“I want more from you,” she says.
He listens, scanning stock prices on his phone.
“Did you hear me?” she says.
“I’m listening. I’m listening,” he says.
“Can I have five minutes without the phone?”
“What! What’s going on?” He can tell he’s failed her in some way. He continues scanning his phone.
“Is now a good time to talk?” she says.
“Then let’s talk later,” she says.
“Now you got me going. You’re going to leave me hanging? What’s up?”
“You didn’t hear the first thing I said, did you?”
He shakes his head. “What did you say?” Again, his failure as a man to listen. Oh well, he thinks.
“Can you put your phone on airplane mode for five minutes, if we’re going to talk?”
“Ok, ok.” He puts his phone aside. “So, what’s up?”
“I feel like we’ve been very disconnected lately. You’ve been super busy at work. I’ve been preoccupied with my big exhibition.
“It’s as if we’re losing each other. I want to be more connected with you. The way it’s been lately… it’s as if we’re not even in a relationship. It’s as if we are strangers cohabitating. And then I begin to wonder, what’s the point?
“I want us to make an effort to spend more time together.”
His mind starts racing, defending. He feels attacked.
What the hell? She knows I have no time now. Why is she so needy?
He’s not even sure what that she wants. But it feels like it’s not who he is.
It’s like she wants him to be one of her girlfriends. To listen to all her talk about her emotional state and her feelings. He often feels overwhelmed by this.
His male brain works in fewer words. His male heart struggles when he feels her challenge him. It’s as if he’s failed her. She’s not happy.
He wonders, is it me or just who she is?
If it’s him, he feels his failure. If it’s who she is, he just wants to run.
His rational – transactional mind commands him. It’s how he lives his life.
- Broken car, fix it.
- Erroneous credit card charge, reverse it.
- Engineering challenge, get it right.
While the world rewards him for this, a different set of skills is needed with his beloved. And it challenges everything at his core about being a man.
It refutes his identity of fixing things, of getting things right, and his perception of his strength as a man. He feels as if he has to give up who he is to make her happy.
What’s needed feels feminine. But it’s not. It’s simply human.
And then, he pauses. He takes a breath — into his heart and out of his mind. He remembers this trick from working with me. “The Sacred Pause” – we call it.
He hasn’t been listening to her. He’s been stuck in a response. She said she wants to spend more time with him. He sees that.
He breathes into his feeling body. And leaves his reactive self. He connects with his emotional state. And feels sad about her sadness.
He remembers something I said to him once – A person not connected to his heart has no compass.
Breathe, listen, and let go, he says to himself.
Connected to his sadness, he breathes again. She really does love me, he thinks. She not only wants more from me, but she wants more of me. He smiles.
He remembers to let go. He detaches from his immediate reactions.
From there, he realizes, it’s not about him. It’s about her. She’s having the challenges. Not him. He relaxes even more. His compassion grows. He appreciates her speaking her truth.
“You’re so beautiful,” he says, smiling. “Thank you for letting me know that you want to spend more time with me. I know it’s been hard lately. I want more time with you too.”
“You do?” she says. Everything softens in her. Her smile grows, as does his.
He is a powerful man, strong in heart, big in capacity. One who can hold her desires without cracking. One who can see her when she can’t see herself.
And she does the same for him. This is an empowered couple.
Originally Published on stuartmotola.com