The Rubberband Man
Posted by Meg Thompson on March 26, 2012 at 10:39 AM
Are you in a situation with a man where he blows hot and cold and keeps you so off-balance that you never know where you stand with him or where the relationship’s going?
I can help.
He's what I call "The Rubberband Man".
One day he's coming on strong and then he practically ignores you. One day he's affectionate and warm, and the next he’s completely cold. One day he calls you five times in a row, and the next day -- nothing.
The hardest thing in a situation like this is to know what to say to him when you're feeling disappointed, frustrated, and hurt...without pushing him away or getting into a fight.
The truth is that all men "rubberband" some of the time.
He'll get excited about something and be "all over you" and then some days he'll be in his own head. Men can be just like us in the way they sometimes need time to regroup and really get back in balance. Men get thrown off just as easily as we can -- it just looks a little different.
What You Need Versus What He Needs
When we feel off balance or insecure, we move forward. We want to "talk" the situation out with our friends or a man, we want more affection and more attention, and we want to ask questions to get answers that will make us feel better.
A man, however, wants to curl up in a ball by himself, throw himself into his work, or just completely shut down!
But the way we need to handle a situation where a man is just "regrouping" is different from the one where a man is bouncing around doing one thing, saying another, and constantly changing the way he relates to you so that you never know where you stand with him. That’s him playing a game. This is a serious situation where you need to know what to say to him.
You need to know how to stand up for yourself and get the answers you want.
So the next time you're feeling like you're walking on a tightrope -- and you don't know what to say to a man about what's bothering you -- try this:
1. Take a Breath
This is the crucial first step in communicating with a man in a powerful way. You simply want to stop and become aware of what you're feeling before you blow up.
2. Write Down Your Thoughts
Let's say a man calls you to check in with you about a date at the last second -- after not calling you over the last two days the way he said he would. You don't know whether to tell him you're busy because you're mad he didn't call -- or to just let it go and be happy to go out with him.
To track your thoughts, you carry a small journal around with you and write your thoughts down as you notice them. Put a line down the center of each page from top to bottom, and write your thoughts down on the left side of the pages (you'll see how this works in later steps). Be sure to write down ALL your thoughts -- your angry ones and also the ones where you're afraid to rock the boat. Now...
3. Translate Your Thoughts
Now go back to the thoughts you wrote down. You've already written them down on the left side of the paper. Now on the right side "translate" them into Feeling Messages.
That could look like this:
On the left you may have written, "Why didn't you call me, you jerk!" You could translate that to: "I felt bad when I missed your call."
Or you may have written "All you had to do was take two seconds to tell me you were going to be late instead of making me wait!" and change that to "I feel so frustrated when I'm waiting."
Notice how in the translation I never say the word "you?" And here's why: Because this is not about HIM! Even though he may be a “Rubberband Man” -- this is still not about him -- or even about his behavior. What it's about is how you feel about his behavior.
In other words, it's all about you and how you feel! And that’s what you need to communicate to him in a way that does not make him "wrong"…even if he totally is wrong!
4. Forget About Being Right and be Loved
How exactly does forgetting about being right work for you? I mean, after all, you are right! You are likely righteously upset! And I know that you still feel frustrated about it. I mean, he's the one who did that horrible thing! Why shouldn't he know that he did a bad thing?!
But the important question has nothing to do with him. The important question is: do you want to be right, and make sure he knows you're right, and make sure he knows what he did wrong...or do you want to be loved? Because, if you can put all that "right-ness" aside, you can change your love life overnight.
The Words You Use Make All The Difference
What will happen is this: the moment you stop making him wrong, berating him, complaining, or telling him what he should have done or should do -- he'll relax. He'll suddenly stop being defensive.
And we all know what a man does what he feels defensive -- he pulls away. He doesn't try harder to make you happy -- no -- he'll just withdraw.
The most awful part of this is that we think what we're doing is just "letting him know" how bad he makes us feel -- only we're doing it in all the wrong ways. So try using the "I feel” statements the next time you have an urge to either keep your feelings to yourself or to attack him. Because you deserve to be heard.
How to Connect with His Heart...and Inspire Him to Please You
A “Rubberband Man” can be a no-win situation. Or he can be completely turned around. A man can turn around on a dime. He'll simply forget that bad patch you had yesterday...if you express yourself to him in this new way today.
Where he might've been cold and shut down yesterday, he may all of a sudden open up, be warm and loving -- and stay that way!
What communication tips have you learned to deal with a “Rubberband Man?”