Baby Steps toward making it work

never listen sign FBNeither of us are good communicators, which just makes small things seem so big and out of control.  I hate to stereotype genders, but my guy does have some of the typical male syndrome of not always listening.  He lets me talk when I choose to, but hearing is not listening.  And when I don’t feel listened too, I’m less inclined to talk because right now it’s just more draining to make him feel included and useful.  I need to get myself better before I have the energy to help him.

I get frustrated when I try to share something and he just gives me the common sense answers of how I might fix the problem, as if I haven’t tried the easy answers already.  When I’m upset and frustrated, I don’t have the patience for his obvious solutions.  And yes, my pet name for him is “States the Obvious”, while my name is “Challenges Tradition”.

Last night as I was upset over something completely unrelated to our relationship, as much as anything can be unrelated, he pleaded for me just to open up and tell him what’s going on.   He really can’t take now knowing what’s wrong with me.  But even why I try to explain, he doesn’t get my thinking yet and I just get more upset, plus the time it takes to go round and round through his questions.

I need to learn how to explain things to him better, and he can learn how to take that information and think about it on his own without re-asking me a ton of times to go through it.  If after an hour or 5 he needs to ask me something, fine, but take some time to process first.

Last night was a baby step in the right direction, for now I just hope it continues forward.

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I don’t feel Afraid of Commitment…

It’s not the long term that scares me about commitment.  Two things I’m trying to use to help me answer “How to know if I should stay in this relationship?” turns out to make it even more difficult for me answer the question.

I heard about a book on NPR, written by a husband who didn’t know he had Asperger Syndrome until 5 years into his marriage “The Journal of Best Practices: A Memoir of Marriage, Asperger Syndrome, and One Man’s Quest to Be a Better Husband”.   So Dave was a typical guy who did typical guy things, and a few atypical behaviors.  According to the book, once he discovered he there was a named cause for these behaviors that classified him as “Aspie”, he endeavored to improve the behaviors that were hurting his marriage.  It’s great to see someone  really studying their behaviors and the consequences.  Personally, in my life, I see few men take this approach to problems even though their own behavior may be the most significant factor for undesired outcomes.

However, this story makes me wonder if we have to identify a syndrome in order for certain people to try and work on their own behavior.  Throughout my childhood, my father’s emotional stress kept the family in turmoil.  As I am a sensitive person, this has made me overly cautious about emotional situations.  Life has improved for him, and he maintains a good relationship with his second wife, but I wonder how things may have been different if he took an approach more like Dave’s.

In my current relationship, I share some of the attributes Dave exhibits, and my boyfriend has some others, although I do not think either of us are severe enough to be Autistic or Asperger.  I have been trying for several years to figure out how to make things work in this relationship.  For him, he’s just waiting for me to accept the status quo and say yes, let’s do this.  I’m reluctant because I feel things will only get worse from here.  He’s a nice guy, tries to give me what I want, but I feel he doesn’t really understand me when we talk and there is little connection.  I feel like the relationship is very unfair.

Reading Dave’s book, I think his relationship is VERY unfair.  It seems his wife is completely understanding and guides everything about their marriage and his aspie behavior.  Clearly she loves him, and so far I have not found anything offering her point of view on how she can sustain this level of unfairness other than she is a SAINT.  He must be worth it, and they do say they were best friends.

I feel I’m willing to meet half-way, but nothing more.  I think to make it work, you have to be willing to go more than half-way.  So although I’m not afraid of commitment, I wonder do I really have what it takes to make a “marriage” work.  I’m already at my wit’s end and feel completely exhausted by the relationship.

The other thing that has the reverse affect from reassuring me, is this video on the Huffington post website of a husband’s enduring support for his wife after she is diagnosed with Schizophrenia.  Shouldn’t love be this unconditional?

Oh, and in case you are wondering, here is a not so long quiz to see where you might fall on the autism spectrum.  But if you really question yourself, talking to a professional is probably best.

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I might be cursed

Some people think I had too much responsibility when growing up.  Due to family circumstances, I took on household chores such as laundry, cooking, and cleaning at the age of 9.  My mom was a stay at home, and illness prevented her from meeting household responsibilities.  I don’t remember being angry, although I’m sure I didn’t like it.  These days, looking at my peers who feel overwhelmed by simple household chores, I do not regret the added chores back then.  I also bought my own car at 17, which my parents could not limit my access to.

People might look on that experience and say it caused me to be extra responsible.  I look back and think the chores just brought out a natural trait that I already possessed.  But maybe it did enhance my level of responsibility, to a point now where I feel guilty for so many things outside of my control.  But the point I meant to make, is that I naturally nurture and take care of things.  In groups and at work, I offer to complete necessary tasks, and take on on the chores that people might like the least.  When friends are having babies, I like to bring home cooked food.  All of these traits inspire friends to say “You would be a good mom.”  However, I have no desire to have children.  In general I do not want to “settle down”.

