Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Men, Help Me Please

Today’s post is simply a question, actually a group of questions, for the men out there. Please, men, please leave comments because I really want to understand.

Why is it that when a woman asks for something she needs in a polite, gentle way a man will completely ignore it? Honey, I’m feeling nervous about my surgery. Could we talk about it? or I was hoping I wouldn’t have to make dinner since I just had surgery today. Would you do it?
Then when the woman asks again in a more forceful way why will the man put her off? I really need to talk to you about this. Can you make time for me now? or I really don’t feel up to deciding what to have for dinner, whatever you make or go get will be fine.
Then when the woman, out of frustration, finally breaks down and cries or screams she is accused of melodrama?

How else was she supposed to get your attention? What is it that she should have done differently? Or is she to understand that the demand was unreasonable from the outset, and if so why didn’t you just say so? Do you say okay just to delay the disagreement? Do you say you’ll do things hoping she’ll shut up and forget about it? What’s the deal? I really want to know. Pull no punches. Tell it to me straight. You’re anonymous here. I can’t go back to your wife and tell her what you say. I really want to try to understand the man’s mind on this.


Anonymous said...

I can't give you a man's perspective - but I completely agree. My mother always told me that I had to tell a man what I wanted because men couldn't read my mind. But whenever I tell them what I want I get ignored or even worse...I think men are just stubborn...but if they did learn all of our tricks (especially flowers for me) then we would melt to them.

Anonymous said...

Ummmmmm I don' think it is a man woman thing. I think it is a being a jerk thing. I don't claim to be a model husband but I can honestly say i cannot remember acting towards my wife the way you have described.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a man so maybe disregard this, but with all that is going on, perhaps he just can't find it in him to be co-operative right now?

From what you've said that has never been his strong suit in the first place.

Anonymous said...

As a man, I can't say what is going through his head. If my wife has the smallest medical procedure, I make sure she doesn't have to do anything other than recuperate around the house. Isn't that what partners do for each other?

trueself said...

So it isn't just me then, well me as in the person I am, not just me as in you me. LOL Maybe you need a different name, me, to keep the feeble-minded from getting confused! (I'm kidding. I actually kind of like the concept of talking to "me" even though I'm talking to you.)

After being told for a number of years that I'm being unreasonable in my expectations I find that I'm never quite sure whether something is a man/woman thing or a jerk thing. Don't trust my instincts as much as I used to.

Well, you do have a point there. Cooperation is not his strong suit.

Well, one might think so. After all, I spent every lunch hour with W when he was in the hospital last year plus took the day off when he came home from the hospital to help him make the transition. Then a few months later when he broke his shoulder I took two days off work to stay home and take care of him until we could arrange other care. But mine was just a minor outpatient surgery, nothing like what he went through so apparently there's no reason (other than drs' orders) for me to rest for a whole day and expect his assistance.

And, as I suspected, no men yet willing to admit to such behavior nor to try to explain it. Anyone out there brave enough to give it a try? Digger? FTN? Aphron? Mr MD? Who else am I forgetting? Surely someone can explain this to me.

Can anyone tell my emotions are roiling (I love that word and so seldom get to use it) today?

possumlicker said...

I think the problen is You have asked him to leave. He is hurting, you have made it clear you don't won't him. So he has got to start not wonting you. I read you every day I think he 25 years older than you. 70 At that age people are afraid to start over. But he must.

trueself said...

Well, I might believe that if it weren't for the fact that this is typical behavior for W for years and years. He acted exactly the same way 10 years ago when I had gall bladder surgery.

Mr. Husbland said...

I really need... sounds like nails on a chaulkboard.

It's an impulsive reaction I can't explain.

oldbear said...

Hi TS, I pretty much agree with the othes who said this is mostly a probelm based on your poor relationship with him, and him being a jerky person.

Plus realistically, only a very magnanamous person would be attentive to you after getting dumped (his view). If he were that big you guys would provbably not be getting divorced.

On to the general case, I do not like broad statements that start out lumping all of a group together, especailly by gender or race or age.

But I do agree that in general sometimes some of us menfolk do react in illogical ways if asked a simple question.

I have not really thought about the motivation but if a guy gets kind of defensive if asked a questin about his driving, then it might be becasue it is perceived as an attack on his competence?

i drive 30-40 k miles ayear on muy job, never had a moving collison or serious accident. yet if I was married to a Lady who acts liek the stereotype from popular culture, i would doubtless get criticized for my driving, and it would surely PO me.

I was wiser than that in my choice of a spouse, I feel sorry for those among us who chose poorly or had their partner change a lot as time went by!!!!!!!!

ps--advice to daters, if yuo wnat to attract quality people, avoid those statements that paint your enamoureds gender with a broad brush.

trueself said...

Ok, ok, I get it. It is clearly my problem. I'm the bad guy in all of this. It is my fault that I've been treated this way for years and years. Oh, and by the way, that's why it isn't just W that treats me this way. While the second scenario (dinner) was with W, the first (talking) was with a different man. Two different men, same reaction. Broad brush? Okay, but my history suggests that there are more men than one or two out there who do this. Am I just picking the wrong ones? Treating them wrong as oldbear suggests? I guess the question I was trying to get at in the first place is what would make it easy for a man to ignore requests until a scene is made and then turn around and complain that the scene made is an over reaction? When that scene is the only thing that apparently gets the attention of the man, what else should a woman do? How does the woman do the right thing? Just shut up and deal with it? I'm trying to learn so I can make the next relationship better. I'm trying to change my behavior in such a way that I don't continue to be treated this way. Maybe I'm just refusing to see what you all are trying to say to me. Perhaps I'm just dense, but I am trying. I am trying to change in spite of oldbear's contention that i'm just a bad seed incapable of attracting decent men. Or perhaps he's right, and I don't deserve my happily ever after. That wouldn't surprise me either. I've felt for years that I didn't deserve better, that I had to settle for what I could get. In the past few months I've started to feel stronger, more self confident, more deserving of a good life. But maybe I was right all along. Maybe I really am the worthless girl in Bob's song (see Saturday's post), the one that has to settle, because in my eyes I will never be deserving of better.

