Tuesday, July 13, 2010
Jake and Vienna
Okay, I can't help it. I watched the breakup interview (yes, I confess, I watched the show as well), and I really wish they'd have come to see me.
It can't always be reduced to this of course: he is a man. she is a woman.
But it sure is a piece of it.
How is it that she does not know that he needs respect? To feel like the man. I can't chalk it up to her age, because I work with women twice her age who never had the chance to talk it out, to learn about how to help their man feel respected. Or to learn about what their objections to doing so are.
And how is it that he does not know that she needs love. To feel like a woman. I can't chalk it up to his lack of intelligence because he does seem to be a fairly bright guy and I work with a lot of really smart men who never learned about how to make a woman feel loved. Or to tolerate femaleness and love them anyway.
With all the fancy resources at the hands of the big networks, and all the emotional investment, physical chemistry and opportunity for a good life at their feet, I've got to ask: Why didn't these two people get help?
Did they want to be destructive? Is there a part of each of their histories that unconsciously gravitates to blowing up good things? Maybe. But it's so very obvious in that video that he was behaving like a man and she was behaving like a woman and neither of them seemed to have the slightest clue about this. And they both looked hurt and frustrated.
She feels wounded, misunderstood, unloved, undesired. He feels emasculated, distrusted, disrespected, frustrated.
Everyone is using the wrong words. She cries. He waves his hands in the air.
There is name calling and threats and accusations.
People do have good reasons for clinging to the passion of arguing, fighting, going at each other. Not the least of which is that it sometimes makes for great sex. Sometimes folks are hesitant to want to get out of the ring for fear of letting go of the prize of great sex.
But sometimes, the sex just vanishes. Like with Jake and Vienna. She accuses him of not being intimate and he says rather aptly, that he cannot be intimate with someone who is constantly cutting him down. It turns him off.
To which, of course, she claims she is not doing. So here we go. Men do feel criticized and disrespected when women want to plug in the GPS or know exactly where they are, or question their motives. It goes to trust. And trust goes to respect.
And women think: "If you loved me, you would want me no matter what I say. If you really loved me the way I deserve to be loved, then I can threaten or point out your shortcomings, or vent and you will listen and let me say anything and understand and soothe me and still desire me. And then: "Its hopeless." Which to a man seems infuriating, castrating. And to woman it means "I'm really serious. I want you to take care of me."
Sigh. Everyone has a history, a character, a story. And of course its good to know where you come from and what you bring to your relationships. But its a fantasy for Jake and Vienna to think that this stuff won't repeat in their next relationship.
Nobody really wants to do this work. To plod through the muck and hurt and history. To study the male and female- ness of us. To learn the right words, tolerate the frustration and initiate the giving. Its not a walk in the park to look at your character and what's shaped it. But its not as bad as you might think. Sometimes, many times, actually, its even satisfying.
I have seen people with far more to lose than the bachelor and Vienna not even try. And I just have to wonder again....why not get help?