2008-01-22

Relationship Action Plan


I think I am learning that men are a completely different thing than I thought them to be.
I used to think men were so deep, kind of emotionally hiding in really intricate, complicated places because it isn't manly to be emotional or to be motivated by emotion.
I think I was r-o-n-g, wrong.

Men are just not complicated.
And since my recent revelation, it is becoming a mystery to me why we women have begun to expect that our men will suddenly tune into our delicacies and be more like a trusted girlfriend than like a.. man.
Hello?
Think about what you're asking for when you want him to want to talk about how he felt.
You're either going to be told that he felt turned on or you're going to teach a perfectly good man to be a little bitch.
You're going to be mad and withhold sex and be weird when he doesn't talk about his feelings so guess what?
When you breakup with him, you're leaving a man for me or some other of my single friends that is either wary of women or totally emasculated and unappealing.

So many women make demands on men to be more emotional that are probably completely unnecessary. Men don't have to talk about their feelings all the time. We do that. In fact, many women talk about their boyfriends' feelings ON BEHALF of their boyfriends.
On so many levels, there is no need for women to demand increased participation or complication because even trying to write this is making my head hurt and spin in several directions. It screws everything up when we want them to be complicated, it's going against biology.

My uncle told me this a long time ago: "Men want you to pretend to listen to them, to pet their egos, and to have sex with them. It's that easy."
And if a man seems complicated, you should run in the other direction.

Women make relationships as easy or as complicated as they are going to be.
It's up to me to determine how difficult things are going to be or how simple and wonderful it is to be with someone I like.
It's not fully formed but I am starting to form a Relationship Action Plan.

First is the connection felt on two important levels - intellectually and physically. Emotional connection is a big part of it, too but that's a little more elusive, a little more developed over time.

Then there are deal breakers.
Mine include only five things:
1. No drunks. Other histories of substance abuse are handled on a case-by-case basis but alcohol abuse is too easy. There's simply too much access and it's not black and white. Alcohol is everywhere. Jesus has a lot of other problems, like misogyny and entitlement but the alcohol makes him mean and his meanness ruined drunks for me.

2. No sacrificing the things in the name of not working hard. If a man can do the things he wants to do in life, and join me to do the things I want to do in life, while making less money than he is capable of making, great. As long as he is not passing up the things he wants to be doing in the name of not wanting to be working as much then I am happy for him to have found a way to not work as much as I do. He has more time to walk my dog or something.

3. He has to be appropriate. He has to know social subtleties: What's okay when it's just the two of us is not okay at a work function or at roller derby or around my family. I am over "You are who you are, just be yourself." I will not get involved with anyone who can't navigate all kinds of social and familial terrain. Of course, an authentically good and curious person would be who is naturally and this one wouldn't be a great big deal.

4. He has to be smart. I mean really, intimidating smart. I would rather be with a financially less successful person who is in the 99th percentile than be with someone who makes buckets of money but who is average. I have spent a lot of time with a lot of people and the only people who hold my attention for longer than a couple of days are the people who are so smart that they are sort of retarded.
Seriously.

5. He has to be culpable. He has to understand and accept his responsibility for what he says or does. I no longer accept excuses for anything. He doesn't even have to be sorry if he's not genuinely sorry but he has to really understand that he is the only thing responsible for what he says and does. I suppose this one is about honesty: Can he be absolutely honest with himself because that's the hardest honesty there is. Chances are good that if he is honest with himself, he is honest with me.

Once it's proven that there are no deal-breakers, then the rest is logistics and growing together as partners - sort of folding into each other to become two parts of a whole and beginning to move together instead of next to each other.

Moving together as a couple in no way means that a man has the same motivations for doing so that a woman has; I mean, you gotta let a bro be a bro.
As long as he is moving along with you, then worrying to complaining about why he is not more emotionally open to where and how you are moving together just seems so fatalistic.

Which brings me sort of to thinking about expectations. Maybe our expectations, beyond the deal-breakers, are far too high.

If your man is good to you, respects your home and tells you that you're pretty, if he doesn't cheat on you, and if he pretends to listen to you then AS LONG AS YOU ALLOW STABILITY AND HAPPINESS, you're probably going to be a successful couple
Your expectations may even end up being exceeded and you'll find sweet little things waiting for you that you didn't expect at all.

This is my new mode d'etre:
Connection
Deal-Breaker Research
Logistics
Lowered Expectations (Caveat: Only on the incidentals like how often he calls).

I've thought a lot about this lately.

arizonasarah at 4:21 p.m.

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