“Men aren’t good at expressing emotions.” “Men only talk about sports.” “Men need to be more sensitive.” “Men are all jerks.” We’ve all heard these platitudes and they’re grade-A nonsense.
There’s an ever rising population of aggro men in this country and women have no one to blame but themselves. Men are hurt, angry and confused- even if they don’t know why- and with good reason.
1) Men have emotions. Women need only adjust how they listen. Men express plenty of feelings; they just do it differently than women and there’s nothing wrong with that.
You know how Eskimos supposedly have 4 dozen words for snow? It’s the same thing for women and feelings. They have over 4 dozen ways to describe happy, angry, sad–4 dozen reasons why they’re mad at their co-worker today.
When a woman says, “men need to be more sensitive and in touch with their emotions,” I hear, “men need to be more like women.” Bad idea. If women want to be with men who can talk about their feelings and daily minutia just like their best girlfriend, then why don’t they just get together with their girlfriend?
2) Men are more solution-focused while women are process-focused. There have been numerous studies (of questionable methodology) asserting that women use more words than men per day. Recent research finds such assertions are unfounded. Men and women actually use about the same number of words a day. It’s not a matter of women being more verbal; generally speaking, we’re equally verbal.
Here’s the difference: women use words to process their feelings, often wallowing in emotions without reaching resolution. Men state their feelings and use words to achieve resolution. As a collective, women have told men that not talking about feelings as much as they do makes them inadequate. For the record, a glut of feelings without resolution is meaningless.
Society doesn’t tell women, “Hey, instead of blathering about your feelings and problems all day, why don’t you get off your ass and do something about them.” I don’t walk around saying, “I don’t know how to fix my car,” like I’m an abnormal defective. Yet, I’ve heard countless men parrot, “I’m not good at talking about my feelings” in a tone that sounds like they’ve been beaten into submission. Women say this to the men they supposedly love without batting an eyelash and men just swallow it. Can you imagine the female outrage if men did the same thing to women by saying, “You’re not good at being rational.”
How It Happened
Thirty years ago, Psychology became “feminized.” Women entered the field in droves in the late 1970s. Now, women greatly outnumber male mental health professionals, and let’s face it, the men who enter the field may as well have a uterus, that’s how estrogen-ized the field has become.
Thus began the “men need to be more sensitive and get in touch with their feelings” re-education movement. Female mental health “experts” surfaced in the proliferation of daytime talk shows and male characters cried openly on television shows like 30something to get in touch with their “sensitive side.”
The Lie and the Truth
In this confluence of events, men tried to become the sensitive guy modern women claimed to want, but did they? In reality, most women don’t want men who cry when they watch Beaches. In fact, most women don’t want to be with men who would willingly watch Beaches or a Lifetime network movie.
They don’t want men to be unfeeling robots, but want them to be men–strong and reliable, yet capable of tenderness. The result? American men, once stalwart bull mastiffs, turned into angry confused Pekingese drowning in a sea of mixed signals unleashed by women.
I sympathize with men. As a group, they were put into a no-win situation by women who didn’t understand their changing roles or what they wanted.
Accept and embrace the differences. Why swim upstream? It’s a lot easier to appreciate and desire men in all their glories and faults, then to try to make them become “like us.” It makes relationships easier. It makes life easier. It makes it easier to forgive and to love.
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Dr. Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD helps individuals work through their relationship and codependency issues via telephone or Skype. She specializes in helping men and women trying to break free of an abusive relationship, cope with the stress of an abusive relationship or heal from an abusive relationship. She combines practical advice, emotional support and goal-oriented outcomes. Please visit the Schedule a Session page for professional inquiries.
Man bashing by ArtByChrysti on flickr.
“women use words to process their feelings, often wallowing in emotions without reaching resolution. Men state their feelings and use words to achieve resolution…. For the record, a glut of feelings without resolution is meaningless. ”
God, am I guilty of this. Looking back on my life and interactions with men in general, my focus is usually on MY feelings, as if theirs are not as important. Maybe from living with a father, who was a provider but never wanted to be bothered with children, any children. His interests were his work, his social life, his friends, his status (somewhat), and then his children and wife. In that order. I thought he was so above having to deal with feelings, he hurt my mother’s repeatedly by constantly putting her down in front of us (and much more in private), that maybe it was a better way to be than to be the one constantly hurt. Maybe he was hurt in his own life and this is how he learned to deal with it.
Either way, it’s not right to blame him or any other man for my own feelings and actions. My emotions are not any more important than anyone else’s nor are they any less. They just are! I feel like with the help I have been getting, my eyes are opening more and more, and even if I dont like what I see in myself, at least I can see it now. I like this piece.
That’s a powerful insight. The thing is, if you face the things you’ve been running away from, they become less scary. Once you identify the things you don’t like about yourself and acknowledge your responsibility, you can begin to change them, which will lead you to feel better about yourself. In turn, you will treat yourself and others in your life better.
I wish you well in your personal work.
My significant other is always thinking something bad is happening only late at night! She feels that I am a cold man and that I don’t give her emotional support when I tell thru out the day that I love her. The 10 oclock hour comes around and she starts with her insecurities and no matter what I say or do she continues pursueing what ever is bothering her and she DOES NOT LISTEN TO ME!!!!! I dont now what to do any more because it is extremely frustrating and is getting to the point of enraging me . I am the first to admit that I have a short fuse and all of this just lights that fuse! Can you please help? We have tried couensling and it hasnt worked!
Christian R. Conrad says
@”c”: “His interests were his work, his social life, his friends, his status (somewhat), and then his children and wife. In that order.”
Hey, hangonaminnit — What’s the difference between ‘friends’ and ‘social life’? Or between ‘status’ and ‘social life’? AFAICS, both ‘friends’ and ‘status’ are sub-concepts of ‘social life’. Which gives us: “His interests were his work, his social life, and then his children and wife. In that order.”
OK, I’d still agree the order is wrong — but it’s not like he puts a gazillion things ahead of his family; it’s just your way of putting the stuff he puts
ahead of his family a gazillion different ways.
Any thoughts on why you’re doing this, or on how fair it is to do this…?
I like the last paragraph, but doesn’t the rest of the piece just bash women? I’m sorry, but I don’t see how that’s helping.
This piece is not anti-woman; it’s pro-masculinity. I’m taking a specific group of women, society and Psychology to task who have been man-bashing and elevating women as nurturing, wise, goddesses for the last 30 years. Each sex is wonderful in their own right. I’m pointing out the disdainful, belittling attitudes and behaviors that many women have adopted to men without batting an eye and which they would surely take askance with if the same attitudes and behaviors were directed towards them.
Thank you for posting your thoughts. I appreciate the dialogue.
Why is it that whenever someone says something that casts women in a negative light…it’s woman bashing? But when women talk about guys as tools, emotionally withdrawn, or so on it’s not bashing on men? What’s funny about this whole thing is I have seen this transformative gender role swap. Yes, swap. I remember a time when most of my guy friends were more manly without having to add a comic relief macho aspect to it in order not to be considered a tool or emotionless. Now, women seem to fit that role. At least two of my 3 marriages and every girl I ever dated fits the new modern feminist stereotype men such as myself are introduced to. Most of them have cheated, have been heartless and cruel, and my current wife fits everything in this article to a T. Sometimes I wish I was attracted to men and could choose to be gay so I could find someone who is a better companion.
