My neighbor, while we were sitting at her kitchen table one afternoon, stuck the below article under my nose. “Have a look,” she said. It was our normal Friday afternoon which meant we had been drinking Baileys. At that time, we were living somewhat similar lives with our husbands. A lot of what the author said rang true for both of us.
This time in our lives, coming out of our forties, somewhere into our fifties… it’s a big decade in the life of a woman. Menopause, some anxiety, hot flashes, children moving out, and marriage pains. We aren’t young, we aren’t old, but we are old enough to start speaking up for ourselves. After all, we’ve been speaking up for our children for years, haven’t we? It would seem so simple, to advocate for ourselves – but until we’ve reached that breaking point or that stage, we grin and bear it. Because that’s what (younger) women do.
For What It’s Worth
By Dr. Melfi, Ph.D.
“Women are constantly asking why men don’t seem to understand a woman’s wants, needs or desires, and they want to know why. So, I’m going to devote this column to those of you men who want to know what your wife/girlfriend needs, and to you women who might read this to your significant other in the hopes that some of it will sink in.
(Dr. Melfi must be a woman…)
“Women are just not that complicated. They want to feel special. They want to have their opinions matter. They want to know they are being heard. They do not want to cut their conversation short in order to get to the bottom line because men are too busy watching sports, reading the financial section, or getting ready to go fishing, golfing, and the like.
Women will tell you what they want or need in plain, simple language if you seem the least bit interested. Women may drop hints about their needs, but if you’re paying attention, even a first grader can figure them out. Women are sensitive. They may laugh with you when you make a derogatory comment, but what they’re really thinking is that you’re an insensitive buffoon with no class. Then they get over it. Maybe once, maybe one hundred times, but there’s that one time when they blow. They finally say what’s been on their minds, and they say it pretty clearly. You’re shocked. That’s the kicker. You actually believed that you could ignore her, or insult her, or negate her feelings and she would just keep taking it, but every woman has a breaking point. When she reaches it, there may be an argument, promises to change, make-up sex, and if you’re old-fashioned, flowers.
Some of you will learn the first time. Most of you will not. That means the scenario will be replayed over and over until your words mean nothing, because she no longer believes you. This is what I refer to as the critical junction, the time that the relationship will either survive or it won’t, but really, why does it have to get to this point?
(I seriously love Dr. Melfi)
“When she first met you, you held your own in conversation, you seemed to be interested in everything she had to say, laughed with her and found her amusing and sweet, and mostly adorable. Then you turned off the faucet and let the well run dry. It doesn’t make sense, but it occurs in almost every relationship for no good reason.
She loves you. If you take that for granted, you may find yourself sitting on the other side of a t.v. dinner, watching Seinfeld reruns alone. She’ll miss you, but she’s stronger than you think. She will move on. For what it’s worth, I think it might be a lot easier to remember why you chose her above all others, and put as much time and effort into letting her know how special she is, as you do checking your e-mails. After all, you can always do that later when you no longer have her.”
By all means, I am not man-bashing. Men have a lot of stresses that we don’t have, and sadly, society (or up-bringing) won’t allow men to express their feelings. Which means they are not in tune with feelings in general. In my family, my husband is the sole economic provider; I can’t imagine knowing that several people are counting on me for their physical survival. We want men to be our soft place to fall when we feel destroyed or unloved. And for me, my husband is my best friend, my secret keeper and always has my back.
As women continue to age, it seems like we become more of who we are and less of what the world expects of us. It’s quite empowering, especially to those of us who never had careers. We have learned to say NO and feel no need to explain our answer to anyone. We have decided that we can pick and choose our surroundings, our friends, and if we choose to stay in bed all day. Seriously, who has time to deal with stuff we don’t need to deal with anymore? You’re just SO over it already. Been there – done that, more than once, thank you very much. You have zero tolerance for people and situations or experiences that negatively impact your well-being.
The funny thing is that some men think that women are the weaker sex. It just KILLS me. They don’t see that we carry the weight of our world on our shoulders. Some days it’s heavier, some days it’s lighter – but we always carry. I don’t think they fully understand that we are continuously juggling our children’s different personalities, trying to keep everyone together like glue. We are the back-bone of their world.
I am happy being a woman. I think it is the greatest gift. Look at all we can do, and all we choose not to do. WE ROCK!!