So ladies, here we are again on the second article from The Guy Chronicles, and this time we’re talking about that deep, dark, abyss your guy (or any guy for that matter because even my five year old son does this) sinks into whenever you ask him a question. Heavens to Betsy, it’s about the most annoying thing a guy can do isn’t it? You’re standing there with your hand on your hip waiting for a reply to a serious question, and he’s standing there with the “duh” look on his face. Don’t you just want to shake the pure living hell out of him? I mean gee whiz, you haven’t got all day! But what’s really going on behind that vacant expression? Do you know? Well luckily for you, it does have a purpose. And perhaps with the tiniest smidge of patience, we ladies can grow to understand and work with this purpose. Let me explain.
So let’s say Lisa was at work all day, thinking wonderful thoughts about her boyfriend Jason. Things have been going smoothly for over a year, and Lisa is starting to get that itch to get married. Jason, of course, hasn’t said one way or another whether he thinks about marriage, and Lisa doesn’t want to pressure him. She loves him, and she hopes that perhaps his love for her and wanting to marry her would come naturally. Still, he might need a little push right? So she figures, hmmm why don’t I ask him how he feels about living together? He’s over my house all the time anyway right? Maybe we could start there… This, for a woman, is a perfectly logical train of thoughts.
So Lisa heads home and makes a fantastic dinner of all his favorite foods and puts on a sexy dress with nice high heels that accent her long legs and strong calve muscles. She smells good, she looks good, she cooks good. What’s not to like? He couldn’t resist being enthusiastic about maybe living with her when she has so much to offer could he? So Jason comes home and sits down at the head of the table. Everything sure looks great and after a long hard day at the office, he’s ready to dive right in! He’s starving! He picks up his fork and knife to get started on devouring his Yankee Pot Roast when Lisa looks at him, with a twinkle in her eye and says “Babe, we need to talk.” (And cue the Twilight zone music right here)
She has just sent poor Jason on a trip down the Rabbit Hole to Wonderland. What in the hellified gangsta lean does she want to talk about, he wonders to himself. He checks his mind. Did he take out the trash? Did he walk the dog? She didn’t find out that he’d fondled the stripper neighbor’s fatty had she? After all, it was only that one time and he was drunk so it doesn’t count… He searches his mind, trying not to sweat. But Lisa smiles sweetly and tells him to relax. It’s nothing major. She says “Well, babe (or bae for you people who have shortened babe to bae), I think it’s time that we think about living together. Don’t you think that would be a great idea? We could save money-“ she drones on and on about the benefits of cohabitation. But to her surprise, Jason has already checked out of the conversation. He heard the words that mattered. So the “nothing” with the stripper is still safe, but living together? Black Hole Time! And he shuts down faster than a dial up internet connection in a rain storm.
Lisa stares at him confusedly, waiting for an answer, but Jason has nothing he wants to say. He puts his fork and knife down, excuses himself from the table, grabs his coat, and heads out into the evening. Lisa stares in confused wonder (and probably quite a bit of disappointment and anger) wondering what in the entire hell just happened? He just ignored her and walked away. He didn’t answer anything or say anything meaningful. He didn’t even kiss her goodbye before he left! He just checked out. She feels her blood boiling and the urge to stomp around is overwhelming. He was always doing that! Always shutting down when she wanted to talk! What’s wrong with him, she angrily screams in her head.
So what’s wrong with Jason? Well the short answer is absolutely nothing! He’s just being a guy. See the problem with us ladies has always been that we think so differently from males. We don’t understand their processes and I’m pretty sure that for the most part, they don’t understand ours, but this isn’t to say that we can’t bridge the gap. Now ladies, the explanation for Jason and his rude, crude, and socially unattractive (in your mind) behavior is just his way of thinking about the question you’ve just asked him. That’s right! He isn’t ignoring you- at least not yet, he’s just taking the time to mull over your words and what they mean and how they may affect him. The pros and the cons, if you will… or if he even wants to be bothered with answering in the first place.
See, guys are complicated. At least I think they are, because there are so many layers to them. Where it’s easy for us to say, “oh sure, I wanna live with my boyfriend” because our thought processes allows us to romanticize all the benefits immediately (and probably none of the liabilities), we are able to answer right away. We’ll dress this up and say we could answer right away because we know what we want and we love our guys, and for the most part, this is true, but guys are just different. They can’t function that way. A man has to think about the things he wants to do and what’s in it for him. It’s just something that seems to happen when you hit them with a question or conversation that they didn’t see coming. I suppose for them (though I have no idea how they feel about it), it’s kind of a blind-side. But nevertheless, they have to think first.
This is not a bad thing honestly. Everyone should probably do it this way. But the great thing about doing it this way is that he’ll make a decision based on logic rather than emotions. He will honestly try to figure out if he could stand your mood swings, still have space, get the sex he wants, save money, and have a place of peace to come home to everyday. He will contemplate what it will mean to you if he does do it, and where you two would stand if he doesn’t do it. And yes, I am sure if he’s a good guy, he’ll factor in what you want and his love for you too (though this could be me romanticizing again, but I would at least like to think he would). Then he’ll weigh the options. It really is pretty smart.
But of course, to do all that, he’ll need between 30 minutes to damn near 7 hours to think or possibly even longer. Now don’t ask me why it takes so long… I haven’t got the slightest clue. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that the time frame didn’t annoy me to no end too, but this is the reality of it. They need that time. They have to delve down deep into the abyss of their innermost thoughts and ponder it out for a minute (or several hours, however you want to look at it.) You almost feel like you’re going to die from waiting so long… Waiting to find out if you made the cut or not… It can be maddening to a woman, but that’s just the way it is.
Now that’s not to say we have to like it. Of course we don’t. In all honesty, I hate it. I don’t like waiting forever to find out what’s what, but if we care for our guys, we do have to respect that they need this time. And further, we need to respect it without attitude. We can’t walk around pouting or popping up on them with “hey you thought about it yet?” or “hey, you got that answer yet?” No, the politics of men and women suggest that we should play it cool. Still, that does NOT mean that we are supposed to wait forever. No. I can’t say what an appropriate amount of time is- it depends on the people and the questions asked, but given an appropriate amount of time, I would advise any lady to eventually come to him and say “Okay, well you’ve had some time to think, do you think we might be able to continue the conversation now, or do you need more time?” We need to be conscious and considerate of their needs, but also very aware of our own. It’s give and take with this relationship stuff. And believe me, nobody ever said that dealing with them would be easy, but it is utterly important at least to be fair. And he in turn should be fair to you as well.
So what’s the verdict? The lesson to be learned? We must have patience. Give the guy some time and space to mull things over. Busy yourself with a project or everyday things that need to be done while he thinks. You know that you will come back to the conversation eventually, so no need to spend time obsessing over the fact that he hasn’t answered you yet. He will when it’s time. And if he doesn’t, you can approach the subject again in a non-confrontational way. It’s all about finesse, ladies… But just remember, If he appears to have checked out of the conversation, or shut down at the onset of questioning, it’s only because he’s thinking about what you’ve asked. Respect your guy and he (theoretically) will respect you! Operation Keep That Man is now in process ;) Smooches
Arielle "Ari" Crowell, author