“women use words to process their feelings, often wallowing in emotions without reaching resolution. Men state their feelings and use words to achieve resolution…. For the record, a glut of feelings without resolution is meaningless. ”
Hmmm,… I’d say raising the kids they BOTH made while working 2 jobs after he leaves & forgets he ever had a family (or stays & does next to nothing) makes a hell of a lot of women chock FULL of resolution.
My point has always been that men and women are both equally capable of being jerks. Looks like you may have been married to one of the male persuasion.
Exactly! I have been trying to make this point for a long time. Too often people (whether male or female) will want to believe that one gender is more guilty than the other for whatever reason. True, the sexes are different of course, but equally capable of behaving badly in a relationship or whatever other situation.
Yeah, well, my mom left my dad, so we can go tit for tat there. Doesn’t change anything.
My thoughts exactly when she left me at home with a 6 month old little girl saying she wasn’t ready…..or how my current wife isn’t nurturing towards my daughter as she is towards out two boys. What I hate is how the court systems are so sexist in the mother’s favor barely giving any good father’s the chance to have meaningful relationships with their kids while the Mothers hold it over their heads as a means to collect child support. ….and no don’t even try to argue that it their responsibility….I have primary custody and have authorized the write off of thousands in arrears simply so my daughter could have a meaningful relationship with her biological mother when she was ready. Not all men leave the children by choice. Many know how the custody battle will end and there’s nothing they can do. They lost before the fight began. There are guys out there who are more career oriented and less nurturing…but there are also women who fit that stereotype as well….and an alarmingly growing number of them as there is more equality in the workplace.
I whole-heartedly agree with the premise of this article. I have grown up seeing so many women fail relationships cause they don’t want their men to be men.
I must be wired a little different as I seem to be able to be one of the guys I see a problem I find a solution I also can dish the insults.
I have also found that I have a hard time finding guys that will ask me out cause I am not a needy emotional girl. I think its a little intimidating for a man to date someone who is not fulfilling that primal helpless woman role. Even though in the end men say that women are too needy and emotional they seem to avoid dating the independent, logical ones.
Oftentimes, it seems as if both men and women make relationship choices that are incongruous with their stated values and desires, which usually equated to a doomed relationship. Many people are stuck in an unhealthy relationship pattern, making the same mistakes over and over again. I think the key is to be very clear about what you want in a partner and then make better choices.
I wish I had found someone more like you. A woman who looks for resolutions and takes the initiative. Being insulting isn’t necessarily a good thing or make you “one of the guys”. Women can talk sh*t just ad well as the next guy. I hate a helpless woman, but I like women who are still sensitive. Just curious, does this “helplessness” characterization carry over to women paying for their own way or paying for the guys on dates?
That was a wonderfully hateful article. Instead of belittling the ways that women express themselves, and saying “poor boy” to all the men in the world, perhaps you should be focusing on how to have couples communicate their feelings to each other in a way that they both feel understood. If she is saying “you need to communicate more”, she has a need that is not being met. If men really do have feelings (of course they do) it is his part in a strong relationship to attempt to understand what that need is. That’s healthy. Saying that women (i would say people, but then I’m not blatantly anti-feminist and mysogynistic) oh, my god I just realized that you’re a woman, usually stuff this ignorant and complacent is written by bitter men whose wifes just left them for lesbians. I’m always shocked when women who are obviously benefitting from the labour of stronger women have this blatant attitude of ignorance for that work. If women had just “accepted and embraced the differences” you wouldn’t be able to vote, and you certainly wouldn’t be a “shrink for men”. your article was very hostile. You really need to stop sympathizing with men and work on why you hate women so much.
Interesting perspective. However, it’s difficult, if not completely off-putting, to try to communicate with a wife or a girlfriend who continuously tells you that the way you communicate is “wrong” and then engages in personal attacks and name calling. Kind of like you just did. Your response doesn’t encourage me to want to have a dialogue with you; my initial impulse is to ignore you and go about my business, which I imagine is how many men feel when they’re on the receiving end of insults and being told how “wrong” they are.
funny, my first response was to ignore your article…That you would ask women to adjust the way they listen to men in the same breath that you condemn the way women comunicate…it boggles the mind. Thirty years of learning that women are not a sub species and that men need to be responsible for their emotions and their effect on other people, especially those they love, has confused the male population? Sometimes I’m a bit groggy when I wake up but I certainly don’t go back to sleep. And I stand by my “name calling”, but hey I just call it like I see it. But maybe I’m just one of “those” women.
shrink4men on June 24, 2009 at 7:25pm Said:
If you say so, Snayo.
If you say so, Snayo.
Catherine Tibaaga says
I like what you have to say. I used to think the same way you do but I think for me it stemmed from my lack of appreciation for women. The truth is, communication is communication. I still give it to women when it comes to this because if something is bothering you, speak up about it. Part of intimacy is not always have to have a solution to everyone’s problem. The purpose is to empathize and understand where that person is coming from. Although I see what you are saying, women and men are responsible for communicating their needs and wants directly in a respectful manner. I see it as if men are having trouble communicating their feelings, then perhaps they could learn how to be assertive verbally. If women do not seek solutions to their problems, then they could benefit from learning how to emotionally detach. I do think that you were a bit harsh with women and I sense some anger towards women in the tone of the article.
Thanks for reading and posting such a thoughtful comment. I agree that women and men are equally responsible for working on effective communication in a relationship.
I am frustrated with a certain group of women who man bash and dismiss men as being non-communicative (among other things) even when there’s no factual basis for it in many cases. They seem to do this reflexively. And when a man does tell this kind of woman how he feels, she gets upset and criticizes him for the way he feels or how he expressed it because it’s not how she would do it or it isn’t what she wants to hear. I’m frustrated and angry because it’s exactly these attitudes/behaviors that cause a lot of damage and pain—to both parties and impacts future relationships long after theirs has ended.
So, perhaps men should be more explicit with how they state their feelings. Although, I’ve conducted couples counseling in which I hear the man state his feelings quite clearly and his wife/girlfriend still can’t or won’t hear him or, worse yet, tells him his feelings are wrong thereby denying him the right to his own feelings.
I’m not taking to task all of womankind in this post, but the women who treat men like they’re unfeeling, emotionally clumsy robots, when, in many instances, it’s actually the other way around.
I hope this clarifies things a bit.
“funny, my first response was to ignore your article…”
No, it wasn’t. You had every intent to respond because you just couldn’t sit still and take things lying down, especially when somebody else might actually think that you’re wrong about your behavior and choices. If anything, Dr. Tara shouldn’t of wasted her time responding to YOU, but she did you a favor.
“That you would ask women to adjust the way they listen to men in the same breath that you condemn the way women comunicate…”
I don’t see the problem. Women like you certainly do need some “adjusting” because you definitely don’t listen when somebody is trying to reason with you and you definitely don’t communicate in a way that normal people can understand you. Particularly men. All you care about is your own selfish feelings and about how everything affects you. You don’t care about how your man feels and if he does express his feelings, you just see him as being weak. You just want somebody to sit there and listen to you gripe about your petty problems and reassure you about how right you are and how special you are.
