Waitóarenít you in an adult relationship and married? You have the right to expect that you donít have to report in to anybody. It really makes no sense youíre being asked to call and report on where and when youíre going to be home. And, to really make matters worse, you face major drama if you donít.
I hear this complaint from lots of men in relationships with whom I work. On the other side, their wives will say their husbands are still functioning as if they were single. The message comes across as if they are not cared about.
So, the very same behavior clearly has two totally different meanings to each of you. Another situation where two genders view the world differently.
Upbringing Plays A Role
What I have also observed is that for many couples, this concern about the male not calling in may take on an even deeper meaning. For men who have been raised in families where they felt very controlled by their mothers, a request from their mate to report their whereabouts is going to trigger a negative response. And if the woman has come from an upbringing where she didnít feel secure, the need to know where her partner is will be essential. (By the way, people with these types of backgrounds often end up together and have to work this issue out.)
In order to resolve this, itís important to openly and calmly discuss how each of you feels and why the need exists. Realize that, in fact, the two of you are in a present day relationship and can come up with an arrangement that will satisfy each of you with the acknowledgment that your partner is not the parent who left you with emotional scars.
The Rules Change
I think itís also important to say that once you are in a committed relationship, the rules change a bit. You are no longer functioning totally as an individual; you are part of a couple and part of a team. With that in mind, an aspect of being a couple is being accountable for one another. It doesnít mean reporting in to each other, but it is a gesture of being respectful.
Here are some other behaviors that fall into the same category:
1. Asking if your partner minds if you attend a certain activity.
2. Being aware that you do not spend an inordinate amount of time in outside activities that donít involve your mate.
3. Having some arrangement for making social plans for the two of you as a couple with others.
The specifics of how you play these out are less important than the process of being aware of your partnerís feelings in the matter. When you are sensitive to one anotherís needs, you are making a strong statement about your relationship and setting up a good course for its future.
Karen Sherman, Ph.D., (www.drkarensherman.com) is a practicing psychologist in relationships and lifestyle issues for over 20 years. She offers teleseminars and is co-author of Marriage Magic! Find It! Make It Last.