Men: You can’t burn them in a bed and get away with it.
Many women hold the view that men are substandard or that men lack the ability to relate and commit. These beliefs are perpetuated by the very men who are insulted by the labels. The media promotes the cliché and soon we are convinced that all men are dogs. In relationship, men are expected to play new roles. Sitcoms will have you believe that married men tend to be hard up, pussy-whipped and miserable. Why the media campaign against commitment?
Lee says: Relationship and commitment is a natural state for human beings. This was one of the first revelations I had after being married for a couple of months. It wasn’t weird or uncomfortable. The transition from single and living apart to married and sharing an abode was easy. I enjoyed sharing everything with Paul and, even though I waited for the annoying little habit to break my Zen state, it never came.
I learned early on that there are some things men, or in this case, Paul, won’t do. He will not rinse dishes in the sink. Another thing that Paul won’t do is fold clothes. He has an aversion bordering on phobia if confronted with a pile of laundry or a couple of t-shirts. Paul will not make a bed and he doesn’t like sheets to be tucked in. Every time we check into a hotel I un-tuck the bed before he gets in so I can avoid the curse riddled ranting when we get in bed. Paul hates cotton balls, salmon and coconut. None of these things are in our home in any form. Occasionally, if a recipe calls for some coconut, I burn it and scatter the ashes before he sees it.
So why am I telling you this? Is it so you will see he’s not perfect and try to come over here and steal my man? Nah! What I’m trying to show here is that these were his foibles and I never tried to change them. When I saw that he would rather clean the entire house rather than fold a load of laundry, I accepted that. When we had dishes in the sink for a week and he just found more clever ways of stacking them, I accepted it and cleaned the kitchen. He is who he is and no amount of cajoling, begging and nagging will change that.
When we had been together for a few months, already engaged and planning a wedding, we had a discussion about crying. I cry at the drop of a hat and the mere mention of dropping a hat makes me tear up. Paul – not so much. He believed that if he cried he was at the end of his rope/life (seriously, his theme song was “Don’t cry out loud”. I can’t make that shit up!) So I, crying at this point, said I couldn’t trust someone who didn’t cry. What happened? He started crying. I was freaked! He thought I was breaking up with him and I thought he was nuts. What I failed to mention was that I was PMSing to the point where I could have rationalized mass murder. I proceeded to berate him for his belief and treat him like shit because he wasn’t like me: vulnerable and a cry-baby.
When I realized the next day that I was under the influence of hormone I apologized. I was trying to change him to be something more like me. But, I didn’t fall in love with him because he was like me. I fell in love with him so why would I change that? That experience was hard and I still feel bad about that night 21 years later and countless apologies. Maybe one more.
I’m sorry honey for trying to change you.
Paul says: But I did change. Not because I was nagged or forced into changing but because I saw modeling of a behavior that I admired. I must point out that this applies only to being more emotive and communicative and not to laundry. I still don’t fold clothes.
Note to all: I love this story because it always ends with an apology.