“Thirty years of learning that women are not a sub species”
Here we go with women like you thinking that they’re victims and that they’re “oppressed”. Society (thanks to feminism) has been dogging out men and treating them as second-class citizens for the past FORTY years. Men are viewed as potential rapists and violent abusers, portrayed as buffoons in the media; are robbed of their assets in corrupt, anti-male, divorce courts; denied the right to see their children, passed over for jobs; required to register for the draft, and are more than likely to be homeless. Since, when have women ever been seen as sub-species. For centuries, women have been seen as special to the point that their lives are put ahead of men while men give their lives to protect them. Women are more privileged than men, so this whole “women are sub-species” notion is nothing, but feminist propaganda bs.
“men need to be responsible for their emotions and their effect on other people,”
You mean the way women are “responsible” for their emotions and how theirs effect others. Please. Most women can’t control their emotions and they certainly don’t try to and they certainly don’t accept responsibility nor accountability for their actions. Women generally behave like children and blame men for their mistakes. They think that can do no wrong and are excused from paying the consequences. Women continue to act out because men as well as other women don’t call them out on their behavior.
“Sometimes I’m a bit groggy when I wake up but I certainly don’t go back to sleep.”
What do you mean “wake up”? You haven’t been awake at all. You have been stuck in the coma of ignorance for years.
“And I stand by my “name calling”,”
Of course because that is all that ignorant women like you typically do when faced with logic, facts, and common sense. You use shaming tactics (you’re just bitter, you’re misogynistic, etc) and ad hominem attacks while insulting the author because you can’t refute the points that were made. It’s interesting that the author that you were attacking is a woman herself. When you have women pointing out the faults of other women, that really says something about how feminism has screwed up relationships in today’s society and has made most western women a problem to be around.
“but hey I just call it like I see it.”
You couldn’t call that truck that was about to run you over as you were blindly crossing the street in rush hour traffic. You couldn’t call 911 if your child was having a seizure because you were too busy getting your nails done. So, how exactly could you “call it like I see it” when your head is so far up your rear and are too delusional to face reality?
“But maybe I’m just one of “those” women.”
You certainly are and there is no maybes about it.
You mentioned in your previous post that Dr. Tara (before you found out she was a woman) was bitter because some woman left her to be a lesbian which is nothing, but misandric, shaming, garbage anyway.
We’re all people, but when we aim our lasers at a syndrome, and then instead of attaching the word ‘people’ to it, we choose a gender instead, we perhaps need to see a ‘shrink’ ourselves.
Tara, I love how you left her post up for me to laugh at……
Good show….good show indeed.
I was beginning to wonder if you were going to give an example of what you were trying to communicate……DOH!…Snayo showed up and took care of that issue.
I can see that the author made the unfotgiveable mistake of actually CRITICIZING women. How dare she!! Doesn’t she know that men are responsible for everything bad?
Lot’s people claim to be open-minded, until you disagree with them. Sounds like Snayo is one of those people.
Of course, what do I know? I’m jusrt a hateful mysoginist.
I think there was a point in the past when men needed some bashing. We needed to realize that the totalitarian methods so accepted when we were protectors and hunters were simply no longer applicable.
While we still protect (some of us) the need for that protection has diminished and we are simply fulfilling our genetic responsibility now. In other words, we are fulfilling our own needs by living up to this mark. Being true to our nature is part of being a man and we should not expect Women to be willing to endure servitude to get it. That someone owes us something for it is BS (sorry), the desire to do so is the mark of a man and a genetic bias we possess.
We hunt now by going to work and providing for our families. But so do our wives and partners. Are we better because statistically we make a little more money? I would suggest that is a consequence of history and not attributable to any unique quality of men. So, we don’t deserve any kudo’s for that either. We are doing what brings us satisfaction by providing for our families in a fashion commensurate with our abilities.
We don’t possess the emotional range that women do. We are in fact a little shallow there. I envy women on this one, there are times when I wish I could just let it all out. What a cleansing experience that must be. But we don’t. We were taught not to, and we respect our fathers who taught us not to. It also makes us feel vulnerable. Not a good thing for the male ego.
The idea of men getting in touch with their feelings is almost laughable. We tried it, it didn’t work for us, we moved on. Don’t make the mistake of thinking we don’t have them. Feelings crush us in ways women would rarely understand. We internalize them and they can destroy us (literally). Remember, we don’t like to cry – so what the hell are we supposed to do with them? We try to ignore them, think of something else and move on. Its the only thing we know.
I can assure you there are many many stalwart bulls remaining. Unfortunately, they are not a part of pop culture anymore. But they are there. And the ironic part is… We absolutely love women. What did God infest us with 🙂 ?? We can’t live without you.
Just my $.002 Tara. I guess you hit a nerve. Thanks for our gender’s fifteen minutes of recognition.
Thanks, Sam. You’re right. I think I hit upon a nerve. Thanks for leaving such a thoughtful and well-considered comment. It adds a lot to the dialogue.
At one time, men needed a little “bashing,” but somewhere along the way, bashing turned into “bludgeoning” and gender relations swung to the opposite extreme. Here’s a link to a great article that explains this: Truth, Damned Truth and Statistics.
True, many men don’t have the same emotional outlets as women. Then again, much of the venting women engage in with their girlfriends amounts to nothing more than a repetitive loop that accomplishes nothing, but to keep their bad feelings alive without reaching a resolution or solution that allows them to move on. Typically, men don’t discuss their emotions, but they’re there, right at the surface, if you know what to look for. However, it’s true, most men would rather fast forward through the processing emotions part and get right to the solution.
I don’t know which is more unhealthy: a perpetual bitchfest in which women validate their hurt feelings without letting go of them or bottling it all up. Somewhere in the middle lies the best way.
Parts of your article certainly sound familiar. It used to annoy me to no end that my wife would complain or even rant about her problems while making no particular effort to resolve them. Fortunately, she never got upset about our different ways of expressing emotion.
What we eventually did was simply to talk it over and agree to disagree. “I don’t want solutions, I just want to whine about how much my day sucked,” she might say. “Stop telling me ways I could make it better.” There’s nothing wrong with that, if that is how you want to deal with the frustrations you meet. What I used to do was see her ranting as a challenge to improve her life. Sometimes, people just need to vent.
It seems to me that a lot of the problems people have in their relationships stems from an unwillingness to acknowledge that each party has their own way of dealing with life. Just because she wants eat ice cream on the couch and watch the Life Channel and he wants to shoot things in Call of Duty 4 doesn’t mean that you aren’t compatible.
My point exactly, A. Just because your partner handles emotions and life differently than you doesn’t make them wrong. The trick is to find a way to accept, not just tolerate these difference and respect rather than belittle them.
Thanks for commenting.
any relationship type arrangement can work with even just a degree of understanding!!!. as a male, perfectly straight, with just a little tolerance for how irationally women think, i can easily relate to them when they pour their depressive hearts out, and be man when they need/ want a man. if you listen to the mode of thinking not the literal thoughts, it becomes easy to interperate the line of thought….. what may seem ration to women definately wouldnt to men, most of the time, but take a good pinch of salt, ask what the root of the issue is and it can be solved, usually more easily than not! with just a little male logic. not to be offensive to women this isnt what im saying, but it doesnt seem logical to a man how a women thinks, but simplify the complex to the underlying problem, make is sound as if its complicated to the wife/ gf, and solve the problem… easy… it really is!.. trust me, if 2 years at uni tought me anything, this is it.!,,,.
