Friday, August 8, 2014

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate: I love Him, He Loves Me... Not?

What We Have Here Is A Failure To Communicate: I love Him, He Loves Me... Not?

               So you’ve been looking at him with dreamy eyes, thinking it and wanting to say it, but wondering if it’s the right time.  Wondering if it’ll be received, and even more so if it’s reciprocated…  He’s laughing at something you said and you can’t help but think how cute his dimples are.  So what should you do now?  Everything has been going great, and with every day that passes, your feelings for him grow stronger and stronger.  The words are right there on the edge of your lips.  You’re just dying to tell him.  So you hype yourself up, convincing yourself that of course he’d want to know, why wouldn’t he?  And you blurt it out, “I love you!”  (insert womp,womp,womp music here-->).
you gonna say something or nah?
                Amazing feeling right?  You finally said it!  But then reality comes flooding in… the seconds are ticking by as you wait to see some type of reaction from him.  You may not have deluded yourself into thinking he’s going to say it back, but you do hope to see some type of response whether it be a smile, a “yes I love you too”, or even a “sorry, kid, can’t say I feel the same way” (hey at least you’d know where you’d stand if he did say that, right?).  Tick, tock, tick, tock… time is ticking away and nothing.  Not a thing.  Not a single solitary thing- no expression, no words, not even a sniffle.

                The big ole smile you had plastered on your face that was so full of light and hope, now fades slowly as you suddenly realize you’ve just screwed up majorly.  Not only did you put yourself out there and expose your most vulnerable feeling- one that you’ve spent so much time protecting, but you’re also the only one (or at least it appears that way) who has that vulnerable feeling and willing to display it.  He’s looking at you (or possibly looking somewhere else ‘cause honestly, who wants to be confronted with this?) and he sees you’re waiting for him to say something.  Clumsily, he fixes his mouth to respond, and oh how profound it is when he blurts out “okay, cool,” or “interesting,” or “you hungry” as he grabs for another handful of spicy Doritos.  Either way, he has completely avoided saying anything with meaning at all and you’re left feeling like the biggest jackass this side of the Mississippi.
oh yeah, she looks pretty pissed

                Now why is that?  Why is it a mistake to tell someone that you love them if that’s genuinely how you feel?  Is it because they didn’t say it back or because they didn’t say anything at all?  Or is it because they didn’t even acknowledge it one way or the other?  This is just one of those things that so many ladies out there deal with.  And when we’ve finally put our hearts on the table and found the raw courage to even take a cautious step towards love, I can’t help but wonder, are we ladies emotional sadomasochists?  Are we thriving on the humiliation of being the only person with feelings ready to embarrass ourselves at a moment’s notice with a declaration of love?  It hurts so good, doesn’t it?

                So with no response (or some semblance of a noncommittal, vague one, whichever your guy gave you) you begin to second guess everything you thought about your situation with him.  You figure yes, you’ve had such a great time together and you spend so much time together that certainly by now he must feel something even if it’s only a morsel of something.  After all, he treats you like you’re a princess.  Then you begin to rationalize that hey, even if he didn’t respond, the way he treats you certainly says something for how he feels about you doesn’t it?  And boy do we try to convince ourselves there, but the truth is, we need to hear it.  All the rationalizing in the world won’t make up for a guy’s positive response to that totally embarrassing declaration you just made.
oh yes, this is happening right now...

I always find it rather hypocritical on the part of men that they would like women to be clear with them about the things they want because men aren’t mind readers.  He can’t read your mind, so we have to tell them what the situation is.  Hey, I can totally dig that!  They’re absolutely right, we should say what we want and not leave it up to guesses.  But in the same breath, when it comes to love, the first thing men will say is that “some things don’t have to be said, you should just know.”  Hmm… isn’t this a contradiction?  So you’re saying that you’re not a mind reader, but when it comes to you, I should be?  Yeah… no…

Warning! Confused girl on deck
             I know that we have all heard the school of thought that actions speak louder than words.  And I would wager that they do, but I think that whomever said that must have been a man.  The reality is, actions do show you a person’s intentions, but their words in conjunction with those actions help to clearly define what those actions actually mean.  This is where we all get mixed up.  Ladies will take a guy’s nice actions and think they mean one thing when they mean something else entirely.  Then we’re left holding the bag, cause like idiots, we assumed something that wasn’t even there (check out Gigi in He’s Just Not That Into You).  Of course when we ask or make our feelings known, we don’t get an answer there either, only further compounding our error.  Argh!!!! Is this shit as confusing to you as it is to me?

