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Importance Of Reacting To Your Partner

I used to spend a lot of time in office waiting rooms. Before iGadgets, I read magazines while I waited. Usually something I wouldn’t be caught reading anywhere else, like Cosmo or Marie Claire. Mostly, I read them to see how far out of touch I am with the feminine mystique. Can I just ask, when did price tags on designer heels start topping ten grand? And why on Earth is anyone comfortable spending that much on shoes made from the same material as a $60 pair at Shoe Warehouse?!

Photo by Konrad Bok

Yes, I am justifying my occasional peek into women’s magazines to you like you give a damn. What?

Years ago, before I met M, I found one of those magazines opened to an article on the importance of reaction. Dead set on ignoring advice from some cheesy “how to be a woman” rag (I’ll be a woman however I please, thank you), I scoffed at the title and giggled through the introduction. I groaned over the first paragraph, and rolled my eyes at the second.

Then I read about how the author almost lost her husband because she stopped reacting.

How does that even happen? How do people existing in the same place avoid reacting to each other? And why would they let it go long enough that it jeopardizes their relationship?

Then it almost happened to us. Our relationship was in danger because I started reacting how I thought I should, and not how I really felt.

I don’t really know why it happened. The only possible explanation I have is that no one really tells you even healthy, happy relationships takes work. Growing up, I’d ask the adults around me how you know you found “the one”, and they’d say things like, “It just works.” or “It’s easy with your soul mate.”

They lied. It’s not easy, and it doesn’t “just work.” I’ve never been involved with someone and had the relationship just work. It takes work. Part of that work is your reaction. When you stop reacting – even if it’s because you’re pretty sure they know how you feel – things stop working.

Let’s say you’re out with friends, and some sexy something or other walks by. How do you react?

Probably, your head follows whatever part of them you’re most attracted to. You make a comment to your friends. You fantasize about what their voice sounds like, what it would be like to kiss them, what they’d say if you asked them out. Maybe you send them an anonymous drink.

Do you react to your partner like that? When was the last time? Have you ever? (If the answer to that is no, then one really has to wonder why you got involved in the first place.)

But your partner (regardless of gender, despite popular belief) wants more than a reaction to their appearance or physical attentions. Matter of fact, I’d say in most cases, those things are secondary. Your mental and emotional connection is far more important. A relationship without connection is pointless. Connection takes conversation. Conversation requires at least two people.

Yeah, she’s going to make the decision herself. And it might not be what you suggested. Participate in the thought process, anyway. You might think of something she didn’t. Regardless, she’ll thank you for being there for her.

Sure, you’re busy and you’ve seen him naked a hundred times. The fact that he’s walking around naked suggests that he knows what he does to you. But why not stop for a second and really see him? Compliment him. Tell him (or show him!) how looking at his body makes you feel.

But darlin, if you’re not reacting, you’re doomed – DOOMED! – unless you get up off your ass, and do something about it.

When I woke to my man staring into the darkness, and he told me he felt alone because my reactions to him were automatic and disingenuous, I panicked. But then I thought about that article, and remembered how the author saved her marriage. She stopped letting everything else run her life, stopped assuming her husband knew how she felt, and just started to react.

It’s not a cure all. Some people, for sure, have deeper issues. But changing the way I react to M in all things saved us. Maybe even brought us a little closer. And it only takes a second to react.

 

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