I have never been raped or physically violated.
I have never been discriminated against because of my race.
I do not have any debilitating physical ailments or mental impediments.
I am neither rich nor poor so I don’t need welfare or have “more money or more problems”.
I was brought up by a nuclear family so I am unfamiliar with divorce (until I just went through a 2 year ordeal).
I have never experienced any of the above scenarios so I listen…and I am sympathetic and listen when people share their thoughts, experiences, and pain.
I was a victim of vile, malicious, conscious and deliberate abuse by the person that was supposed to love me the most – my wife.
I was a victim…key word was…and hearing other people tales of pain and awakening has given me strength to move on and move past. Hearing what Dr T shares illuminates my missteps and helps to provide insight into why and how and gives me more tools to heal myself and move on…
If you have never experienced such hurtful, abrasive, disgusting, malicious treatment then you should probably listen and learn something here. If you are upset because you exhibit these characteristics maybe you should take inventory on your life/relationships and do something to facilitate a positive change. If you are taking up for all women there is no need to…I love women and many of the people that post here feel the same way…we are just learning to love ourselves again by making sense of the messes we find ourselves entangled in.
This site isn’t to bash women or to hail men as almighty…it’s real, practical, useful, no bullshit advice for men dealing with NPD/BPD personality disordered individuals. Women have their Cosmo, Oprah, and their girlfriends, sisters, mothers, etc., but men don’t really have much in the way of support…In my experiences men and their feelings and contributions are perpetually taken for granted. We are supposed to be strong and provide for our family, but if we ask our wife (if they are stay at home moms) to clean the house, watch the kids, and have dinner ready when we get home then we are sexist or misogynist pigs. I offered to stay at home, cook, clean, and watch our newborn and stop teaching so she could make more money as a realtor…but she called me stupid and ridiculous.
I tried be an active father by helping with all bath times, story times, getting up at nights to feed our child, changing diapers, etc…but my wife took that as an excuse that she was allowed to stop being a parent when I got home. I took on additional duties at work to make ends meet since she refused to work (even at 2 months pregnant). I worked after school clubs and summer school. I would get up at 7 am every day and got home around 6pm and she would make some comment that I was working late “because I was cheating on her or didn’t want to be around her”. I would walk in and she would hand the baby to me and go to yoga or to her sisters’ house for 2 hrs. On the weekends she expected me to get up on both Saturdays/Sundays at 7am to care for the baby so she could sleep in. When I suggested that I sleep in on Saturday and she sleep in on Sunday so we both could recover a bit she said “I get up 5 days a week with our child the least you could do is get up 2 days with our child”. I agreed and then I said Ok – I’ll get up and watch the baby – you go to work for 11 hours on the weekend like I do 5 days a week. She accused me of being a bad communicator and then the insults about me “only being a teacher and not having enough money” or being a “failure that couldn’t provide for his family” commenced. She would lay in bed and let the baby cry until I relented and got up to watch her until my wife got up 3 hours later only to criticize me for playing too loud with our daughter “on purpose” so she couldn’t get any good sleep.
I am a male. I suggested counseling…I begged her to go to the 20 sessions we attended. I am the communicator in our relationship (I worked in a bar for 7 years, and now I am starting my 7th year as a 6th grade teacher). All of my jobs/careers depended primarily on the clarity of my discussions/instructions. And if you have ever been in a middle school it is necessary to explain something 6 times in 6 different ways so the students understand.
The whole time we were there she lied and told half-truths…we would leave and she would berate me for “telling on her” or “airing dirty laundry”…
Before we were married she was an independent, successful realtor. She always said “I can take care of myself” and I don’t need a man. I can do everything on my own”. I was drawn to her apparent strength and independence…but it was a lie – a façade.
She lived by a double standard continually and it was easy for her to fall back to the “we just need to learn how to communicate” excuse. It enabled her to never be held accountable for her atrocious behaviors…and worst of all it included me in the problem – the problem being she has a clinically diagnosed personality disorder in which the psychologist wrote, “X is incapable of sustaining interpersonal relationships”. She needed to fix her problems first so she could actually hear what I was saying/asking.
Here’s a guy reference…The Detroit Lions (football team) finished 0-16 last time. They didn’t win a game. They were hands down the worst team in the league. Yet they have one of the best wide receivers in the game (Calvin Johnson). He played his ass off, knew his routes, finished among the league leaders in TDs and yardage. But he was part of that team – a team that will be considered one of the worst teams in history. He doesn’t need to do much in the way of improvement – but he works hard so he will get better as better players are brought in. The rest of the team does need to get better so they have a chance of succeeding.
The point I am trying to make is that I am pretty well grounded, have many friends, have a stable job, hold multiple degrees, have political aspirations, CAN COMMUNICATE and all the while I am still trying to improve myself through counseling, these forums, and self reflection while my ex blames, denies, and disregards advice from both the custody evaluator and psychologist that she needs to attend counseling on a regular basis…we were a horrible team, not due to us equally – but her primarily. I played a role in all the dysfunction but not to the extent that she did and continues to do so.
Her receiver is broken…my end works fine. I expressed my thoughts calmly, concisely, and actively listened to her wants/needs. She made it a game…making me guess what was wrong, what she needed, what I was supposed to do.
After I was banished to the guest room for coming home 20 minutes late one night I asked her what she wanted…Her reply…”That’s for you to figure out. If I tell you and you do it just because I ask then it’s not sincere and you don’t really mean it”.
“I would love to hear from you while I am at work, could you please write me an email or send me a text from time to time. It really makes me happy when you do that”.
“I am not going to be obligated to write to you or call you. Now that you asked me to do that I am not going to write you any more emails/texts.”
I said after she slapped my face-
“I would appreciate if you wouldn’t hit my face again. A guy blindsided me once and broke my nose and anther girlfriend slapped me and scratched my eye with her ring. I promise never to hit you or touch your face and I ask that you do the same”
“I am not those people. I didn’t do that to you. Now that you asked me to stop I want to do it more.”
About 5 months after the birth of our daughter we had a talk. I asked that she accomplish one task per day so we didn’t need to spend all Saturday and Sunday running errands instead of having fun. I also asked that even if she wasn’t ready for sex I would still like to have physical intimacy. I also suggested that we get out of the house and have fun instead of sitting around all the time. I got an email from her father a few days later… My ex told him that I said that she was lazy and didn’t do anything around the house. She said I called her no fun and that she was no longer attractive to me. He went as far as suggesting if I didn’t want to be a father and loving husband he would take care of them…
After every fight no matter how trivial it was it always ended in threats of divorce, threats of taking my child away, belittling me, my family, my friends, and my profession…and the phrase “You are not the man I thought you were”.
