I’ve just recently become a first-time homeowner, and as we get accustomed to our new surroundings, I’ve also begun picking up on the activity patterns of my neighbors. There’s one guy, in particular, who always seems to be watering his lawn or tackling some mysterious project in his garage. Initially, I thought he was always insanely busy, but when I saw him emerge from the garage on a humid Sunday morning, clutching a model airplane, it all became clear to me. He was having “Guy Time”.
Whether it’s relaxing on the sofa, playing paintball with the dudes, or constructing ridiculously intricate model airplanes in a suffocating, hot garage, one thing holds true: Men need their “Guy Time”.
It’s no secret that men and women process emotions and release stress differently from each other. When my wife is stressed out, she makes a lot of phone calls to friends or spontaneously finds something to organize. That’s her way of making sense of what’s going on, or enables her to take control of something in her world. For me, it’s sitting in the recliner with an Xbox controller in hand, smiting alien invaders. It might not look like I’m doing much, but most of the time I’m actually recharging and relieving stress (other times I’m just being lazy).
Here are the three most common forms of “Guy Time” and why they’re important in keeping your man grounded from the pressures of the daily grind.
Time doing “His Guy Things”
Chances are your guy has hobbies or activities he likes to do occasionally. Usually it’s something that you have no interest in, like collecting baseball cards or washing the car. Other times, it’s an activity that you do together. You know, stuff like taking a hike or going on a bike ride. Either way, it’s good to let him partake in his particular ritual, especially if it’s part of his normal routine. Let’s face it, women often take the upper-hand in decorating the house or planning family time, so it’s good that your guy has a small piece of real estate or activity that he can call his own.
Time with “The Guys”
This should be the easiest one you relate to. You have your friends that you like to spend time with, and he’s probably got some guys that he’d like to hang with. It’s like Sex & The City vs. Entourage. It’s not that he doesn’t want to spend time with you. Sometimes we need to talk to someone about JWoww’s boobs, and you’re usually not as enthusiastic about them as we are. It’s a good time for him to relate to other fellas in ‘guy language’ and the in-jokes of close guy friends. I find that the most trouble comes when one person in the relationship has fewer friends than the other. If you have less friends than your guy does, it might seem like he doesn’t want to spend as much time with you as with the guys. If you have more friends, your guy will probably gravitate towards other types of 'guy time.'
In a perfect world, you would meet a cute couple and the guys would go talk about their thing while the ladies would have their time together. But it doesn’t always work out. Understand that even if your guy gets along well with your BFF’s hubby, it doesn’t mean that they’ll be best friends, too. He still might need to hang out from time-to-time with that weirdo guy that you don’t like.
Time doing “Nothing”
Nothing seems to land more dudes in hot water than lying on the couch and watching ESPN (or in my case: SyFy) when there’s plenty of more ‘productive’ things to do. But there’s a lot more going on under the surface than just ‘nothing’. Take a look at the magazine racks next time you check-out at the grocery store. A majority of the selection is targeted to women. When my wife drops a few magazines onto the conveyor belt, I know that she’s getting prepared for some “Gal Time” later. Well, watching TV is our magazine time. It’s all about being fed information or entertainment without having to give anything back in return. I like to tell my wife that “I like to let my mind go blank, so that I have more time to really listen to what you’re saying later.” Does she buy it? Not really, but I have learned that about the time she starts asking about my ‘nothing’ time, I should probably be prepared to do something else.
So what can you take away from all of this? Giving your guy ‘his time’ is important, if only because it might be something that you’d want for yourself. Also keep in mind that more time he spends following you around the mall or picking out fabric patterns for the new drapes, will only increase the amount of “Guy Time” he’ll need later. (It’s sorta like accruing interest).
If you’re lucky, and you work at it, you just might be able to plan your “Guy Time” and “Gal Time” around the same time, so that you’ll have more “Our Time” later.
How does separate time work in your relationship? Is there a point at which 'guy time' (or gal time, for that matter) is too much? We want to hear from you!
JL Watkins is blogger/writer, in Orlando, Florida. He’s a regular contributor for GalTime, and the nationally syndicated morning show, The Daily Buzz. He writes about all sorts of geeky things on his blog, LittleLostRobot.com.