Worlds Apart Part 3 (3/21/2011)

Chapter 6 states that men are like rubber bands and have alternating cycles of pulling away from intimacy to set up autonomy and getting closer to re-establish intimacy. When a man gets too close, he loses himself in her concerns and cares and has to pull away to find himself again.

I 100% affirm that! It’s so easy for me to drown in other people’s problems and concerns sometimes! I can remember all sorts of times where I kind of lost my identity for maybe days at a time, I could never explain why though.

What really got me though, was this example under the heading One-sided Conversations:

Sandra: How was your day?

Larry: OK.

Sandra: What happened?

Larry: The usual.

Sandra: What do you feel like doing this weekend?

Larry: I don’t care. What do you want to do?

Sandra: Do you want to invite your friends over?

Larry: I don’t know… Do you know where the TV schedule is?

Sandra: (upset) Why don’t you talk to me?

Larry: (Stunned and silent.)

Sandra: Do you love me?

Larry: Of course I love you. I married you.

Sandra: How could you love me? We never talk anymore. How can you just sit there and say nothing? Don’t you care?

This is exactly what happened in my relationship, I’m sure! We had 1 million conversations exactly like that, and I know that had to be one of the reasons we broke up. Man, I wonder what this book would’ve done a few months sooner… I wonder why God didn’t let it come then… I think He probably did it to slow us down and keep us from doing something really stupid… That, and to humble me.

I’m also seeing that since I’m aware of these cycles, I can alert others of them. When I need to pull away, I can communicate that effectively and set some time for togetherness when I return, so that I can be more sensitive to your needs. I always knew that it hurt you, but now I can actually see why, so I can change it.

{In case you haven’t caught it yet, every time the text changes to a combination of bold and italics I’m sort of speaking directly to her in my writing}

Chapter 7

Just like men come in and out like the tide, women’s emotions rise and fall like waves.

I had no clue, so I can only imagine all the ways I trampled over you during the low cycles especially, I’m so sorry. I see it now, and I understand. I honestly understand now, especially because of this example:

Bill and Mary had been married for six years. Bill had observed this wave pattern in Mary, but because he didn’t understand it, he tried to “fix it,” which just made matters worse. He thought something was wrong with her tendency to go up and down. He would try explaining to her that she didn’t need to be upset. Mary only felt more misunderstood and thus more distressed.

Although he thought he was “fixing it,” he was actually preventing her from feeling better. When a woman moves into her well, he needs to learn that this is when she needs him the most, and it is not a problem to be solved or fixed, but an opportunity to support her with unconditional love.

That is a big, fat FAIL on my part. I did exactly what the example talked about and I know that made things hell for you. I’m so sorry and so embarrassed!

Two pages later it talks about how coming out of the wave doesn’t mean it’s resolved even though it’s easy for me to think it is. I can still hear myself saying some of these things:

  1. How many times do we have to go through this?
  2. I’ve heard all this before.
  3. I thought we had established that.
  4. When are you going to get off it?
  5. I don’t want to deal with this again.
  6. This is crazy! We are having the same argument!
  7. Why do you have so many problems?

That’s 4 out of 7…

I’m seeing more and more that I did a horrible job of supporting you as you went deeper into the well and that it was in those moments where you needed me the most. I can’t actually remember a time where I responded well to you in that situation, though there might have been once… I’m so sorry that I failed you in such a big way, you were right for not staying in a relationship like that; I treated you like trash. I’m sorry that I put you through all of that.

“Telling a woman she shouldn’t feel hurt is about the worst thing a man can say.”

Guilty. On multiple counts. I’m sorry. I accept my consequences.

Any thoughts?

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