Where is the love? Not here (and hasn’t been since 2004…)

Tonight, for some reason, I decided I wanted to blog about love.

I can’t really say exactly why I am feeling compelled to write this right now. But whenever I think about writing something, I write it. It doesn’t matter what the subject, or what I think about it, or whether anyone else will get it. So why should writing about love be any different.

I am sitting on my couch late tonight, trying to remember the last time a man told me he loved me. And believe me, it’s requiring me to go way back as the saying goes…back into time. In fact I have to travel back to 2004 to recall the last time a man said those three words to me. It was a man I thought I would marry at the time. I wanted to marry him, I really did. There is no relief in the world like the relief a single woman feels when she’s finally met “the one” and thinks she is at long last going to be taken “off the market”. I wouldn’t say that being single is a horrible thing, but it grows tedious over time. And one thing that life has taught me is that people aren’t meant to be alone. They really aren’t. More often than not even when they say they are going to be along, they don’t actually do it. They usually find someone (or several someones) to keep them company at least sometimes. But as fate would have it, I was not meant to marry this man. I can’t say that I’m sorry that we didn’t marry; ultimately I think it was best that we part company. He wasn’t ready to be a husband, and definitely not my husband. What I didn’t realize was the last time he told me he loved me was going to be the last time, for a long time, that any man would say that to me.

Now just because I haven’t heard the words doesn’t meant I haven’t felt at times that there were men in my life who loved me. Because there have been brief moments when I thought someone felt that way about me. I was wrong in those cases. So that leaves me here tonight, six years without hearing those three words from a man. And I must admit right now, it hurts. I’m not really sure why it’s bothering me right now. Maybe I’m feeling particularly lonely on this night, or some wave of nostalgia has taken over me. I guess watching “Soulfrodisiac” on VH1Soul isn’t helping, with all this slow, sexy, romantic love songs playing. But right now I am closing my eyes tight, and remembering how it felt to hear those words. I can hear them in my ear, soft and low as I drift off to sleep. I can hear them over the phone line as we reluctantly end our hours-long conversation. I watch his lips mouthing the words to me from across a crowded room. I look down at my cell phone and receive his text message that only says “I luv u.” I remember it with great fondness, especially because I knew he meant it. He really did love me, and every time he said it it was the absolute truth.

But that was six years ago. Six long years ago. And since then I have not heard a man say those words to me. I can’t help but wonder if it is because I have become unloveable somehow. I can’t help but wonder how six years of my life went by, and not one single man that I met was moved by me in any significant way. Maybe I am arrogant, maybe it’s kind of ridiculous for me to think that meeting me would be such an incredible experience that those words would fall from some man’s lips. But if I’m arrogant…well, truthfully, I’ll buy that. I’m pretty amazing if I do say so myself, and continue to be in spite of a lot of disasters that should have left me bitter, battered and afraid of living. But I’m not. At least I don’t think I am – but then I think of my six year drought without those words to water me, and I cast myself into a world of self doubt again.

Maybe love is rationed out in one’s lifetime. I must be honest; I’ve experienced a great deal of love in my life over the years, including the love I speak about now. And again, speaking honestly, I did not always treat it carefully. At times I threw it away with both hands, confident it would come back to me in greater abundance. And it usually did. I’ve excelled at walking away all my life, and I guess I always expected love to just follow me like a puppy in need of a good home. But what do I do now when I look back and love isn’t following me? So, as I enter my seventh loveless year, I try to figure out how I can continue across this dry season of my life. I do gain some comfort from the love I do have in my life from family, and the one or two close friends who I hope hold some kind of love for me within themselves. That love has warmth, but no heat, and heat is what I miss as winter makes its way to my doorstep again. The heat of that particular kind of love is what I want to warm me for a change, but since that isn’t entirely up to me, I may just have to continue to make do with what I have.

In the meantime, to each of you reading this, find someone to love. Not just warmly and fondly, but with great heat and passion. Set them aflame with your heart so that they know they are alive, so that they can add fire to you in return. It is so crucial in such a very very cold world.

–peace

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I am going to break this down so that anyone and everyone can understand. There is a lot of confusion out there about what roles men and women are supposed to play in relationships. “What does he want from me?” “What does she want from me?” The battle of the sexes wages on and on and on, with everyone making demands and no one quite able to figure out how to get what they want. But I have the answer to all this. It’s this simple.

A man’s role in a relationship is to overcompensate.

