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O/T Atavistic?

grannyd's picture


grannyd's picture



With the experience of 3 marriages and many decades of life (like JMI, I am 78 years old), I’ve determined that men enjoy having their women and children under the domestic roof whenever possible. These menfolk can be working in the yard, putzing with their cars or entertaining themselves in yon ‘man caves’ (eh’, Clove?) yet, if the wife/partner steps out to pick up milk from the corner store without having notified the husband/partner of their brief departure, he appears to suffer anxiety and be slightly miffed. 

However, when the ‘man of the house’ decides to nip down to the hardware store without informing his partner, the woman’s objections are viewed as ‘controlling’.

I’ve looked up this contradiction on the internet, hoping to find some clarification, yet there seems to be zero information on the topic.

So, atavistic? Did the Neanderthal male react with unease when his mate wandered from the cave? Was he concerned about an attack by a sabre-toothed tiger? A club on the head by a competitive male from a hostile tribe? 

My husband is not a domineering man yet he suffered when I left the house without letting him know where I was going or when I’d return. We finally agreed to leave notes to one another when we swan off and that method has worked very well. 

In the absence of available information on this topic, I’d appreciate comments from the wise members at StepTalk. Is this masculine behaviour only germane to my own experience of marriage or is it more widespread? 



Aniki-Moderator's picture

Maybe it's the ancient notion that the woman is the heart of the home. Home feels empty, man misses that heart, and gets a little panicky. *unknw*

Mr Aniki and I always tell each other when we're popping out for a bit. Neither of us wants to search the house or head outside in a foot of snow or the height of black fly season when a simple "baby, I'm running to Ace" will do.

grannyd's picture

Oh, come ON! 

You always have something! Don't you dare coward out on me, Rags. Don't like the subject? So, defend thine wonderful self....

Rags's picture

space and autonomy.  We want to be together in life.  We give each other space, alone time, and time with friends and family without the other.  Though... in the interest of full disclosure..... time with my IL clan is not a regular priority for me.

Though if she wanders off to the other side of the house... I will sometimes call out to her or hunt her down.  For no other reason than.... I kinda like her.

Though the cave man mating ritual of knocking a cave babe out with a club and dragging her back to the man cave by her hair does have some appeal.



As for cave people....   Have you seen the movie ALPA?  It is a very good movie.  Not specifically about cave man courting habbits, but it is about cave people.  The prime story is about the beginning of the history of people and dogs collaborating.  A good story.

How is that for a distraction attempt?  Gotta get myself off of the hook grannyd. And for damned sure I can't let the bride know about this conversation or she will give full approval for you to give me as much crap as you see fit to keep me in line.

I can't win.



grannyd's picture

Hey, Rags,

Took your advice regarding Keda and the wolf. Fascinating look into the ‘atavistic’ companionship between humans and dogs. Thanks for the heads-up! Both Mr grannyd and I enjoyed the presentation. Ok

JRI's picture

DH85 doesn't like when I l leave, even if I tell him where I'm going, usually to visit Mom99..  I think I'm his security blanket.  He's developing dementia, imo.  I try to be patient but the other day said, " I'm not your mother!"   He doesn't go anywhere on his own unless, of course, if SD61 has an emergency money need then he meets her halfway.

grannyd's picture

I get your point, JRI, but am more inclined to think that, like mine, your husband’s hankering to have you under his roof is more an instance of affection than his regarding you as a ‘security blanket’. 

From everything you’ve written over the last couple of years, it’s clear that, notwithstanding the onset of dementia, you’ve bagged a fine fellow. Wink

Survivingstephell's picture

I'm 55 and we use the find me app on our phones. God forbid I leave my phone behind though.  

Winterglow's picture

Many years ago, DH often had to work unti 9 pm (it was a 15 minute drive from home). Sometimes he worked on until he finished a job and sometimes He just stayed on and chatted. We lived in a high traffic, high accident area and he rode a motorbike. All I asked was that he let me know he'd be late home. He never understood why, until ...

I worked in the city and finished at 5 pm every evening, he'd collect me at the bus terminal and take me home. Anyway, this particular evening (this is a long time before cell phones), I got chatting at work (something I never did) and suddenly realised that I was going to miss the last bus back to my home town (30 minutes of the underground and then 1 hour bus). Time was short and I had no way of letting him know. When I arrived at my destination (around 9 pm) I callled him from the nearest call box and he came and collected me. He was in a state of distress and worry I had never seen before. He finally realized how stressful it was for me to sit at home waiting and not knowing why he was late.