                So now that you’ve said the words and he hasn’t said a thing, you have to sit and wonder what the silence means (and good luck figuring that out).  I figure that it could mean one of three things.  1. He either feels the same way, but he’s not a verbal person and therefore plays his hand close to his chest.  That would mean that he probably isn’t going to respond to your courageous declaration anytime in the next millennium, but he will continue to try to show you through his actions (after all, expecting him to say it back is wayyyyyyyy too much pressure!), or 2.  He really doesn’t feel the same way, but thinks it’s better not to say anything because telling you he doesn’t feel the same way would hurt your feelings.  He may care enough about you not to want to hurt your feelings, but he certainly isn’t anywhere near the realm of love, and therefore doesn’t want the confrontation.  Whoo!  Too much pressure! Or 3. He would love to tell you that he doesn’t feel the same way, but thinks you’re going to make a movie (as in flip the hell out and act batshit crazy) or things’ll become awkward and it’ll mess with the status quo. 

                Now which one of those three answers is the possible real answer is left up to anybody’s guess, ‘cause honey, I’ll admit, I don’t have the slightest clue.  It's a puzzle that's for
welcome to the male mind...
damn sure.  But what can you, as a woman with feelings, do about it?  Nothing.  What you can do, is be realistic.  First and foremost, if you love him, it’s okay to tell him.  At least I think it is.  Nothing horrible can come from having genuine feelings for a person and letting them know.  Hey, the world needs more love anyway (isn’t that a song) BUT if those feelings are not reciprocated, leave it there.  I wouldn’t advise telling him a second time.  Trust me, he heard you the first time.  If he isn’t comfortable with responding, you definitely shouldn’t force the issue.  Feeling love is one thing, admitting it to the person you love is quite another, but making a fool of yourself, oh Lord!  Let’s not even entertain that.  Don’t make a fool out of yourself by continuously telling an unresponsive man that you love him.  For one, you look desperate.  Two, you look nuts.  And three, it’s creepy as all hell!  Control yourself please.

What you do with your feelings from there, however, is up to you.  I mean, if it’s really love
you feel, the feelings aren’t going anywhere and you’ll always feel them, but that doesn’t mean that you need to act on them.  Unrequited love is possibly the worst kind, but it is a manageable state if you are honest with yourself.  It’s kinda sad, and it feels sucky, but it’s a worse pain for him to lie to you or lead you on.  Unfortunately in this great big ole world of confused men and women, we have to take the sweets with the sourC’est la vie.  And one last cliché saying for the gipper, you can’t win em all… (For the record, I don’t even know who the gipper is…)

Now if you think there really could be some feeling in his heart for you, but he’s just stuck on what to say, you should give him some time to sort it out.  Men need time to process.  A lot of time… Unlike us ladies, they don’t just come up with answers right away.  I have no idea what they sit and think about, but it seems to be a trait of the gender that males take longer to process a woman’s words than it takes for us to process theirs.  And after a reasonable amount of time (I don’t know what reasonable is, but I’d say at most a week), I’d straight up ask him “hey, just a quick question about what I said to you about my feelings for you… do you honestly feel the same way, or not so much?” 

 I won’t lie, putting it out there like that is very blatant and guys don’t like those types of direct questions.  It’s pressure, and they hate pressure.  I certainly don’t advise pressuring them all the time.  It doesn’t end well, but sometimes you need to know what’s going on.  If you have come to a place where you feel you need to ask that question, prepare for the answer.  And I’ll be the first one to tell you, it may not be the answer you want.  You have to understand that going in.  You have to be ready to hear the absolute worse.  You have to understand that even asking that question may drive him away altogether.  That’s just the reality of it.  And hopefully, if he is a stand up guy and decent, he won’t take the easy route out by lying- he’ll actually tell you the un-sugarcoated truth (at least I hope he will… he may not, because as I said, they are all programmed to think we’ll make a hysterical movie if we hear the truth- realization hasn’t set in that we women are not newborn babies who throw temper tantrums).

                If you get good news or hear what it is you’d hoped to hear, be happy!  Rejoice!  Don’t ask him anymore pressuring questions and just enjoy your time with him.  After all, the guy loves you!  BUT, if you’re in the latter group and get the bad news, you have to take the “L” and keep it moving.  Don’t get angry.  There’s no need.  You can’t make anyone love you and it’s never anybody’s fault that they feel what they feel.  Feelings (or the lack thereof) is a natural thing.  If he doesn’t love you, respect that and let him be. 
Next, be thankful that you were capable of loving him in the first place.  After all, it’s a
great feat for you.  It’s what God put us on Earth to do.  When your heart is capable of feeling affection, care, and respect for another human being, it says a lot about who you are.  Be proud of yourself because it means you’re the good guy. 
Finally, don’t try to make him pay for not loving you.  Let him live.  Don’t slander him or talk bad about him or anything.  Sure you’re hurt, of course you are.  You love someone who doesn’t love you, but that doesn’t make him a bad person.  It just means it wasn’t meant to be.  Try to move on in the most positive way that you can.  That’s really all you can do.  It’s the womanly thing to do and let’s you have a bit of dignity about it. 

