Sunday, December 02, 2012

Why Don't People Talk To Each Other?

Currently trying to recover from what may or may not be a pinched nerve. I say "may or may not be" because the pain doesn't seem to be coming primarily from the same place (front of the leg, not so much the back) and because the exercises for sciatica don't seem to be doing any good. Or bad, for that matter. Still, I had real trouble walking yesterday and while I'm marginally better today--painkillers for the win!--I'm dreading work tomorrow.
So I'm a longtime Redditor. Being male and with a functional libido, I subscribe to the sex "subreddit (which is occasionally NSFW, I'm sure you don't need me to tell you). Anyway, it positively boggles my brain how many of the questions posed in that subreddit can be answered with a single word: "COMMUNICATE!"
"Husband is a disaster in the bedroom, don't know what to do." Uh, have you talked to him?
"Married for fifteen years, want to open our relationship, how do I go about it?" Open your mouths, first, and talk. A lot. You might not get anywhere, but you certainly won't get anywhere keeping quiet.
"I have this fantasy and really want my girlfriend to fulfill it, help!" Does she read minds?

The same thing applies with any other potential source of marital discord, be it money, division of household labour,  TALK ABOUT IT. This is not rocket surgery, folks. Not if you're married. At least it shouldn't be. If you've married somebody and you can't talk to them, I'm sorry to inform you that you've married the wrong person.

I honestly can't fathom how widespread this seems to be. What causes it? I can sort of understand one party, the other, or both being potentially embarrassed about sexual issues, and nobody likes to find out they're lousy in the sack...but how are you going to improve if you don't know, specifically, where you're lacking? And as far as embarrassment goes, if you can't be embarrassed in front of your spouse, again, you're doing it wrong. Hell, I embarrass myself pretty much daily. Makes her laugh. That wasn't part of our vows, but it probably should have been. "To have and to hold, to cause you to spray Diet Pepsi out your nose until death do us part."

It's stereotypically a guy thing, of course--we don't want to talk about things, we just want to fix them. I'll admit to being born with a huge heaping helping of this particular inclination. I understood the value of talking about things--some days you can't shut me up, after all--but only as a means to an end. It took me many years to realize that for many women, talking about the problem is fixing it. Often all she wants to know is that she's not suffering alone.

Anyway, this was one of the things our premarital course stressed, the need for constant communication. (I've said this before, incidentally, but if you're getting married, you should take some sort of premarital course, all the more so if you believe you don't need one. It'll open your eyes and give you some extremely valuable coping strategies for the days when the love of your life is driving you insane.) Any problem you get into with words can be solved with more words, never forget that. And don't forget, either, that just because someone spends much of their waking life with you, doesn't mean he or she knows what thoughts are bouncing around in your head.

I will cop to another very "male" behaviour: when angry, I tend to withdraw. First, because I hate conflict. Second, because I have a streak of jerky knee in me that is prone to erupt in moments of high stress and make me say something completely unforgivable that I don't even mean. And third because if I'm really pissed, the mental effort involved in widening my perspective and becoming unpissed takes my undivided attention. So I'll back off for a minute or an hour, and then I'll come back to the table able to talk coherently. "Never go to bed mad" was one of the pieces of advice freely given to me before marriage. It's a good one.

But talk. Use your words. So many of life's little (and big) issues can be dispensed with simply by talking about them....this seems so obvious that it shouldn't need saying...but apparently it does. TALK.

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