All I Want for Christmas ..... Is You

What to do. What to do.

I received a question last week, via text message, from a young friend of mine (early twenties). She's been seeing a man (late twenties) exclusively for seven months. Her question was regarding The Holiday Issue. You know the one. The one where he wants to be with his family and you want to be with yours and you're not sure if the twain shall ever meet ~ the one where you don't know whether to bring it up or let it go ~ the one where all of your fears of future holidays not spent together spring up out of the darkest recesses of your mind ~ you know... all that jazz.

These are tricky issues and certainly the answers lie in knowing your own situation. I believe it's important to remember that the union of two people is as unique as the people involved. This "coupling" is a new creation ~ a new thing. If you try to impress old rules on this new thing, it will prove to be a detriment.

I feel that the key elements of a healthy, growing relationship are mutual consideration and respect for one another's individuality, a desire to meld your two lives together without compromising that consideration and the ability to communicate and promote all of this. ("Communicate" being a subjective term wherein the two people are expected to be capable of honest expression with one another, whether through words or action.)

In light of this, one cannot just make broad statements like, "A mate who won't go to family gatherings and do what you want to do on holidays is OUT. They don't care about you!"

Who am I to say who cares about you? You are the one who knows whether your partner cares about you. So I think it would be helpful to sit down and make an honest assessment about whether or not the actions in the specific situation you are evaluating are motivated by lack of consideration or just someone exercising their own individual needs in a way that does you no harm.

The fact is that, especially in relationships that are just starting, people are still battling their own demons. And we don't need to take everything that they do personally. There is nothing wrong with asking them, "Is this happening because you don't believe in sharing holidays with a partner, or because of something going on (or not going on) between us?" And there is nothing wrong with them honestly saying, "It has nothing to do with us, so please don't worry about that."

Besides, who cares about being partner-less on a holiday? So long as you look good doing it!
What say you, my clever readers?

Ain't No Cure For Love

Lord Jormengrund asks:

When it comes down to it, are you more flattered when the BF or hubby has gone the extra mile to do things around the house for you, OR when he's gone and done something for you (buy flowers etc)?

This is a good question. And one I’m sure puzzles men the world over. When I think of what the answer could be, I can only say that I appreciate anything my man does for me that shows he is thinking of me. That could be doing something around the house. It could be buying me flowers. It could just be calling me in the middle of the day to say hello.

Now, how does a woman know that a man is doing something because he’s thinking of her? HERE is where it gets tricky. The fact is, he may not even know the answer to this question!

You see, a gift that is given out of obligation, or out of a need to make a show of thinking of someone (when it’s possible the person is really thinking of themselves and how good it makes them feel and/or how they want the other person to see them) is not really given with honest intentions.

For instance, if my man does the dishes after dinner. Does he do this for me? Not likely. He’s probably doing it for both of us. Because it needs to be done. Maybe even because he doesn’t like how long I take to do them. Or even how I do them. And if he does them, thinking he can get bonus points for doing it “for me” when (especially in this latter case) he’s really just doing it for himself! No one gets bonus points when they are not being sincere. Another way to see it is that he knows that if the dishes are done, then it frees us up to do other things. Maybe fun things! Even if that is just sitting down and watching tv. But I would still call this doing something for “us” as opposed to “me.”

Another example could be that my man brings home flowers. Well who doesn’t like flowers? They brighten up a room. I am very happy to receive flowers at just about any given time. BUT if he is bringing home flowers to get some sort of anticipated response from me and/or to get more of those bonus points so that he can use it later to say, “Hey! I did this and this and this for you! You should do something for me!” then yeah… the flowers are not room brighteners any longer. And a woman learns to suspect WHY she is receiving them.

It is hard to know how and when to give gifts and it is also hard to know how to receive them graciously. This is a huge issue. On both sides.