In conclusion, it’s true that the ongoing battle between men and women at this point is epic.  What we have here is literally a failure to communicate, but that doesn’t mean we should stop trying.  We women may put ourselves out there more- we may be sadomasochists for emotional punishment, but that’s what makes us women.  It’s our ability to feel.  Hopefully in time, someone will feel love for us in return, and God willing, he won’t be afraid to say so.  I always figured that if a man really loved you, he’d tell you, and if he didn’t, he wouldn’t, but I suppose in the grand scheme of things, perhaps it isn’t just that simple.  I don’t really know.  I do know that we shouldn’t give up though.  And if we do give up (because let’s face it, opening your heart to someone and losing can be a draining experience) at least try to be genuinely happy and positive for the happiness of others.  What else can ya do?

Good luck, ladies!
Arielle “Ari” Crowell


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Ready-Made, Pre-Packaged Wives (Just Add Water)

Ready-Made, Pre-Packaged Wives (Just Add Water)

          So, you’re into him.  He’s seemingly into you.  You guys have fun… you joke around all the time.  You get in the kitchen and cook together, then spontaneously have a food fight!  It leaves the two of you covered in flour looking like two ghosts with bright eyes as you both fall to the ground laughing so hard that your stomach hurts!  It’s absolutely wonderful isn’t it?  No stress, no drama, just easy breezy fun, Fun, FUN!  BUT, what happens when you say to him, “so, how do you feel about us being in a relationship?”  Next thing you know, you don’t hear from him for two days, then a week, until finally you are left wondering, WHAT HAPPENED??? 

            And if you guys have been kicking it for a long time, you’re actually kind of hurt.  You came to care about him and had all types of swirly, magical thoughts about WHAT IF you two were a couple?  How would it be if you were a family (or maybe I’m the only one who thinks that way, but I mean at 31, who doesn’t think that?  Not out to waste time here).  Certainly with how great you two were together, it would have at least crossed his mind once or twice, right? 
            Usually, I’d be the first one to post a big ole WRONG answer to that last question, but the truth is, I have absolutely no idea whether the guy thought about it or not.  The truth is, many of us ladies (especially those of us who came from a two parent home) are out here practicing being wives to men who have no intent on marrying us- or even committing to us to be a boyfriend for that matter...  The truth is, we’re wives with no men to marry.  We’re wives who are “just friends.”

            Now I find it very entertaining how many of us ladies have evolved to try to cope with this problem.  Being the strong creatures we are, we won’t let things keep us down for long before we somehow adapt to it.  As a result, many of us decided that we would simply become men and just “not give a damn” one way or the other, and we’d get our needs satisfied by whomever we deemed worthy and that was it.  No muss, no fuss, nothing serious-ever because guess what, we don’t need a man!  We’re fine on our own!  Yeah… right… 
She's a hybrid right? Sheesh Idk...
Then there are those other ladies who are hybrids.  They try to be men too, but secretly underneath it all, want a relationship.  But of course she can’t tell anyone because then she’d appear as that needy broad who hangs her happiness on finding or having a man.  Can’t be that chick so, she’ll go along with a guy’s program of “nothing serious,” or “we’re just friends” until they get so deeply involved that she can’t see a way out.  That’s where the pain comes in…  And it’s a dreadful situation to be in, believe me, but so many of us find ourselves right there while trying to pretend we really don’t care at all…. 
Then there is the other type of woman who is still a woman at heart with ideas and family fantasies, but is so jaded that she’s always expecting the other shoe to drop.  She goes along with the guy’s program, but she will eventually ask for more because she wants more.  But when she’s denied and rejected (because that’s basically what has happened when he says no), she isn’t surprised.  She shrugs it off and says whatever, and keeps on going.  After all, did she really expect him to want a relationship?  Not really.  They never do.  She’s hurt, sure, but what good would showing him do?  Might as well put the strong face on and keep on trucking.

           Then our last type of lady who is all lady for sure, is floored that he doesn’t want a relationship with her.  Oh my goodness, the world is over!  She’ll never love again!  Somebody call the Fire Department, the Police Department, an Ambulance- hell, call a Hearse because somebody’s going to have a melt down in 0.05 seconds!  How will she ever live?  God has abandoned her!  Why, Lord, why!  Somebody toss her ass into the coffin and throw dirt on her, ‘cause everything else is a wrap!

Sigh… I’m exhausted just thinking about it.  But really, when you get right down to it on a basic molecular level, why is it so hard for us ladies to maintain real and healthy relationships?  Or to even get one for that matter!  Why and where, in 2014, has the love gone?