A woman’s role in a relationship is to over appreciate.

If a man can find a woman he loves who will over appreciate him, and a woman can find a man she loves who will overcompensate in dealing with her, they just might make it.

Men – Your job is to overcompensate where your woman is concerned. Every day, in every way. Overcompensate as much as you can, day in and day out, week after week after month after year. Never stop. Overcompensate for everything, even if you are doing everything adequately in the relationship. Why? Because by the time you meet your woman, she’s been through a lot of things – in life in general, and with men in particular. More than likely she’s had a pretty hard time – that’s just the nature of the world these days. She may be trying to raise kids on her own. She may have been a victim of some kind of abuse. She’s probably insecure about a lot of things. She’s probably had her heart ripped out of her chest while it was still beating by some callous uncaring man who didn’t know how good he had it with her. She’s got her hopes and dreams but oftentimes has no idea how she’ll accomplish any of them. She may have been abandoned by her family. The world is cold and cruel and unforgiving, especially for women. And women are always punished more harshly for the mistakes they make – so the woman that you love is probably hiding scars, bearing burdens, and struggling in ways she would never want you to see, because you wouldn’t want her if you did. Now granted, none of this is your fault, or your responsibility. But this isn’t about what is right or fair…this is about you being with your woman. So as her man, it is going to have to become one of your missions in life to be the balm that helps her heal herself. That will mean you will have to overcompensate.

Yes you will have to make her forget about all the jerks by doing right by her for yourself and for all of them. You will have to be generous for all the ones that were stingy, forgiving for all the ones who were harsh, and faithful for all the ones who cheated. Is it a huge burden? Hell yes. But nothing worth having is easy. So overcompensate. Do it. And what I can tell you is this – if you truly have a good woman, and she sees you doing this, eventually it won’t be as necessary for you to do it (though you will still have to at times). It won’t be about you doing it; it will be about your willingness to. The fact that you can do it, in time, will be enough. But as a man, that’s your job. You compensate, then you do extra.

Now for the ladies. Your man needs you to over appreciate him. I mean that seriously and literally. You need to appreciate him for the things he does that he should do and that, to some degree, you shouldn’t need to go out of your way to appreciate him for. Why? Because just like the world is hard and cold for you, its cold and hard for him too. He is catching hell out there – a kind of hell you know nothing about – a kind of hell you don’t even know exists because a man will never tell you about it. He is getting murdered out there, not just physically, but psychologically. He’s trying to work not just to survive, but to thrive. He wants to do well today and do even better tomorrow. But no one seems to care about his pain. According to way too many women, men have no pain, but that’s a lie. Often they’re getting past similar abuse issues from their pasts, broken hearts, misplaced trust, and the like. But men don’t expect you to directly right those wrongs like we do, which is why they don’t require overcompensation like women do. But what they do want is for you to receive with great sincerely, joy and gladness everything they bring to you. And I do mean everything. If a man loves you your smile is like water in the desert. Don’t let him die of thirst, or have him getting his water from some other well.  Men want to know you see all they’re doing, big, small and in between, and that you’re acknowledging them, their work, their sacrifices, their plans, the way in which they are trying to do their very best.

Will that mean you have to thank him for things that, to your mind, shouldn’t  require thanks? Occasionally. Will you have to praise every little task he performs from dawn to dusk, from peeing straight in the morning to taking the trash out at night? Well, no, I wouldn’t suggest that. What I will say is that from time to time, on a very regular basis, you need to let your man know that you see his efforts, and you acknowledge them in a special way. Sex is always good, but it can’t be the sex you usually give him. Make that the time you step your game up. If it’s not going to be sex (I suggested sex because its something most men would like and feel appreciated by!), make it something the man really wants. Let his boys come over to watch the game instead of banishing them to some sports bar. Cook up their favorite snacks and leave the house until the game is over. (Even if you like sports too, leave anyway. Sometimes guys just want to be guys without girls around and it has nothing to do with the extent of your sports knowledge.) But the point is over appreciation. That is what a woman does. You appreciate, then do extra.

Now not every woman knows how to over appreciate. And not every man can overcompensate. Some men just don’t want to put the work in to please their women like that. Some women think the fact that they’re present in a relationship with the guy should be appreciation enough. And that’s all well and fine, but trust me it will not be enough to keep them around successfully. It’s all about overcompensation and over appreciation – and that’s all I have to say about that!

PEACE!