By: Julia Yarbough
*As women, I sometimes often wonder if we give away too much of our energies contemplating matters of the heart, rather than putting that same amount of focus on ourselves, health, careers and all-around holistic well being. This recent blog post at www.highwaytoahusband.com and the resulting discussion makes me ask the question - is there a connection between our professional success and our ability to remain independent? Do we have to choose?*
By the very nature of a relationship, two people must learn to work together - in sync. I admit; I am not very good at this. It means I have to coordinate my time, interests, activities and even sleep patterns with another person! Call me selfish, but when one has been single as long as I have, these simple items which might seem basic to other people are proving quite challenging for me. (probably exactly WHY I've been single for so long)
Ironically, Silva and I are both kind of like those folks going through drug treatment - they say you can’t get help until you admit you have a problem. Well, we have issues. Different issues - but issues nonetheless. Me? I am having difficulties melding my life, time and world with another person. You know, it's one thing to say you want to be in a relationship; it's another to execute it gracefully. I venture to guess this is what many of us single folks fail to admit to ourselves. It's not "them" - it really is "us!"
Case in point: let me throw this scenario out there for discussion because it has come up on more than one occasion and NOT just with BamaBoy but also with at least one former boyfriend. Another female friend also recounted a similar incident which happened with her and her significant other.
Let’s say the weekend is approaching. My significant other has not asked me to do anything specific or planned a date outing. Seeing as how I hate sitting around doing nothing productive, I proceed to find a fun bike or running event taking place... oh, let’s say on Sunday morning. I sign up to participate. I then call my significant other, tell them I am doing the event Sunday morning and invite them to take part if they so choose. Male significant other gets upset and annoyed that I (or other woman) has secured plans for herself (and him) if he decides to join, despite the fact he has planned NADA. (This, by the way, was a true story...)
Okay, I see NOTHING wrong with this situation. I’m thinking, I am giving my significant other a “choice” of what they want to do. If they like my activity they can take part. If they don’t, they can do something they like - I will be doing something I like and we will meet up when we are both finished. Everyone is happy, both people are satisfied at having spent their free time enjoying themselves and when we do meet up, the vibe is much more satisfying and positive. To me, that’s being giving, understanding and flexible.
However, it seems this type of independent thinking has backfired on not just me, but also a number of different women.
Guys, help me out on this one. Seriously, because I can’t wrap my mind around it. I have told BamaBoy that I do not expect or want him to take part in activities that I enjoy which don’t float his boat. Nor do I want to or be expected to take part in activities he likes that I don’t. To me, this is just a waste of time for both people. In my mind, if I care about someone, I want them to do things that make them happy. Simple. And vice-versa. I want him to go enjoy a day racing cars - that's what he loves. It's not what I love. Could it be that men expect the women in their lives to try to keep them on a tight leash and when we freely say, "Go... be free... do your own thing and enjoy!" what they hear is "She isn't giving me grief therefore she doesn't care about me?"
BamaBoy says he is happy to do my activities, even if he doesn’t like them, because that’s just what you do in a relationship. An “ex” said the same thing. In fact, a number of male friends have verbalized something similar. Very few of my female friends have that same perspective.
To me, it’s much more loving and caring to allow your partner to do things they enjoy - with OR without you tagging along. I believe that is the most UNSELFISH act you can show the person you love and care about.
When this issue came up in the past, I thought, maybe I had simply chosen a needy, whiny man. But, given that a number of other females have expressed experiencing the same sort of disharmony in their relationships around this issue, I have to ask the question... is taking the “do what makes you happy and we’ll meet up later” approach giving and loving or is it selfish?