Wednesday, November 02, 2005

He Thought, She Thought

John asks Paula to go to dinner and they have a great time. In fact, they get on so well they decide to go steady. A year later they're driving home from the movies and Paula asks John what he would like to do to celebrate their first anniversary. John says, "We could order in some pizza and then watch the golf on TV!" Paula becomes silent. John suspects there's a problem and says, "Well, if you don't want pizza we can order Chinese." Paula replies, "Fine!" and remains quiet.

John is thinking, "A year already! So it was January when we started going out and that's when I bought this car so it's due for its 12 months' service. That mechanic said he'd fix that flickering oil light on the dashboard...and that gearbox still isn't working properly!"

Meanwhile, Paula is thinking, "He doesn't think much of our relationship to want to watch TV and eat pizza on our anniversary...the next thing he'll want his friends over as well. I'd like a candelit dinner, some dancing and talk about our future. This relationship obviously isn't as important to him as it is to me. Maybe he's been feeling confined by it. I want a stronger commitment from him but he's feeling threatened - come to think of it, sometimes I wish I had a little more space myself so that I could spend more time with my friends. In fact, I need more time to think about where this relationship is heading. I mean, where are we going? Are we just going to keep dating or are we going to get married? Have kids? Or what? Am I ready for this level of commitment? Do I really want to be with him for the rest of my life?"

John notices the oil light flickering again, frowns and thinks, "Those idiots at the garage promised they'd fixed that light and now the car's almost out of warranty!"

Paula is watching him and starts on another train of thought. "He's frowning...he's not happy...I bet he thinks I'm too fat and I should improve the way I dress. I know I should wear less make-up and exercise more. He always talks about how fit my friend Carrie is and that I should go to the gym with her. I've talked to my girlfriends about this they think that John should love me the way I am and not try and change me...maybe they're right!"

John's thoughts, however are miles away. "I'm gonna tell those mechanics where to get off! I'll tell them to go and get..."

Paula, still looking at John's face, thinks, "He's really upset now...I can see it on his face and I can feel his tension. Maybe, I'm reading him wrong...maybe he wants more of a commitment from me and he's sensed that I'm feeling a little unsure about how I feel. Yes, that's it! That's why he's not talking to me...he doesn't want to open up to me about his feelings in case I reject him. I an see the hurt in his eyes."

John is thinking, "They'd better get it right this time! I told them I was having poblems and they blamed the manufacturer. They'd better not try and tell me the problem isn't covered under warranty or they'll have a fight on their hands...I paid a fortune for this car so they can just..."

"John?" says Paula
"What?" snaps John, annoyed at having his thoughts disturbed.
"Please don't torture yourself like this...maybe I'm wrong to be thinking this way...Oh, I feel so bad...Maybe I just need some time...I mean life wasn't meant to be easy..."
"That's for sure!" John grunts.
"You probably think I'm being foolish, don't you?"
"No" says John, confused.
"It's just that...oh, I don't know any more...I'm confused...I need some time to think about this," she says.
John thinks, "What the hell is she talking about? I'll just say 'OK' and she'll be over it tomorrow. It must be that time of the month."

"Thank you John...you don't know how much this means to me," she says. Looking into his eyes she realises he is a very special person and she will need to think very hard about this relationship.

She tosses and turns all night and the next morning calls her friend Carrie to discuss it. They decide to meet for lunch and talk about John and the problems. Meanwhile, John went home, opened a beer and turned on the TV. He thinks Paula has some sort of problem, probably PMT.

Paula and Carrie meet the next day and talk well into the night. A few days later, John is talking to Carrie's boyfriend Mark who says, "So you and Paula are having problems, eh?" John is now completely confused. "I don't know what she's talking about!" laughs John "...but take a look at this oil light and tell me what you think..."

***

I don't believe this is the way that everyone in a relationship thinks, but isn't it interesting how sometimes we can be so far apart in our thought processes with one another?

UPDATE: I need to add this due to the fact that it never occurred to me that you may think that I wrote this myself. And why wouldn't you? Everything else on here has been written by me unless I've stated otherwise. We'll have to put this down to a "doh!" moment on my part. My apologies, I can't take any credit for this.

The above scenario between John and Paula is an extract from a book called "Why Men Don't Listen and Women Can't Read Maps" - Alan and Barbara Pease. I read this book several years ago...found it enlightening in some respects, fascinating in others. At times I would think "OMG, that is SO true!"...other times I'd be thinking "You've GOT to be kidding me??" lol Anyway, in my humble opinion, it's worth the read.
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