EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS I LEARNED FROM MY KID

Sunset
I read a lot of crap about relationships and marriage, even though I’m not in a relationship and I’ve never been married. Human dynamics fascinate me, as do the myriad reasons relationships work or don’t work. I figured because of this, it’s my duty to impart my wisdom (and I always try to be objective and not take sides—except when I’m talking about my exes).

Although I haven’t cohabitated with a man in quite some time, I consider my son to be a little man in training with similar propensities. I’ve had to learn what’s important to him, what he responds to or doesn’t respond to, and I’d like to think all this will help me in future relations with the opposite sex. Mind you, we’re taking food and sex off the table here, because if you were to ask me what men’s 3 top priorities were in life, those two would immediately come to mind. I’d be hard-pressed to think of a third, although it’d probably be a toss-up between money and family.

The following rules are the “little things” that seem important to a man.

1. When he comes home, run to greet him with an effusive hello.

I know a few wives who don’t greet their husbands at the door when they come home from work—either because they’re always in the middle of something or because they’re not touchy-feely women in general. Imo, this makes their husbands feel like they’re not happy to see them after a day of being away. When my son comes home from school, I usually see him walking from the bus before he reaches the front door. This gives me a moment to finish typing a sentence or save a document, get up from my seat and wait for him with open arms. I scream his name, the diva barks uncontrollably—It’s pure chaos and my son loves it. He runs into my arms for about 2.5 seconds before disentangling himself from me. Since he’s admitted he looks forward to this welcome every day, I make sure never to disappoint him.

2. When he’s in a bad mood, leave him alone until he decides to emerge from his shell.

This is hard for me. If I see someone in a bad mood, and especially my son, I want to know what’s wrong RIGHT AWAY. Women may be able to talk about whatever their problem is immediately, but I’ve never met a man who could. Men are like beef stew—it takes awhile for the flavors (issues) to come out. I’m not sure what they’re doing while they’re “stewing”—ruminating, perhaps? Decompressing? In any case, if I push my son to talk about what’s bothering him before he’s ready, he’ll clam up. The few times he’s come home, gone straight into his room and shut the door without saying anything are the times I’ve had to sit on my hands, literally, and give him a few moments to unwind alone. It’s tough, but way better than getting my head bitten off.

3. When he wants to tell you something, stop what you’re doing and listen.

My son’s not a big talker. Except when I’m in the middle of very important work or it’s late at night—my least favorite times to chat. Any other time I get one-word answers to my questions, but it’s when he’s in the mood to talk is when I get truly significant information, like what happened on the playground, which girl likes him, and what he wants to do when he grows up (work at GameStop so he can play video games all day). Sure, I could continue staring at the computer screen while he’s divulging deep, dark secrets, or fall asleep, but these times of disclosure are so few and far between that I make the effort to stop what I’m doing and make eye contact. Even if it kills me.

4. Be his biggest cheerleader.

If you’re not, who will be? My son lives to please me. My disapproval crushes his little spirit. Many husbands say they live for their wives’ approval and when they don’t get it, well, they do naughty things in retaliation like cheat and forget your birthday. I’ve been known to take perverse pleasure in playing the devil’s advocate simply because I like to argue, but that never puts me in good favor with a man because then they think I’m against them. Any male, whether they’re 10 or 70 wants to know that the woman who claims to love him most is in his corner. Even when he’s wrong.

5. Be interested in what floats his boat.

Oh, the pure torture when I’m in the car with no place to escape to and my boy’s yapping about the video game, Minecraft. Crap spews from his mouth like, “There were 5 creepers in a hole, so I had to YOLO dive and pull out my sword and then dive into the pit, yelling ‘YOLO!’ to try and kill them.” It would be so easy to tune it out and fantasize about a romance hero instead, but if I don’t show interest in what he’s talking about, he’ll never want to talk to me, ever. Especially when he’s a teenager. Men are the same way. You may not care how the Dow did, or even what the Dow is, but force yourself to listen anyway, because there will always be another woman out there willing to listen about the cam shifter and interrupter your man replaced in the 1988 Olds with the V-6 engine.

Anybody have anything to add to the list?

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8 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Grief Happens
    Jun 25, 2013 @ 13:46:32

    I love this post, and I do think you’re right. I think the problem in romantic relationships with men is that at some point we as women need some interaction — a little take to go with all the giving. I’m perfectly willing to do everything you mentioned with my kids, but I gotta tell you, my partner has to be a big boy sometimes and realize that the world does not revolve around him, and in my experience, the more I give in the ways you mention, the lazier he becomes in tuning in to my occasional needs. Kids don’t have the maturity yet to realize that sometimes our reactions have to do with circumstances other than them, so it certainly our job to go above and beyond, and as a mother I feel very in tune with what my kids need. Perhaps my mindset is why I really don’t think I’m cut out to live with a male unless he’s miniature and we share DNA. Great post.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jun 25, 2013 @ 21:12:21

      “…the more I give in the ways you mention, the lazier he becomes in tuning in to my occasional needs.”

