Friday, April 11, 2008

Guys, if you only knew what saying "I am sorry" means in girl talk!

Just when I think I understand men, I get a wake-up call reminding me that men really are from another planet. Recently my boyfriend gave me cause to ponder this age old question Why are some things so obvious to only half of the population at any given time?

Don't get me wrong. I adore, admire, respect and appreciate the male species, especially my man...except (except in girl talk is a definite substitute for "this time you really messed up and I love you...but) when he does something that seems patently hurtful to me and yet, he's totally clueless that my feelings have been hurt.

I did what most women do, talked about the incident with my girlfriends to see if I was being a girl, (that's girl talk for being overly sensitive and taking things personally). They agreed with me that he was inconsiderate. But let's be honest, it's the job of girlfriends to stick up for you.

This is what happened. You be the judge. He invited me to go away with him for the weekend. The very next day he dis-invited me (being dis-invited is right up there with being disenfranchised and is far worse than not being invited at all) because he needed male bonding time alone with his son, which, by the way, I really do understand and support, but that's not the point. The point is that I wanted to hear those three magic words that a woman so dearly wants to hear "I am sorry."

Since I am that kind of girl, I waited until after his important business meeting to tell him how my feelings were hurt. Again I waited, hoping to hear those three magic words. But, he did not pass go, he did not collect $200, he went directly into an explanation that seemed to go on for...maybe ten minutes. I'm sure it wasn't, but it felt that long because the conversation was no longer about me. It became all about him. I didn't need a ten minute oration about why he did it, I simply wanted to hear those three little words "I am sorry," followed by "I'll make it up to you."

Using the Martian Language Translator, "I am sorry and I'll make it up to you" translates into "I cherish you. I don't want to do anything that makes you unhappy." It also says, "I'm sorry I wasn't sensitive. I'll make it up to you by being more sensitive in the future."

The Martian Language Translator makes women seem smart, intuitive, and for the most part sane. It helps women understand men, because with it, women can make the correct interpretation of what a man says. However, I think there are times that if a woman would just listen, she would understand what a man is saying.

Do you know how powerful the words I am sorry are? They can melt the walls around a woman's heart. They can put back trust that was lost. They can free a man's or woman's mind from guilt. They can tear down a wall and instantly build a bridge. Three little words can do so much good and the absence of them can do so much harm.

When woman trusts a man, he can have just about anything he wants. However, once she feels hurt, distrust suddenly creeps into her sacred trust space, and she backs away, consciously or unconsciously. Either way, she is no longer totally vulnerable, open and receptive to him.

Then the walls begin to form in the relationship. She feels she can't trust him. He feels made wrong, and has a gnawing "almost hopeless" feeling that no matter what he does for her he is wrong or will be wrong. Soon the walls becomes the beginning of the end of the relationship. It's funny how three little words like I am sorry can instantly demolish a wall before it has a chance to become real.

Walls are built through harboring feelings of resentment, guilt, anger, and hurt. But the foundation of the wall is our fears. Fear that you're not loved, fear that you won't be loved if you speak up for yourself, fear that because you made a mistake you won't be loved by your partner anymore. And it is fear that makes us afraid to be vulnerable.

Here's a clue. I am sorry is just as important to say as I love you. And it's important for both men and women to utter those three little words. For it is that willingness to be vulnerable with the person you care about that creates intimacy. Passion may be the magnet that draws you, but intimacy is the glue that holds the relationship together.

As I learned this week from my guy, women tell your man how you feel, but don't make him wrong. Guys, listen with both your ears and your heart and remember to say those three magic words. Then be sure to keep your word (because as you guys well know, women and elephants never forget). Let her know that you cherish her, that it's not your intent to hurt her feelings. Remember that a woman feels safe when a man's words and actions match.

So if you're a man of many words, make them all count. For you men of few words, you already know that actions speak louder than words...but remember, ooh, those three little words are so nice to hear. And yes, all is well with me and my man.

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