Men are REALLY not like Women

April 11, 2011

Last week, a client told me, that she had mentioned to her husband how much the endless winter up here in Massachusetts was getting to her and how wonderful it would be to spend a few days in the sun somewhere. He did not immediately respond and as a result, she said laughingly, she did not talk to him for a couple of days. Then he finally got it, she reported, got on the phone and organized some tickets to Florida. They ended up having a fantastic four days in the sun together. “He always gets it eventually,” she laughed and I happen to know that the two, being close to 70 years old and having raised 4 kids together, really appreciate being together.

Then she told me another story – she invited all their kids from around the country to surprise him for his birthday. She was wondering how on earth she’d be able to secretly do all the necessary cooking and cleaning in preparation, but realized there was no need to worry. She could have six pots on the stove, and he would walk through the kitchen and not even notice, utterly on his own planet.

Now, such a situation used to go against every idea I had about what a healthy relationship should be. From my postmodern, psychological view point, people should agree (close to) all the time, should always be perfectly straight with each other, everything should be on the table at all times, always voiced, etc etc. Full transparency.

These days, I think differently – recognizing that the other is indeed the other and that that will never change is actually liberating. It eliminates much of the interpersonal glue and neediness that comes with trying to create absolute unity where it does not need to be – in a relative sense.

I don’t think my client has thought through her attitudes – for her and her generation, this kind of acceptance of the guy being the guy and the woman being a woman comes unquestioned and naturally. It does seem though that for those fifty and younger, a whole list of requirements started to accumulate about what our partners should be able to provide – in many ways, these can be summed up to mean: be more like me! I won’t go into the details of the implications of this, but just want to say here that having gone through the futile effort of being equals in the wrong ways, I am much more excited now by what opens up if I do not primarily focus on difference or specialness of being a woman (or him a man) and secondly not expect him to be a woman, my mirror image, in a male body. Learning to trust and focus on the deeper, fundamental non-difference, in an absolute way – makes room for those differences to remain unproblematic.

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