Whose Time Is It?

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So, last week I shared with you how much more we as women need attention and affection than men. It seems hardly fair that they have twice the receptors for serotonin creation that we have, and therefore don’t need that “extra” contact, but then it also explains why men are content to often just be in the same room with us watching television and feel that is time shared.

Now as for us, I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel that sitting on a sofa in front of the tv is very intimate. But again, simply because of the way we are hardwired, men do.

Does that make sense then why they are so puzzled when we tell them we need more time together and they rattle off a seemingly ridiculous list of the hours we sit on the sofa together?

Which brings me back to the topic, whose time is it anyway? It’s ours. We decide to sit there with them, most often hoping that they will turn off the TV and look at us the way they did in the beginning of our relationship and have deep, meaningful conversation that yes, may or may not lead to physical intimacy.

We sit, and we wait, and we wait. We wait for something that most likely will not happen. But, and here is the important thing to remember – we are waiting for them to be like us. And they just aren’t.

I experienced this same phenomenon with my husband this weekend. We are currently in a transition period that will eventually lead us to a move to Orleans, a beautiful little city about 1.5 hours outside Paris.

But for the moment, what that means in real terms is that we only see each other on the weekends. And so, being newlyweds, one might imagine that when we see each other there is nothing but great physical intimacy and fireworks for two days, right? I mean yes, we are in our 50’s, but we aren’t 90 after all.

But here is what happened this weekend. Both of us, currently under the buzz of work, me planning the retreat in September and doing the web classes twice/week and him with a new contract, are going non-stop during the week and then one of us has to travel to see the other (two hours on Friday and two hours on Monday morning). So, when the weekend rolls around we are both tired and ready to collapse. Being opposites, meaning male and female, we each have a different idea of what that means.

For me, nonstop sharing and intimacy sounds great, interspersed with naps, walks and wine. For him it means down time, not having to do something on someone else’s schedule – he is staying with his parents during the week for proximity and cost reasons, so he is on either their schedule or a work schedule Monday through Friday. He wants a little freedom to just be, to work on creative projects or just read. So, this weekend I mistakenly took that to mean he just wanted space and time to relax. For him that means me being present in the room, just present, just sharing space with him. For me, sitting on a sofa and watching TV, especially TV in French where I understand about 20% of what is going on, and because he prefers the news or documentaries, is almost like torture.

So, I ended up for a large percent of the weekend in my office writing/working. He interpreted that to mean I had work I needed to do and asked if I would prefer he not come to Paris for the weekend. There was nothing malicious in his intent. He was just feeling that I was preoccupied and perhaps needed time to work or worse, didn’t want to spend time with him. Why? Again, because I wasn’t sitting on the sofa with him. It didn’t matter that I had scrubbed the house or ironed, yes, ironing is big in France, our bed sheets, washed his clothes, gone to market for staples I had not bothered to buy for myself in his absence or spent another two hours ironing on Saturday.

What mattered to him was time with me. What mattered to me was time connecting.

Had we talked about our expectations in a more clear, non-defensive way, we both might have enjoyed our precious time together a whole lot more, if you get my drift. Instead, we were both feeling a bit neglected, unappreciated (he had driven 2.5 hours –in bad traffic and had to get up at 5:30 this morning to go back. Did I mention he is not a morning person?). He made sacrifices just for me, that I didn’t recognize or appreciate in the way he needed.

I, on the other hand, don’t cook, clean as much or keep the traditional French schedule in his absence, so for me to do those things, and yes, iron, (did I mention ironing? Let me say it again – ironing. Oh, and it was 92 here this weekend, and no A/C IN PARIS – SERIOUSLY. Talking about a sacrifice- from my perspective anyway.) I was doing things I didn’t really have or want to do FOR HIM. But what he wanted was just me.

And there is the rub – time invested hoping for a certain response and then being sad or disappointed when we don’t receive it.

How much better spent is time invested in being clear about what we want/need/like don’t you think?

If you want to know more about how you can find your happiness regardless of what he does or doesn’t do, I am teaching only two more classes, check them out!

And until later, as always, Bisous!

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