There are many stereotypical complaints that women have about men…
Here are the top three I hear on a regular basis from my clients:
1. Men don’t feel anything except anger and happiness
Men have been conditioned in our society to primarily show these emotions. Sometimes anger is actually a distortion of frustration, insecurity, sadness, or worry. This doesn’t mean it isn’t annoying or excused. Men are taught from a young age to hide these emotions because they might reflect weakness or femininity. Men have a lot of pressure (if they choose to go with the norm) to be manly. There is competition to do so. This doesn’t just happen on the playground. It can happen in relationships as well. I understand that you may perceive these rules or conditioning to be silly, unless you saw it in your father, a brother, an uncle, a grandfather, and so on. Ask yourself how you are supportive of him sharing his emotions. Focus on times when you may see vulnerability as these are times that you can praise him to hopefully see more of it in the future.
We have to recognize that we were taught these lessons about what it means to be a man, but in many situations it was the blind leading the blind. We continue to follow thought patterns that lead to fighting and distancing from our partners. This isn’t what we want. We want to be loved and be able to love her back freely, without fears of rejection or reaction. Some men reference their wives as “the ball-and-chain” or statements of the like. It is sad. Think of when you were a teen or young man…when you were interested in a woman. You would chase her and spend your last dime for her. Realize that she wants to know what you feel because it is important to her. She also wants to share her emotions, which is normal…for both men and women.
2. He never talks about anything
Remember the rules noted on #1. It takes a man time to open up about his feelings if they are other than happy or angry. Usually, this comes with trust-building. Some women will say they have known their men for decades and it never changes. This is simply a reflection of how deeply the conditioning was when they were young and possibly of how it was reinforced as they continued to age. Another way of looking at it is to ask yourself how things have gone from his perspective when he does open his mouth. I have heard from many men that they don’t speak to their partners because they are told they are wrong, receive a lot of negative feedback or yelling, or the women will isolate or leave the man. Despite this possibly sounding a little silly, it is dangerous in many men’s minds to share their emotions and thoughts. As odd as this may sound, men sometimes don’t have much on their minds other than what is happening at that moment. I have heard so many women curse at that statement, primarily because they say they are jealous. Yet, it remains true. Sometimes, and I stress sometimes, men are not really thinking much at all. We actually have the ability to have zen-like peace in our quiet minds. And, no, this does not mean we all are stupid and lack thought.
Speak. For the love of all good! Speak, but remember to also listen. I understand that sometimes days may be the same thing over and over but it doesn’t mean you can’t share. Again, remember to listen. Share a little of your day but then be prepared to listen to her day. Always remember that you are not there to fix things. Your job is to agree with her, extend empathy, and listen some more if needed. I am not joking and I am not being sexist. Men have been trained to identify problem, identify solution, and make the solution happen (apply anger when it does not, be happy when it works, then focus on the next problem). So, men, stop doing what you would do when you hear a friend or family member tell you their problems. Instead, listen, extend love, and let her figure it out the way she wants…unless she specifically asks for help.
3. He doesn’t care
He does care or else he would not be there. Remember, he does not know what you are thinking. He may not be able to read your mind…wait. He CANNOT read your mind. You have to let him know what is going on. Realize, it may not be as big to him as it is to you. Don’t forget, he can care about you but not necessarily about what is going on for you at that time. I remember when my band played at Lambeau Field. I was so excited. My wife really could have cared less. It is not a big deal to her. She was playing in a soccer tournament the same day, which was all she could think about. I cared that she had a great time playing soccer while I had a wonderful time playing in my band. We had to have happiness for each other because neither person’s event was any more important than the other.
You have to understand that women want to feel important. They want to feel as though you value them. If you don’t show and tell them that you care about them and their lives, what else would they assume? I remember times when I was so tired from working that I failed multiple days to do basically everything I advised above. Of course she thought I didn’t care. I try to stay focused on showing her and my family that I am interested in what happens when I am not around. I love them and think about them all day. I work hard to provide for them. Of course I care. But, I still can take the time to let her know. Men and women definitely think and communicate differently. It isn’t that one style is better than the other. It is more about appreciating the differences and learning to have patience and understanding for one another. The focus above initially was on how men think, feel, and act.
Happiness comes from recognizing the need to work together and then making it happen. The goal should never be to change your partner or wish for your partner stay the same as they were when you met. We evolve and grow throughout life. We have to learn to do this together while accepting and celebrating our differences while leaving room for change.
To hear more common complaints about men, and a women’s perspective on all of this, you can head over to my lovely wife Kerry’s post!
You can also register on the waiting list for my upcoming Transformation 101 class for men. We’re midway through my debut class and it’s already a hit! Sign up and get ready to be seen, be heard and BE YOU!