Every woman has experienced the couple bubble, either from the inside, or the outside. You have either filled every inch of your life with a man (Finding a man. Catching a man. Keeping a man. Getting a man to propose. Getting married to a man. Finding ways to make a man do what you want. Figuring out how get a man to get you pregnant. Getting your man to go to marriage counseling…) Or, you’ve watched one of your women friends do it. Rule #6 – Always End Phone Calls First, is the perfect first step to living your life instead of spending it waiting, postponing, rearranging & renegotiating.
If you’ve read the chapter though, there are some phrases thrown around that rather confuse the issue – ‘the man is the adversary.'(p46) ‘If they’re not angry, they’re indifferent?'(p48) ‘Don’t let him think that you’re a couch potato even if you are.'(p49) – so, we’ll cover those too. But lets start by popping the couple bubble.
Imagine with me, this bubble …
You are head over heals for a dude that you’ve more or less stuck to the rules with. It’s been a couple of weeks, it’s six pm on a thursday and you’re talking to him on the phone. The conversation is soooo good!
Him: Oh, I just can’t wait to see you again. I want to take you everywhere with me this weekend.
You are supposed to call your mom with details for lunch this sunday at 6:15 and ooop! it’s just chimed 6:20pm. Ah, she’s cool. She’s always griping about your boyfriendless existence anyway. You’ll call her later.
You: *giggle* Unfortunately I can’t be in so many places at once! Saturday night will just have to do.
Ping! Text – your BFF says that she’s going to be a bit late meeting you at yoga, but she’d love to go for tea after class. RIGHT! Yoga. Shit. You’re not going to make that… you’ll call her later.
Him: ‘hello? Are you still there?’
Shit. What did he say?
You:‘Oh there you are! You cut out for a sec there…’ Nice save…
Him:‘Oh, I was just saying how amazing you looked in that dress on saturday and that I would like you to wear it to the concert I have tickets for next month… wanna go?’
You: EEEeeeee! Commitment, next month is a commitment! “Sure, I’d love to go to that concert, but to be fair to my other dresses, I’m going to have to wear a different one.”
He talks about work, you talk about work…Ping! ‘Um, hey, I hope you’re okay, yoga was soooo good tonight, let me know what happened?’
Him: Well, beautiful, I gotta go, I’m going to be late for the gym. See you Saturday!
And you know it only gets worse. Saturday night is a really hot date, and you end up staying at his place missing lunch with mom. Your BFF finally stopped texting you after you missed every yoga class for the rest of the month. You date for a few more months, and eventually you start to wonder if he’s going to ask you to be his girlfriend. Then, one day he says that he finally got up the nerve to ask the love of his life out on a date and she said yes, and do you think you could still be friends? And finally, you wake up to the reality that you feel like a shitty piece of shit and none of your friends want to talk to you, much less help you pick up the pieces. Your mom now favorites your brother because he showed up for lunch when you didn’t and she’s resorted to sending you public Facebook messages asking you to call ‘your mother’. You’re ready for a change. Enter Rule #6.
Believe it or not, there are benefits to not being available to him all the time. Actually, I don’t know any benefits of being available to him all the time… If you think of any I’d love to hear them in the comments! But for now… it’s time to set him free.
Set him free
Hanging up the phone before he does tells him that he is free. Not in a ‘go ahead and sleep with other women and give me warts’ kind of a way, but in a ‘I have my own thing going on and don’t rely on you to fill up my world’ kind of a way. And a man needs to hear this in a relationship. Why? Because the masculine spends most of his time focused on two things, purpose, which we’ve talked about before, and freedom. Freedom is the other side of the intense focus and drive of purpose. It is free will combined with responsibility. Essentially, it is the free will to chose, over and over again, what it is they do.
Now, in the example of the phone call, he calls you and asks how you are, you tell him, and he tells you how he is, he asks you on a date. You say yes, and you chat a little more. Then, you say that you have a few things to do before yoga and you have to go. Basically, what you have done is released him from the conversation. I know it is going to sound woo woo when I say this, but when a man hangs up on a woman, there is a part of him that still feels responsible for her. It all comes down to the masculine feminine polarity thing. The masculine is driven to fix and do. The feminine is all about being. When the feminine makes an assertion, she becomes her own masculine and releases his masculine from doing with her, to go and do something else.
Not only that, but he feels… a gap. This is the same gap you can make by pulling back a little when he’s kissing you. He wants to keep kissing you, so he will step forward. The technical term for the gap is polarity. It’s the electricity in between two things that are drawn to be together when you pull them apart. Like magnets. You also feel this gap when he is focussed on a book he is reading in the room with you. You want to go over to him and close that gap. (But you don’t, right?) Right. Because the masculine is responsible for pursuing (aka closing the gap). You make a gap, he closes it; law of nature.
If they’re not angry they’re indifferent
Um. No. If he doesn’t feel the gap, he’d be indifferent. But the gap doesn’t, and shouldn’t make him angry. It might ignite a little bit of competitiveness in him. It might make him a tad jealous. It might make him feel a little insecure. But anger? No. And seriously get the F out of there if he gets angry when you do your thing.
