I was at my redheaded friend Catherine C's house, chatting with one of her friends, and heard about this theory that there are four ways of showing affection. Everyone has a favorite way of showing and receiving affection, and a least favorite way. If your intended has a favorite way of showing affection that happens to be your least favorite way, then anticipate ... friction.
So the four ways are: Touching, Talking, Spending Time, Buying Gifts.
Gary likes showing affection in this order (from most favorite to least favorite):
Buying Gifts, Spending Time, Talking, Touching
I like getting affection in this order (most to least favorite):
Touching, Spending Time, Talking, Getting Gifts
The biggest friction comes up when he tries to buy gifts. Now, I don't want to hear about what a fool I am because I don't like it when he buys me gifts. You may say "But Ellen, you liked it when he bought you the guitar." Well, I paid him back in cash about a day later, because I hate it when he buys me big stuff. (I suppose it's because of the Unfortunate Decision by the Technical Father to let us kids know that he wouldn't be seeing us again because the child support was just too expensive, and blah blah blah, assbastard. If I go over that $200 a month 1968 child support maximum I start getting uncomfortable. I'm pathetic. I know.)
So, since our most and least favorite ways of showing affection are diametrically opposed, we've had to settle on our mutual second favorite, spending time together. Don't get excited and think this is quality time. This is worthless wasted time. Our favorite thing to do is for me to sit and watch him watch TV. He is quite entertaining to watch. Hot women come on the screen and he makes grunting sounds. Some politician does something stupid and he leaps up and flails his arms about like he's trying not to fall off a tall building. And football! Whee!
On the other hand, I know spending time isn't for everyone. I have a friend, Holly, who is Wound UP. She's got that crazy driven Border Collie look in her eyes at all times. She makes extensive lists that are revised and re-copied at the end of every day to PUNISH herself for not getting more done. And her ex-husband would pin her down, lie on top of her on the couch, and force her to watch reruns of The Lone Ranger for hours. (The key word there is "ex.")
So, I think the big issue here is that we need to plan our time together so we make better use of it. My resolution is to get Gary to spend three hours a week with me doing something useful. Gardening, exercising, training the freaking dog, playing music, whatever. That's the plan.