By George Streeter
All you want to do in that moment is nothing. However, does the following dialogue sound familiar? Her: what are you feeling right now? Him: Nothing, it is just that I don’t like the situation. Her: Well how do you feel about the situation? Him: “I told you, I don’t like it?” Her: (Staring incredulously and becoming more irritated, wondering why he is holding back his true feelings with her on the topic.) Him: What? (shrugging).
I was asked once to choose just one area for a man to change in himself that would make a huge impact on his relationships with women. This is a difficult question when you think about the diversity around what women want. Yet the question becomes less complicated when you change the question to: What is the single most problematic area for men? The answer: sharing emotions.
Men cause women undue suffering by simply being stoic and keeping their emotions on the inside. According to studies, men miss opportunities to “engage” with their partners on a deeper level, when we fail to share our emotions, especially when a man hides his frustrations.
Men tend to deal with negative emotions by stuffing them down. We don’t often take the time to deal with our own seething angers and let them build into resentments. Often, underneath male anger and resentment you find a man who has not expressed his real desires, or shared his hurt or feelings of loss.
Women, when faced with an emotionally distant man, will feel disconnected from him and bewildered by the emotion she feels from him that is not being expressed by him.
When a man is emotional disconnected a couple of thoughts that may cross her mind; She often wonders “Can he handle my emotions, because he can’t seem to get a handle on his own? Or “Is he willing to invest in this relationship?”
For many men the idea that his frustrations can be a bridge to connection with his partner are… unbelievable. Shiri Cohen, a clinical psychologist and researcher at Massachusetts General Hospital, asked 156 couples to remember incidents in the relationship that upset them and compared their reactions.
What she found is that “women tend to want to engage around conflict”. She continued, “In other words, women are deriving more satisfaction when they see that their partner is upset. That is telling her (the woman) something about his availability to engage in the relationship.”
Women should keep in mind that men feel exactly the opposite about those moments of conflict and see them as a threat to the relationship. And men should keep it in mind that If a conflict comes up, a woman is generally looking for a way to penetrate your stoic armor and connect with you and she wants to feel your sadness, frustrations and joy.