LIVING WITH WOMEN
 

MALE OPTIONS


Choices for a man's actions in marriage are limited to the extent of his personal repressions. The more repressed one is, the fewer options he has. He will, to the degree of his repressions, mainly be limited to reactive patterns, probably first learned with his mother and destined to be repeated with other females, unless or until he succeeds in un-repressing awareness of early experience and re-learning more appropriate ways of living in present circumstances. 

However, with increased personal honesty, overall options for action also expand. When so, chosen ways of responding based on reasoning at the time become open. Five major choices include these:


-- Submit. When differences of opinion occur, "give in" to a woman. Try to please her first. Speak/act in accord with her desires. Try to comply with her wishes whenever possible. For example, say, even non-verbally: "Yes, dear; whatever you say." Or, act as though "Your slightest wish is my greatest command."


-- Co-operate. Treating your relationship as a union of two with equal rights, neither one or the other partner being over or under. When you come to places of difference (as you inevitably will), try to compromise whenever you find yourself at odds with each other.


-- Resist. Rebel against giving in. Stand up to a woman; rather than trying to please, be, in effect, displeasing. For instance, do the opposite of what she wants. Practice active or passive resistance to each of a woman's revealed desires. Even if you eventually give in, resist as long as possible.


-- Dominate. Exert your will in overt efforts to suppress her, to place and keep yourself and your desires over her--that is, the proverbial "little woman in her place." This is the opposite of #1, submitting. Instead of giving in to her, lord it over her. Be active in aggressive efforts to put her down and yourself up in the relationship. Assert your rights, as you understand them, e.g., in sexual permissions.


-- Try to change her. Instead of accepting who she reveals herself as being, engage in an overall process of trying to change her into forms more desirable to you. For example, try to be reasonable with her about other ways of functioning. Try to explain and convince her that she needs to change "for her own good," if not to please you. Argue with her, trying to prove your points related to changing her behavior or ways of relating to you. (This seems to be the most common female path.)


-- Leave. In effect, "run away from home," emotionally if not physically. Create spiritual space between you and a woman. Instead of "letting her get close to you," keep her at arm's length--emotionally speaking. Cope with "heel dust,"--that is, create a protective smoke screen as you "run away" from intimacy. At more difficult junctures, leave the scene, either temporarily or permanently.


-- Love. This last major mode of relating is obviously the most difficult of all, and only becomes an option as a man's degrees of self-repression are increased.


APPLICATIONS


There are, in all male/female relationships I have known, times and places for each of these options--that is, circumstances and situations where one or the other is more appropriate, makes more sense, and is called for in personal survival as well as in an effective, positive, long term relationship.

Only the last, love, is potentially relevant all the time; but, as noted, such a choice is only possible to the degree of a man's personal maturity, and at times when he can avoid regressing to older learned patterns of relating.

Although, when repression is greater, a man's moves are limited to reactive patterns of action--usually being one of the first four outlined above, no man can, I conclude, live well with a woman when he is, in effect, a Johnny One Note in his basic mode of reacting. Success over time will likely require a shifting use of one or another choice as circumstances and situations--including a woman's nature, change.

There are, of course, complementary types of male-female relationships based on unions of opposite personality patterns and consequently learned modes of behavior. For example, often a consistently dominant male will be attracted to--and often marry, a mostly submissive female who gives in to his desires. Or, an overtly aggressive female may be attracted to a compliant male who, in effect, complements her own personality pattern.

In these all-too-familiar unions of opposites which create an illusion of personal wholeness so long as each mate remains within their older pattern, there is often a temporary feeling of happiness so long as neither one changes or acts out of pattern. However, since the nature of humanity commonly involves degrees of personal change in the course of time, the euphoria of such initially blissful unions is predictably short lived, indeed, often disastrous in time as one or the other partner becomes increasingly honest.

Next, co-operating through negotiated compromises seems to be the second most useful mode of coping when differences arise. Such compromises-with-integrity do, however, require more consciousness and rationality than is often possible at particular times of stress.

When so, choice #3 may be more appropriate, namely, passively resisting overt submission, rather than quickly or routinely giving in, especially when one cannot do so without self-negation. Even when temporary compliance seems more immediately feasible (e.g., until a woman calms down), continued silent resistance to extended submission may turn out to be functional.

Because all circumstances and encounters between a man and woman are unique, I obviously don't know and therefore can't say which mode is best for any particular situation. When sense prevails (as is only possible to a man's degree of un-repression), each choice may be the best for one time or another. However, at least for myself, I have found that prioritizing in my value system outside of conflict times makes most sense. In general, which choice is apt to be more effective most of the time? And which option is generally to be avoided apart from disastrous circumstances?

My conclusions so far prioritize the above noted options in the order I have listed them, with the exception that the last, namely, love, is most universally applicable whenever I can muster the faith to exercise this choice.

Most commonly, I find that a man's best choice--when he wants to live well with a women, is generally #1, that is, to submit to her desires, try to please her whenever possible without sacrifice of personal integrity. Of course giving in at cost of one's own integrity is never worth the price, and is predictably destructive in the long run. But otherwise, most of the time, in ordinary events of everyday life, "trying to please" a woman seems to offer greater odds of long term success than any other option I have found.

Next, there are pragmatic times when overt domination is the best of all immediate choices, at least until circumstances are less emotionally charged. For example, when a woman gets completely out of self-control, becoming physically or emotionally destructive to a mate or herself, physical constraint may be reasonably called for.

Or, when a woman becomes totally irrational in making obviously destructive decisions which effect both partners (e.g., unaffordable spending, excessive drinking, or making unrealistic demands for behavior changes), a man may wisely "put his foot down" in some feasible way of taking charge of an unacceptable situation.

Next, in my value system or priorities, trying to change a woman, at least some aspect of seemingly blind but unacceptable behavior, may be feasible in the long run, at least when I cannot find the nerve to love her as she is, and before opting to leave a relationship, emotionally if not physically.

However, in other than relatively mundane types of behavior, this option turns out to be extremely limited, given the imbalance in inherent gender powers. Real changes, even with the most diligent efforts by another person--especially by a man to a woman, are, in my experience, exceptionally rare.  Mostly I have found all such male efforts to be wasted time in the long run. Even sincere efforts to "help" another make obviously needed changes are more apt to backfire than to work for long.


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