I was so confused and stressed out I became very sick. My thyroid stopped working, and I started losing hair and skin pigment all over my body. My counselor said I had PTSD and I couldn’t sleep as I tried over and over to unravel her illogical demands and actions…
She has the diagnosed problem yet refuses to do anything about it. I am not bitter as I played a role in that relationship and I am beginning to understand why I did, I just want my daughter to grow up happy and healthy. Having a woman (my ex) be her primary influence – a woman who “doesn’t believe in monogamy”, a woman that thinks “all men are scum”, a woman that thinks that “men are secondary to the wants and needs of women”, a woman that sleeps with married men, a woman whose entire family is on welfare, is bankrupt, who have been party to four divorces, three of which saw the mother relocate children to different states away from fathers, a woman who lied to the courts, to evaluators, and to the judge shouldn’t be the primary caregiver to a small, innocent, impressionable child.
I do have feelings and I express them. I am also a mans man – I like football, beer, going the gym, playing golf and poker, and being a guy. I do not feel one sex is above the other.
I just feel that if anyone is going to be an abusive ass then they should be held accountable for their actions – man, woman, or child.
Once again – thank you for this amazing website. I am getting stronger each and every day.
Sorry to ramble…
Wow. Thanks, Thom. I’m touched and the web equivalent of speechless.
Congratulations on your divorce.
Wow, I’m glad you got out of that relationship. As I read posts by men such as yourself, I always seem to be able to relate to the men here in one way or another.
The big glaring issue I can relate to with your articles is when you wrote that your wife said “You are not the man I thought you were”.
That really struck a chord with me because I have heard that put down so many times. And I cringe a little, and try to remember that I am a better man than she ever thought I was.
But sometimes repetition makes it hard to hold onto your self-image, especially when someone is tearing it down on a regular basis.
Good luck to you!
Variations on a theme:
“You’re not the same man I married”
“You’re not the person I fell in love with”
“Why can’t you be the husband you used to be”
Etc., etc. ad nauseam…
Umm…NO SHIT! That once-proud, happy, smiling guy got beaten into submission by YOU! And YOU are now left with the results of your handiwork: A sullen, emotionless, miserable excuse for a “man”. But fear not; once I escape your clutches, I will return to that man’s man, armed with the experience and knowledge to avoid making the same mistake again…can I get a Hallelujah!!
Hallelujah Mike, and amen!
Clark DeNoble says
I totally agree with the piece except the reference to Pekingese being angery and confused. They do get angry but they charge head long into the problem no matter what the odds of success, sometimes foolishly. Sounds like a man to me!
I will cede to the Pekingese expert. I’ve always been a pug person. Pugs do the same thing, except that they spray a lot of snot at whatever and whomever crosses their paths. Adorable.
As a man I approve of this post.
I have never been “clingy, needy, demanding, nagging, selfish or casually cruel” either. In fact I am quite independent, having been on my own from age 16, not materialistic at all, sympathetic, empathetic and even if I do get mad, I am always sorry if I say mean things. I don’t agree with insulting or name-calling from me or anyone. I am strong enough to know what is acceptable to me or not, and what amounts to verbal abuse is simply not right. I don’t want anymore callouses on my soul, I don’t want someone I love talking to me with an obvious lack of respect.
After we broke up (I left him because of his alcohol abuse and subsequent bad behaviour), my ex chose to focus on hating me and my actions instead of seeing that his own behaviour ultimately led to our demise. OK, fine. After getting over the shock that he could dare to say anything was wrong with me, I did take a closer look at my own actions.
Since then, and while talking to a therapist, I have realised a lot of things about my actions that were not right. In other words, I did not give his emotions the same importance as mine, so that I could justify doing things I know were not right. I know that I would have been devastated if he did some of those things to me, and I would have left him on principle. But instead I did them anyway because I felt his emotions were somehow inferior to mine and he would not feel the sort of pain that I would have. Sounds wonderfully empathetic, hey? The specific story is that I was trying to get out of another relationship while starting one with him, and I constantly placed the feelings of me and the other person before his. So, in a situation where I would have to choose between hurting the ex or him, I would feel so bad that I would waffle and either disappear totally from everyone or force him to accept another compromise.
In a way, I guess I felt that he would be a man no matter what I did, so why bother to care that deeply about how he felt? In my mind, a man is not to be trusted, he is probably sleeping with someone else anyway, he will leave when he wants, he will never respect you as a woman, he will say mean things and hurt your feelings and not care if you cry. In fact, you will prove his point that you are weak if you cry. So, it really doesn’t make sense to go thru all this caring about his feelings, if he will only do what he wants anyway. I needed so much to protect my own feelings that I put his on a back burner, not realising that I was reading him wrong, that I was dragging him thru the coals and in the end hurting everyone. If I had from the start assigned the same significance to his emotions, needs and wants as I had to mine, I would have made much different decisions. Not to say it would have meant happily ever after, but at least I would not be guilty of hurting yet another person I love.
Ah well, it is past now. I don’t agree either with saying “poor boy” to all the men in the world but my ex is a prime example of what happens when a mother does not show affection to her son. I can see now that I made many mistakes in underestimating the male emotional spectrum, in this relationship and in others. He wanted and craved all the love that I have to give, but I was afraid to give it at first because I did not believe or trust how deeply he felt, he grew resentful, things went to hell and now I am left unrequited but not there by choice. The power of words is frequently underestimated.
This is mostly true, however, I prefer for you to use the term “generally”. This is partially culturally biased. There are men who just want to ‘whine’ like women, then there are women who search for solutions. Usually when I talk with people, as a woman, I always want to help them solve their problems, that’s my way of caring. I tend to associate with men more because like me, most of them tend to actually solve the problem instead of whining. Yet there have been enough guys who don’t want solutions, but just a good whine. I’ll be honest, I find that very frustrating.
I see your point CK. In case it wasn’t clear in my writing, I don’t believe all women are like like this nor do I believe men are all exactly alike.
Some men can become just as lost in their feelings and some women are very logical and understand that men have feelings, too. What I’m trying to point out, perhaps poorly, is that men have emotions and express them. It may not be in a way that their girlfriends or wives appreciate (i.e., talking about their feelings in exactly the same way). When women come down on their boyfriends or husbands for not talking about their feelings in “the right way,” it only serves to:
1. invalidate their feelings (“Your feelings are wrong.”)
2. send mixed signals (“You never talk about your feelings! Ok, you told me how you feel, but that’s not how I wanted you to do it!”)
3. ensure that they don’t try to talk about their feelings in the future
Thanks for reading and posting, CK.
ck, its all energy dynamics of how much yang and yin each soul is working , in that particular relationship, most men I know cannot bare overbearing, controlling women just like many women cannot bear this in men, some men I know cannot bear, wilting flower woman, just like some women cannot bear, the sensitive man
it always come back to energy, yin yang and balance, in the energy centres, but it seems more of an issue than ever before as most awaken more in consciousness to soul
What a great article.
I think that your analysis is wonderfully accurate. I have found that many of my female friends tend to get lumped into this category of women that feel that they need to be adversarial in their relationships with their significant others. In an age where the focus should be sliding to the quality of of a person and their overall being rather than being arbitrarily assigned gender roles, there are still some steadfast supporters of “traditional” roles. These women don’t want to be treated with equality, they want to be revered and worshiped by the men in their lives, with no conscious effort given to the damage it may cause to their partner. These are the same women that sigh and say “men” as if they were a subspecies that isn’t living up to expectation. Its as if these women want a “man” to do menial labors and bring home the money and be the protector and all the traditional “male” roles but in the same turn also want them to “express” and “nurture” within the opposite role. But if you were to suggest that they adopt some cross-gender activities they will also be the first to state that they are women and shouldn’t have to do that. It sends the message “you will never be what I want you to be, but try try try, so i can dismiss you”.
