The Cactus

I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed. I’m confused.

I’m not always there for Sunshine when she needs me. I try my best, but I’m far from perfect. What’s worse is that we’re in a long-distance relationship, so it’s even more important that I’m there for her when she needs me. The problem this weekend was that I thought I was, but I wasn’t.

She was having a day where she just wanted me to reassure her that everything was okay between us (no need to go into the details as to why). I told her in a way that was short and sweet and to the point. I just said,

“We’re fine. I love you. XOX.”

To me, the answer served its purpose and I didn’t really feel it needed much more than that. She wanted a bit more, though.  Not excessively, though…she simply asked me to provide some more reassurance and do so in a gentle and loving way.

I didn’t know what else she wanted.

I asked her to tell me what she wanted to say because I immediately felt backed into a corner…like what I had originally said wasn’t good enough or that she didn’t want to take me at my word.  I felt like I was being asked to be somebody I wasn’t. I got defensive.

I turned into a relationship cactus.

She tried telling me, but I just couldn’t get it. I felt as though she had this ideal set up for me…that because I’m such a great boyfriend most of the time that I had these expectations to live up to ALL of the time.

I’m just not built that way, though. I am who I am.

Here it is two days later and I still don’t know what I was supposed to say that would have made her feel better. Maybe it’s because I’m still being defensive and I refuse to open my mind to the fact that a few extra words would have made all the difference in the world.

She’s tried explaining it. I just don’t get it. To me, I gave her what she wanted and when she wanted more…I just started shutting down because what I gave her apparently wasn’t good enough.

It’s not her fault. It’s totally mine.

But I’m still confused.


14 thoughts on “The Cactus

  1. I should introduce you to my hubs. He doesn’t get it either and is still confused. I think it’s a guy thing. You all just don’t get it, even when we try to explain, and then you get all defensive and angry cause you feel like we’re chastising or accusing. Ugh. You guys get us so frustrated. At least it’s a 2 way street.

    Don’t try to figure it out, just let it go til next time and remember step it up. 🙂

  2. At least you admit you know what happened. That should make it better. I know a lot of guys who would have just written her off as nuts.

  3. Yeah this sounds familiar.

    I know with me, personally, sometimes I feel like I need a little bit more but I can’t say what that is. And Rascal reacts the same way as you did.

    Somewhere in there, I usually realize that I have to give myself the reassurance. I have to find my own faith.

    From the looks of Sunshine’s blog post this morning, I’d say she had the same realization.


  4. Been there. Done that. So, the question becomes “Is it us guys who are wrong because we don’t automatically understand what the ladies need, or are the ladies wrong to expect that from us?”

    I suspect that the answer is “Both — and neither.” How’s that for a conclusive answer?

    While the cactus response is not the best way to handle this type of situation, it is natural. We need to tell ourselves that we’re not really under attack in this situation (it does feel that way though) and just “be there” for them. Don’t try to fix the problem. Just ride through it with them.

    Who am I — Dr. Phil? Anyway that’s my thoughts on it.

  5. Damn men. 😉

    Aw CaNook, your answer was great – if you were dating another man. As you’re not, I can see where that crappy answer would not have made ME feel all warm and snuggly too. Or comforted.

    It may have felt like a brush off for Sunshine – I can see why. And while that’s only a theory, it’s also my best guess.

    What could you have said that would have made her feel better, more secure? You could have talked to her, TRULY talked to her and ask what her feelings were, and do some serious reassuring – not a quick, two word sentence.

    I guess that’s my two cents. 🙂 I wish you better luck next time CaNook.

  6. I am new around here (first time reading AND commenting!) but I have to respectfully disagree with QTMama. (I found your site through her, btw.)

    I didn’t think it was a crappy answer at all. That said, I have done the same thing as your girlfriend and sometimes you’re feeling so raw and vulnerable, NO answer makes it better.

    Probably hard to wrap your brain around that, right?

    I loved that you spent time thinking about this! And I wish to god that the men I’ve done this to spent even a second doing the same. (I’m pretty sure they haven’t but that’s another story.)

    1. Robin makes an excellent point here CaNook. You did in fact, take some time to think about this – that’s a GREAT THING!! 🙂

      Uh. HEY. How come Robin doesn’t comment on my site? 😉

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