After years of women complaining that men don’t communicate their intentions, a section suggested that women refuse to listen. In recent years, women have repeated these words to each other, “When men speak, listen.” The goal is to listen carefully to what the man says without trying to twist the words to accommodate your wishes. As a student who has graduated severally with distinctions from the school of character development, I listened keenly when Brian spoke.
He didn’t know that I listened even when he said things that I didn’t like. I would file that in my mind to determine whether it was a deal breaker. For seven months, he had yet to do something alarming. I met Charlie while on vacation in a little town in the country. It was supposed to be casual for the time I was on vacation. But we developed a deep friendship.
We were still talking weeks after the vacation because we appeared to have developed a strong bond and friendship. He was still in the little town, and I had returned to the city, but the communication was consistent.
“I know that a long-distance relationship is difficult but I haven’t met anyone like you. I wouldn’t say I’m a sapiosexual but I love your brain. I love how you’re curious about things, your spirit of adventure and even bigger heart. I could stare into your beautiful eyes for eternity and I want you to be my girlfriend,” was how Charlie took our relationship to the next level.
Again, as a student who wanted to give her relationship the best chances of working out, we had open communication about our boundaries and deal breakers and had conversations around extensive conversations about money, children and marriage. He wanted all of them but wasn’t ready for any.
We shuttled between the two towns over the months, and it seemed to work. In those months, he did everything that reassured me that he was serious about me. He had a ritual when he had an important deal coming up. Charlie would attend morning mass before going for breakfast. It was so sacred to him, so his inviting me into his ‘sacred’ space was a big deal.
Like responsible adults engaging in physical intimacy, we talked about what would happen if I accidentally got pregnant. In the initial stages of the relationship, we both agreed that we were not ready for children, but months later, Charlie started hinting at wanting kids. I thought he was joking, but he brought it up severally.
We still lived in different towns, so we took turns visiting each other. It was his turn to visit. I had gotten a promotion at work, so I could afford to move to a modern apartment. It was a lovely neighbourhood, too, and he couldn’t hide his thoughts.
“Imagine our children growing up here,” he said to me.
“It’s family-friendly,” I agreed.
“They would enjoy it and I would come to visit you guys after every two weeks,” said Charlie.
“Visit? Why not relocate? That would give you more time with the children,” I told him.
“I doubt I can get a transfer at the moment,” Charlie responded.
“We’re a long way from getting children though so by then you could ask for a transfer or look for another job,” I suggested.
“Babe, I’m actually ready for a baby with you,” Charlie said.
“But besides work being hectic at the moment, I don’t think we’re financially ready for a wedding.”
“You worry too much about many things, we can think of a wedding later. We can start with the child and then work out the rest,” Charlie said.
That conversation lay heavy in my heart. I replayed Charlie’s words for a while because something about those words bothered me. After analyzing his comments, I realized that he had already taken up the role of the part-time parent. Never mind my work schedule, he had decided I could parent alone for two weeks, and then he would pop by to check on us. While I was aware of couples that had no option, Charlie hadn’t even thought of switching jobs or finding a way to be close. He had decided I would be a part-time single mother even before trying to conceive.
Additionally, he wasn’t keen on marriage before the children. That conversation revealed who he was and his intentions about us, and I broke up with him shortly after. Perhaps there’s some truth in the statement, “When men speak listen and believe them.”
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