Tuesday, December 17, 2013


Have you ever thought about words?  The way they are used, who is saying them, the tone and the timing all seem to have a huge impact.

I never thought I would like the word ma'am.  I thought it would make me feel old to have someone use it...I still don't like it for the most part.  Most people that I am in authority over call me miss.  My boss, however, calls me ma'am. When I ask him to do something for me, he often says, "Yes, ma'am."  I find I do like that and I'm not sure why.  He is older than me and in a position of authority, but he doesn't seem to feel the need to pull that authority card.  Maybe for those two reasons it doesn't make me feel old.  He also calls me "MIss Cygnet"  that I like less, but it's said with a huge smile and kindness so I can live with it.

Another word:  Daddy.  We were discussing its use the other day in a group of 4 woman and 2 men.  One of the guys finally said, "Not to be sexist, but I think it is different from women and men.  I would never call my father, Daddy."  "Not even when you were a little boy?" I asked.  "Never," he said.  The other guy agreed and said he was hesitant to say it.  I replied that it was a term of affection for girls and women.  He said he had no problem being called it by his daughter, because she is a Daddy's girl: a term he says he uses.

How about diva?  I can't believe any woman would want to be called that, but there are women who have claimed it.  I have always thought it was a term of derision.  I guess it originally was a term for a woman who was a wonderful singer: a Prima donna, but I think diva and Prima donna have come to mean a temperamental person; a person who takes adulation and privileged treatment as a right and reacts with petulance to criticism or inconvenience.  How is that a good thing?

Do you think there are other words that used to feel funny to be used by or about you and your feelings about the words have changed?


Saturday, December 14, 2013


I was talking with a man the other day and he had been terribly wounded by a woman who he labeled as "high conflict".  He said he had finally had enough and had left her.  He then started up a counseling service to help other men who were in relationships with high conflict women.  He said the first thing to do was to end the conflict by just agreeing with everything she says because by doing so, you don't get into fights at all and then you have the freedom to decide if you want to stay with her or not.

I was thinking today about why his suggestions felt uncomfortable to me.  At first I was trying to label it passive aggressive, but it's not really aggressive, passive, yes, but not aggressive.  I then I started thinking that I wanted a guy who would argue with me, when I am upset about something he did and that doesn't seem right either.  I think I want a genuine "I'm sorry" when he really is contrite about something that he has done and just apologizing for anything and everything just seems like there is no true contrition, just trying to shut the woman up and stop conflict before it happens.  I want to be able to discuss problems and work them out and when the man apologize immediately, then no discussion really happens. I want to be able to argue and that sounds wrong, but I don't think it is.  I want to be able to argue and come to a resolution.

What I realized finally is that I want a man who will stand up for himself, fight fair and apologize if he has made a mistake.  I also want a man who can say "enough" to me when I push things too far or when I am escalating an argument too much. I don't want a passive man who goes belly up at the first sign of conflict.  I want to want to argue and be honest, while still being respectful.  I don't want things to go unresolved, but I do want a man who has the ability to lovingly and firmly say, "Enough" and have the means at his disposal to make sure I honor and accept that.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Reassuring the man

Thought I'd check in from the dating wars....

I got a strange e-mail last night that in thinking about how I wanted to respond made me realize something:  the men that are good dominant men and not domineering men, need reassurance that they are doing things right.  I know, that may not be a news flash to a lot of you, but in trying to find a relationship that works for me, I suddenly realized that when the relationship is new (and maybe not so new), the man needs as much reassurance from the woman as the woman does from the man. 

I also realized that the women in these types of relationships tend to be very much caretakers.  For me,  that can show itself in a variety of ways:  being bossy; refusing help when you need it; and generally trying to make sure everyone's needs are met, even when my own maybe aren't.  That, I believe is the power position.  I know it is in my life.  I know that if I am the one doing all the giving, then, I don't owe anybody anything. I learned that coping skill when I was a very young girl and it worked for me,because I grew up in a family where the cost of allowing someone to do something for you was unknown, but it was never free and a lot of times the cost was higher than the value of what that person did for you. I have since me a lot of people who give without expecting anything, but it is a hard habit to break.  I can make myself an island and not need anybody for anything and I can be strong and tough in my armor.  I think when I am in the world, I need to do that.  I can't afford to make myself vulnerable because when I am vulnerable, then I can lose and I really can't afford to lose.

That reassurance piece is critical in a relationship, when you are just getting to know each other, and especially when you are trying to form a more traditional relationship, I think the man needs reassurance that he is leading well and is "doing it right".  Which kind of gets me though, is I somehow don't want to be the one having to be reassuring.  I know that sounds selfish, but I guess I just want the man to magically be able to read me, and that is not fair.  He wouldn't ask if he didn't care, but at the same time, I feel myself wanting to wave my hand and say, "What about me.  I need reassurance too!" I think that is me wanting to be reassured that there isn't come hidden cost to letting him get close.

I also find myself wondering if maybe men who are trying to be leaders in a dd relationship aren't a bit more emotional about things.  I think they try to do the stiff upper lip and brazen their way through, but under that lip is a lot of emotion that needs the woman's permission to be let out.  I think it is a tricky balance though, because I also think there can be some men who want to be leaders but need to constantly be propped up and that SHOULDN'T be the woman's job. 

I want to be a good companion and I want to be some who can be reassuring, but I need to have my needs met too, and I am not sure exactly how to ask for that and that position of power in which I am doing all the giving is comfortable or at least familiar, but at some level I want to give up power and I need a guy who wants that too and if I'm to have that, I can't be the one who is doing all the reassuring.