Question posed to Menachem Bluming this week:
My husband just doesn’t seem to get it. He came home over an hour late last night without so much as calling to tell me that he won’t be on time. This is the fifth time he has done this and we are only married three months! It may seem petty but it upsets me greatly. I don’t want him to see me as a nagging wife. What should I do?
There is something you need to know about men. They are loners. Being in a relationship is unnatural to them. They do not automatically think about how their actions affect someone else. The default emotional state of a man is loneliness.
This is not true of women. A woman has an innate sense of relationship, of connection to others. A woman naturally shares of herself and bonds with others, a man does not. She is a relationship being, he is a lonely being.
Of course, it is a huge generalization to say that all men are loners and all women are connectors. Generalizations are never accurate. But to say generalizations are never accurate is itself a generalization, and thus not accurate either.
So let’s generalize: Man’s natural state is to be single. Woman’s natural state is to be in a couple.
There is a solid base for this theory. It stretches all the way back to the beginning of time, to the first man and the first woman, Adam and Eve.
Adam was created alone. His original state was that of a bachelor. But Eve was created from Adam. She was never single. Eve by her very nature was a relationship being, because she was created with her partner next to her. She had an inborn sense of interconnectedness, she intuitively knew that we are not alone in this world, that our actions impact others and that we must be sensitive to those around us. This was innate to her psyche, for she was never alone.
But all this was new to Adam. He had to learn what a relationship means, and how to be aware of another, for at his core he was a lonely being.
Adam is the essential man, and Eve the essential woman. And so until today women are relationship beings and men are lonely beings. Not that all women are good at relationships, and not that all men are hopeless hermits. Rather, women are more likely to know how to bond with others, and men are more likely to need to learn how to connect.
So your husband has no idea why you are upset when he comes home late. He may be thinking, “Why can’t she occupy herself until I get there? Is she so insecure that she can’t look after herself for an extra hour or so?” What he doesn’t yet understand is that while he is a loner, you are a connector. You don’t need him to be physically with you all the time, but emotionally, he must be with you all the time. If he would just call to say he is late, you will not be feel alone, because he showed that he cares, he has bonded with you.
Eve’s mission was to help Adam come out of his isolation and learn how to connect. You need to do this too. Explain to your husband that it is not his lateness that upsets you, it is that he wasn’t considerate enough to communicate his lateness to you. Help him understand that he is no longer alone, and show him how beautiful the world is when shared with someone else.
Give it time. You can’t cure existential loneliness overnight. But if you persevere, with gentleness and love, he will open up that lonely place inside him and let you in. Then you can share your lives in your own Garden of Eden, and never be lonely again.
Rabbi Moss, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Bluming, Chabad.org