I can understand wanting an equal footing, of course, but you should not expect anymore than what you give into a relationship. Yes, men and women do have some differing ways to deal with emotions and communication, but that should be a great way to analyze how each person deals with life and find a common ground. With equal effort you get equal result.
I know that i can be guilty of doing some of these things when in a relationship myself. I tend to get upset about things and then get stuck there for a while. My process is to vent it out so I can see what the problem is and then i can plan on how to fix it. My boyfriend is “Mr. Fix-It” and feels the need to step in and find the solution. It has been a challenge for him to understand that I don’t need him to fix it for me, although I appreciate his trying, but that I need to work through it to an objective point and then move through it. But rather than saying “you don’t understand” or “let me do it myself” or “quit smothering me” I should say something like “Thank you for trying to help me through this, but I need to figure it out on my own and i will get back to you when I’m ready”. Often this is not the way it goes down, but afterward the dialogue needs to happen so that the other person does not feel like they are worthless in the situation. I try to do this because, his feelings are just as valid as mine.
Overall, people in general need to work on how they deal with emotions, regardless of gender, but also within gender to understand and make it easier to get along…now if only the world would adopt this….
It’s refreshing to read your comment, Carrie. Thank you!
carrie sounds awesome, an earthy, perceptive, genuinely fair woman, am so tired of the other type, many men I have spoken to these days , feel the same way about women
Thank you! Finally, thank you, thank you, thank you… And lastly, THANK YOU!!!!
I am bookmarking this, right now.
You’re welcome, Troy.
rick m says
I totally agree.One of the greatest needs for both genders is to be understood.It’s the single most healing thing about support groups.Men don’t go to support groups to have it fixed.They want to be heard.The thing that interfers withbthis process is when people not only try to fix,but also analize,criticize,judge etc.Stephen Covey says it best.People want to be understood.
I agree on this. But I am facing a huge uphill struggle.
I openly share my feelings with my woman, but she is the one avoiding the talking. Every time I mention something, she avoids it like the plague, just gets annoyed and she is the one giving one-word replies. I have tried to exercise a “does this really matter” approach, but I feel like I am cutting everything out, and I am not myself anymore if I cannot say anything to her. You are right, she has no problem expressing her frustrations with me, and she does it quite eloquently and expects me to get off my ass and shift, however when I point things out to her, she runs away from it saying that she does not like fighting, when all she needs to do is listen and acknowledge my point of view. She does not have any problems telling me to put my socks away and expects me to do it, but if I tell her to turn off the monitor after she turned off the PC (this is just an easy example), she does not have any time to listen, for example. I have tried the harsh tone, the nice tone, I have told her to sit down and talk about it, I have tried to speak to her and explain my rationale behind it, I have tried to draw comparisons between the two scenarios, nothing seems to get to a resolution. All I always get is a scoff and she runs away to do something else, saying that she does not need another argument. What is it I am doing wrong?
The only feelings your wife seems interested in are her own. Therefore, you’re in a no-win situation. If you express feelings that differ than hers or tell her something she doesn’t want to hear, you’re met with derision or ignored. If you don’t express how you feel, you’re accused of not communicating. It’s really quite maddening.
The question is, can she learn how to have two-way communication or does her behavior and seeming lack of empathy indicate a deeper set of issues? Have you sought couples counseling? How does she treat you generally speaking?
rick m says
I have to tell you we tried 3 different female couple counsellors and they didn’t seem to interested in my feelings as well until we tried an imago coach that worked very well.The Imago coach was a male and he was interested in both of us sharing feleings.The female counsellors really seemed to think men’s feeling didn’t matter.In fact when I did express my feelings they were shot down.Very frustrating.My wife noticed this as well.We are both very grateful to the Imago coach.
My wife exhibits “0” empathy for me. It is never her fault for just about anything.
My problem is that I am an Angry person (her words)
Her problem is that she has anxiety and fear due to me….
So my problem is my problem and her problem is my problem yet our problems are 50/50??
How does that work exactly?
Facts are irrelevant to her, the only thing that matters is her feelings.
The fact that all the things she has blamed me for in our life together have really worked to invalidate me as a Man.
But who cares if that hurts me?? “We” are only concerned with how disappointed she was when she realized she married a 28 year old kid that had to work for a living and the mansion with a white picket fence would have to be put on hold for a few years…er….ah…decades.
I’m a Christian, who is engaged in this battle from that standpoint, whereby, I can say, WE are absolutely being taught as Christian men….how to be better Christian women. Its maddening. The cliches about male and female communication (which are perfectly valid as generalities and I will never understand why USUALLY WOMEN feel the need to challenge rules with exceptions)are spoken of, the womens way as filled with virtue and nuance, this is the case from the pulpit as well as in counseling where couples are told “we just need to get the two of you communicating better”..then they proceed to describe the man……in clipped tongue in cheek phrases, and thats used ONLY as a contrast to illustrate how far superior the women are, and theh it goes “man..you must learn to empathize, you must communicate her way, you musnt fix, only empathize”….I asked, OK, so if the house is on fire, we want a fix or a pity party? Well DUH! So, we’ve now established there IS value to the mans way, we now just need to explore that a bit and maybe celebrate that when its appropriate. Frankly, fixing is an act of love that is received as a provocation. I honestly get it, that discussing intangible relational matters often are more about empathy..there IS no fix, just salve on her feelings….I get that….but if we are talking about the fact we have $100 left and $110 in bills, and we didnt buy aunt betty a present for her 70th….frankly, its sad that thats depressing, BUT, it changes NOTHING….we cant buy the friggin gift! And its things like that that magnify this issue because we’d be criticixed there for not wallowing in the empathy instead of saying OK…decided…..next….
As you say, to an extent this morass of unreconciled emotions, if she wishes to live in that…I can jump in, and jump back out…but i aint changin my address, know what I mean?
I did learn one thing about this very issue, and that is sometimes actions or lack thereof are the best way for a man to get his point across to a woman. I have demonstrated my contempt for more than few women who deserved it by walking away from them and not looking back. Women seem to think men have no emotions, or only emotions such as anger and rage. Nothing can be farther from the truth, and as an earlier poster states we don’t have as many ways to express them as women do. The fact that many women do not listen to us, act as though we are little better than automatons makes dealing with them stressful and frustrating. That is why I am much happier without one in my life other than my relatives and a couple of platonic friends.
You have no idea what it meant for me to read that I am not alone. Reading this stuff makes me feel like the men here have been watching my life and “marriage” over my shoulder…for 20 long years.
I remember once during a narcissistic/BPD tantrum she told me how after she left me and sued me for everything I had, she was going to make up lies about affairs to embarrass and shame me. She denies sex as a form of control; at this point I had been sexless for about 6 months). Seeing that I was beyond caring about what anyone thought of me or about her lies about me , she went for the nuclear option ” I will make sure you NEVER see your kids again!” with a big evil happy smile on her face.
I broke and yelled at her” if you take my kids , you better go get a kitchen knife and stick it in my chest because it will have the same effect on me”.