Your Insecurity is The Adversary
When Ellen & Sherrie say ‘early on in a relationship, the man is the adversary’, I have decided that they mean insecurity is the adversary. Men aren’t doing anything, really. No one can blame them for wanting to drink from the pool of femininity all the time. But, to create polarity, we must create a gap. We must say enough already! But the challenge is that when you make a gap, you feel it too. And, if you are the type of woman who typically chases men, the gap is a little uncomfortable because it makes you insecure. You will wonder if he likes you enough to close the gap.
You need to keep in mind that the sort of insecurity you get from not giving him everything you think he wants is much worse for the relationship than the insecurity you feel after you talk about your entire childhood for 2 hours and then during a lull in the convo, he says that he has to go. Nothing like the echoes of your own words after a click of a phone hanging up! Then again, you probably don’t like the feeling of yapping your face off to a new friend either? Or talking too much in class? or getting too personal with your clients at work? Giving everything away is not the same as opening your heart. Giving everything away like a trade, where you’re hoping to get love for yourself in return. Opening your heart is a gift that you offer him with no strings attached.
The bottom line with insecurity is that it is really better to know that he isn’t interested in closing the gap right away, so you can move on and not get all attached and hopeful.
Creating a bigger bubble
One of the first steps to dealing with the couple bubble is to create a bigger bubble, but before we get into that, we have to know what we’re dealing with here. Women are chatty. We like to talk and we need to talk. Remember Dr. Brizendine from Rule #5 and her book on The Female Brain? She says that there is actually a biological reason for behaviors like over-sharing, chattiness and gossiping. ‘Connecting through talking activates the pleasure centers in a girl’s brain. Sharing secrets that have romantic and sexual implications activates those centers even more. We’re not talking about a small amount of pleasure, this is huge. It’s a major dopamine and oxytocin rush, which is the biggest, fattest neurological reward you can get outside an orgasm.'(p37) AN ORGASM. And what better way to achieve this kind of rush than with the man we love! WRONG.
Think of your brain as an overflowing pot of boiling water. The things you think about are what makes the water boil. So you need to talk about them, and as much fun as it is to have him gazing softly at you through his beautiful eyes while you talk about everything that’s making your water boil…don’t. Bring the water to a simmer before you see him – share with your BFF. Ideally she’s the sort that listens to you and doesn’t make suggestions until you ask. Maybe she helps you sort out your thoughts into piles. Once you have piles in order, share some more with others – life’s chaos can go to your therapist, work problems can go to colleagues or a business buddy. Seek spiritual solace in a circle of your closes girlfriends. Talk to your brother about the shit you need to get done. Tell your mom about your accomplishments. And what does that leave for the boyfriend?
Well, a gently rolling pot of boiling water! Not because you don’t want to scare him off, or because you don’t want to appear needy, or because you want to seem calm, collected, light and airy (although those are interesting side effects.) You talk to people outside your relationship because that is how a healthy relationship between intimate parters looks. Talking to each other is important for connection, and it is great to talk deeply about things that matter to both of you, but it can’t dominate the relationship because too much talking kills the polarity.
Cultivating Self Awareness
I agree that a 10 minute limit should be set on phone calls, unless a phone date is planned, and even then you should end the conversation first. But it’s more about preferring a relationship based on face to face time to a text/phone/email relationship. It is also more about setting some boundaries for yourself, so that you don’t find thoughts of him taking over your whole life, than it is about looking busy, or appearing to be something that you’re not (a crazy socialite rather than a crazy couch potato. Crazy is still crazy.)
The whole point is to know what you’re doing and do it intentionally. Don’t accidentally spend 2 hours on the phone with him and miss talking to your mom and going to yoga with your BFF. Be aware of your choices, and make choices that are right for you. He’ll have no problem working around that if you let him.
Be More of Who You Are
This is a big question. Every human being is told what they should do and be all the time – every person we know has an opinion, and a lot of people can’t keep it to themselves. And, as if that isn’t enough, we are constantly bombarded with media’s idea of who we should be, and now you’ve got Me, Ellen & Sherrie on your back!
So here’s how it works. You are you. You’re somewhere between a reclusive couch potato who doesn’t leave her house for days and a socialite who’s phone goes off so often it that it would be quieter if it beeped when nothing was happening. And whatever that is, you don’t need to change it, or mask it, or convince him of anything else. What you do need to do is live. Look at your days, do you feel fulfilled by the end? Or do you stay up super late doing random things because you feel empty inside and are hoping to fill it before you have to wake up and face another repeat performance?
Schedule yourself, even if it seems silly – 7:30am take a shower for 15 minutes – then don’t check your phone for that time. As you get good at that, schedule more – make a beaded necklace from 7 – 7:30pm. And turn your phone off. You might decide that you don’t even like beading, and that’s fine. The point is, don’t stop with timing your phone calls, time everything if you have to! You need to live your life for you and be fulfilled by you, not because you want a relationship that sticks, but because you wan’t to wake up and feel good inside yourself (the relationship will come too)
The Moral of the Story
The moral of the story is that you need to live a life that you love before you are going to want to share it with someone else. At the beginning, you are going to have to protect yourself from your old self – the you who clings to men, and begs for attention and holds the relationship together by doing everything you think he’d like you to do – and you are going to want to set up some reminders (like alarm bells) that you’re heading into that zone, so that you can begin to have a life that is about more than just getting a man.
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