Why He Doesn’t Want To Come Home.

A phenomenon Jon and I have discussed previously, to no great conclusion, was revived by the recent idle drivel coming from the mouth of the UK’s own minor version of Bernie Sanders.

The short form of the matter is that, however much men will joke about “well, it beats being home with the gf/wife”, an increasing number of men actually act on it. They will go drinking right after work, take on overtime, or even go and do an unpleasant job for a friend or relative, relishing the time away from home. And we were stumped. But a little more discussion, insight and thought has led us to a fairly satisfactory answer: he doesn’t want to go home because he has no space there.

Humans may be social animals, but we are also private animals. As fairly reclusive introverts, Jon and I know this more than anyone. And we can see that even the most outgoing of extroverts from time to time withdraws into themselves the same way we need to do on a regular basis. Humans need time and space to think, to be quiet, to work on solo projects and to unwind. For introverts its about recharging, for extroverts it seems more about reminiscing and planning, for ambiverts its a bit of both.

And for most of our lives, we get that time and space. From around seven or eight years old, the point where we begin to see ourselves as a unit of society and socialize more sacrificially, passively and/or empathically, we are granted a right to time and space. We get to walk off on our own, have our own possessions to keep us busy away from everyone else, maybe even our own room if money and culture allow. This is Retreat with a capital R. And we need it. As we grow older, this boundary becomes more defined, even with friends and family. We learn to tell people we want some quiet time, that we’re tired, that we wanted to read a book or watch a show. And we learn that when others say similar things, they also need their space.

For some reason, though, many decide to throw this harmony out of the window when it comes to looking for a mate. My only guess is that it’s based on the same mechanism whereby people will lose weight, learn game, or even join a cult to find a partner. We simply put temporary effort into changing ourselves because we know, consciously or subconsciously, that being better means mixing our genes with better ones.

Some also temporarily give these people their personal space. They don’t have their own room any more. They don’t even have their own bed. They don’t have any space in the house where they can be left alone. They don’t have any time where it is appropriate to say “I just want to read a book right now”. Because they are convinced that they need to hand their whole lives to the other person in order for a relationship to work.

But the problem comes in with that “temporary” clause up there. Just as with spontaneous weight loss, a bit of game or joining a cult, unless your changes genuinely become a core part of you, this effort will melt away as the relationship cements. You will grow tired. You will have days where you don’t want to talk at all, or where you just want to sit down and regather your thoughts after work. You will want your time and space back. And so will your partner.

But in this sort of relationship, nobody makes the first move to letting that happen. All of a sudden, the person they loved and wanted to spend every second with becomes a chain around their ankles. They won’t shut up, they keep walking in on them gaming/reading/listening to music/indulging a hobby, they start pushing to do more things together to “relight the spark”. They both resent this constant presence and paradoxical distance.

And that is why he doesn’t want to come home. Because she is there. She is always there. It isn’t his home. There is no peace, no quiet, no time and space for him. There is no Refuge.

Of course, you needn’t spend any time apart to prevent this situation from developing. Jon and I easily spend every free minute together. He doesn’t have to go to the pub after work and I don’t need a girls’ night out to recover and get some social space. But you have to learn to be alone together sometimes. You have to be quiet, and restful, and minding your own business sometimes. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but a little peace and quiet goes a long way.

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

What are your observations on couples who can’t spend time together? What are the ways you and your partner meet the need for Refuge? Have you tried being alone together?

 

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How To… spend more time together.

It’s a common complaint and one I’m understanding more the more effort I put into paid work, garden maintenance, self improvement and puppy training.

As you add things into your life, you find that time with your loved ones gets pinched a bit and some people are even accidentally cut out entirely for weeks at a time. Which is no good. Whether you want the calm and quiet of just sitting with your partner or whether you need to be thrown into a party to feel at home, we all want to be a little bit social.

So here’s how to make time for those you love.

1: Do things together.

Well, that sounds obvious, doesn’t it? The problem is in how we apply this. We think to ourselves “well, I have ballroom dancing and the kids have playgroup, so how can we fit in a shared activity?”

In reality, the solution is a bit simpler: we try and fit into each other’s activities, or find new activities we can share. Rather than add more and more and more to our days, it may be wiser to cut some things out and start over, working on our hobbies and tasks together.

2: Discuss schedules.

