Communication: A Dying Art?

I have to tell you something; but first I gotta figure out how…

I’ve been thinking about communication a lot lately… or moreso the lack of communication that seems to be happening. I know that people say, and these are really smart people so I guess I should listen to them, that communication is the cornerstone of any successful relationship, be it intimate, friendship, or colleague-ship, .. communication is key; except there are so many different forms of communication; verbal, written, body, spoken and unspoken, and lets not forget the telepathic conversations you can have with your girlfriends. And yet, with all the technologies and advances of the modern world, we can still manage to screw it all up. I mean, think about it; if you can’t come up with a word to use you can google it; you can delete anything that doesn’t sound correct (as I just did), check, double check and re-check to be sure that you say exactly what you want to, when you want to, and how you want to. So why is it that both men and women still claim lack of communication as the #1 downfall in marriages and relationships? I used to wonder if it was as simple as the different communication styles that men and women have… women like to talk and men like to do (no pun intended). But as the roles and expectations of men and women are blurred with every passing day, so do in a sense our communication styles.

I’ve had the pleasure, or should I say dis-pleasure seeing how that relationship ended, of dating a guy who was really into the whole “metro” thing. Don’t get me wrong here; there are plenty of aspects about that kind of lifestyle that were purely beneficial for someone like me who was used to dating manly-jocks; he always looked good, dressed well without my help or insistence, took care of himself and was into communication, he enjoyed talking on the phone, having deeper conversations.. holding hands, cuddling and romantic dinners he cooked himself. You know, the “sensitive guy” we women always seem to want. At times it was like I was dating a chick, except not, as no matter how metro a guy gets he is still deep down a man which has its obvious benefits, or should I say necessities for an intimate relationship. He was still the main bug-killer, the one who’d reach for the stuff I needed off a tall shelf, the guy who’d install your shower-heads and fix your broken doors but still retained that sensitivity despite all these masculine activities.

The downside, or maybe up-side if you look at it another way, of dating a guy who’s very much like a chick, is that you get to see first hand all the annoying tendencies and forms of communication we women tend to have or are stereotyped with when dating someone you really like; all the necroses that guys complain about; the neediness, the possessiveness, the insane bouts of jealousy, the hissy fits and crying to manipulation central… really ladies; the way we communicate sometimes is so NOT cool! I know that we don’t mean to do it, and even when we do mean to do it because there are girls who do, we don’t honestly understand the ramifications of our actions until, as the saying goes, it happens to us and the stiletto is on the other foot.

I used to refer to this as the “needy-chick syndrome”, now known as the “needy-chick/needy-guy syndrome”, which is kind of like domestication except for the fact that often one person takes this lifestyle choice a bit too far to the point where one persons’ choice becomes the others obligation. It starts with the little things; one phone call a day becomes 2, becomes 3, becomes 4… a weekly sleepover on weekends becomes a nightly trek to one persons’ apartment, and when you want to sleep by yourself in your bed he wants to come with you. A weekly lunch date during your 40s hours becomes an every day thing, even when you had breakfast with this person and will undoubtly have dinner with him and then go to bed with him. Nights out with your girl friends are met with resentment or “I’ll come with you’s!” or “Meet me later” or even worse, met with nothing but silence… This NC/NG syndrome is a form of communication that I personally cannot STAND. It is communicating to your partner without actually communicating: you’re telling them as supposed to discussing with them that hey, I don’t just want you, I NEED you. At every possible moment of every possible day… and that is soo annoying. It is probably the worst possible form of communication because this kind of behaviour isn’t conducive to compromise, as people tend to get defensive or worse, deny their actions and well, communication gets the kibosh and eventually so does the relationship.

Now of course, not every relationship ends like this, or at least that’s what people keep telling me. But I can’t help but be cynical or even a bit hesitant when it comes to my style of communication, and how well it meshes with the men I decide to date. I obviously could not communicate to “Philippe” how much his behaviour disturbed me, so how in the world am I supposed to communicate to whoever else comes along something just as important? I think the problem was that there was absolutely no communication between us; there was communication at me, but not so much with me and as soon as that started the relationship stopped… so I dumped the douche bag.

I think that in the end at the heart of any relationship lies communication; voluntary or involuntary. Whether it be spoken or unspoken, normal or bordering on the insane, male-or-female influenced, communication still makes or breaks a relationship… despite how good the sex is.

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~ by Carrie on June 25, 2006.

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