Tarzan and Jane, Mars and Venus, how many ways have men and women been described? I know, from my years of work with men and women, there’s a critical difference between the sexes when it comes to relationships.
Tarzan is a tough man, a wild man, untamed and untameable. He finds Jane, saves Jane, claims Jane, provides for Jane and all is as it should be in his mind. Jane may nag about all the time he spends away from her in the pursuit of a table sized lion to feed her but she surely understands it’s just the way things are. She wouldn’t want them all to starve of that he is certain so he lets her nag and shrugs it off – she’s a woman and women do that.
Tarzan may find the way Jane bitches about all the time he spends eating fermented fruit and getting drunk in the forest with his monkey mates a bit annoying but he tolerates it. He knows a lion hunting man is entitled to his rest and relaxation even if Jane doesn’t.
Tarzan knows Jane is a hormonal, irrational, mysterious creature named “woman” and there is no point trying to understand her no matter how much you love her. Everyone KNOWS women don’t even understand themselves half the time. Why else would they say yes when they mean no, no when they mean yes, and ask questions they don’t want honest answers to?
Jane, meanwhile, has a full belly and an empty heart. Every time she tries to make a deep and meaningful connection to Tarzan he is too tired, too busy, too distant and her heart gets lonelier and lonelier. The harder she tries to make that connection the more distant he becomes in an effort to protect himself from her nagging.
One day Jane looks at Tarzan and sees a monkey. Where did her strong, handsome, attentive lover go? Never mind, she thinks, he’s gone and maybe he never existed. Jane KNOWS she can never love a monkey no matter how well he apes being her beloved Tarzan so she leaves.
Tarzan looks in the mirror. He’s still strong, still handsome, still able to kill lions bare handed. He goes looking for Jane. He found her, saved her, claimed her once he will just have to do it again that’s all. It’s a bloody nuisance but what can you do? That’s women for you.
He finds Jane. He beats his chest and lets out his war cry – the one that used to bring her to her knees. He tries to sweep her up in his arms and carry her off but something is wrong. Jane rolls her eyes and puts her hands over her ears. She scratches and kicks and bites and forces him to put her down. He looks into her eyes – something is different. Why is she looking at him as if he is just a monkey? He knows he is not a monkey. He is certain he can convince her, if she gives him a chance, that he has not changed – he is still Tarzan.
He does not understand that, when a man turns into a monkey in a woman’s eyes, there is no going back!
Men are Mars – they are warriors and fighters. It’s their job. Have penis – must win! No retreat and no surrender! The opponent in love has been beaten. The war is won. He came, he saw, he conquered. He won her heart, put his own at risk, accepted this special ball and chain by choice. She ain’t heavy, she’s my lover. This lovely love opponent may challenge Mars now and then but he copes. Her pot-shots, her arrows, her bullets don’t pierce his armour. He captured her, he beat her, he made peace with her and he won.
Venus looks at Mars and says to herself “where is the heart I was promised? Where is the love I surrendered to?” She sets out to claim what he swore to give her. He pulls out his weapons and fights the love battle with the sword of sarcasm, the rapier of his wit, the fists of fury, the mace of mockery, the blunt edge of blame, the sharp-edged dagger of disrespect. He smiles confidently at his unarmed, or poorly armed, opponent. He ducks and dodges her feeble attempts to get close enough to harm him. He parrys and thrusts, she has HIM and she’s not getting any more than that! He will not be beaten. He is Mars and Mars must win.
One day Venus looks at Mars and decides his heart is not worth having. His love is not what he promised it would be. She takes out her tiny dagger, a dagger he never knew she had, a dagger she has never used. She severs the tie binding her heart to his. She cuts it off at the point where it enters her chest. She applies a solid steel bandaid to the wound and walks away.