The word communicate literally means “to give.” When we give a gift, we are trying to communicate something. Unfortunately, we have all learned that people rarely give truly unconditional gifts. And often it is hard to receive gifts, not only because of the suspicion that it strikes in our hearts of how much this will cost me, but because the reward of giving gifts is what most of us enjoy. We feel unworthy or unsettled in some way by graciously just saying, “thank you.” When you think about it, if you refuse to accept gifts from people, you are depriving them of that reward you so much enjoy by giving them.

On the other hand, maybe you have a martyr complex and want to be the only giving person in a situation so that no matter what happens, you can say “Hey! I’m the giving one!”

The easy answer is ~ giving is natural when someone really is on your mind. It’s called “being mindful” of them. If you can make that point come across, then you’ve done it.

I do realize that people require differing demonstrations of love and affection. Some want things done for them. Some want things given to them. Some want words. The key is in really knowing your partner. If you have decided that giving them things is the right way to show them, but they are not that type of person and they want words, then you ain’t bein’ mindful, are you?

Little things mean a lot. I thought this was cool one time when my guy and I went out. We were seated and I went to the ladies room. While I was gone, he ordered coffee for both of us. He had asked for cream for my coffee (he drinks his black). Just as I returned, the server showed up with the coffee and a couple of creamers. My guy immediately said (very politely, I might add), “We’ll need more cream.” He didn’t look at me for the big approval nod like, “Oh! See what I just did for you?’ It came very naturally for him to tell the server something he knew about me. I think this little gesture speaks volumes about how he sees me. Also, there was the time we were watching an old western and I commented on how cool that chandelier candelabra was that they pulled up and down from the ceiling with a rope. It was just a comment I made. Months later, I discover that he is shopping for items to make one for me.

Those are the things that matter to me. The things that let me know that he really and truly thinks of me.

Bird on a Wire

Our Lady Wanderling asks ~

Do you believe in the old maxim, "treat 'em mean and keep 'em keen?" I ask because whenever I'm cool and laidback and don't put any demands on my bf, he tends to get lazy and can become unreliable, but as soon as I start being a taskmaster, he's good as gold. This is wearing on me as I don't want to have to be a nag. What do you think? Do men require instruction, why can't they just do what they know they should at all times?

As you know, my bf is the most exceptional yumminess that ever lived. But when I'm in a bitchy mood ~ and I don't mean toward him, but just in general ~ he is so sweet and responsive to every little thing I say and do. Which is kinda fun!

Yesterday, I was pondering whether a woman should keep things a little bitchy and demanding in order to keep her man on his toes. It took me about two seconds to remember that I've wrestled with this before. I would hear advice about playing "hard to get" games when first seeing a man. And I could totally see how this was probably a good strategy. But I am simply incapable of seeing dating as a game. I figured that if that's what it took to "get a man" then I surely didn't need one! And I feel the same way about "keeping a man."

So in this case, I have to say that I believe a woman should be herself and not try to maintain a certain persona in order to manipulate or "train" a man to make him what she wants him to be. If he's not what she wants, then she just be thinking about moving on. Remember, changing a man is only an option when he's an infant. ;)

There are many cultural forces that will compel us to consider swaying from our resolve to remain true to ourselves. We have experienced a number of different types of relationships by the time we are in our twenties. In those cases, we have found that this works or that works and have taught ourselves not to be straightforward or not to be open or not to be ... well ... honest! About anything!

Honesty is the most important foundation of any relationship. Beginning with honesty with oneself. So it will always come down to me. Can I honestly live with a person who exhibits behavior that frustrates me? And is this behavior part of an underlying and deep trait that I will find to be entirely unacceptable?

THAT is where the honest and positive approach to this really lies.


BONUS ~ Staying with our Cohen theme, another song for y'all:

No Moon To Keep Her Armour Bright

Here we are! I've no idea why anyone would seek advice from a cathouse woman, but my friend plainly states that she does! Let's hear it, babe! Whatchawanna know?