It’s About Him (Not Me)

I’d like to think one of my better qualities is my ability to self-motivate. I’ve been known to give myself mini pep talks –admittedly sometimes out loud –encouraging myself to keep truckin’. And when I get in cheerleading mode, I become super focused, zoned-in, and shockingly quiet. I’d rather the outside world leave me alone to have my own private song-and-dance, without anything like reality interrupting me.

The only issue with being in hyper-concentrated-let-me-be mode is that inevitably, you gotta’ deal with other people. And you have to deal with them when they get in that mode, too. Mr. Possibility has been leading a busy life recently, putting him in the get-s***-done state of mind. Studying for a very difficult test that will help his career when he passes it, he’s been stuck in coffee shops and his apartment, only glancing at his beloved BlackBerry from time-to-time, and keeping himself entertained with the giant highlighter I picked up for him. He’s easily amused, apparently.

Anyway – because he’s under a lot of stress and is worried about a pivotal certification and I can offer no guidance on the subject matter, we haven’t been spending as much time together. And when we have been, tensions have been a tad high. We even officially had our first knock-down-drag-out fight last week. Some of the knick-picks have been his fault and some have been mine, but I’ve had to accept a very important fact that I should have learned from He’s Just Not That Into You.

It’s really not me. It’s him.

And this test, sincerely has nothing to do with me. It’s hard not to internalize the influence of everything else outside of a duo. Our lives don’t circulate around our relationships and the sun doesn’t depend on love to rise, but when the person you spend your freedom with needs to be distant for their own needs, how do you stop feeling like it’s you they want to get away from? How do you stop thinking you’re the cause and if only you could say the right thing, you could take away the worry? When truthfully, the only fix to ease the ailment is letting them mend their own wounds or get through their personal hardship with their own will.

That’s the thing about being focused – when you need to complete something – the only something to shift your mood, is you. I’m the same way, so if I can’t accept Mr. Possibility when he gets in that rut, then I’m being dishonest about who I am, too.

And if I think about it, our arguments have stemmed from not being able to relate and from outside factors that neither of us can really control. So with some tough personal love, I’ve decided that space is the best thing I can give him. With that separation, too, comes the liberty for me to relax, get more sleep, see my friends, get caught up on things I’ve let slide, and enjoy my own company. It also prevents unnecessary disagreements and falling outs that don’t need to fall apart.

Because life, loving yourself, loving someone else, dating, and even sex – they all have to be balanced, as René Descartes would say, to make the machine that is your body, function. And if not everything that goes on in your mind, your body, your existence, has to do with another person, then you can’t expect your significant person to make you the center of their everything. Nor, in my opinion, should you want them to.

Sometimes, someone can care about you greatly, but parts of their lives…just have nothing to do with you. And really, it’s okay for it to be about him, not about me.

This is What I Need

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?