In my last post, in amongst the ‘being cute’ thing, bambi suggested I should write about “overcomplicating things like ‘I like touching’ and communications”. It was a good suggestion.
I am learning how bambi communicates, and vice versa of course.
I have joked that we each need translators. I’m only half kidding.
I tend to speak carelessly and broadly. I often just want the concept, the *feeling* of a thing.
Bambi tends to speak carefully and precisely. He examines things minutely and picks them apart in a desire to be accurate.
Recently, I asked him, “How do you like to express affection?”
He wanted to know what I meant by ‘affection’ first, and then he answered with specifics and examples, carve outs and conditions.
Specifically about touching, what he said went something like this (totally paraphrased for point-making):
“I like touching, but only if I’m not busy with something else, or if we aren’t carrying things. And sometimes it’s a bit awkward, so I don’t like it much then either because it’s uncomfortable, and not so much around people, like at dinner or something, because that’s rude. But you know, I like it at home.”
What I heard was “I WILL TOUCH YOU, AT HOME, WHEN IT’S CONVENIENT AND PRACTICAL.”
There was no sweetness, no flirty loveliness, no ‘oh my yes please’, no ‘lots of petting!’ in it. I found it really sad because touching is huge for me. Even if he is not touching me I want to feel his *desire* to touch me, I want it to be palpable.
So I dug around a bit and we talked about it, and the upshot was that what he *meant* was “I like touching”, but then his mind ran on to all sorts of exceptions, so he shared them in an attempt to be more accurate, to give me more information so that I could know him better. And this completely destroyed the intent of the message. He tends to overcomplicate meaning with too many words and ifs and buts and maybes.
It’s like me saying, “I like chocolate, but not if I’m on a diet, and not the cheap kind, and if it’s really hot it gets kind of messy, and I don’t like really dark chocolate so much, or ones with fake fruit fillings…”
I think my translator should only take the first three words of anything he ever says and then the rest of his words should be transmogrified into some repetitive version of “… and you are awesome!”
Joking aside, I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it worried me. It does. We talk about these things when they come up, and each time it turns out that we were just not communicating so well in the first instance. We will learn of course, how to speak to and hear each other, but if the gap is too big and our communication is hampered by this sort of misunderstanding over and over, it’s obviously going to become a problem.
Of course if he was actually petting and stroking me while he was talking about when he doesn’t like touching, I could just say “Sure, bambi, if you say so…” and I would know that he’s just, well… talking.