Tuesday, September 14, 2010

But is it REALLY that simple?

I talked to Gentleman Jack about my blog post from yesterday. He laughs at my revelations. He's a guy... he already understands what guys want.

I'm sort of giggling at myself too. My interest in understanding men has even usurped my magazine reading! As we stood browsing in the drug store before heading out to fish on Saturday, I chose Men's Health magazine to read rather than Women's Health.

Hey. I'm a girl. Don't talk to me about dieting and beauty routines and how to do girly stuff. I wanna know what you're putting into our men's heads!

(It also didn't hurt that New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees was on the cover. Hello?)

I told Gentleman Jack that I understood the need to "make myself happy". I also said I thought a man probably doesn't even care if his woman looks like a rockstar goddess if she's treating him and herself right.

He added, "But women want to feel like their man THINKS they're a rockstar goddess, right?"

Ok, yeah. That's true. If we do all of that to take care of ourselves and our own happiness, we do want to be noticed for it. We put a lot of pressure on ourselves to look better than the next girl that our man could be fantasizing about.

And men will fantasize. It's what they do. Trying to stop it because we think it's cheating won't work. I don't think they can even help it!

Also, I told him, just because we do all of that for ourselves, it doesn't mean that our men should sit back and not put forth an effort to try or to recognize all that we do... for ourselves, for our men, for others.

"But if you're making yourself happy, why does a man NEED to do anything? Aren't you doing it already? For yourself?"

"Absolutely!" I agreed, "But it's just like masturbating. It's fun and it works to do it alone but when someone comes along that can help you with it, it's SO much more enjoyable!"

Women do want recognition for our abilities to hold ourselves, our lives and our men together. Maybe it's not expected of us to do those things for the men in our lives but we WILL do it. Nurturers. That's what we do.

We also, as women, have to work on the balance of those things. I've realized too many times that when I begin to feel resentment, it means that I've given too much, overstepped my boundary, and now expect something in return.

"That's the really tricky part," he said, "Because some women WILL set up expectations. I want to show love the way I show love! I want it to be something I do because I want to... not because it is expected or demanded of me."

I get this. But yes, that fear is there, I think, when it comes to relationships.

Am I enough for this person? Will they recognize and appreciate all that I have to give?

Maybe it comes down to speaking the same Love Language?

Maybe it comes down to accepting and feeling worthy of the love that is offered?

Maybe it comes down to the very art of choosing to allow every moment to unfold anew.

Whew. That's a tough one.

But I'm trying. We both are. That is a good thing about a long distance relationship. Every time I see him, it feels as if I've not seen him before. Every little thing he does, from greeting me with a smile, to awakening me with a freshly made smoothie, to building a deck chair and umbrella so that I won't get sunburned... all of those little things make me feel loved.

I hope he always tries. And I hope I always notice.

"To let ourselves be cherished for who we really are would be to violate our [past] edict that we are flawed, and to arouse our fear that if we do, feel, or think certain things, we'll be neglected and abandoned—in the most primal sense, left to die. So to receive love is to risk death. This drama plays out because the part of our mind that holds the [past] injunction is timeless—today is the same as yesterday. None of this is conscious, but the bottom line is that we reject love in order to stay alive.

You can't consciously achieve self-love by loving yourself. To end self-rejection, you have to learn to love in another what you hate in yourself. If you don't know what that is, you can find out by noticing what you project onto others, what you criticize repetitively and with emotion. If, for example, you accuse your partner of being an angry person, you may have submerged your own anger. When you learn to accept the hated trait in your partner, you will simultaneously accept it in yourself. Self-love is born out of love of another."
~ Harville Hendrix, Receiving Love, Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself Be Loved


  1. I think it's harder to be in a healthy relationship than a dysfunctional one (sometimes). It is more beautiful and wonderful and awesome, of course, but it also means treating everyone well all time. I find it difficult to treat myself well so I wind up getting down for various reasons. I also think The Fiancé feels he is doing something wrong if I'm not at my happiest. Of course he isn't! I think men put pressure on themselves, just like we do. We should both recognize each other more than we do...and realizing that means you're a step ahead of others

  2. Yes - it really is that simple. Love what's there, more will come. Love that, get even more - and voila - you're sharing and making it so much better for each of you. Try it for awhile (but stay you). Let it unfold and each of you appreciate and enjoy every simple breath of sharing where you are and what you are doing - every one of 'em! That's a great feeling. I bet you'll like it. I know he will.

  3. My therapist said the same thing about learning to love the traits in another person. I'm working on that.

  4. I understand Rascal's point about wanting to love someone the way we WANT to love them, but when you're in a relationship there is something to be said for loving the other person the way THEY want to be loved sometimes, too. It shows that you're paying attention and that you think their needs are important, too.

    It's all about balance and compromise. :)

  5. Yes, love is a lifelong learning experience. And sometimes, actions speak louder than words. And sometimes you have to really analyze those actions to understand what's being said. *sigh*

    It's work. And it's so worth it. Thanks for the reminder.

  6. Wow! I JUST read that very passage in a book I'm reading now (Magnetic Partners) and was blown away by the truth and simplicity of it. Pretty profound.

  7. Long distance relationships are hard work, but then the reunions are so worth it!...I wish my husband would go a long distance...sigh...
    So very enjoyed this post.

  8. As I just get a taste of what is potentially to come with Doctor Boy, I can totally relate to all that you have been thinking and ruminating on lately regarding love and relationships. It's where my mind wanders too.


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