Her response? ” I’m hot. Wanna have sex?”
Plan B began that day. When my dear wonderful kids are gone, I will leave as well.
So thanks to you Thom and to S4M for providing this. Just knowing “it’s NOT just ME” is a great feeling.
I can’t thank you enough for this web site and giving men support.Even watching Dr. Phil,he seems to downplay abuse against men at times.On one show a woman said she was leaving her husband because he had hit her.She told the story,they had an argument one night and he went to bed.She told him”I told you to sleep on the couch” to which he replied” get out of my face”.She then slapped him across the face and he slapped her back.Dr. Phil said nothing to this.I believe he should have said “what gives you the right to slap your husband.You wouldn’t treat a dog that way.She clearly belived she had that right.He told the man he was wrong to slap his wife but I belive he should have told he as well.
I worked with women for over 38 years and the majority of them think abusive behaviour only applies to men.In fact the conversation has come up many times about slapping a man-is it abuse-they’ve always said “the man must have deserved it”.I don’t belive all woman are like that but there is a great many that are,and people like Dr. Phil seem to support that line of thinking.
Another thing I’d like to add.It seems when men are dealing with abuse,the old line” you teach people how to treat you” comes out.It is a very general statement and it’s not as easy as it sounds.Some people don’t want to be taught.
Thank you for writing and publishing this, Dr. P. This, and the article of december 15, 2009, should be required reading for those who get all of their relationship information from “Glamour” or Cosmo magazines. Nowhere in either of those magazines, or in any of the major magazines directed at women, will this information be found. Thanks again.
In general, I don’t care to listen to anyone – man or woman – whine about their problems without trying to solve them.
Men are problem solvers. That’s what we do. Think we don’t ‘listen’ or talk about our feelings enough? Get over it. If you’re a woman and need to talk about your problems for three hours, go talk to a woman friend. That’s what they’re there for.
Once again, Dr. P., you have written a fine article. Having grown up in Generation X, I have had the disappointment of encountering far too many women who exhibit these qualities. Please continue your work, and getting the word out.
As a man, I really don’t care whether or not people care about my feelings. I’m too busy running shit.
Let women talk about their feelings.
Emma Pritchard says
I really enjoyed this article and I liked seeing what others had to say about it too. I have had some trouble communicating with my partner and have been looking for articles to change my way of thinking and talking to him. I am trying to find a way to communicate with my man that makes him feel safe and not threatend when I approach him about problems but its quite dificult because of his past. My partners ex was a man basher she belittled him to the point that his personality and emotions were so supressed that they were barely existent. His oppinions were of no real value to her and she had the nerve to act like it was his fault for having no emotion left at all after she cut up all his belongings with a knife and then threatened to cut him up also. Now I am the one having to pick up the pieces of this amazing man who did nothing wrong other than give her everything she ever wanted which when he realised was not good for him she attacked. Now I have a partner who feels like im attacking him when I become the slightest bit emotional because she use her emotions to abuse him.
I don’t agree with this opinion. I am a woman and I absolutely avoid drama. If I have an issue, I like to address it, resolve it and move on. I don’t like meddling in anyone’s business or dwelling on my own. Matter of fact, my husband and I are exactly the opposite of what you describe as differences with men and women, above. I personally feel that the women that make comments are because they are either controlling or their boyfriend/husband are clearly just not communicating and don’t feel they should have to because they feel a sense of entitlement in the relationship. This article seems only to apply to relationships where there are clearly issues. We can’t change people…bottom line. If you express yourself and both parties are still unhappy….leave. My husband has no issue expressing his feelings and has a hard time controlling his emotions too! My ex didn’t express his feelings at all and I found out it’s because he was a serial cheater and had a secret life. I didn’t harass him…I just simply moved on. I resolved the issue my friend without verbally harassing him. The truth is…we should be paired with an equal. These issues you point out only apply in relationships where the relationship is not healthy and the couple isn’t evenly paired. Sorry.. This isn’t a one size fits all. I know MANY men that freely experss their emotions without being prompted.
That’s kind of the point of the whole website. In a relationship of equals neither partner behaves in the ways described in this blog. However, there are many women who don’t have personality disorders or other mental health issues who walk all over their male partners and devalue them and their feelings because they’ve been taught by their own families and our culture that it’s okay to do so.
Thanks for commenting,
It’s funny right! The role exchange. Men becoming women and women becoming men in a relationship.
I don’t let that happen to me. If my girlfriend crosses the line, I tell her she can leave. She knows that I do not need here and that if I want another girlfriend then I’ll get one. I don’t tell her this, she just understands because our relationship is based on the “classic” it’s my way or the highway. So that the feminist don’t get all crazy, I will explain what I mean by that: No I’m not evil to her, I let her do what she wants. If I want to do ‘this’ or ‘that’ I’ll do it and she’s welcome all the times I want her with me. If she wants to do ‘that’ or ‘this’ and asks me along then I WILL join her if I want to. If I do then I go, if I don’t then she goes alone. Sometimes it’s even better for a person to get some alone time.
For the whining there is no time. I don’t have time to listen to her nonsense whining which she can gladly do to her friends. I keep myself busy and if she uses the precious time that she has with me to do things as whine or fight then I tell show her where the door is or I go out myself.
No one is perfect so of course it happens that she does whine or fight, but it doesn’t last long because she knows what I don’t like and she’s not willing to risk of losing me.
I just noticed that I might seem a bit cocky in my post. It’s so that you would understand better and that I wouldn’t need to write as much.
Great read again.
I have always referred to this as “the wussifying of America”, you know these are the same feminized psychologists that say don’t keep score in kids sports and everbody gets a trophy. Have you seen the anti-bullying programs the publics schools have been rolling out in last few years? They instruct our kids to rat on each other which usually leads to ever more bullying and harrasment. Whatever happened to handling it on the playground?
Deborrah Cooper says
lol! The statement you mention about men saying “you aren’t good at being rational” happens all the time. Men put women down for being emotional creatures – roll their eyes, laugh, mimic women’s tears and heartfelt explanations. Yeah, it hurts. Some women get angry and attack men back by charging them with being unemotional lugs. The difference though is that a man will not choose to leave a woman for being illogical, but a woman will leave a man that never shares with her how he feels.
Therefore, I think it is in a man’s best interest to learn how to tell his woman what he feels and why.
Really, if you look at it, this entire article is completely and utterly biased. It’s written by a guy, and very obviously so.
Here’s the difference: women use words to process their feelings, often wallowing in emotions without reaching resolution.
Sorry, Dr. T. I’m going to have to disagree with you on that one. In my experience, women need to speak of their ‘problems’ in order to solve them…it’s like the mechanism in our brains cannot process a solution without verbalization.
On the other hand, men’s mental mechanism for solving a problem does not necessarily require speaking, so that can come to solutions without “wallowing” in them.
That, I think is why men get upset when they listen to women sitting around ‘bitching’ about our problems…instead, it would be nice if men saw it for what it is…coming to solutions by speaking about the problem (although, I will admit, I’ve always found it unsavory to listen to a gaggle of women griping about the men in their lives…ugh! If you hate him that much, why are you with him?!?!?). Well, that’s my un-emperical two cents worth.