It’s important to talk our schedules through as we plan our weeks. Both for working out shared activities and so that our flexible plans don’t clash. If you need to go shopping, for example, it’s better to do it when your partner and children are also busy.

By building a set schedule and discussing the whole family’s schedules you can find time to spend with each other.

3: Together but alone.

Just because you don’t share your hobbies or one of you have work doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t spend time together.

Jon and I frequently spend time together in the same room, him doing his thing and me doing mine. Just because I suck at gaming or I have writing to do doesn’t mean I can sit next to him as he plays a new game.

4: Date night, family night, play night.

Try and make time at least once a week to spend together. Even if you’re too busy and your schedules and activities rarely match up, having a night a week when you can

-catch up on the week’s events

-plan the next week

-have some fun together

will make a big difference to your life.

5: Have a break.

If you literally can’t find an hour a week to spend with your friends and family, then maybe you’re working too hard.

Think of when you can plan in a proper break to have fun with your loved ones, revise your workload and schedule and get into a healthier, happier life.

And that’s how we can try and spend more time with our loved ones, even when we’re insanely busy. Like with a lot of these How Tos, it isn’t a hard concept. The key is just in making the effort to follow the steps through.

How do you make time for your loved ones? What do you like doing on family days?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

Who Here Is Simple?

A while back insanitybytes raised an interesting point. Many men and some women choose to define themselves as “simple”. Many women and some men are baffled by this and offended when the same thing is said about them.

Our cultural definitions of simplicity vary, but at the core, the idea is “this is not complicated”. A simple task is one that takes little time, effort or expertise to do when compared to similar tasks. A simple book is one that is short, plain and easy to read compared to similar alternatives. So simplicity is not only cultural, but relative in general. What is a simple book to a ten year old is complicated to a four year old.

When we get to people it becomes even more confusing. Because people are so multifaceted, simplicity isn’t quite so… simple. People have minds, hobbies, bodies, interests, needs and hearts. And each of these things can be simple or complicated, in the good sense and the bad sense.

Someone’s mind can be simple in that they are not very bright, or simple in that their thoughts are clear. Or be complicated in that they are highly intelligent, or complicated in that their thoughts are random and cluttering.

Someone’s hobbies can be simple in that they are easy, fun or cheap, or simple in that they are infantile. Or be complicated in that they are expensive and troublesome, or complicated in that they require high skill.

Everyone has their own idea of what it means to have a simple mind, body, heart or need. Some will paint it in a good light, others not so much. There seems to be a split, similar to the introvert/extrovert split, between simple and complicated people. There are people at one extreme who are dull, easily pleased, boring, cheap, clear, concise and readable. There are people at the other who are bright, dissatisfied, exciting, expensive, unclear, waffling and unpredictable. And there is an entire spectrum in between. And, much like introverts and extroverts can view “party girl/guy” or “the quiet type” as mildly insulting or somewhat complimentary, simple people and complicated people view “simple” or “complicated” as either a good thing or a bad thing.

Therefore, a complicated person is likely to view “I am simple” as self-depreciation and “you are simple” as insulting. Likewise, a simple person is likely to view “I am complicated” as an excuse for poor behaviour and “you are complicated” as insulting.

But neither is always the case.

When someone considers themselves “a simple man/woman”, often they mean it in the good sense. As in, their speech is direct and to the point, their needs are few and easily met, their hobbies are uncomplicated, they discriminate their entertainment carefully, etc. Just because you are simple in some ways or overall doesn’t mean you are simple in every way. A simple person can be highly intelligent. They are just direct.

When someone considers themselves “a complicated woman/man”, often they mean it in the good sense. As in, they are outgoing and fun, they have a busy schedule, they enjoy a wide variety of hobbies, they are intellectual and gregarious, etc. Just because you are complicated in some ways or overall doesn’t mean you are complicated in every way. A complicated person can be highly agreeable. They are just busy.

When you think about it, you’ll find that you lean one way or the other and most people you know could be called simple or complicated, whilst some are only slightly one way and some are dead-centre. What are you, simple or complicated? What is your opinion on simplicity or complexity in people? How do you get along with your polar opposites?

People come in all forms. Some simple people are dumb and some complicated people are annoying. But just because those words can carry that meaning doesn’t mean that is the only meaning they convey.

After all, when someone asks “What do you want for dinner?” and someone else answers “Steak and chips are fine. I’m a simple guy.” he probably doesn’t mean “I’m an idiot.”

TTFN and Happy Hunting.