Anonymous said...

"this is typical behavior for W for years and years. He acted exactly the same way 10 years ago when I had gall bladder surgery. "

Then why, oh why, TS would you expect something different from him now, especially after telling him your relationship is over?

By putting unrealistic expectations on him (not saying you are wrong or he is wrong) you are only going to be disappointed.

Honestly hon, why were you surprised by his reaction? Why also, did you push it into becoming a scene? You know he doesn't care, it's why you're leaving him. You played into his scenario instead of just leaving it after the first request.

I don't think any of us are saying you're the 'bad guy'....just trying to show you how it looks from our distant perspective and what you've described to us.

Emily said...

*Big sigh because I know I'm going to get rotten fruit thrown at me for this*

While I truly understand how much people dislike broader statements about a gender (most of the stuff men say about women in the abstract on blogs and in comments I just do not believe and feel does not apply to me), I do not think that Trueself is alone with this problem.

In my experience, *some* men (not all men, by any means) can be somewhat prone to not really listening to a woman. I think there might be two main factors in this:

*Generally speaking, women talk a LOT more than men. Some studies have suggested twice or triple the amount.

Some men find the continual flow of verbiage from women quite intrusive and demanding and start to tune at least some of it out. Ever sat next to a very talkative person when you just wanted to be left alone or have minimal conversation? It can feel like torture, and freezing them out can feel like self defence.

*Some men are just plain sexist and consciously or unconsciously discount what women say. They can feel particularly threatened by any conversation that threatens their view of their own competence or even superiority to a woman and tune it out (I think women can be prone to a somewhat different version of this).

*And of course, people of both sexes struggle to be good listeners. There is a real skill to listening which has to be learned. And some of us are just very self involved and are not even trying.

I am interested that you are still expecting W to listen to you, take on board your requests, respond to your needs. You seem very ambivalent at the moment, Trueself, clearly wanting to leave and yet still wanting W to interract as if you are still a couple. Sometimes I get the feeling you are actually testing him, as if you want him to give you a reason to stay.

I feel for you, but am just wondering how realistic your expectations of emotional or other forms of support from W are at this point?

As Fiona has said, if he was a better man more responsive to your needs, you probably wouldn't be leaving him. And he may be feeling at this point that he owes you nothing whatsoever.

freebird said...

Bit late on the scene here, and I can't add much, but just to balance out the generalisation a little... Maybe I've been unusually lucky but I've never known a man who wasn't willing to be caring and helpful if I sincerely needed it. But I can imagine that if the relationship had gone completely sour that willingness could be difficult to muster on either side.
Oh, and I've combed through OB's comment and nowhere can I see him calling you personally a 'bad seed'. (But I'm sure he's big enough to stand up for himself!)

Anonymous said...

Just to interject a little humour (and this is the least ribald of the many versions of this old joke)

What a woman says:

"This place is a mess C'mon, you and I need to clean up. Your stuff is lying on the floor, and you'll have no clothes to wear, if we don't do laundry right now!"

What a man hears:

blah, blah, blah, blah,
blah, blah, blah, blah,
you and I
blah, blah, blah, blah,
on the floor
blah, blah, blah, blah,
no clothes
blah, blah, blah, blah,
right now !

no throwing rotten fruit at me .... from either side .... please :)

trueself said...

Okay, I way overreacted last night. I will admit Oldbear can push my buttons--a lot--so that I often overreact to his comments.

Emily is spot on when she says I am testing W. Yes I am. Why? Because he spends a good deal of time begging me to change my mind about staying. I've explained that the ONLY way I could ever stay would be if I saw significant effort on his part to change how he treats N and me. Obviously, although he says he will do anything to keep me, that is not true. I may be slow, but I am coming around to realizing that W is not going to ever change into the kind of person I need as a partner no matter how much time he spends begging me for another chance. Yes, it is my fault for expecting him to change when he promises to change. Yes, I am coming to realize how many too many chances I've given him because it will always be different this time according to him. According to him if I just give him once more chance it will be different. No it won't, and I've got to stop letting him guilt me into believing it will.

What prompted the original post more than anything I guess was that it is not just W that treats me this way. That's what leads me to the conclusion that either I attract men who act this way or that I do something that leads men to treat me this way. I'm just trying to figure it out and try to fix it for the future. Just trying not to repeat the same mistakes over and over. I understand that I can't expect W to change at this point, but what I'm trying to understand is how to interact differently with the next person to develop a different kind of relationship.

oldbear said...

Hi TS, I am sorry I ire you so. You are at a very stressful time in your life, and do respect the fact you are willing to look at changes in your self to get different results in your life.

I will answer you more in the new post you have made. You hae done al lus relationship bloggers abig favor by bringing this topic up!
Thakns, OB.

PS While I have no particular reaon to deserve such status, and genrally shun sports metaphors, perhaps you might think of my comments as being like a coach. As my father, who was a very good one, used to tell me: "Coaches only critique players they care about, and who they think will listen and try to change. The valuable players"

trueself said...

Olive branch accepted. Sometimes I feel like I'm getting more feedback of the negative sort than positive. In other words, more "you're doing this wrong" rather than "this might be a better approach" which tends to raise my hackles. On the other hand, I do think you have really good intentions and don't mean for your comments to come off as smug sounding as when I read them. Anyway, I now look forward to reading your comments on my more recent post. I'm always looking to make myself into a better me.