Listen to me!!!! Huh? What?
Men’s brains are different than women’s. It is neurological and hormonal and cultural. Men and women, or rather boys and girls, are treated differently, spoken to differently by parents, teachers and total strangers from the very get-go.
When couples talk to one another they need to know how their partner listens. I often say, “listen until the words your hear are other than your own, and speak so that your words can be heard.” What does that mean?
When your partner broadsides you as you walk in the front door with a barrage of accusations and issues. most likely you are saying in your own head, “I’m tired, can’t this wait” or “what do you mean I always/never……”, or “you know, you never……. either!” And the more words your partner uses, the more you tune out and/or walk out, leaving your partner miffed/furious/abandoned. No one is listening nor speaking in a way that they can be heard. Everyone suffers.
Here’s the problem guys:
When you don’t respond to your partner she will make assumptions in the void created by the silence. That is usually not a good thing.
Women will revisit an issue until she feels satisfactorily heard….to men that feels like nagging, to her it feels frustrating. It’s a no-win situation. Everyone suffers.
Furthermore, guys, muttering under your breath and rolling your eyes are passive- aggressive ways of communicating displeasure; but those manipulations are not received with any degree of satisfaction. I can only guess that since men are often afraid of their naturally aggressive nature, silence is better than exploding. But there is an in-between.
Here’s the problem, ladies:
Your man believes with all his heart that it is his job to make/keep you happy. When you are criticizing, blaming and shaming him, when you come on like gang busters, the job of protecting you and making you happy becomes daunting. He feels doomed to failure and your man does not like to be a failure in your eyes.
And, another thing, ladies…..too many words! If you use too many words and rephrase the same issue ten different ways, you lost him. Notice how his eyes glaze over. Whine, same thing, you lost him. While we’re on the subject of ten different ways to express the same issue, you’ve got to realize that addressing ten different issues in the same barrage will be so overwhelming you will sabotage every chance of being heard.
So here’s the solution guys and ladies:
For the guys I can only suggest that you try to understand what it might feel like to be ignored by your lover. She feels insignificant, crazy, alone and discouraged. The more you abandon her, the more she will pursue.. So take responsibility for your communication. You can politely disagree, you can suggest you both talk about it later, maybe after you have unwound, but always acknowledge your partner.
Ladies…..Keep your communications short, few words carefully chosen to be non critical nor blaming, but expressing clearly your feeling will get you where you need to be…..remember, just a few words. Be solution oriented, don’t whine. Men just don’t know what to do with whining. And timing is everything…..be sensitive.
Most of all, honor each other’s differences and always treat each other respectfully, polite, with dignity. You both have to do this, but if your partner is reluctant, it is still your responsibility to do your part. That’s all you can do. It matters.