Memories: why does he forget everything?
We all know men and women are different, but when he forgets anniversaries and sentimental milestones, you’re disappointed or even downright annoyed.
Anyone who has not ever been met with a lingering embarrassed silence in response to the question, “Darling, do you remember this song?” please raise your hand…
As soon as you hear the song you were listening to during that first memorable kiss, your heart skips a beat! When you cross that road where you both had your first fit of hysterics together, you smile… But as for him? No chance! Not only this, but he’ll probably having trouble remembering it even after you’ve tried to jog his memory with the details!
While such memories may be significant to you, they can be of secondary importance to him. Your life as a couple is embroidered with both little and important memories that you love sharing with him, but you might never receive the echoed sentiment you hope for. And as a result, what should be bringing you together can become a source of conflict.
Let's take a closer look at this fundamental difference in memory making, behind so many misunderstandings within a couple.
The gender divide: memories and education
“The differences between men and women are not simply down to cultural influences. Both mind and body are defined by gender,” psychiatrist and author Jean-Paul Mialet reminds us. Not forgetting that education further nurtures this distinction. “As far as parents are concerned, they do not treat their sons the same way as their daughters, whether this is deliberate or not,” the psychiatrist adds. Each parent transfers their own perception of the two genders onto their children, loaded with the idea of men and women’s different roles passed down through generations.
This means that during childhood, little girls will amuse themselves with dolls’ tea parties while little boys will play with toy cars… “The beautiful little princess is given the role of mother, she is stimulated by the attention she gives to another,” explains Dr Marie-Claude Gavard, psychiatrist and relationship specialist. Careful to feed her doll when she is hungry or to cover her up if she is cold, the little girl is constantly thinking emotionally about others.
This is where the prodigious capacity for emotional memories as an adult stems from. “The little boy, on the other hand, is stimulated by the idea of competition and demonstrates a natural disposition for action, fighting and taking risks,” the psychiatrist explains. He'll remember a fact, but not necessarily a part of an event with heavy emotional meaning.
These two methods of upbringing girls and boys still have currency all over the world.
Searching for his feminine memory side
Undeniably, men and women march to the beat of their own drums, and it is well worth admitting this. “Women expect men to develop their feminine sides,” the psychiatrist points out. If women continue to search for the woman inside a man, then the resulting hiccups in the relationship should come as no surprise. Men are not necessarily as emotionally handicapped as one might think, they just translate emotions differently, that’s all.
You just have to look at the way he pays attention when you share your work problems with him: he tries to find solutions straight away, while all you are looking for is someone to listen. It’s the same thing when it comes to sentiment. Maybe you hinted that you love oysters when you first went on a date, hence the choice of that seafood restaurant for Valentine’s Day.
After this, he will try and make you happy by surprising you with reservations at the latest new seafood restaurant to have received a lot of hype in reviews. But all you are doing, meanwhile, is dreaming of feeling those first stirrings of emotion again… at the original restaurant.
Share your memories rather than nagging…
You are no doubt compelled to communicate your disappointment when you ask him “But, doesn’t this song remind you of anything at all?” But he will more likely feel trapped and panic-stricken at the very idea of not giving an adequate response (“um, er, of course it does…”).
It’s as if you are insistently pointing out all his failings. You inevitably risk slipping into, “Obviously, it doesn’t mean anything to you!” You’re disappointed, and he feels cornered and the object of all your angry reproaches. Here are two steps to help you remedy the situation (because he is actually not forgetting on purpose!):
1. Try to communicate your feelings diplomatically! Try to share your memory with him instead. The desire to relive the moment you heard that song, the tenderness you felt when you walked down that street with him, the crazy smile that creeps up over your face… like all memories of the past, these all play witness to your relationship now. They are milestones in your journey together as a couple. Give him a hand back to those moments rather than making him suffer through an interrogation!
2. Stop testing him! When it comes to anniversary dates, you might be tempted to leave things be and see what happens: “Let’s see if he remembers and if he has a nice surprise in store for me!” But maybe you should give him a break instead.
Perhaps you could murmur in a tone of complete confidence that, “It’s amazing that we are going to celebrate our three year anniversary in 15 days, isn’t it?” Feed him suggestions on what would make you happy instead of leaving him to improvise. This means you avoid disappointment and it will reassure him that he can boost your ultimate happiness together just through being who he is… because it is that person who you fell in love with in the first place, right?
Copyright © 2011 Doctissimo
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