Girls…hear me now. Any time you say this to a man, you are making a mistake!
Men, Don’t Talk!!!
Oh, don’t get me wrong, they talk all right. About sports, work, the weather, repairs to the house/car. Everything BUT thoughts, feelings and emotions. He just is NOT wired that way.
And this is the seeds of many issues with lots of couples. Let me explain…
When we woman have problems, we want/need to talk through them. Sometimes it is just that we think better out loud. So all we want is someone to listen. Not comment, not give their opinions, not fix our problems. Just listen! If this is your mood…DON’T go to him. Others times we are running a survey of sorts. We are gathering everyone’s opinions (even when we already know what we are going to do).
But men are NOT like us. They do not think the same way. When a man has a problem, he wants/needs to be left alone to think it out. His ‘man cave’ time. Honestly, men rarely even share their problems with other men. In fact, to be forced to talk about it before he has solved the issue may actually make things worse. To hear the problem dissected out loud can disempower him.
I was reminded of this last week when one of my closest friends came to me. Her relationship is relatively new and has from the very beginning been forged in the furnaces of Fate. She was upset because her partner had withdrawn, was not talking about the challenges they faced. The night before she had done just what I told you not to…forced the issue, demanded that he share his feelings, that they ‘talk.’ She was shocked when I told her this…until I explained why. She apologized to him.
Thing is that this just came natural to those REAL 50s homemakers that I told you about. They just knew to give him his space. Where do you think that slippers, pipe, brandy, and newspaper came from? Even the working class ones that I grew up with had their own ways of handling things.
Part of that was the segregating of the genders. Growing up the women and men had different Sunday school classes. Even the way that couples related as friends were different. The men would pair off and talk ‘men’ stuff in the yard or living room. And the women would congregate in the kitchen. Everyone was comfortable with that. And yes…they still had times when all came together, usually over the meal.
But those days are gone. Whether in some misguided attempt to de-gender everyone and make us all alike or because psychology taught us that we all must talk through our problems, we have come to believe that men will just feel better if they talk about their problems…just like we do.
I talk a lot about tolerance. Whether that is homosexuality, polyamory, special needs, race, or religion, this is just another one to add to that list…GENDER differences. That we are different. We do not think alike. And respecting those differences.
*** I should not need to say this, but I will…these are generalities. All people are unique and different. There are women, who want to go to their caves…and men who want to talk your ear off.
I know ‘the preacher’ was one of them. He would pace and talk for hours. When we met he had spent seven years in therapy, while we were married I became his therapist. He was one of those…just listen to me types too. Our boys/men are like that too though they do tend to want more feedback/opinions/options.
The key is…knowing what type your man is. And giving him what he needs. Not what you want…not what you think he should do. What HE needs/wants. Be that your ear or time alone. Give it to him.
And next week…we will discuss how to talk to him about your feelings/needs…in a way that empowers him.