One of my friends is having relationship problems. By “relationship problems” I mean he has been right royally dumped. He is now at the stage of analysing the relationship, and has decided that his ex is variously:
a) An alcoholic
c) Financially driven
and all of the above.
He seemed uninterested in my input when I suggested that he had never noticed these characteristics in the 10 or so years that they were together and kept reiterating that she would make any man’s life miserable and that he feels better now that a friend has suggested that the new relationship will only last 6 months or so, and then she will come crawling back to him.
I had to bite my tongue as the words “bollocks” and “highly unlikely” kept threatening to spew out.
My take on the relationship for what it is worth is that they have always been two very different people with extremely different interests. She likes the country, camels, horses etc and he is more of a city person. They are both into music, but that doesn’t seem enough to keep a relationship together unless you spend all your time at concerts or form a band. He likes travelling and she thinks it is a waste of time and money. Anyway, she has gone off to live with a farmer and he has moved in with a male friend (purely platonic relationship) so I think its highly unlikely that they will be reconciling any time soon.
It has been my experience of relationships, for what its worth, that the male/female relationship is something that has been conceived by an evil demon for the express purpose of making both lives miserable. Men often try their hardest to understand the mind of the female of the species, but they might just as well try to understand a slug. I’m not saying women are like slugs, (I’m a woman so obviously I don’t want to be identified as something rather unattractive and slimy) just that as soon as a man thinks he understands what they want, they change their minds.
I know I have been guilty of this myself.
“I just want you to listen to me more” is never as simple as it sounds. It can mean:
a) Don’t have any opinions of your own
b) Be prepared to be bombarded with complaints the moment you walk in the door.
c) I’m feeling lonely and you’re ignoring me.
d) I reserve the right to change my opinion whenever I feel like it.
Even the man who dutifully listens to his wife more than is humanly bearable is secretly wishing he could switch on the TV and watch the football in silence or retreat to his workshop to tinker with some pathetic project or just go down to the pub with his mates.
Now I know there are numerous self help books out there based on male/female relationships e.g. He’s just not that into you (written by a man), Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus (it has been my experience that men and women certainly seem to come from different planets and possibly even different galaxies) etc, etc. The fact that they are bestsellers (I have certainly contributed enough money to support a child in Nigeria for a year) shows how confused everyone is about everyone else.
Men can now feel threatened by 50 Shades of Grey (written by a woman) which will make some men spend more time at the pub or in the gym trying to build up their courage and stamina.
Its hard enough for most men to “listen” to women without being expected to satisfy sudden desires for kinky sex on a regular basis and then wonder if she’s comparing their performance with friends at the Book Club.
I, like many others, have been a failure in the male/female partner stakes. I was certainly not good enough at talking about my needs to expect others to understand them, unless they had a propensity for reading minds. The idealised view of the happy family, with Mum in the kitchen whipping up something delicious, Dad on the lounge with the paper or watching TV and the adoring children playing happily nearby has certainly never been part of my reality. Life now is certainly much too complicated to expect this 1950’s idea to be the norm. It is more likely that Mum will be buying takeaway after a hard day’s work or drinking herself into a stupor, Dad is collapsed with exhaustion in front of the TV and the children are variously looking at inappropriate sites on their computers or texting their friends.
Still, overall I am happy with my lot. I am still good friends with my ex, have two children who I am immensely proud of and I don’t embarrass too much (unless I have too much to drink at family gatherings) and generally get on with my partner Rod, even though he doesn’t always “listen” to me and would rather spend time in front of the computer or in his workshop than going out socialising. We argue quite a bit, but also have lots of laughs. We have reached the stage of feeling comfortable with other even to the point of making unsavoury bodily noises rather than frantically trying to suppress them.
A friend told me that a recent survey concluded that men who are nagged by their wives or partners live longer. I mentioned this to Rod as a justification for continuing this very enjoyable female habit, but his well considered response was: “it only feels like they’re living longer”. I think he may well be right!