Thursday, August 19, 2010

Jane Tries to Explain the Whole Mars Versus Venus Thing

The other day a friend started a conversation with me by stating, “You probably won’t understand this because you have Vince…” and then went on to tell me about her relationship problems with her man.

I barely heard the rest of her message because I was flabbergasted. (Flabbergasted: a really good word to describe those “Hunh?!” moments in life. I don’t think we use it enough.)

Anyway, I was so flabbergasted because I’d spent years – decades even – in relationships that weren’t right for me. I spent years – decades even – worrying about what my boyfriend du jour was thinking and analyzing every conversation and spending far too much time determining the nuances of a simple, “Sorry, I’ve been busy” comment.

Such a comment would launch a flurry of guesses about the meaning. I’d wonder, Did I talk too much the last time we were together? I probably did and didn’t spend enough time asking his opinion about stuff. Probably I should have asked him to explain the workings of the internal combustion engine to me just one more time…

Or I’d think, Is he upset with me because I burned the meatloaf the last time he came over for dinner and he doesn’t really like lima beans even though he said he did and…

Okay, the last thought wasn’t true. I don’t particularly care for lima beans myself and can positively state that I have never prepared them for anyone else.

But, still – you get my point. Sometimes the, “Sorry, I’ve been busy” comment is just that – a statement of fact. And if I’d stopped trying to overanalyze things I would have realized that he had, in fact, been working six days a week and was sometimes even working on the seventh day as well.

However, I have learned something in recent years from books like “He’s Just Not That Into You” (by Greg Behrendt and Liz Tuccillo). And that is: if a man really wanted to spend time with a woman he would make the time – no matter how busy he is.

Fortunately, I’ve also learned that lesson from Vince. Not only by what he says – but by how he acts. He wants to spend time with me, even when I’m not the most fun person to be around. He loves me and I know without a doubt that he does. I could give you a million reasons, but I don’t want to embarrass the man. Plus, I don’t want the cynics among you to (a) assure me that it won’t last, or (b) do that exaggerated eye roll thing or (c) make the finger-down-the-throat gagging motion.

I’ve lived long enough that I’m plenty cynical. But I’m also willing to take the gift of love I’ve been given with Vince and be grateful for it.

One of the best things about my relationship with Vince is that we talk. We’re talkin’ in the mornin’, we’re talking in the evenin’, we’re talkin’ all the live long day! We talk about mundane things like the state of our vegetable bin and the pros and cons of shopping at Costco versus Kroger (“Do we really need 10 lbs of carrots? I mean, really?!”)

But we also talk about thoughts and feelings. We talk when we’re happy and when we’re being silly as well as when we’re angry or upset. We don’t let things fester. I suppose we could be utterly annoying to those couples who don’t spend a lot of time talking. But, hey, it works for us! And if it doesn’t, well, we’ll probably talk about it and find out why.

We also resolve issues and don’t just talk about them ad nauseam without ever reaching a conclusion. So I don’t expect in five years to blow up over the fact that he didn’t refill the toilet paper holder for the 9,650th time. We try to pay attention to the things that bother one another. And we both know there’s no maid on the premises who will magically refill the toilet paper holder – so it is both our responsibilities.

So while it’s true that we haven’t even hit the one-year anniversary mark yet and I am hardly an expert on relationships, I do know that my relationship with Vince is different than it was with any previous boyfriend du jour. I know that things are just – I don’t know quite how to explain it – but they’re easier. If he were to say to me, “Sorry, I’ve been busy” I would know that he is merely stating a fact. And I wouldn’t try to overanalyze it.

Plus, Vince knows I don’t like lima beans…and he would never expect me to prepare them for him. No wonder I love the guy!


  1. Will you crack my crab legs for me and serve them in hot butter? No lima beans please!

  2. NOOOO!

    The ol' crab legs requirement rears its ugly head. That was almost a deal breaker right there, my love!

    And probably a topic for another blog. (Thanks, honey!)