I had a man tell me that the problem women have is that we get more hung up on a man's words than we do their actions. He meant that we don't always see if a man walks his talk. We get all caught up in the words, and ignore the value of his actions.
How many of us get snowballed by what a man says to us? All those sweet nothings he whispers, the perfect comment at the perfect moment, and the feelings those words give us. But how many of us actually put more weight or at least equal weight on what they display for actions? I'd venture to say not many of us.
And why do we do that? That is the real question. Perhaps some of us just get so caught up in the fact that a man is merely talking to begin with. And even more so the fact that they are talking to us. How many of us walk around life starving from lack of conversation, stimulating conversation, with a man?
When we first meet someone we are intrigued by what makes them click -- how they view life. We compare interests and goals. We even analyze whether or not we can see ourselves sharing our life with them. Let's face it -- as women we crave conversation. The saying that we never run out of something to talk about is accurate. We always have something to say and want someone to listen.
So why don't we look at a man's actions? Probably because very few actions mirror the words we hear. We like the way their words make us feel. And only after the relationship is over do we realize that we were fools in taking only what they said to us. Does that make us terrible people? No, but it sure does make us feel like a fool at times.
Another man told me the secret -- men know what women want to hear so they tell us, in order for them to get what it is they want. I don't know if it's that calculated, but it would make some sense, even if it's instinctual.
If we were to start judging a man by his words and actions, what would be the outcome? For me, the outcome would be sweet. I wouldn't feel disappointed or used, less naive, and more respected. I can say that every time I've valued only the words I heard was the times that I was let down.
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And who let me down? Me. I am the one that rationalized why they never called me, or sent me flowers, or sent me love notes, or just plain put in as much effort as I did. I settled and that hurt me in the end.
So what have I done about it? Well it's still a practicing effort, but I don't just listen to what a man says. I look to see the connection in a man's actions. Are they putting as much of an effort into the relationship? Do I feel that they really feel what they say they are feeling? And to a fault, I am skeptical at best that they truly mean what they say. Our best ally is our gut feeling -- and we are very guilty of ignoring it. When we ignore it we are destined to get hurt.
I've seen women that only give as much as they receive from a man, they never share more than what is shared with them, and they never let a man know how they truly feel. I am not suggesting that is the solution, but to a degree there is something to be said for it. Personally, I can't do that.
I know only one way to be -- up front, open, and loving. To hold back makes me think I am robbing myself of the full experience of sharing with a man -- it feels like betrayal. But the catch 22 is I am much more vulnerable to being hurt. As one of my friends says to me -- you'll learn after you've been hurt a 100 times. Well I never claimed to be a quick learner -- but a 100? I don't think one's heart can bear that much hurt.
by Shirley Knapp and Nanette McLane.
Tracie Ann Robinson is a woman on a mission of self discovery. She was recently divorced having been married her whole adult life (she is now 31). She is a professional woman and writes part-time with the goal of sharing her relationship experience and insights. She has written several other articles for InnerSelf Magazine. She can be reached at: [email protected]