Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Men are from Mars… Women are from Venus?

I just had a conversation that has left my girlfriend very upset. It made me a little upset but largely it has left me confused. I have come across one of those areas in life in which men and women appear to be on two sides of a wide chasm.

We were having a conversation about cheating and what is meant by it, and we had delved into the area of non-physical cheating. Things like lying, misleading, giving your attention to someone else, or taking advantage of your loved one. Those are all examples of cheating, but not the easily defined physical ones. It was these areas that I claimed were what worried me. I don’t think I am the cheating (physical) kind, but I could see myself falling into some of those grey areas. Likewise, I assume that the people I choose to be involved with have the same viewpoint. Physical cheating should almost be “below” any girl I am dating or me, so our resources/time should not be focused on worrying about that. Instead we needed to be more vocal when and if we feel those gray areas are intruding into the relationship. For example, if I were at a party and ignored Inna and spent all my time with a random hottie, she should call me out. That would be an example of me cheating her of what she deserved, my attention.

The conversation did not go as well as planned largely because Inna felt I was disregarding the importance of not physically cheating. But the conversation took a plunge when I tried to give a recent example: When visiting home (in Virginia) this time around, I chose not to get in contact with my friend Tiffani. The reason, we are both in relationships and I think us meeting up could undermine those. Tiffani and I have had an interesting history that has gone from friendship to relationship to friendship. I believe that we work best as friends, and that there really is no future to a relationship with her, but given our history I chose to leave it alone. I did not tell all this to Inna, it went something like “I chose not to see a friend of mine because we had dated in the past and things were not completely in the past. So even though the visit would have been almost certainly platonic and friendly it was not worth the risk of any it turning awkward from old feelings flaring up.” This was the wrong story to tell. It turned into, “Well why don’t you figure out you and Tiffani’s feelings on your own time” kind of things. And that is where the difference lies.

Men do not see the need to slam doors closed, and women do. To me, and I think to most men, relationships are doors without locks. They may always be open, but you simply have no need (or desire) to go through them anymore. To put in real terms, my feelings for past girlfriends are largely still intact. What changed is that I did not think that a relationship was appropriate any longer. There were problems that could not be overcome to allow for a successful relationship. Women seem to slam doors closed and duct tape them while grabbing for the nails and hammer. They seem to insist that things are ‘OVER!!!’ and that they would never open their hearts to feeling anything for their ex’s. In practice this proves false sense most women tend to revert back to their old feelings with only the slightest provocation. Hence why this defense mechanism, if you declare that its over, you may stand a chance of convincing yourself of it.

I think men are right about the nature of relationships, but women are noble in their ambition. A woman, if treated right will love one man and one man only forever. She will be devoted and unwavering in her support of that relationship (assuming it’s the right one). But the man in that ‘perfect’ relationship will always spread his feelings. I think it is honestly in our DNA to seek attention and affection from multiple sources. Hence why men tend to cheat more than women. We (in the male collective sense) may be perfectly happy in our perfect relationship but we will still seek to be liked by our coworkers and our friends and other females. No matter how fulfilled we are in one relationship we still seek others. In contrast, women seem to be completely fulfilled by their romantic relationships. Girls drop their friends, ignore their families, and pour all those freed resources into the relationship they are in. Women have to remind themselves to not ignore others and men have to remind themselves to pay more attention to their relationship. This all ties to our definition of relationships as open or closed doors. Women (speaking generically) simply cannot function with two or more doors open, it is insufficient. Men simply cannot function with all but one door being closed so we don’t bother to close the ones we are no longer using.

How does this apply to my situation? Inna sees herself as being, at best, shared, and at worst not special. If he still has some feelings for other girls, how can he think I am special or think that I am worth being with. He could just as easily switch to them. But that is not how it works, feelings may exist but the experiment has been played out. Like any experiment, you begin with a ‘hunch’ and you try it out to see if you are proved correct. The relationship is the experiment, and one in which all but one (and maybe even not one) fail. But even after a relationship has failed, the hunch may still stick around even though the results are known. That might not make too much sense.

Anyways, what Inna wants to hear is that I don’t see any other women but her and that she is the only person on the field. My reality is that life is a stage and that she is the star of my show. The spotlight is on her but she is far from being the only person on the stage. They are simply in the background. They have had their chances at dancing in the spotlight and they have been found lacking. Nothing wrong with them, but they simply did not have the qualities I was looking for in the star of my show. So there she is on the stage, trying out, and feeling that those in the background are detracting my attention from her. She is right in that my attention is divided, but she does not see that the things lacking in the background performers are what remind me why she appears so great for the part.

Life is tough :).

This was probably garbled a bit, I apologize. I am in class right now and trying to divide my attention… very fitting.


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