A short story to illustrate the differences between men and women
The difference between men and women is fascinating to me. Perhaps because some of my biggest challenges so far have been within or about relationships and it made sense to try and make some sense of all the stuff I didn’t understand. I now co-present the relationship section at a leadership seminar and work as a relationship mentor and am surprisingly chuffed at how much sense I’ve made from the nonsense. I’ve written all the stuff I’ve learnt about relationships here in a sensible fashion, but this post is more the nonsense. Unsensibility.
The real guy and I have been together for about five months. It started with a discussion from two fairly cautious beings about firstly “being friends” (his idea) and then perhaps moving into something “casual and see how it goes” (his idea but prompted by my decision that I had enough friends to hang out with and most of them didn’t send me pictures of sunsets or make me flustered at the school cross walk). Since then we have not discussed our relationship status at all, however we spend generally 3-4 evenings together most weeks, do combined family stuff with our kids, have met extended family and friends, have booked two family holidays in the next 12 months and generally seem to think each other is pretty mint. I think it’s fairly obvious that we are not having a casual relationship.
Now (aside from being a woman) I have this particular thing where I often don’t discuss things that are on my mind. I like to wait until the right time. I’d hate to been perceived as needy. I don’t want to cause a fight. Whatever lame excuse I give it. Really it just means that I avoid certain conversations because I’m already at the end of the conversation (the one we didn’t have). I know, women are nuts, but if you are a women you need to embrace this about yourself, and if you are a man you need to accept this even if it’s completely nonsensical.
So I did the leadership seminar on the weekend and inspired and empowered many people to have conversations they need to have and to own truths about themselves and to be real. The good news is, we don’t get to work at such seminars without getting our own personal development hammering over the weekend and at some point (about midnight on Saturday night because we were all still up talking) the conversation got around to me and my ‘not having conversations’ thing. When I finally got home and lay my weary head on his hairy chest teary with exhaustion I may have made some random comment about having things to say I don’t say but that I had run out of words. He may have been relieved but he very kindly patted my head (he does this, it’s my favourite thing).
Anyway on Monday morning we spoke about it again. Firstly though I asked him if he’d ever had his ears pierced. His eyebrows pretty much spelt out WTF. See I had a sore earring hole and I really wanted him to share the experience with me and understand my pain. It wasn’t a serious relationship quandary about his potential piercings and mullet from the 90’s that was going to mean something about the future of our (not at all) casual relationship. Women really like to share experiences (good and bad) and be understood. Anyway he hasn’t ever had an earring so cannot understand my pain or my reason for asking the questions. Major man/woman difference RIGHT HERE. And see how I threw that extra bit of detail in there. Women do that too.
Anyway then I said there are these things I don’t say which I should. He said he’d like to know what they are (he’s like that, it’s my favourite thing).
So here’s how it goes:
ME: Are we in a relationship?
HIM: (surprised, perplexed perhaps) Welllll…..yes. I mean I thought it was obvious?
ME: Well I’m a woman and I need…
HIM: (interrupting but in a good way) You need more validation than that?
ME: Yes. And for me that would be for our relationship to be Facebook Official.
HIM: (picking up his phone and getting on Facebook) Of course.
ME: I’ll have to confirm that it’s true (picking up my phone and confirming his Life Event change that includes me is, in fact, true).
ME: Thank you for doing that (smiling).
HIM: Thanks for confirming it was true.
But here’s the thing (I did tell him this too, but am sick of the ME/HIM format so am just writing it like this) because we hadn’t had the conversation (which was obvious to him but mattered to me and was not obvious) I had the conversation with myself and often this conversation ended with him saying the wrong thing (like “no, this is obviously a casual relationship and that’s all I want” or “Facebook is a stupid way to validate our relationship”) and then we’d have to break up. So basically, like a woman, I ran to the end. You know, like how when someone is late and you are already at their funeral in your mind? Yep, like that, just at the funeral of our relationship. Nonsensical right?
And that is the short version of the story (another difference between men and women because if you are a man and have read this to the end you will not think this is short. At all. And that’s OK.) But that’s how you get Facebook Official. When you’re like in your 40’s and so grown up. Seriously. I definitely thought I’d be cooler by now.