quote of the day
““Men marry women with the hope they will never change. Women marry men with the hope they will change. Invariably they are both disappointed.”
― Albert Einstein
In the current film “Le weekend“…A sixty something, English middle class couple go to Paris to celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary and bicker with each other, whilst reflecting on their relationship, against a backdrop of quintessential Parisian scenery.
In a rare escape from the ravages of chemotherapy, Michael and I went to see this film last week. I felt the film was entertaining for the glimpse of Paris that I so miss, but really needed a bit of humour and irony. How different it would have been if Woody Allen had been the director. but of course he did it so much better in Midnight in Paris.
However, as often happens, the film made me reflect on something else., namely relationships, and specifically the “success” or not, of my own long term relationship.
I put success in inverted commas, because I have no idea if our relationship is any more successful than anybody else’s. Other than the fact we are still together after around twenty five years…(I can’t actually remember when it started.) and maybe it is more a triumph of hope over experience, as we had both had failed relationships before. Especially me ,as I had two failed marriages under my belt and frankly had given up trying to find a life partner.
Or maybe it was that I didn’t want a “relationship” just a bit of “fun in the afternoons,” ( sorry children, but you are grown up now!) with a man who seemed “safe” because he was so far from my Mr Right that I would never fall for him! HA!
Recently when massaging his sore back, after giving him an injection, I laughingly said, “I didn’t sign up for this , I just wanted some fun” and he said “I wish you had told me that at the time!
A recent study from The British psychological society showed ( surprise, surprise, ) that women find a man and then try to mould him to what they see as their “perfect man”…. usually by changing the way they dress, style their hair etc. Apparently more that a third of women were “embarrassed and ashamed ” to be seen in public with their partner at he start of their relationship.
The most popular icons that women try to turn their men into are
1) David Beckham.
and 3) Dermot O’Leary
As Michael has very little hair at the moment, it would be difficult for me to attempt to persuade him to adopt the gelled up styles that these men sport…and designer stubble doesn’t look very good when it is grey!
But being no different than any other woman, there are of course some irritating traits and habits that have driven me mad and over the years and I have tried to change. His propensity for bright orange corduroy trousers, for example, which have mysetriously disappeared…. and I will confess that I have “accidentally” thrown away “perfectly good” off white baggy vests……all to no avail!
Some of the traits and habits that have driven me mad include
1) He will never make plans. The eternal optimist always thinks ” everything will turn out aright in the end” and “most problems will resolve themselves if left alone”
2) A soon as the commercial break comes on, remote in hand he surfs the channels. I will just get interested in a snippet of another programme when ! he flicks again! Like many men he is permanently attached to the remote control and feels insecure without it, even taking it to answer the phone and the bathroom.
3) The only bit of space he “owns” in the house, his dressing table is permanently in a mess, dusty and dirty. Any attempt by me to clean it up or tidy results in accusations of “moving things”.
4) He will attempt to watch the racing channel at every opportunity at any time of day. As soon as I walk out the room, to answer the phone or bathroom and the monotonous repetitive commentary really gets on my nerves!….but he denies he is obsessed!
Strangely, the eternally optimistic trait has now become his saving grace. because, consciously not allowing ANY negative talk, and changing my thinking, has really helped us get through this recent rough patch, and I have been converted to a born again optimist. It has taken effort, but I am beginning to think in positive terms all the time.
and suddenly, denying him the pleasure of surfing the TV channels and the racing channel seem petty in the grand scheme of things, just let him do as he wishes.
Maybe the secret of contentment in a long relationship is accepting each other, irritating habit and all.
After all they never change anyway!
A year ago I was reflecting on lifes dreams.
It’s an interesting quote. And does your othe rhalf read this? Your secrets will be out!
Fortunately my other half does not read this…….he is still searches for the orange trousers! LOL! Love Denise.
“After all they never change anyway” — so true Denise! I am finally giving in to this after 43 years married – much less exhausting! 🙂
Gwan’s Mum (Bossy – hahahaha) x
43 years!…. goodness, that’s a long time to keep banging your head against the wall! LOL! Love Denise.
At first, I thought “Le Weekend” was going to be a film (perhaps imaginary) about Michael and you! It took me a minute to realize that it’s a real movie. I blame my confusion on a week of travel with very little sleep.
As for changing husbands, it’s impossible. We had an animated discussion about that very subject with our best friends in Switzerland last weekend. You better love and accept the man you marry because they aren’t going to change — no matter how often you throw their orange trousers in the trash! 😉
..and how many years do we waste before we reach that conclusion?
Sorry for the confusion. This post actually started off as a kind of review of the film and then as often happens, morphed into something else.
After 36 years together, 34 of them married, I have to agree, men, especially husbands, are difficult to change. I have tried but he is still the same antisocial, totally uninterested in wearing fashionable clothes, geeky man that I fell in love with! The only difference being he is more of all these things than he was 36 years ago. But he would go to the ends of the earth for those he cares about and has a lovely quirky sense of humour and I’m sure I irritate him as much as he irritates me!
