Thursday, March 15, 2007

Thursday Thirteen - Men and Women

Probably stemming from the posts some of us wrote last week on male/female relationships, both Atavist and Bellezza have created a list of thirteen things they believe men want from women or women want from men. Although I've never attempted something like this before, I opened this template and will see what presents itself.

It's a difficult one because many of the things we say we want or need (big distinction) are probably the things we want or need from everyone, independent of gender. I will also say that I expect these things of myself.

1. Respect. The word speaks for itself. Respect yourself. Respect others. Respect me. Respect animals. Respect the world.

2. Individuality (mine): I am not your ex-wife or ex-girlfriend. While we may have some commonalities (like being the same gender), don't make me responsible for her actions. Take care of your emotional baggage before getting involved with me. Get to know me as a person and approach me with that in mind. Just because some magazine says that "all women" like or dislike certain things, don't assume it is true of me as well.

3. Kindness: It is very important that you are a kind-natured person, someone who cares about others and the world around you.

4. Individuality (yours): I want someone who is willing to think for himself, present ideas and viewpoints in a respectful, intelligent manner and be willing to discuss things without getting defensive or emotional about it. Have your own interests, your own opinions and your own way of doing things. Live consciously. If we're compatible, it will work out. If not, we'll move on. There's no sense in trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. While I believe we should share the big values, cultural and otherwise, there's plenty of room for individuality.

5. Be secure: I am not your mommy or your nanny. Do what it takes to be secure within yourself. Know yourself. Do your own internal work. I will help in any way I can but I won't do it for you.

6. Integrity: Be consistent in your stated values and your behavior.

7. Affection: While I value physical affection as much as the next person, don't try to manipulate, cajole or pressure me about it. Those things happen naturally within context. Regardless of your perceived needs, please understand that I am not on this planet to meet them at your demand. Don't appeal to my emotions. Don't whine. It doesn't work with me. Know the difference between what is appropriate to say and what is not appropriate to say. Just because you read something in Hustler magazine, that doesn't mean it is okay to say those things to a respectable woman. I detest vulgarity. If I barely know you, your sexual fantasies are of no interest to me. As I get to know you, there will be no doubt about it when I am ready.

8. Maturity: I am completely turned off by men who emphasize that they may be my age or greater but still feel "young at heart". That just tells me you haven't grown up. Don't engage in childish behavior like pouting, sulking or passive-aggression. I can't stand childish displays of emotion, especially anger. It just makes me feel like putting you in day care and moving to another planet while you're gone.

9. Harmony: Harmony is very important to me. If you need to discuss something you consider to be a problem area, do it specifically and with suggested solutions. Think about it first. I am a very traditional woman and will probably do as you ask but don't make me guess about it. I'll likely be wrong. I'm not a mind-reader and we'll both end up disappointed.

10. Be responsible: Be responsible for your emotions and your actions. Own them. Don't try to make it someone or something else's fault. Keep your agreements.

11. Be a good partner: Work with me. I'm a very cooperative person, not competitive. Be open and honest about what you believe needs to be done and allow me to work with you. I am more than willing to let you be the boss ~ but do it well. Don't be demeaning or demanding. You'll likely find that my cooperative nature changes and I'll be gone. Understand that we each bring our own unique things to the table. Be clear about what you bring. I'll be clear about what I bring.

12. Be honest: This is probably the most important one. I notice inconsistencies and each time it occurs, my ability to trust you decreases. If I can't trust you, we can't have a relationship.

... and finally ...

13. Just be yourself: Don't try to pretend you are someone other than who you are because you have some unstated objective or want me to react a certain way. Don't "play games". Don't manipulate. I have neither the energy nor the inclination to put up with it. I'm getting old. My tolerance for drama and upset has long since been exhausted in the process of life itself. I don't need it from you. It's not fun or interesting. It's draining and obnoxious. Trust me to accept you as the person you are, flaws and all, because I will. I have flaws, too. Let me choose to love you as the person you are, not a fictitious image you've created. Images fade but authenticity grows deeper.




The Atavist said...

Well, Chani, you delivered. This is an honest and comprehensive list and, as you suggested, could easily be applied to either partner in a relationship. The points are all good. The ones that resonate most with me are numbers 2, 10, 13.

Maybe some good will come out of all this, if enough people of both genders come to understand each other just a little bit better.

Julie Pippert said...

That's a scary and intimidating list!

But fantastic. Very honest and very true.

Anvilcloud said...

I can't argue with that list, for they are all qualities/behaviors that we should all possess. In light of your later explication within #8 I don't think you quite mean the first part as it sounds though because I think most of us feel younger than our chronological age: "I am completely turned off by men who emphasize that they may be my age or greater but still feel "young at heart". That just tells me you haven't grown up."

meno said...

What a great list. Maybe i'll post it on the fridge.
I wanted to add something about forgiveness, but too much of that can be a bad thing.

Pam said...

A list that SHOULD be easy to adhere to.

Bellezza said...

Chani, how beautifully articulate you are! I really like how you expanded your list from male/female to how we need to treat each other. Each one of your points resonate deeply within me. The first one made me smile because our schoolwide discipline system is called "Project Respect." The rules are simple: Respect Others, Respect Yourself, and Respect Property. If these are followed, everything else falls in line. Another aspect of your post I liked, which is covered in several points, is individuality. That is so crucial to any relationship. I did a miserable job in my first marriage about not respecting my husband's unique traits; instead, I expected him to embody more of my father's. True, I was a foolish 2o-something, but I regret that I didn't honor him more for who he was. I applaud the writing, reasoning, and value of life I see you express here.

jen said...

wow. you covered all of it..but hey, a sense of humor.

must. have. humor.

Penny said...

Fantastic, Chani! Much better than mine. Mine, I'm afraid, were a bit narrow and probably obviously projected.. lol.

I love your list.

MsLittlePea said...

I loved it! I'm going to print a few copies. I think you've pretty much covered it all.

Thailand Gal said...

Atavist, maybe some good will come of it, just in the process of thinking about it for ourselves. I doubt most of us really do that ~ and then get caught up in destructive relationships.


Julie ~ yes, I can see where it might be a little intimidating. When we get older, there's just less tolerance for BS and the stakes get a little higher. We don't recover from the mistakes as easily as we do in our 20s or 30s.


Anvil, you're probably right. But I believe Maya Angelou was right when she said, "believe what people tell you about themselves". If they consistently emphasize how "young" they think, that's a message in itself.

As for chronological age, I agree with you. It's really impossible to say what age someone "feels".


Meno, forgiveness is just a part of respect, imo. But, yeah.. that would be an even bigger topic. I can't imagine any relationship without forgiveness. It would implode pretty quickly.


Pam, I don't think it would be too hard to live up to it ~ especially for people over 50.


Bellezza, agreed. :) I felt like I was channeling Lee Kwan Yew.. but, truthfully, it is that simple.


Jen, humor.. yes.. but humor without a strong foundation of other things would never work.


Penny, thanks. :) Mine isn't very personalized because my beliefs about finding a mate are rather different than the average. Or at least so it would seem, based on earlier conversations.


MsPea, glad you found it valuable. I just can't imagine sharing my life with someone who doesn't share these basic values.


Thanks all :)



Laurie said...

That's quite a list Chani. I think I'll work on one of my own when I have a bit more time.

Thank you.

Chris said...

Excellent list!

Lady LD said...

Humor is essential...that's a given. Loved the list! I'll definitely be back...