What Has Changed?

On October 8th, B was waiting for the dryer to finish, and we lay down with our arms around each other. “So,” I said. “What do you think of living together so far?”

“It’s good,” he answered quietly.

“Okay. Now tell me what the real truth is.” or something.

“Nothing’s changed for you,” he said.

What? I thought. Of course it has. How could things not have changed? I’ve moved ! I’m living with a man! “What does that mean?” I asked.

B told me that I still just do my own thing. That we don’t really do much more together as a couple than when we lived apart.

And maybe, in fact, we do less, because our time is taken up with daily life, without carved out hours just for us. I feel like a good portion of my time and energy is spent on dishes, laundry, cooking, and cleaning. Yes, B does his own laundry and does help with everything else. But because I’m home more, and B works full time, the majority is up to me. And with two people instead of one, everything gets dirty twice as fast and twice as much food needs to be prepped and cooked and put away.

Also–I spend a lot of time online. For me, I’ve felt that I’ve really cut down on online time when B is around. And those times when we’re both in the living room, sitting on couches across from each other, using our laptops, I have felt happy that we can do our separate things, together. Now I come to find out that those were times that B wished we could be really doing something together, and he was just playing around online because I was!

On one hand, I felt a bit bad and wondered why he didn’t just say, “Hey, you wanna Boggle?” On the other hand, we had talked about how I’d still need to be my introverted self even (and especially) when we shared living space. But I do have a lot of time in the mornings at home alone when B is at work. So he hopes that when he gets home it’s us time. But doesn’t he need time to decompress, unwind, and not be coupley every minute we’re home together? Yes, he does, but apparently not as much time as he’s been getting. Speak up, my darling! Let me know! How long would he have gone on unsatisfied if I hadn’t asked him outright?

When he told me how he felt, I felt myself get a little mushy. I live with the guy, and he wants us to do more together? That’s so nice. That means he still likes me, and isn’t getting sick of me.

In the time since our honest, needed, revealing conversation, we haven’t had a game night, haven’t managed to get much farther in the book we’re trying to read together. But I have made the effort to put aside my laptop and say, “You wanna do something?” Then I have to wait for him to finish up what he’s doing on his laptop. =) So, it’s not just me, unintentionally ignoring him. It’s life, and balance, and both of us making an effort.

Recently, we decided to watch an episode of something together on hu.lu. I made popcorn and sat down in front of my computer. B was using his computer across the room, made no move to get up, and looked busy, so I entertained myself online while I waited for him. Finally, I looked up and said, “Is this one of those times where I think you’re busy and you think I’m busy?” Indeed, he had been waiting for me to finish what I was doing. “But I came over here with the popcorn and sat down, and you didn’t come over, so I was waiting for you!” Sigh. Communication. Again and again I learn that unspoken communication often leads to misunderstandings. And in fact, so does spoken communication.

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6 thoughts on “What Has Changed?

  1. “unspoken communication often leads to misunderstandings” – especially when men are concerned. We usually don’t respond well to or understand hints or subtlety. You need to be direct.

    btw how come there’s no option to “like” posts on your blog…?

    • I don’t like the idea of saying “all men don’t pick up on subtlety.” And of course, I don’t think I was being subtle. =) I’m sure some men would have gotten it, and I’m sure there are many women who wouldn’t have. But yes, directness is good in most situations.

      As for liking posts, it feels a bit weird to me. Who sees posts you have “liked”? If you liked it, then your readers would see that somewhere? Or is it just for me? (I assume its main function is to increase traffic.)

      • I didn’t say “all” men. It’s just a general rule. And a damn good one at that.

        As far as liking posts, it doesn’t increase traffic or serve any real function. It’s just giving a virtual thumbs-up to what someone wrote. If I liked your post, the only way my readers would see it is if they also happened to be one of your followers and saw my icon in the list of “people who liked this”.

      • Oh, I know you didn’t say “all men.” I’m just not sure I like it as a general rule. Perhaps it is an accurate one and I just wish it weren’t.

        Thanks for explaining the liking posts thing.

      • It simply comes down to the fact that men and women communicate differently (report talk vs. rapport talk). I should correct myself – it’s not so much that men don’t understand hints or subtlety, it’s just that they don’t communicate that way. Men are direct. Women aren’t. Obviously this is a generality and there are exceptions due to culture, background etc but that’s usually the rule. This is why so many women complain that men don’t understand their needs or wants, and that’s because they haven’t communicated them directly. And that’s why men are always going, “well, I would have done such-and-such if I knew that’s what you wanted… why didn’t you just say so?”

  2. Just stumbled across your blog when googling ‘introvert’s catch 22.’ I’ve been having some communication problems with my extroverted partner–we’re both male by the way, and I think subtlety in communication is more a question of upbringing than anything else. Even after living together for years, my need for some alone time to recharge still gets in the way at times. I recently backed out of three weekend social events that somehow got made all in a row; one I could have handled nicely, but not two, and certainly not three. For an introvert, finding the right balance when sharing your life and home with someone you love is not always easy. Playful understanding helps, taking things as lightly as possible. My partner kissed me goodbye this morning after two days of difficult communication (no kisses!), and I think he does finally realize it wasn’t realistic to plan so much socializing back to back. I’ve learned to stick to my guns about my need for solitude, otherwise I’m no good for anyone. He knows this better than anyone.

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