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Beware! Men at work

Jacob Ninan

Jim and Nancy had been married for two years, and they felt that they were just getting to know each other well. They felt that it wasn't as easy to understand each other as they had expected, even though they really loved each other. Just look at what happened to them the other day, for example.

Nancy loved Jim so much that she always wanted to be with him, and she wanted him to be her best friend just like the ones she had in her school days, with whom she would share all her secrets. She expected that he would reciprocate by telling her all that happened at work, what his boss told him, what he told his friends, what he liked about the lunch she had packed for him, etc. She couldn't understand why he didn't seem to be too interested to tell her things that happened to him.

The other day he was sitting at the computer looking serious and somewhat worried. She asked him what had happened, and he said that he was trying to wipe out some virus, worm, Trojan or something (she couldn't understand the difference). When she understood that he was worried, she sat next to him and asked him what was happening. He said the computer was infected and he was trying to clean it up. She said she could understand how a virus or worm could infect something, but she couldn't understand how a Trojan could do that. She tried to make a joke of it and said that perhaps the Trojan was already infected! This time he didn't say anything. Nancy was worried about why he wasn't answering him, and asked him why he wouldn't reply. He was a little rough when he asked her to keep quiet till he finished his work. This really made her upset, and she got up and went off commenting about how he didn't love her as much as she loved him.

Later on when they talked about what happened Nancy said she couldn't understand why Jim wouldn't respond to her love. But Jim said it wasn't about love at all, but just that he thought she was being insensitive about interrupting him while he was seriously doing some work. But even with these explanations both of them couldn't really understand the other!

Several different factors were at play here which Jim and Nancy didn't know about. Nancy didn't know (Jim too, for that matter) that love needs to be expressed in the way the other person expected it - in other words, tuned to the other's frequency) - if we want it to be understood and appreciated. If we express love in the way we like, there is no guarantee that the other person would recognise it as love. Another point is that the 'best friend' phenomenon is a feminine thing; boys don't like to share all their secrets with anyone. So when Jim didn't respond to Nancy's best friend approach, it wasn't because of any lack of love but only his masculine nature. A third point is that men have a limitation that they can seriously handle only one subject at a time (while women seem to be able to handle several things at the same time). So when Jim was concentrating on the problem in the computer, he had no capacity to handle other things at the same time such as loving conversations, jokes, etc. In effect, Nancy was 'interfering' with his work, even though she had absolutely no intention to do so. From her point of view, if she was doing some work she would be happy if Jim came around and talked to her about it or anything else! She would have interpreted it as a mark of his love!

Now we can see how a little more understanding and acceptance of differences can help us a lot in our relationships.

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