation prolongs, the issue persists and expands, and we’re left thirty minutes later, crying and frustrated – yet damned and determined to put this sad baby to bed. If you’re anything like me, I’m sure your exes have told you the same things they’ve all told me: “I can’t do this right now, we’re just talking in circles, let’s let this go for now.”
Even though I recognize the never-ending circular pattern, for whatever reason, I can never release tension until it is resolved. Worse than that though, I can never get myself to say five simple words:
This is what I need.
I’m not the only woman who feels this way. As women do and as A and I did recently, we talk to one another. We talk and talk, analyze and dissect, reach conclusions, make notes and plans, and share in our experiences together, no matter how significant or minute. And yet with all that jabbering and going around and around – we can never just flat-out, blatantly say what we need from someone.
Why is that?
Why is it so difficult to emotionlessly express exactly and precisely what we need? Why do we feel guilty for requesting more out of a man? Have we all been through so many bad relationships, guys who leave without notice, guys who end solid foundations over silly bumps, guys who aren’t worthy of our time in the first place, that we’re all so scared to do the wrong thing or ask for too much… that we never really demand anything?
It really is alright to need something.
And the men I’ve dated never seem to have issue telling me exactly what they need from me or what makes them happy. Shouldn’t I do the same? If relationships are equal partnerships, if we’re playing on the same level field, and going at it 50/50 – why can’t I be clear about what matters to me?
After all, if a guy can’t provide the things or the support that you need as an individual, he’ll never be able to be a functioning, giving, and dependable mate. So why put all the energy into resolving something or being available, when the other party doesn’t put in as much effort?
So, I’m challenging myself. I’ll continue to be understanding. Continue to be open and honest. Continue to be independent and self-efficient. Continue to love myself, even when I’m “too much” or “overreacting.” Continue to talk.
But instead of going around in circles without an ending point in sight, I’ll start being frank about what I need. After all, don’t I frankly give a damn?