So last week we explored how challenging MOST men find talking about their feelings. But women are just the opposite…we don’t just want to talk about ours…we NEED to. Otherwise…
That’s right…the absolute worst thing a woman can do is bottle up her thoughts, feelings and emotions. She needs to get them out. In fact, a preacher friend from that other life used to compare women to coke bottles. When we get shaken up by life, we start to fizz. If that cap is on…then watch out for the explosion when it finally does pop off.
Of course, as anyone who loves soda pop knows, there is another option…a controlled release. Slowly unscrewing that cap to release some pressure then recap then release some more. It allows the drinker to enjoy their beverage without the mess.
That’s what I want to talk about today…a way to share your emotion in a way that he can hear.
First of all, don’t just spew like that coke bottle. If you truly want him to listen and more importantly understand, perhaps even do something differently the next time…then take time to process your feelings.
Usually ‘conversations’ begin something like this…
- How could you….?
- You make me so mad!
- You are so stupid!
Two things are wrong with that…besides the fact that he will just tune out and not hear a word you say…
- You have taken no ownership of the situation or your feelings. It is all his fault. And the truth is that is rarely the case. Even when it is…our reactions to their actions still remain totally and completely our choice. We can choose to be understanding rather than angry. We have lots of choices that we do not even consider.
- You likely have not even identified your true feelings, i.e. the REAL problem. Sometimes I think that men are actually better at ‘feeling’ than we are. They process it, identify how they feel and just deal with it. All too often we stew…we ferment like wine. We think and think and overthink until as my Nanny used to say ‘we make a mountain out of a mole hill.’
So the first step to a useful dialogue is to put those tendencies to good use and identify how you are feeling. And that is how you begin the conversation:
For now…keep it simple. Begin with those three…they honestly cover most emotions pretty well.
Now that you know HOW you feel, let’s work on the WHY.
Without all that blame too. So he went away and did not phone or text you…or he went out with the guys and did not come back when he had said, maybe even stayed out all night. How do you say that without it sounding like the blame game?
I feel hurt. I missed hearing your voice and your little texts with silly jokes.
I was scared. I got worried when you did not come home. I was really afraid that something had happened to you.
Now the really tricky part…giving him control. Allowing him to come up with a solution. Yes, I know our natural reaction is to provide one…to tell him exactly what to do next time.
But men are problem solvers by nature. They love the chance to fix things. So let him!
Besides…he is much more likely to actually follow through on the plan that he came up with than the solution you gave him.
What do you think we should do in the future?
- How you feel…
- What do you (he) think?
Will it always work? Does anything? So next week, options for when that cap comes off the coke bottle and you spew…