During the "unraveling", he was confused and frustrated at first because he thought it came out of left field. It took him some time to figure out exactly what was going on (was this a break or a break-up?), but after that phase he was a bit angry and indignant that there was no "warning" or opportunity for strikes 2 or 3. He and I were able to talk just as he was emerging from that stage and asked him what he wanted to do next. From a play-by-play standpoint, X happened and the ball was in his court.
There was a lot of theorizing and hypothesizing about why it happened, what she might want at this point, and why men have such a hard time understanding women. (For some good insight into how men and women think, do a quick skim of "Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus". You can read just the intro at a bookstore and get most of it.)
Eventually it came down to a question of action - should he do something or do nothing? It was my opinion that if he wasn't ready to let it go that easily, he should make some overture but it was up to him to figure out what.
To help him get started, I offered him the idea that women have internal "relationship" bank accounts. Rules of the bank:
- Every time a man does something good, he gets points. The more effort or creative, the more points.
- If he does what is "standard" or "expected" he gets no points, but no points are subtracted.
- If he fails to do something standard or expected, he loses points.
- If he screws up, he loses even more points.
For something to be "good" in her currency means that you have to figure out what her definition of good is (i.e. an outdoor adventure weekend may or may not be good depending on what she likes). This is where she sees how creative you are or how much you really know her. Btw, flowers are almost always a safe bet.
When a guy goes negative or starts borrowing against the bank, he's in trouble. If he hasn't put money in recently or has been using his debit card a lot, the next "conversation" won't just be about the fact that you forgot to take out the trash (although that might set it off). Women check the balance in bank during any discussion and that determines how difficult the conversation will be or how upset she'll get. It makes sense to contribute regularly to make sure you have enough to make it through the tougher times.
- Do you agree? How would you refine the "bank" model?