On a recent full moon I was in a grumpy mood, sleeping in my home office, unable to connect with my wife. Iâ€™m sometimes like that around the full moon, either slightly off and not as outgoing and engaging or sometimes fully disengaged and needing time apart. Whoever says itâ€™s just women that are affected by the pull of that great, beautiful orb should talk with my wife. Sheâ€™ll give them an ear full.
Itâ€™s often the time that the wife and I have our biggest rows too. Not that we have any knock-down drag-outs or anything, but heated words have been exchanged by the light of the moon. Usually, theyâ€™re followed by repairing apologies and a warm embrace after things cool off. Sheâ€™s become a bit wary of the full moon; maybe Iâ€™m a beware-wolf.
During this most recent full-moon episode things she would do really agitated me and I found myself pretty annoyed byÂ her. What really drove me crazy though was that I couldnâ€™t figure out what it was that was bothering me. I knew it wasnâ€™t the small things she was doing, they were just the symptom of something bigger. But I couldnâ€™t figure out what that bigger thing was.
Tip 1: Sometimes a guy just needs some time in the cave …
So thatâ€™s where I went, for four nights, to my man cave. Getting away is an important way to get clarity, and it doesnâ€™t have to be out of the house or out of state. Just sleeping in another room can break some of the bedroom patterns that distract you from focusing on whatâ€™s going on inside yourself. You know the old patterns â€¦ Are we going to have sex tonight or will she want to be held? Can I sleep any farther away from her without falling out of bed? Can she feel that the silence between us weighs 16 tons?
Sleeping alone can help to get clear of these distracting patterns. It can also help you get a good nightâ€™s sleep which helps clarity and mood.
Tip 2: Give the head a break â€¦ try out another center of intelligence.
To be clear Iâ€™m talking about giving both of your heads a break. The other centers of intelligence Iâ€™m referring toÂ are your heart and your gut. Science is confirming what eastern cultures have known for millennia, our guts and our heart are separate centers of intelligence. Both have their own neural networks and are capable of processing information apart from the brain.
And as men, weâ€™ve been given no end of erroneous social conditioning that what makes us men is our logic and a tight reign on our emotions. Weâ€™ve been cut off from two important sources of corporeal information. For emotional intelligence, the heart canâ€™t be beat (thatâ€™s not really intended to be a pun).
I couldnâ€™t really think about what was bothering me, because it wasnâ€™t something in my head. In fact, thinking about it just made it worse because thoughts would swirl around and the same old internal playbacks about our relationship challenges would come up, play back, rewind, replay. That wasnâ€™t helpful at all.
So I just tried to breath. I focussed on where in my body my angst or broodiness was hanging out. And I found it in my heart. So I asked my heart, â€śOkay, so, whatâ€™s this about?â€ť The information I got back was a surprise … IÂ was frustrated by not being “seen” by my wife.
Whoa, dude, did you just share that on your blog? WTF?! Youâ€™re supposed to be a man â€¦ men donâ€™t â€¦ Yeah, actually men do talk about whatâ€™s in their heart, especially with the people that they love. You can look to spiritual sages like Christ or Buddha as guides for how to be a heartfelt warrior.
If men donâ€™t share whatâ€™s going on itâ€™s because they havenâ€™t yet developed the tools or because theyâ€™re too chicken shit to get real. Just saying.
Yeah, and so I was having this conversation with myself about what my heart was feeling about not being seen by my wife. It was like this, I had been doing all of this work around my transition full-time to menâ€™s work, processing realizations from a kick ass menâ€™s retreatÂ I went to a couple of months ago, doing research for my blog, yadda yadda. Massive changeÂ was going on with me. But my wife was totally caught up in her stuff: being in grad school, volunteering, working â€¦ and she had stopped asking about what was going on over here, with me. (Sheâ€™d only read one of my blogs â€¦ ouch.)
Tip 3: Just tell her how you feel damn it! (This is where the better sex comes in.)
Well, I am a guy, and it felt pretty awkward to try and have this conversation with her. It sounded a little weird to tell my wife that I wasnâ€™t feeling seen, or that I didnâ€™t feel like she was interested in what I was doing. And that lack of interest and attentionÂ was creating distance in our relationship and (ironically) causing me to withdraw. Whoa. How was sharing that going to come across?
I needed to get over my resistance to sharing and push through to a conversation. I had to get over my entanglement with the perceived social stigma of being a heartfelt man (no, Iâ€™m not a wuss) â€¦ I had to stop listening to my internal saboteurs that were ridiculing me for wanting to be seen and appreciated by my wife (nope, I wasnâ€™t being egotistical or a wuss) â€¦ and I had to push through the ridiculous mind trap that â€śmen donâ€™t need,â€ť and that we just have to buck up and go it alone (seriously, I wasnâ€™t being needy or egotistical or a wuss). And after all that, I realized what I was wanting was connection, not isolation.
So with all of that personal heavy lifting done and having thrown off the shackles of isolation, I sat down with her and we talked about what had been going on with me. She listened as I worked my way through what I had been reflecting on over the past four days in my man cave. We both apologized and we laughed about how busy we both were, but realized together how important it is for each to feel seen and appreciated.
In the end we came away with a better understanding of each other, a closer connection, and a commitment to greater awareness of each otherâ€™s needs. And yes, totally intimateÂ and awesome sex came about as a result of that stronger connection. Hey guys, this stuff really works!
Have you had an experience where you were unable to communicate a need? Ever felt trapped in your head over something that was going on in your heart? Share it out in the comment section below!