Updated: Dec 16, 2021
A woman I was talking to had been dating again for the first time in, well, decades. Before she knew it, she was in love. Ah, love, sweet love. What a short-lived heaven that can be. Three months into that heaven, the guy declared he wanted things to move along faster, farther, deeper. (Meaning? We didn’t get to that. Maybe his moving in with her part time?)
Anyway, she said...No! You’re a great guy, but I’m just way not at that place yet. I need more time.
Whoa! he said. If you’re gonna keep things going slow like this, then I’m outta here.
Bye, she said, utterly heartbroken.
He’d been giving her presents, she told me, to put in her perfect, simple, white, carefully curated living room. She didn’t want anything added to it, especially not some dopey pictures. And if not that, then how could he fit in?
There’s something that guys don’t get, and I’m writing this to help them get it. To help women help men get it.
Put simply, guys: you’re too big, you take up too much space, you’re too loud, you don’t listen, and you never really have anything to say.
I know: a huge sweeping generality. Of course. But here’s the thing. When things go wrong, it’s all too often because of what I just said. A man has the ability to make a woman feel bored and overwhelmed at the same time. Quite a trick.
Now I’m not saying women are right when it comes to these things. I’m not right when I say I hate clutter. But I sure as hell wouldn’t want some guy moving into my space and start taking up space in it.
Think about what this amounts to for so many of us.
When a guy comes into your life he wants to make his mark on it. The longer you’ve been free—think about that word for a moment!—the more this grinds on you. So he leaves his stuff around. I know my husband does and it’s a constant battle to get him not to do so.
He leaves his body around. He sits down, up go his feet on something. On, well, anything. Up go his feet and wide spread his legs.
Then there’s the voice. My husband’s voice is pretty loud, but most men’s voices are louder than most women’s and, worse, they’ll just walk in and start with the loud talk no matter what the topic, no matter what the time of day. First thing in the morning!
And while they can be all too loud, when you want them to talk they too often have nothing to say. Certainly not anything of interest to you. When has the average guy ever spent a minute learning anything about anything that the average woman is interested in? Consider yourselves lucky if you like to watch the same stuff on TV.
So if you have a guy who’s taking up space, leaving his stuff around, being big, and being loud, then well, pretty soon you start feeling like a mouse in a house full of cats. Or a mole hill in a house full of steam rollers!
Now here’s where this becomes really insidious, whether at the beginning of or even well into a relationship. With all this space the guy’s taking up, we wonder—we ALL wonder—if the guy’s worth it.
Now if there are little kids and a big mortgage, and the guy’s bringing in real money, it’s easier to say, yeah, I guess he’s worth it.
But at other stages? All I can say is, it sucks to be put in the position of having to ask yourself, Is he worth it?
Particularly when the alternative is a dog.
Yeah, I know, dogs take up space too. And they bark sometimes. And unlike many men, they poop on the carpet. But most of the time? Here’s why the average dog is the perfect man:
Marley never notices, or cares, if you’re putting on weight.
Marley gives you a free hand when it comes to decorating your space.
Marley listens to you for hours.
It’s impossible for you to cook something Marley won’t like.
Marley’s never not wildly delighted to see you.
Marley says more with his eyes than most guys say with their mouths.
Marley never has a bad day at the office.
Marley never has a bruised ego for you to worry about.
Marley brings no in-laws into the picture.
Marley would never put you down because to him you’re a goddess, perfection itself. You can do no wrong. (And if you happen to be scratching him in the wrong place—if that’s even possible—he’ll let you know immediately.)
Wherever you want to go on vacation, Marley’s up for it.
A squeaky chew toy is WAY less expensive than a Porsche.
When you watch Marley dream, your heart melts.
And let’s face it, Marley WOULD bring home the bacon if only he knew where to find it. He’d bring home tons of it.
So that’s the deal.
Now I know I’ve done two things wrong here.
I’ve genderized things that don’t necessarily play out like this in the realm of gender.
And I’ve made it sound as though women are angels and men are lower than dogs. There’s definitely another side to this story.
But the point isn’t who’s better or worse. The point is that what I described here IS what millions of women are living through. And so it IS what millions of men need to understand. As well as understanding what to do about it.
Mainly listening to women and respecting them and their space.
Want an understanding on how the two of you can live through all this and actually thrive? It’s all in Why Couples Fight, where we don’t blame anybody!
The painting is Gerda Wegener's Portrait of Reading Woman with a Dog