      THIS. This was one of the major problems with my son’s father. I used to say to him, “What do I need you for? I do everything myself, so what purpose do you serve? The few times I’ve needed you emotionally, you’ve either yelled at me or tuned me out.”

      And whenever I tried to discuss issues with him rationally, he still always took it as an attack. Communication is key in relationships, but what do you do when you try to communicate and it falls upon deaf ears? I don’t know the answer. I wish relationships weren’t so difficult. Why do you think I’m not in one?

      Reply

  2. Sam
    Jun 26, 2013 @ 23:33:00

    I’m amazed you are single as you have nailed the attributes men desire. Since you have the knowledge needed that leaves two reasons for your lack of marital bliss.

    1. Your picture is not actually you, rather it was something you just downloaded. However even very ugly women can attract men and often keep them.
    2. You have a bad attitude. This comes with two flavors that are often mixed. Either a past traumatic experience has shortened your level of tolerance to the point where no man can survive or you are a shit magnet. I cannot think of any men who wouldn’t appreciate the qualities you have mentioned, but there are also plenty of men who will abuse the situation. For reasons yet to be properly explained, many women seem to find these men irresistible. It doesn’t matter how skilled the cook might be if the ingredients are trash.

    As you have so fully grasped, men really are little boys. Sadly some are still nicer than others. Your son is very lucky, your future daughter in-law will have a high bar to meet.

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jun 27, 2013 @ 11:35:55

      Actually, the reason is simple. I don’t want a relationship, therefore I don’t go out looking for one. Since I live in the suburbs, most men I meet are already married anyway. Relationships are too much work and I have my hands full with being a single mother and a writer. I have no time or energy left over. As Donald Trump once said, “I work all day. I don’t want to have to come home and ‘work’ on a relationship.” Sounds dickish of him, but he does has a point.

      Reply

  3. Damien
    Jun 27, 2013 @ 14:06:42

    I think this is a great post. Number 2 might be the best advice for dealing specifically with men. I absolutely need to ruminate and groan and work stuff out in my head before I can chat about it with my gf. Also, when a woman does not respect this, it is usually to an obnoxious degree, and is treated more like a game of ‘You’re in a bad mood and I NEED to make you talk to me’ which is a fucking CNN headline waiting to happen. Leave. Me. Alone. This is why bars exist.

    However, I think you touch on something far more universally important with number 5. Man or woman, there is nothing worse than not being treated seriously, or having your interests blown off. By anyone. And if it happens, I think this can have terribly lasting effects. I always try to be really excited for a gf’s or even a friend’s interests. Go to a car show, or a comics store, go see a movie they would show in your personal Hell, and DON’T GRIPE, but chat about it because it’s important to your mate. Showing an interest in one’s hobbies or ideas is a real sign of caring and friendship and that should be the root of any solid relationship. Right?

    Reply

    • Tiffany N. York
      Jun 27, 2013 @ 21:34:42

      It absolutely should be the root of a solid relationship. I’ve always been with very self-centered men who don’t really care what I’m into (unless I’m naked). Okay, let me rephrase that: A few were very ambitious and driven, so their career always took precedence, with me always trying to make things less “stressful” for them. While I was acting in NY, I dated other actors and that was great, because we had common ground. We were interested in the same things. But actors are insane. Every single one of them. And they can’t sustain a serious relationship–they’ll leave you in a heartbeat for a choice role across the country and end up fucking their co-star.

      I was with my son’s father when I wrote Book #1. He would constantly tell me I was wasting my time and that I would never get published. As you can tell, I’ve never been with extremely supportive men. Now, as a writer I have to say I’m extremely moody when it comes to my work. If I haven’t written in awhile, I become antsy, cranky, frustrated. If I’ve written well, my libido goes up. If I’m trying to work out a scene in my head, I’m distracted. I work all hours of the day and night. I’m not going to sit there every evening and watch TV with a mate when I could be doing other productive things. HA! That sounds terrible, doesn’t it? No wonder I’m single. No one’s ever going to put up with my multiple personality shit. Yeah…I think I’m destined to be a crazy old cat lady.

      Reply

      • Damien
        Jun 28, 2013 @ 00:43:44

        Yeah, that guy sounds horrible. Why would you say something like that to someone you cared about? It sounds as though he’s an incredibly weak guy who has no self-confidence, so he couldn’t handle the thought that you were going to succeed or ‘be better’ than him. In any event – BOO TO HIM! Surely you can do far better.

        Have you been with another writer yet? Should be a hell of a trip with your explosive writing day libido!

      • Tiffany N. York
        Jun 29, 2013 @ 23:50:58

        Where I live, people don’t read, much less write. They barely speak proper English. So to answer your question, no, I have never been with another writer.

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