Monday, December 10, 2012

KVAP Conversation of the Week: Women and Happiness, Men and $$$

"If women didn't exist, all the money in the world would have no meaning." ~Aristotle Onassis

"I'm not looking for flowers, rings, or promises of eternal happiness," a friend of mine said on our way to lunch. "I don't need to be married or even for us to have a serious relationship.  All I want is for him to turn to me once in a while and say, 'Hey, I like you.'"

I listened with sympathy as my friend vented about a guy who gave her mixed messages about the state of their relationship.  I've been married for almost 14 years and never did well in the dating scene.  Though I have tons of male friends, boyfriends were just a hot bed of confusion.  Like my friend, I never understood what was going on, where I stood, or where 'we' were going.  As a woman who likes direct communication, dating seemed to have everything but that directness.  Even now, I find myself reading between the lines of my husband's statements, which are fairly direct.  

Yet, the first part of what my friend said really stuck with me.  She had listed all the things she didn't need for a successful relationship.  All the things that men are frequently taught as part of the dating ritual.  All the things that cost $$$.  All the things that make men make wisecracks about the spending habits of women.  Her checklist seemed pretty defined and, depending on the woman, could rack up the price tag. I began to wonder if the men I dated, or even if my husband, believed I wanted flowers, rings, or promises of eternal happiness?  I like flowers in the summertime.  I have a large collection of rings given to me by friends, parents, and my husband.  And promises of eternal happiness?  Well, I would be naive to believe in fairy tales.

Then I examined the next part of her statement.  She openly admitted that she liked this guy, but wasn't ready to settle down.  It didn't mean she didn't want to stop trying to get to know him. It mean that she was okay with keeping things light.  Again, my mind thought about this in terms of $$$ and men.  No serious relationship no serious investment of $$$.  And, of course, as a married woman $$$$$$$$ sometimes make or break a marriage, depending on on the viewpoints and values of the couple.  Tons of people have gotten married because of $$$, just as many have gotten a divorce over it too.

And then it came to the last part of her statement, where she identified the one thing she wanted.  All I want is for him to turn to me once in a while and say, 'Hey, I like you.'  I remember smiling when she said it because it seemed so simple.  I could relate to just wanting to hear a little affirmation, a little appreciation, and little incentive to continue to play 'the game' regardless of the outcome.  It was a statement that took no $$$, but a lot of courage.  And sadly, I could never imagine the man she spoke about saying those four words to her, even if that's what he truly felt inside.

Never in my life could I imagine that satisfaction could be attained through such little cost (with the exception of a little male pride). Yet, here my friend was telling me that she would willingly continue to play 'the game,' and endure his hot and cold moods if he would just communicate a small, innocent truth about the way he felt towards her.  I wondered how many men were clueless about what something like my friend, hell even me, needed.  Not flowers, not rings, but a little emotional honesty.  Maybe the Beatles were right.  Maybe 'You Can't Buy Me Love.'



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