Now it’s my theory that women, much like myself, who grew up in a two parent home witnessed some things that people that grew up in a single family home, didn’t.  For instance I saw my mother be a wife.  My entire life that I lived at home, I watched my mother, day in and out, be a wife to my father.  I watched her cook, clean, and take care of the home.  She wasn’t a homemaker.  Nope.  She had a career.  But I watched her be a wife.  I learned that you have to be tolerant, respectful, be respected, know when to be a hard ass and when to be nurturing.  I learned that you need to keep yourself looking good (as shallow as it sounds, this is important) and always allow your man to be a man.  Without even meaning to, this is the lesson that my mother taught me.  I was raised to be somebody’s wife.

And I didn’t have delusions about marriage or relationships either, as if it would be all
sunshine and rainbows with glitter sparkled butterflies (gag).  I saw my parents have their share of hard times, but I also saw them work through them.  I saw my mother exercise patience when she was fed up.  I saw her pick up the ball and keep it bouncing, if it were dropped.  I saw her work hard, doing her part to keep our family alive.  And I learned what men were and what it means to have a husband by looking at my father.  I watched him provide for us, and make tough decisions.  I saw the way he treated my mother with kindness and care always, even when he was angry with her.  I never saw him hit her, ever, and I always saw him exercise patience when my mother’s attitude was beyond aggravating (hell, she aggravated the hell out of me too! Don’t tell her I said that…).  Without meaning to, my dad showed me how men should treat their women.  He raised me to accept what a genuine man has to offer.  But most of all, I learned that they never gave up.  I was taught just by looking at my parents, that you don’t give up just because a person annoyed you.  But to that end, I also saw them have A LOT of fun!  You work through the hard times for a brighter day and have a blast in between!  And guess what, they made it 35 years so far, still counting...

Who's dazed and confused by dating? This Chick!
Fast forward to the present and we’ve got a helluva problem here.  I have gone off into the world with these traditions and ideals in place.  When I meet a man and we begin formulating what I think is a relationship (and clearly I am the only one who thinks it), I practice being a wife to him.  I practice that because that’s all I know… that’s what I was raised to be.  But in comes the problem.  That guy (most of the time) isn’t from a home like mine.  He had to tough it out with no dad.  He didn’t see his mom be a wife.  He didn’t see his dad be a husband.  So realistically, when I step in with my wife practice, I look insane.  There’s no way this man could accept or appreciate what I have to offer because he’s had no experience with this type of tradition at all.  No, instead, it is something that he could take advantage of, play around with, or even make fun of (ah, son, I got her doing everything for me! She’ll do anything I ask her to do, watch!)… but it’s not something that he can respond to in a healthy way.  So who then, in this scenario, is the idiot for expecting that from him? ME!

I have been hurt in numerous different ways because I approached relationships and potential relationships with an ideal in mind.  That’s my fault.  No one else’s, I can admit.  I can not help how I was raised, but I should understand that everyone doesn’t think of things the same way that I do.  If I had realized this some time ago, I could have spared myself a lot of
Face I make when I have to start over

disappointment and emotional pain… not to mention I could have saved myself from wasting valuable time with people who just weren’t worth it and certainly didn’t deem me worth it.  But I suppose that’s how it is.  Those are the trials and tribulations we have to go through in order to learn.

What then is a traditional girl such as myself supposed to do in a world full of men and women who don’t believe in traditions anymore?  The simple answer would be to find someone who does, but then, do those persons even exist anymore?  I always heard that if you can’t beat em, join em, but I refuse to do that.  Someone else’s disability to commit to a person is their own disability.  It isn’t mine.  I won’t stoop to that level.  I was taught that if a person is worth it, you work with them through hard times- your hard times and his.  If you are worth it, he’ll do the same.  And that’s what I have to look out for… a person who will do that and who isn’t afraid to build a foundation with me- a person who isn’t afraid to love me or receive love from me. 

yeah, yeah, I "stole" the picture so what
I don’t have the slightest clue why commitment is so hard for men.  Or why emotions and feeling, and pledging yourself to another person along with yourself is so difficult.  Stephen King said that the “soil of a man’s heart is stonier; a man grows what he can and tends it.  And what he grows always comes home to him.”  I can agree that it is stonier… harder to grow things.  And if he can grow something, he will try (at least for a little while) to tend it.  I hope that that means all isn’t lost for us ready-made wives.  Not even ready-made, ‘cause that sounds so cookie cutter, but for us ladies who grew up learning to be modern day wives, hopefully we can grow into the heart of a man who can appreciate what we are and what we have to offer: home.

But it’s funny, don’t you think?  “Ready-made, pre-packaged” wives with no husbands.  Life has a funny sense of humor.


Arielle "Ari" Crowell