Yet these particular set of traits, and my preference for monogamous relationships, has attracted exactly the type of man who does want to settle down and have a family.  Or someone who enjoys being “mothered” by their partner.  I don’t mind mothering if the relationship is equal, which I expect occurs rarely after the first 2 years.  So I find myself again not able to live up to my partners expectations.  Although I was upfront this time around, we both hoped I might change my mind.

I imagine it’s possible to change my mind, if paired with someone willing to pursue the same level of adventure that I desire.  But instead, I only attract the settling down types.  So what is a girl to do?

If I followed in my mother’s footsteps and liked women, at least the idea of kids would be a bit more of a question.  Well, luckily I have never been forced to deal with that question accidentally.  There is always something to be thankful for.

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Happy Day of Happiness – March 20th

Life Is Too Short

Ha, that sounds redundant when you say it out loud.  And here is my favorite Happy song, a cover of the song Happy done by Walk Off The Earth.

What a great day to celebrate happiness.  I guess this is sponsored by the United Nations.  So go out and make the world a Happier Place!

Here is a post of mine where I’m keeping track of happiness related items.

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Relationship Compatibility is not determined in the Fantasy Room

I apologize if this post heading is misleading, but I do not watch the Bachelor TV show.  I do listen to NPR and this weekend’s Wait Wait Don’t Tell me show included a comment from Ira Glass regarding this particular feature of the Bachelor,  The final three contestants each get to spend a night in the Fantasy Room with the Bachelor with no cameras to watch what happens.

Ira Glass commented that one romantic night alone together is not the most telling experience for determining couple compatibility.  Instead, he suggests giving them a few kids and send them to Disneyland at Christmas…  on fly Southwest airlines.

I think couples who are planning to have a family, this would be a very appropriate experience, but not until after a year of dating as the “honeymoon phase” seems to be a short lived oil greasing the wheels of a relationship.  This is apparent in the documentary about finding happiness in marriage called “After Happily Ever After.”  The film does a fantastic quick summary of the historical changes in the reasons for marriage.  A majority of the film contrasts the quirkiness of long term relationships that appear to be “working,” against the failure of Kate’s (the creator/director) second marriage.  This film helped me describe what I had already been thinking about long-term relationships and modern marriages.

Sadly so many relationships fail.  I don’t think all relationships that do not stand the test of time are failures, I myself have had successful relationships that were intended to be temporary.  As long as both (all) parties are aware of this expectation, I think that can be the recipe for success for those people.  Since every person is different, modern coupling arises for different reasons.  Each relationship has different reasons to come together, and different reasons for success or failure, so there is no a recipe that works everywhere.   Gasping Through Marriage: Are we Asking Too Much bride-620x413discusses the demands we place on marriage, and asks if the romantic love/soul mate idea of relationships is realistic?  Social change has been so fast over recent decades, relationship changes have been slow to keep up.

This is exactly my current struggle, as I do not have a priority to have children, and I don’t rely on a significant other for financial support.  Ironically, I tend to attract the types of guys who want to be a provider for the family, which is a toxic relationship for me.

I struggle with the thought that no one is perfect, I am not perfect, and therefor there is no perfect relationship.  Every potential mate will have some characteristic that bothers me.  So am I the problem that I can’t just be happy and accept the person who is trying their best.  Maybe it comes down to what I can live with and what I can’t, and the things I can’t live with just take time to surface.   Sometimes I think people want something bad enough that they are willing to “put up with marriage” and that I just don’t want anything that much to accept the realities of marriage.

Congratulations to everyone out there who is making it work, and learning to find happiness and beauty in their relationships.  And to Sarah and Phil who eloquently tell the story of the metamorphosis of love.

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“…Despite Having Nothing, he’s Thankful for Everything”

Happy Good Samaritan Day!

Kindness Blog

‘sir_a_ris’ wrote:This is Mr. Roger. I met him over Christmas break one morning on my way to work when he fell over and could not get up. After helping him up he talked for me while I waited for my bus. See, the thing about Mr. Roger is that he’s homeless at age 69, has a pacemaker, and no family. He’s been homeless for about 4 years. Despite his homelessness, while we were sitting he offered me food and some water as thanks. Never has a homeless person actually offered me anything.

a homeless man's kindness

Since then we’ve grown to be friends. Through our interactions I’ve learned just how good of a person he is. Everything from collecting cans and bottles and putting them under benches for other homeless people to placing granola bars that were given to him (which he couldn’t eat) neatly on a bench for others who were…

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One Skype Call, One Doggy Missing his Owner and a Keyboard-Pillow

I often think about how our relationships with pets can be so fulfilling and meaningful.  And I wonder how to develop the same thing with other people.  It seems harder to love people unconditional, and to be fully accepting of who they are.  Yet, that’s what we love about our pets, in their love for us.

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