(Sometimes Venus doesn’t even need to draw her dagger. Sometimes Mars has had a tourniquet around the cord restricting the flow of blood from his heart to hers for so long, and so well, that her end of the cord has simply shrivelled up and died. It falls off her chest and there is no wound. When the cord goes slack the tourniquet falls off and Mars finds, to his dismay, he can’t stop the bleeding.)
Mars goes into shock. Where did that dagger come from? What is happening with the cord? As his life blood begins to pour out of the cord attached to his heart he realises he has just been mortally wounded in a most unexpected way. He thought Venus would have to get really close to him to be able to kill him hence his determined campaign to keep her at a reasonable distance. He had no idea he could be mortally wounded if a tiny sharp dagger sliced though the cord he thought was tying her to him. Now he tries to reattach the cord to Venus but her wound has healed or else the steel bandaid prevents him. He cannot take the bandaid off no matter what he does.
He fights. He fights like a man who is fighting for his life. He fights tooth and nail but he cannot reattach the cord to her heart. Sometimes Mars is able to attach other ties to Venus – ties of pity, ties of paternity, ties of fear. Ties that will keep her close enough for him to keep trying to reattach the hearts tie. He doesn’t understand that the wound in her heart has healed or is healing and she will never accept that tie again.
Mars does not understand that he never did “Win” Venus – she never drew her real weapon to fight him. She may have put up a fight but if he got her it was because she surrendered and never drew her weapon. Venus only has one life-threatening weapon and she never uses that on a man she loves. She will only ever draw that weapon when she is ready to cut herself free from a man and she will only cut herself free if she does not want her heart to be attached to his any more.
Generally speaking, women do not leave a relationship until they no longer care about it, when they leave they do not come back. A man may be able to coerce, bully, frighten or blackmail a woman into coming back but he is only putting off the evil moment when she finds a way to leave for good. Women do not leave until their love is dead.
Men, on the other hand, do not believe the problem is serious until their woman leaves.
Every day I hear men crying – she left me and she won’t even try to save the relationship now! She is being completely unreasonable. I have told her I will do anything she asks but she is just not listening. For years she’s been at me to go to counselling and now I am willing to do it she doesn’t want to go.
That’s because she no longer loves him. She doesn’t want him any more. Her love is dead as a door nail and nothing he does can revive it. He thinks all he has to do is get her to agree to come back and he will be able to fix the relationship. He knows he has put no serious effort into saving the relationship so he thinks he is entitled to one last chance to sort it out. Now he knows it is serious he wants a chance to win her back because he is certain she will change her mind once she sees what he is capable of.
He doesn’t understand it’s too late – she doesn’t care any more. She stayed until her love for him took its last breath and died 100% – no hope of resurrection. She stayed until her love for the man he could be if he tried died as well. When she realises she no longer even wants him to do anything any more, she no longer cares if he changes or not, she wouldn’t want him even if he suddenly became perfect, that is when she leaves.
Women are too afraid of losing love to put it in danger. They won’t walk away from love if it has even the faintest trace of life left in it. They will only walk away when it is dead and they don’t even care that it’s dead.
As long as his woman is by his side a man thinks the problems they are having are not that serious. He has her therefore he’s a winner. Only when she walks out the door does he see himself as a loser and believe there is a problem he needs to work at solving.
When women walk out the men are angry and frustrated because they are given no chance to fix things. The women are angry and frustrated because oh great – NOW he wants to work on the problems – NOW he is listening to me. Why couldn’t he have done it when his efforts would have mattered? Why did he have to wait until it was too late?
Now you know the secret. Men say “If it isn’t broken don’t try to fix it!” Women say “If this breaks we won’t be able to fix it.”
So she says “This is going to break. We have to try and fix it.” He says “It looks just fine to me and ignores her.”
She works hard to prevent it from breaking until, finally, she doesn’t care any more. She throws it to the ground and shatters it into a zillion pieces. He sees the pieces and says “It’s broken. We have to try and fix it.” She says “It looks just fine to me and ignores him.”