I particularly agree with number 2 on your list of irritating behaviour Denise. He also will suddenly turn off the programme I am watching saying “you weren’t really watching that were you”. But I wouldn’t want to be without him and a few irritating habits are not important in the grand scheme of things!
Glad you’re managing to get out and do things together. Love from Janet xx
“I am sure I irritate him as much as he irritates me” I agree, Michael has been trying for 25 years to stop me talking to him from another room…..not worked! Love Denise
Oh I loved reading this Denise, especially from a woman’s perspective. I can tell you, we have the same issues (well not the racing channel maybe). An interesting twist to all of this from our side are the cultural differences that come up from time to time. Americans are born optimists and the French are committed pessimists (they’d tell you they are “realists”…pfffff). I really love this transparent account and I too was wondering if Michael reads this. Thanks, as always, for sharing.
Michael, I always wonder when two men live together, who gets custody of the remote control? Do you share, have alternate days, or do you hide it when he is not looking?
Nice to read your comment, Vive la difference, I say!
After one year in a relationship, I have successfully changed most of the outside stuff and have learned quickly that the inside stuff doesn’t change, so you might as well accept it! The good news is, that, if you’re lucky, they accept all of your stuff, too!! I think your change of view to seeing things in the positive makes going through all of this, somewhat, worthwhile. Soon, you’ll be saying “hi” to random people on the street just like an American!! This was a great piece! Thanks!
And sometimes Planejane, they see all the good inside us that we don’t see ourselves, right? Right!
Planejane…I have noticed the growing resemblance of your darling man to David Beckham daily!…. good job!
Actually, I HAVE started to smile at random strangers. not easy for me with my naturally dour expression, and not quite got to the saying “hi” bit yet! Of course in this average Northern English street, they look at me as if I am crazy, but often they smile back. So I feel I have brightened a few moments of their lives even if it is with amusement! Love Denise
Mastering “everything will turn out right in the end” has been Mr French’s greatest gift to me. It has changed how I face the world every morning. As for him, my greatest gift to him has been disappearing all his bright orange sweaters!!!
LOL! shhh, I won’t tell if you won’t.. LOL!
Love Denise…. I like the word “gift” obviously we can all learn from each other. Maybe the irritating trait are not so bad after all.
Having been single for a long time, I often wonder whether I could actually face compromising my own space/habits/lifestyle for someone else! I suppose I should be optimistic that, with the right person, you can adapt even if they do irritate you at times!
Hope springs eternal Gwan…..Love Denise
Very interesting post and made me stop and think about my marriage – I was 49 before I got married and then married a widower who had been married for 38 years when his wife passed. I didn’t realize it at the time but looking back, I realize just how naive I was – Tim just carried as though he had been doing this for 38 years (LOL) and I was a nervous wreck wondering if I should or if I shouldn’t do this or that! One thing I have been thankful for is that Tim is very neat and clean and I never have to pick up after him – the one thing that was hard to adjust to was the fact that he was such a sports nut and I finally realized that once football started, I was basically on my own on the weekends. And really, there wasn’t that much about him to change as he was a snappy dresser, very kind and considerate, liked to go out for a nice dinner, go to movies, do a bit of traveling, go to the theatre, etc. etc. There have been small things that have bothered me but mostly, we have settled in very nicely these last 22 years and are very comfortable with one another! I am very lucky!
Maybe you can give hope to Gwan….I found it difficult enough having my personal space invaded after just a few years as a single woman, let alone 49!
I guess in the grand scheme of things “sports nut” or “racing nut”, really doesn’t matter. Other qualities make up for it and now I just go on the internet, or “that machine” as he calls it….. which I know he finds just as irritating
Love the quote, Denise! It’s probably more true than any of us want to admit 😉
I have read that quote in the past and I have to say that I have never really understood it: why women would try to change their partners? (I also come from the school of Al-Anon and know that it is virtually impossible to change someone, so that’s also another facet of my thought process.) I would never want my husband to be anything other than who he is. I liked that person I met and I love that person that I now know.
“Apparently more that a third of women were “embarrassed and ashamed ” to be seen in public with their partner at he start of their relationship.” Is that true?!?! That’s really sad. : (
Love this post, Denise! Great insight.
I think there would be a lot more successful marriages if everybody thought the way you do Ella. I think the problem in most relationships ( from the experience of two failed marraiges!) is both partners being unable to accept the other warts and all. May you live long and happy together , you start off on the right foot.
. I also was quite shocked at the statistic that “more than a third of women were embarrassed and ashamed of the way their men dressed at the start of the relationship”. This is some research by the British Psychological society, so maybe it is British men who let the side down!… but I do wonder how they were attracted in the first place, or maybe it says something that the way they were dressed was NOT what attracted British women!