by Julianne Alcott
I’m a big fan of the book “He’s just not that into you.” I love their catch phrase “Don’t waste the Pretty”.
I have come up with one of my own catch phrases from watching my behaviour, and the behaviour of my friends… and the behaviour of so many women in my many years of Rom Com movie viewing.
Tame the Crazy…
You probably know what I mean. The checking our phone five times a minute to see if he’s replied. Roaming through his Facebook newsfeeds to see who he was with, when he said he was busy and couldn’t see us. Sending him a strongly-worded message when he says he’ll get back to us later and he doesn’t. Driving slowly by his work to see if we can spot him.
We’re probably all guilty of some of those antics. But they don’t help the situation. If we let ourselves get carried away like that, we will just end up stressing and becoming obsessed.
Now I’m not talking about times when there is real evidence that we need to be suspicious of the man in our life. I’m speaking of ordinary men and ordinary relationships.
I’ve been there and done that, and I’m tired of living that way. So I decided to try something new. Instead of talking to my lady friends about my woes, I asked the men I knew. Friends, work colleagues and friend’s husbands.
After all, how were other women really going to give me insight into the workings of the male brain?
One of the problems is that we expect men to think like us, and they expect us to think like them. So if a man doesn’t message us back for a whole day, we look at the reasons why we wouldn’t message someone back for a day. It usually involves being tired of them, or thinking that they are not important enough.
If you ask a man, often he will look at you with a surprised and defensive expression, and say that he was busy.
To busy too message me back! Immediately women look for hidden motives and ulterior meanings, while men find that reason to be totally acceptable. They all know of times when they were concentrating on something, and answering a message just wasn’t in the picture at all.
Their phones are often just a work tool for them. They don’t check them regularly for social interaction. They might read a message, but then they get busy, and don’t remember it five seconds later.
Yet we excuse the same things in our girl friends that we find maddening when men do them. If our best friend says she was doing a 12km cycle and forgot to charge her phone the night before, we understand. Woe to the man who takes a day to get back to us!
Men are men. They will always think like men. They may have the same values as women, but they don’t think like women. Women need to put that fact into our hearts and minds, so that we don’t ruin something that might turn out to be good.
There is a brilliant example of that in “Harry Potter, Order of the Phoenix”, where Hermione describes what a girl is thinking…
“Don’t you understand how she must be feeling? Well, obviously she’s feeling sad about Cedric, and therefore confused about liking Harry, and guilty about kissing him. Conflicted because Umbridge is threatening to sack her mum from her job at the Ministry, and frightened about failing her O.W.L.s because she’s so busy worrying about everything else.
One person couldn’t feel all that, they’d explode!
Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon…
Tame the crazy!
I know just what I’m talking about. I was in a relationship with a lovely man, and I never saw the end coming until it hit me in the face.
Okay, so part of the problem was that he was immature, out of his depth and often bailed out of things when they got difficult. But I didn’t tame my crazy either, and that was a bad combination.
I wanted to spend every moment of the weekend with him. I wanted to see him at least once during the week as well. I wanted him to message me every day. We were well-suited and comfortable with each other, but of course there were a few sticky points, and I handled them badly.
There will be sticky points in every relationship, and we can choose how we solve them. I found that writing messages that I never send works for me. (Important: I NEVER send them!) I get all my frustrations out by yelling at him in a Word document. I don’t talk it over with my friends, because that riles me up again.
After writing a few messages, I have usually calmed down enough to tame the crazy. I delete the messages, and then discuss it with him as a light-hearted, relaxed woman. I definitely get better results than the crazy angry lady used to!
In my previous relationship, I was smothering, stressed, clingy, needy and at times whiney. I needed a huge wake-up call to see where I was going wrong.
Love is like a flower. It blooms slowly. It grows with time and nurturing and care. It can’t be forced to hurry up, just like roughly opening a flower will only damage it.
Often women are impatient to know where the relationship is going. We are so sick of wasting our time with jerks and losers, that we rush things. We want to know if it’s going to work. We want to know if he loves us NOW. We demand all the information up front. Want to solve all the issues immediately. We bring out the crazy!
And we can persuade or nag a man to do something we want, but in the end, he’s not going to own that decision, because he didn’t decide for himself. He needs to come to the conclusion that he loves us on his own, and in his own time.
Take the same lovely, but immature, out-of-his-depth man I went out with. After he broke up with me, I got him back again. I’m good at that. I worked 6 years in retail, and I sell things to random strangers in shops. I convinced the socks off him that we should give it another try.
But it didn’t last, because I was the one who had persuaded him. It would have had a better shot of working if he had come to the realisation on his own, and had come to find me and get me back in his life.
We want things to go our way, so we do the craziest things to try manipulate what is happening.
We mustn’t go all “My Best Friend’s Wedding” on the situation. If you don’t know what I mean, find the movie and cringe, as Julia Roberts’ character gets more and more frantic and creative as she tries to stop the inevitable.
Women also take things far too seriously. We revolve our whole lives around the latest man. The relationship affects everything; what we wear, how we feel, what we think about.
It’s not deadly serious. Meeting someone, and getting to know them should be fun.
We don’t try a new shampoo, and then base all our thoughts and needs on whether it succeeds. Of course finding a life partner is an important thing, but if we make it the most important thing in our lives, we are going to be stressed, and the crazy will take over!
We need to relax. We need to make a new relationship just an aspect of our lives, not the sole motivator of it.
This is an adventure. We should be enjoying the pleasure of getting to know another human being. If it works out, then great. If it doesn’t, then it wasn’t a good fit, just like our new anti-frizz shampoo wasn’t quite the right thing for us.
The important thing is that we are rational, fully grounded women having adventures. Cheerfully giving love to someone. Sensibly exploring new things.
Not scheming, hysterical, unconfident, nagging, volatile, smothering, suspicious banshees. Why would any man want to stay around that!