He said, she said
One of the primary complaints about men I’ve heard from women is that we don’t talk about our feelings. In my instance, most of the time, it has been the exact opposite. As you may have noticed from these posts, I have no difficulty expressing myself and letting people know what’s ticking upstairs. Most often, the chief criticism women have had with me is an overload of hearing about my feelings.
It’s a losing battle. If I keep my mouth shut, I’m cold and uncommunicative. Pour everything out and it’s TMI. I’ve given up trying to skirt the issue. I let things fly. Better to be knocked down for talking too much about my feelings, than being thought of as a distant, cold fish.
The last long term relationship I was in ended for many reasons, as do most lost love liaisons. My paramour, Ann, wouldn’t sit down and talk things out. At all. She’d slam the door (both figuratively and literally) if we disagreed on any major issue. Being a guy, I’m simple when it comes to most things around the house and in a relationship. As long as I had a spot to use my computer, read and watch television, I had little use for the decoration of our home. The same thing went for most social events, friends and what we were having for dinner. And, I did most of the cooking.
I had an office and that was my nest. Artwork there was my choice and a desktop was the only adornment needed. Admittedly the top of my desk was piled high with papers and other work minutiae. The rest of the rooms were Ann’s domain. I am sloppy when living alone, but when sharing an abode I respect whoever shares it with me. That goes for my younger years, when I had male and female roommates. It’s simple good manners.
But back to Ann. Almost all of the time, I was willing to go along with most of her wishes. Not because I’m such a wonderful person, but because I loved her dearly and 98% of the time, most matters were agreeable to me. I was happy to let her make decisions and besides, we had identical feelings concerning most things. A couple of times a year, there were times when I couldn’t go along with something.
Ann wouldn’t compromise and while I was willing to talk things out, there was no middle ground with her. It was her way, or no way, and she tolerated no talking things out. She’d march out of the room, slamming the door. The first few times this happened, I’d follow her, and attempt to talk it out, but there was no dialogue to be had. For a day, she would project an icy atmosphere and the second day afterwards; Ann would be back to normal.
I refused to put on the frosty attitude when these differences of opinion took place. Occasionally standing up for what I believed in made me feel fine and I wasn’t angry with Ann, mostly mystified at her muteness. I’ve never been able to figure out what goes on in someone’s mind, if they refuse to speak to me. It isn’t just women, though most men will at the least be willing to yell it out with me. When there’s no resolution to be had, frustration isn’t far behind. I managed not to let things like this get to me. Sometimes letting it go is the best way.
My first long term relationship was far different, which didn’t prepare me for Ann’s silence. Anna (note the difference) never hesitated to call me out if we had a problem and we’d hash it out fairly quickly. We had very different thoughts politically, but learned to make our points and then live with dissimilar opinions. We never went five minutes, much less to bed pissed off. I only wish that had been the case with Ann.
At times, I think that agreeing on most things with Ann may have been the kiss of death to our relationship. Those few times I wouldn’t go along with her were devastating to her, not to me.
I have always believed opposites attract, or at least they learn to live with one another in peace. Anna and I broke up for other reasons, but 35 years later we are still very good friends and speak or correspond weekly.
General Manifesto is a Nantucketer.