He never left work late without giving me a heads up again. 

grannyd's picture

Yup, sometimes our men have to learn the hard way, 'eh Winterglow? Thankfully, the good ones remember those painful lessons and endeavour to 'go and not sin again'.

simifan's picture

I wholeheartedly agree with you. I think it's an old caveman instinct. All the family safe in the cave (home) -  everything is all good. I think it's why they fight so hard for custody then do nothing with the skids when they visit. They are in the cave - so all is good. 

You want your man's attention - leave the cave. SO could putter around the house for hours and pay me no mind. But the minute I leave to go shopping - especially if I haven't told him... my phone is ringing before I leave the cul-de-sac. You want him to know you mean business during an arguement. Stay away from the home. Much more effective then the silent treatment. They don't seem to read the tensions in the home at all. 

Years ago, I stumbled on Alison Armstrong who touched on the subject, but I can't find the reference. I will admit to using it to my advantage. 

grannyd's picture

Simifan, you nailed it! Partiularly:

You want him to know you mean business during an argument. Stay away from the home. Much more effective then the silent treatment. They don't seem to read the tensions in the home at all. 

MissK03's picture

My SO "disappears" as I jokingly say all the time. We live next door to his parents and one of his best friends lives next door to them.. so he randomly will go walk over and not tell me where he is going. He wouldn't just leave the house by car without telling me though.

If I ever left the house without telling him he would think something is really wrong LOLL. 

We tend to go everywhere together when we are both home.. Even when we are mad at each other haha. 

Rags's picture

My XW never really left her parents home.

Every day getting home from work was a crap shoot as to whether my XW would be coming home or there would be a message on the answering machine telling me she was at her parent's, for me to come there if I wanted dinner (with her), and that she would be staying there.


CLove's picture

We have a ritual that if one of us is leaving the house, we kiss 3 times.

Same when we get back. If I take off (which I do quite regularly) I tell him where and generally how long Im gone. Just as a safety measure,

Ive noticed to that when skid is here, even if there is no interaction, that he is happy with that "full house feeling", although hes happy in general. He just doesnt like to have to worry about skid.

thinkthrice's picture

When i went on a biz conference in TN, Chef was miserable and was upset that I didn't contact him every blessed evening of the conference. 

This is the guy who doesn't do anything for Vday, etc.  And he can be unreasonably critical of others especially me.

Chef turns 55 this month. 

Rags's picture

Until very recently, we were inseparable even when we were apart on opposite sides of the globe, or across the continent from each other,  or otherwise apart.

For the past 24+-ish hours, though we are in the same place, even holding each other... there is a universe between us.

This sucks.  I am missing things that she needs, I rarely if ever do that.  I have broken trust, not let her do whatever it is she is doing, and it scares the ever loving shit out of me.

Shieldmaiden's picture

Yes, i think DH feels anxiety when I am gone. He has told me he worries that someone will abduct me, so I put the "find me" type app on my phone and he gave me access to his, also. I think he wants to be able to come rescue me if I get in trouble, like having a flat tire, etc. He has always been a secret worrier, but I also think its in his DNA to feel protective towards his flock - kind of like a sheepdog. I remember finding this attractive when I first me him. Now I think it has less to do with me than it does with him. But, either way - its nice to have someone looking out for me. 

I am independent, so we butt heads sometimes, when I want to go clothes shopping or have dinner with a female friend. He gets annoyed because he's not invited and doesn't want to be home alone. I just assure him I love him and I will be back soon - and that he is lucky not to have to sit in the husband chair outside the dressing room because I know how much he hates that. Also, he can be impatient like a toddler when bored... "I have to pee. This is soo boring. Just choose something already and lets go!" Whine, whine, whine. LOL. 

Rags's picture

Long ago I learned that loving time wiht my bride meant learning to tolerate.... shopping. Which fundamentally I detest.  So, I learned to love the man chair.

I shared this wisdom with some of my young Qatari newlywed engineers when we were in Qatar, then again with Saudis in KSA, and Moroccans when we lived in Morocco.  There is no need to love or even like shopping. However, there is a need to participate in things that our bride's enjoy. So... learn to love the man chair.

I still do not enjoy shopping. I do however enjoy seeing and helping make my bride happy.  So while shopping ... I hunt down... the man chair.