Shackin'

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Different types of love

After living with someone for a couple of years, sometimes you feel like you've heard every single thing that person has to say. Ironically, with women, we never hear enough about how our significant other feels. Unless you're gay. In which case, feelings are always the topic of the conversation.

Last night, my SO (significant other) and I started talking about the different types of love. No, he's not gay...we were prompted into this discussion because my brother's ex/girlfriend (sometimes she's his ex, sometimes she's not...depends on the day) was telling us about her problems with him.

So, my SO and I started talking about what love is, and he had the unmitigated gall to say that his model for "love" is absolute and true. Meaning that his mother showed him the perfect model of love because her love was unconditional and sacrificial (i.e. she put her loved ones' needs before her own). Now, I believe she was a great role model for what love is. How-eva...my role model of love wasn't less great just because it was different from his (he disagrees).

My mother raised us to be very affectionate and loving, through all of the fights, biting matches, and hair-pullout sessions (5 kids, 1 apartment...it can get rough.). But, my mother was going through a divorce when we were young kids, so we all kind of raised each other and helped each other through tough times. Point being, the way that I communicate and receive love is by being supportive, affectionate, and communicative. This role model of love is just as great as his...it's just different.

During the course of this conversation, something clicked in my mind -- "How are we going to last if we communicate love in different ways?" My SO admits that he communicates his love by being dutiful, i.e. doing things to help me whenever he sees a need. Now, if my oil needs changing and he goes and gets it changed, I just think "Oh, that's sweet"....but it doesn't scream "OH MY GOSH! HE REALLY REALLY LOVES ME!" To some women, it might...to me...it's like, he was in my car and near an oil changing station...good call.

What I'd rather him do, sometimes, is TALK to me about our relationship...our future...and tell me how much I mean to him. Corny, maybe, but I NEVER hear this stuff. After living together, you get in a routine and these types of conversations don't seem to come up in between eating dinner, watching TV, and falling asleep on the couch.

So, after having that quick panic attack in my own head, I told myself "chill out...this is good...we're communicating...so just listen." After the conversation was over, I realized that we don't have to communicate our love the same way all the time. As long as there are moments that we do communicate love in the way the other person needs, it'll carry us over to the next time we do it.

The hardest task in living with someone is being able to be yourself and not kill him for being himself. And hey, he's alive and well today. So, I'd say we've crossed that bridge.

Shackin' Lesson #1 - When shackin', don't forget that you two are two totally different people with independent thoughts and experiences and you can't hold it against each other. You can only try to understand each other (i.e. When arguing/disagreeing, put yourself in his shoes and chill out...it's not the end of your relationship.)

2 Comments:

  • Shackin' Lesson # 1 is sooo true but sooo hard to follow-up. I tell myself all the time to put myself in the shoes of my SO, and often when in an argument, I tell my SO to pretend he's in my shoes. It just is a hard thing to do once your emotions get started. I guess fighting is different than a normal convo, but I need to be reminded of this everytime I talk...:)

    I just think MY needs are usually right and focus on them. I need to be more accommodating.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 7:30 PM  

  • It sounds like you feel that he usually wrongs you more than you wrong him. It's normal in a relationship to think of yourself as the "right" one...or rather, the one's who's more right in the situation. And when arguing, it's hard to think of the perfect way to react. But, what you can do is listen. Most times when we argue, we're quick to get our point across...aggressively. The thing you can do is remember to pause long enough to listen until your SO finishes talking. This is a lesson that's good in your career when dealing with emotional or angry bosses as well as in your personal relationship. The next time you argue, just wait until the person has had their last word...THEN respond. Try it once, and let me know how it goes. I promise you'll feel better for it...and so will your SO because he'll feel like you really listened to him. And surprisingly, you actually just might.

    By Blogger Just me, at 9:15 PM  

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