Before I begin this post let me be totally clear on one thing; I adore men. I do. I just think you are fab. I don’t understand you, any of you. You are total aliens to me in the way you think, or don’t think. But, you, well, just do it for me. From the stubble on your cheeks to the fluff on your bum. You are all (well, some of you are) great. I have raised two beautiful sons to manhood, so I get that on the whole most of you never really become men. Some of you never truly reach puberty.
So, when I do the whole generalizing thing I hope you’ll cut me some slack. Also, my reference points are English men but one thing I have come to the conclusion is that you seem to come in two specific camps.
The oversharers and the emotional retards. The ever reclusive, some may say verging on extinct, adult males are such a rare phenomenon that I can’t possibly comment on them. Such a mythical creature you are my dream and fantasy, my holy grail… but I digress.
The oversharers; as the name implies they share. Oh my how they share. Blow by blow, minute by minute on how they feel, how they should feel, want to feel, might feel, could feel and if the wind is blowing in the right direction there is a distinct feeling that they might actually feel… Somehow they want to talk it through to make sense of it all.
Emtional retards; cant seem to tell you how they feel if their lives and often their marriages depend on it. Managing to tell you that they love you really should be enough, crickey what more would you want?! They tend to, if they do talk just ask you what you want them to say. What you want to hear to stop this emotional shit as quickly as possible.
Yup. Two distinct camps.
Personally I live with an oversharer. My sons, most unfortunately, also have this trait. I know things that I can never, never unknow. My husband’s affair was immediately obvious by the lack of information he was sharing with me. He was telling someone, it just wasn’t me. After the affair ended. I got to hear all about it. Oh my, did I just. I found myself checking myself to not ask anything I didn’t really want to know as there were no filters his end, I was going to hear it all. He talked and shared and I listened and talked and went round and round the houses in all the many thoughts, feelings and reasonings that an oversharer can accomodate.
A few weeks down the line and I was overwhelmed in grief. Not because of the affair, which to be honest seemed a bit crackpot to me. Teenage angst in people way too old, ‘oh its so wrong but it feels so right’ cooed midlife romeo and skankypants. It was the fact that I wanted to be loved. Not in an affair way. Not in an illicit, suspicious paranoid way but in an open fun happy way. Walking down the street hand in hand way. Sunday papers in the pub way. Telling jokes and anecdotes. One man. One woman. I wanted to be loved. Not lurching after a betrayal. Not waiting for the next blow. I wanted to be moving forward.
We went out in to our local town for a spot of lunch and the conversation was awkward. Walking back to the car I told him that I couldn’t do it anymore. This. This waiting for him to come back to me. This waiting for him to love me. The way he used to love me. That I needed to be loved, deserved, craved, insisted upon being loved again and if it wasn’t going to be him then he had to see that I needed to go and find someone who could give me that love or I’d be quite happy on my own. Anything would be better than living with a man who had one foot out of the door. Who was so terrified to truly try on his marriage incase at some point I threw him over. Which he was convinced I would do.
I told him about a man I’d met a few years ago. The husband and I had been having a bit of a tricky patch (no excuse just information) and heypresto Mr Gorgeous appeared. Cultured, interesting, funny, attentive, supportive, oh and a workaholic with a superhectic social life. Such was our ‘textlationship’, how addictive life via text is. He lived in London. We met twice and had a few unsuccessful attempts before I realised that peace of mind was a far more viable option. I missed him hideously. I missed the person I was when he was in my world even more. I was funny, interesting, creative, cultured and as I miserably said to a friend, ‘He saw me.’ Most of all it was his kindness that I missed. He was wonderfully kind to me.
I had never mentioned this before. But, I no longer wanted to hide anything. I also wanted him to see there was life after ‘having feelings for someone else’.When I told the husband about this I expected histrionics, recriminations but instead he looked incredibly sad.
‘You were so unhappy that all you needed was someone to be kind to you? Supportive?’ He asked when the time I had been, I told him vaguely.
‘I would have been devastated if you had left me then.’ He looked bereft and I laughed,
‘As devastated as I have been perhaps?’ I said.
I told him that I had been lucky, it had never really been a viable option for me. The boys the ages they were, the problems he was having at work had meant that my place was at home. Mr Gorgeous was seriously unavailable as a life partner and that was what I wanted. Not a friend. Not a lover. A life partner.
And I think I saw him see me. The man I have spent a lifetime with actually saw me. Not ‘the wife’ not ‘the boys’ mum’ but me. He saw that I am funny, intelligent, creative, interesting and downright fucking cool.
And so we started to talk.