I have heard many men complain about how women tend to assume that men should know what women feel and expect from them and act accordingly. It’s not a nice feeling to say that I must admit that is true. But let’s dig a little bit deeper.
I presently have a friend, a boy, half way around the world. We have affections for each other, but decided to remain friends until perhaps a day comes when we are ready for any serious relationship. I don’t know when I will see him again, if ever, but I always hoped to keep in contact and be intentional with this friendship.
It’s been three months since he left now, and we are still in contact. We Skyped just last Saturday. But things changed after that last Skype call. I don’t know his side of the story, but on my side, I don’t feel very connected to him. Our Skype conversation was replete with pauses, pondering on the next subject, and general silence. After that, I don’t think much changed in his way of messaging, or how often he got online. However he was less engaged, showing less interest in my news, and I began to doubt.
Perhaps he is not interested. Perhaps he feels bothered by my talking about daily struggles and feelings. Perhaps his affections are fading. And I don’t feel that I have the right to interrupt any fading feelings, or disturb him.
I began to be hesitant when I wrote to him. I felt that I could only talk about news, like what happened today during chapel, or the testimonies I heard from younger classmen, but not about how I feel exhausted because of a busy schedule, or how I am struggling emotionally because of the changes I must adjust to.
This boy doesn’t know about how I perceive myself as bothersome and uninteresting, how I fear that the affections will end, how I feel slightly abandoned, how he is no longer a joy but a source of burden. I shouldn’t expect him to know that. I know.
But I don’t want to tell him either, because that puts him on the spot. If I tell him, he must decide whether or not to change how he engage with me. First of all, I hate even allow him to think that it is his fault that I am hurt or afraid. That would make him feel guilty, when it really isn’t his fault. Second, I don’t want him to sacrifice his time with the people around him and the work he is given just to give me more attention. The thought makes me wince. And worst of all, I don’t want to make him feel obligated to be more attentive to me, as though my happiness is his responsibility, especially if his affections really are fading. If he truly cares less of me, I want to allow him to care less of me, rather than cling to him and make him generate feelings he doesn’t have.
On the other hand, if I do tell him, the reason would be this: If he truly cares about me but is unaware of how his lack of attention is influencing me, he would wonder why I pulled away and inevitably think that I was simply no longer interested. If he knew, and cared, he would gladly sacrifice his time and energy to reassure me, to tell me that I am not a bother but a joy. He would do anything to build my confidence in him.
And there it is. The mind processing of a woman. We certainly are complicated. And for me, this is the reason I end up hiding my feelings and turning the responsibility to guys. I never mean to, I just…do. Here is where I wish men knew what girls feel and expect, because I hate to tell them myself.
Anyway. I think I’ll tell him, because I’d rather bother him and make him think than risk losing this precious friendship.