Men are strange creatures. Rumor has it that women are far more complex and difficult to understand, but I beg to differ. Women are openly complicated. We tell men outright that we want to be told we’re beautiful, but then make it clear not to say it right now because that would be contrived. Then we’re very grateful when they say it later on, but we’ll probably still ask if they’re only saying it because we asked them to three weeks ago. Complicated, yes. Confusing? No. You know what’s coming. Prepare. Acknowledge. React (quietly, while offering wine).
Then there are men. Complicated, no. Confusing? Yes.
Men have this strange way of lacking any complication, thus are maddeningly confusing. How can they be so simple? I don’t understand. Usually when they’re mad about something, they say that “I’m fine.” This part, I get. Women do the same thing. The difference is that one day later- sometimes one hour later- you can ask a man if he’s actually fine and he’ll say “yes”…and he is. He really is fine. In most cases, men can magically make their negative emotions disappear with a good basketball game and some Zzz’s. Since women will never, ever have that luxury, we can’t accept that they’re actually fine. There’s no way he’s actually fine. He was clearly mad yesterday and we haven’t talked about it yet. He’s lying. To me. He must not care about us. He probably is going to end things. I bet he has a girl on the side. Her thighs are probably toned. God, I bet she’s 22 and goes tanning. Should I go tanning? Girls who tan are desperate. She’s terrible. He’s terrible. Over it.
Hopefully you’re a functioning female adult who has stopped trying to fathom male minds. You have a long and bumpy road ahead of you if you think you’ll ever grasp exactly how they work. I hope, for the sake of your sanity and future relationship, that you have learned to accept that they’re fine when they say they are and that his nights with the guys are equivalent to your Dove chocolate binges: they don’t need to happen every night, but are necessary, refreshing, indulgent, and rarely regrettable. If you still react to his one word answers or need for an estrogen-free evening with the snowballing thoughts that inevitably lead you to hating tan girls, then might I suggest you join a nunnery.
Learning that men mean what they say, point blank, coincides with the lesson of one of the greatest movies of all time (okay, maybe that’s an exaggeration)- He’s Just Not That Into You. I think this is the second time in a month that I’ve referenced this movie in a blog post, but it deserves the recognition. You see, men’s actions- like their words- line up with what they actually want and mean. If he’s not texting you, he doesn’t want to. If he has you over to hang out, he sincerely wants you there. Men double it up for good measure sometimes, too- like when he says he does not want to see you anymore and does not respond to your texts. That, my dear, says it all.
So what’s the point of all of this? Well, I think that a very important part of life is finding someone to spend your life with. Not out of desperation, cultural pressure, or dependence, but because humans are made for companionship. Particularly women. If you believe in the Bible, you know that Eve was made after Adam- for Adam- for the sole reason of giving him a companion. No wonder women are relationship-oriented! And if you don’t believe in the Bible, I’m sure you understand the science that men and women are communal mammals. We are happiest when connected to other humans. With that in mind, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to “find someone.” It’s natural. Not “needy” or any other stigma people slap onto those who openly desire a relationship.
If you want a happy, healthy long term relationship, accepting the differences between men and women is a simple- yet enormous- necessity. On one account, we should accept our instincts to be relational, but on the other, we need to actively fight our instincts to get exasperated with a gender to which we’ll never completely relate. So many relationships and marriages are plagued with constant arguing, suppressed frustration, and missing satisfaction simply because one or both parties stop actively remembering that they function differently from their partner.
A common gender difference lies in the female preference to talk through an issue either immediately or about 5-10 minutes after the initial tension arises. I think 5-10 minutes is enough time to step away, cool down, gather your thoughts, and return to the conversation. Not so much. Men usually want a solid 5-10 hours (24 is even more likely) before opening the floor to a rational discussion about an incident. As a woman, learning to momentarily drop a subject is a truly valuable skill. Now, should women constantly be the ones to compromise? No. However, we are the more relationally-driven gender, so I do think that comes with the responsibility to nurture a relationship in a way that men are not as capable of matching. Both in this case and generally, developing patience is probably one of the biggest gifts a woman can give her partner- and herself.
I’m not saying that men have a right to behave any way they please or that women are more communicative and interpersonal than men 100% of the time. Exceptions, exceptions. Still, keeping in mind the mantra “Men are from Mars; Women are from Venus” will do wonders for any relationship. Even beyond romantic relationships, if you learn to step outside the way that you think and understand that all minds tick uniquely, what a pleasant and less dramatic world you’ll enjoy!