What is your preference for connection frequency once you begin to date a man regularly? Some people like daily chats, some think that is onerous. And when you do connect, what do you both want to hear and share?
I’ve been surprised when this issue is a bone of contention. I think most of us have the self-centric assumption that we’d share similar preferences with someone to whom we’re attracted. We may unfortunately eventually learn that attraction doesn’t necessarily mean similar values, preferences, or perspectives.
In a communication after a breakup, I learned that my request for daily connection had been perceived by my ex-beau as a requirement for him to “report in.” He was what I considered evasive and secretive about his activities when I really just wanted to have a sense of his life when we were apart. I explained to him that I perceived our daily contact as a chance to connect, not only by sharing what was happening in our lives, but taking it deeper by exploring our achievements, concerns, hopes and fears. He felt it was a requirement he report in and explain his whereabouts to me.
I think he had issues about this left over from his marriage. He’d told me that when he returned home from work his wife wanted to know what had happened during his day. His job was not particularly pleasant and he didn’t want to relive the odious things with which he’d had to deal. So even after being out of that job for over a decade, he had no desire to share a recap of his daily life with me.
(In all fairness, I can understand having someone want to know your every action. My late mother would sometimes call and want to know the details of my day, down to what I had for lunch. I realized this was her way of wanting to connect with me and she didn’t know how to take the conversation beyond the reporting-in level.)
One would think that this would be an easily resolved issue between two midlife people who have a desire to be together. But if you have opposite needs about this, it is a difficult one to resolve. And before this relationship, I wouldn’t have guessed it would be so difficult to find a middle ground. The problem wasn’t as much about contact frequency, as I would have been okay connecting every other day or so. But it was more the content of the communication that left me longing for connectedness. I felt it was like pulling teeth to hear about the highlight of his day, or important issues he faced, or even where he was. (He frequently stayed away from home overnight, he said at friends, but sometimes those friends were a 5-hour drive away and I had no idea he was gone.) He was so secretive I wondered if he was seeing one or more other women.
So if regular connection — not just a quick text message — is important to you, discuss this with your guy before getting too wrapped up in him. If he’s not willing to share conversation about his life, he’s probably not going to be willing to share his life with you.
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