THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)
The Following is designed to help you keep perspective when your brain is swimming with hormones and your relationships, or lack of them, are at critical mass. This is the reality check your best friend would give you if he/she could stand to hear you whining about it for another minute.
A while ago, my wife (10 years) told me that she felt I was not attached to her emotionally. So I've spent the last few months doing stuff like helping with dishes, calling home from work to say hi, and taking a day off here and there to go do stuff. I still think that she is not happy, but I don't know how to talk to her about it.
I get what she's saying, we were really close once and everything is different now. It's like she is the LAST person I would have an easy time talking to. What do I do?
Still Married Barely
MAN I get a lot of queries like this one. Though I think you have a great start on touching base with the Mrs. again, I think I can offer up a few tips you may find helpful (This one goes out to all the guys our there, who live in a similar state of oblivion):
If you're anything like me, your better half has likely been trying to tell you about the things that bother her all alongŠyou just haven't heard it.
See, I have the keen ability to hear, process, and disregard a conversation in less than three minutes: the length of your average television commercial break. My other half literally has to sit me down, hold my face in place, look me squarely in the eye, and tell me that there's a problem.
Provided there is not a ballgame on, I MAY actually get the point.
This is why we have so many friends who have been left in the cold, shaking their heads in disbelief, saying: "I never saw it comin".
In a long time relationship, it's true that the level of trust is certainly higher. However, the level of apathy can be equal.
I've consulted the "That One Guy" handbook, and thought I would share some ideas about "the connection" with all the guys out there who feel flabbergasted under these circumstances.
Gals, cut out this article and give it to the old man before you send the hate mail.
That One Guy "We Have To Talk" Survival Tips:
Listen and have physical contact without an agenda.
In my unofficial and highly unscientific survey, the singular most irritating factor to women regarding deep discussions with their mates is in his expectation of a little 'somethin-somethin' after the talk. Guys are confounded when after talking, listening and being all around good boys, we don't get our reward.
Not that we are completely to blame. Since birth, we've been rewarded for good behavior and admonished for the bad. It only stands to reason that since our attention span to these matters is actually shorter than that of a Southern Michigan Gnat, after a few minutes of dialogue we figure it's time to move on to the fun stuff. The "Scoooby Snacks", if you will.
If you're against the ropes like our pal "Barely", you need to adjust that reward mentality. The last thing you want is for her to think there is an "agenda" when you talk to her. Take the idea out of her head that you're "makin' nice for nookie", and she'll feel more satisfied with your conversations.
Stop trying to FIX things. Just hear her out.
If something is broken, men want to jimmy it together to make it right. A guy figures if he pays a little extra attention, and takes the occasional wrench to a situation, it should be good to go. The problem is, she doesn't necessarily want you to fix anything.
Look at it like this: She needs an emotional release valve. If you're not it, someone else could be.
Think about how she talks to her female friends, or that gay guy at the coffee shop. She pours her heart out to them and clams up with you. Why? Because they empathize. Simply put, there is no call to action here. She just wants you to hold her hand and tell her what an ass you are.
Hey, it's what her buddies would do.
Can the banter.
Women aren't the guys in the locker room. If something is bothering them and they want to talk, humor and smart-aleck comments will only demoralize them and make the situation worse. If you devalue her concerns with humor, you're going to be riding the couch before you know it.
If, like "Barely", you have begun to do a few thoughtful things here and there to help make her feel more connected, don't set an unspoken time limit for results. Most women will admit that when their spouses step up and try a little harder, they appreciate it. But at first, they feel a little cynical. "Nothing" says one female associate "is worse than feeling placated. I just want him to WANT to talk to me. I don't care if he's good at it."
In other words, be prepared to change things for the long haul. And view the cliché efforts of candy and flowers for what, let's face it, they really are: The emotional equivalent of putting a Band-Aid on a sucking chest wound.
Do the dreaded "cuddle"
See Tip number one. If she thinks that you can connect and be affectionate without sexual overtones, she will be more comfortable and open to you in other matters. This is simple logic. Again, look at how she behaves with her friends, only this time, from a physical perspective. She hugs them, holds their hands when they cry, and she is at ease with and connected to them without any sort of sexual tension.
Not that she is willing to forgo the "Scooby Snacks". She still wants you to be intimate with her, but there are times when this is not the best plan.
Women feel like they have to be a mom, a housekeeper, a best buddy, and a bedroom dynamo. They are always wearing different hats, and for some reason, we get confused when they change gears on us. We, however, are hopelessly consistent in our approach: listen, fix, tweak, nod your head a lot, and then try to get a little.
Throw her a curve ball. Give her some close emotional and physical contact that is purely platonic. Change it up and see if the intimacy level doesn't improve.
Dear That One Guy:
I am a female who has read your articles and I think you are a male chauvinist pig. I can't believe some of the advice you give. Why would you tell someone how to tell if their girlfriend is faking a big O? Why would you tell someone that women travel in packs? Why would you tell a female who wrote in to retract the claws? I think you hate women.
Better Than You
I don't hate women. I think they're pretty cool. Many of my best friends are women. There is a woman in my church and we even have one on staff. I heard someone telling a joke about women once, and I stopped them because I thought it was offensive. Once, I saw a woman get on the bus and I gave her a seat.
Though it may shock my neighbors, I'm even thinking of selling my house to a woman.
Women are cool. I hear they're good in sports.
Now let's all hold hands, sit around the campfire, and sing Kumbaya.
-That One Guy
PS: That Big O thing really bugged you huh?
Got a question? Send 'em to 'That One Guy' c/o Review Magazine, 318 S. Hamilton St., Saginaw, MI 48602
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THE NEW GILDED AGE (Part 2)