All in all, love your site and have recommended it to one person, and hopefully will soon to a second…however, I worry he will laugh it off, as he’s already been convinced to numb his emotions with those bloody anti-depressants.
The bottom line is that women don’t mind when men show their emotions – BUT – in general, the basic evolutionary need of women in regards to men is to feel secure and protected. This evolutionary trait was formed over a gazillion years and will not be changed by a few decades of social engineering.
This is why women are attracted to men with success and/or status. ‘Success’ and ‘status’ are indicative of traits that will keep a woman and her offspring safe and secure and promote their evolutionary well-being. In order to promote themselves as viable mates, males have been conditioned (in an evolutionary sense) to project ‘strength’ and ‘security’ by not showing too much emotion.
Way back in the caveman era, when the woman was pregnant – and for a short while after childbirth – she and her offspring had very little defense against the environment. It was up to the man to protect the ‘cave,’ and he could not do so if he was overly-emotional. His job was to stifle his qualms and his fears, man up, and protect his family – PERIOD.
‘Strong’ male character traits that women consciously or unconsciously look for in men:
– Monetary Success (‘Can provide for me and my children’)
– Social Status (‘Knows people that can help me and my children’)
– Men in Uniform (‘Strong. Authoritative. Can protect me and my children.’)
– Physical strength (‘Can protect me and my children’)
– Technical ability (‘Knows how to do things that can help me and/or my children’)
For women, it’s about protecting HER BROOD. That’s what men are for.
It’s not much different today. Most women don’t want to know if their men have huge job insecurities or emotional problems, etc. Instinctually (again -in an evolutionary sense), women want to believe that their men are strong and will ‘get the job done.’ A man can gripe about his job or other things, and a woman can listen, but by and large she doesn’t want to know too much about it, lest she discover that her man is a weak link in the evolutionary chain. A man can get teary-eyed at an opera or a funeral, but he needs to keep his emotions in check in most other aspects of life. If a woman is stuck on an icy road late at night in the middle of nowhere, she doesn’t want the man who talks about his feelings; she wants the man who knows how to get her the hell out of there. Believing anything else is laughably naive.
On the flipside, this positive evolutionary ‘male’ trait is not sought for in women by men. That is why a man really doesn’t care what a woman does for a living, where she went to school, etc. Men go for looks (at least at first, and for a long while afterward), because a physically attractive woman is indicative of a strong and ‘healthy’ mate that will promote his genetic line. Big breasts = ‘strong’ and ‘healthy.’ Nice skin and shiny hair = ‘Strong and healthy.’ Etc, etc. ALL of this = ‘strong and healthy children.’ Hence, women are not really ‘more’ emotional than men; they simply have more PERMISSION to show emotion because it is not required of them by nature to stifle their emotions.
For men, it’s about continuing a healthy genetic line. That’s what women are for.
Is this good or bad? Doesn’t matter. It’s the way things have always been, whether we like them or not. A big point here is that most of this is not a conscious choice for either men or women. We’re HARD-WIRED this way. Remember, our evolutionary impulses were formed over a gazillion years of conditioning. A few decades worth of psychobabble, relationship propaganda, feminism, half-baked social conditioning, and political correctness is not going to change what we are in an evolutionary sense – at least not overnight. People may change, but Nature remains the same. While it’s true that humans have become more ‘nuanced’ and their conscious expectations have changed, NATURE remains and she’s a cruel mistress who doesn’t care about our conscious expectations. She’ll change in her own good time, thank you.
There are a lot of people – me included – who are glad at the societal changes that have taken place in regards to men and women. But we have to realize that, whether we like it or not, these societal changes have disrupted Nature’s gazllion-year-old mating paradigm. That, IMO, is the reason for the staggering divorce rate and the trouble between men and women today. We want things to be a certain way, but Nature DOESN’T WANT IT YET, and so she rebels. It has little to do with oppression, abuse, mistreatment, etc, from either side. It has EVERYTHING to do with people telling us that there is NO SUCH THING as ‘human nature’ and that it is reasonable or natural to expect ‘success’ when you go against her paradigm. The intent may be noble (at least we hope so), but the expectations are WAY out of whack with reality in regards to time-line.
Of course, there are a lot of people who believe that there’s no such thing as Nature. You can’t debate with these folks, since they’re ideologically driven and seem allergic to any theories other than their own. These people would call me a sexist, a pig, etc. Again, please note that I do not claim that Nature is ‘right’ for doing things as she does; she just simply ‘IS.’ No one ever got far in life by denying the way a thing ‘IS.’
Well, strike that last sentence. Plenty of people have gotten far by denying the way a thing ‘IS.’ In fact, a lot of these folks have tenure.
“Now, women greatly outnumber male mental health professionals, and let’s face it, the men who enter the field may as well have a uterus, that’s how estrogen-ized the field has become.”
Had to laugh at this one – I am a therapist and male, but I don’t have a uterus – are you suggesting that I do? (haha) The fact that I work with 90% women is very telling… and it also creates a living hell for me as my wife is a borderline (you know, because instead accusing me of screwing the secretary, she can accuse me of screwing 90% of my coworkers AND the secretary… and when I was in grad school, most of my classmates as well).
Happiness is a choice and you have clearly chosen it.
After all… you could have chosen ‘sad’ for all the wasted years defending yourself, you could have chosen ‘anxious’ that one day things may escalate, or you could have chosen ‘fear’ that it is only a matter of time before she accuses you of sleeping with the other half of the population !
Nice job keeping your humor, shame you appear to have some confusion between causation and correlation.
I remember my first girlfrind was a lot like this, im a pretty sensitive guy and even at the age of 21 i still cry on occasion in my bedroom. i would often need to express my feelings to her, sometimes at the edge of a breakdown and then be told i need to suck it up and stop beign so weak. then the next day? you guessed it “you dont express your feelings enough”. not all women are like this, but enough are that it drives us with Y chromosomes round the bend from time to time
Guadalupe Hidalgo says
My woman thinks she is always right. I can present her with facts and either she wont look at it, get mad and deffensive, or say thats why she cant talk to me. She could do something cinister , i can say that isnt right, and she will say whos side am i on, get deffensive, or say she will never tell me something again.The minute i slip up and do accidently something that she would do on purpose, she says look you did di it mr high and mighty. She wants me to go along with whatever she does or its a problem.Wants me to shut up but when i do something logical that she dosent lije because either she didnt think of it first, wants to have input on something not of her consern, or just dosent like i have to sit there and hear her bitch, then when i say stop bitching she gets another attitude. HELP ME
Dude, I say LEAVE HERE! She’s too needy and controlling. BTW I’m a woman.
Women don’t care about men’s feelings. Women care about our reactions to THEIR feelings. There’s nothing wrong with this.It’s the way nature designed us. It’s a man’s job to make a a woman’s world safe so SHE can be emotional. NO WOMAN IN THE WORLD will ever remain attracted to a man who emotes too much. If I have ‘man’ problems, I go to a MAN and discuss them. I’ll let a woman know I’m having a spot of trouble, but that’s as far as I’ll go. And 99.99% of women are ok with that. Women will say otherwise, but I’ve never gotten good advice from women about women. Except maybe here 😉
It’s easy. For men, just be yourself. If the women don’t like it, that’s their loss.
Anonymous Last Name says
When it comes to dating and relationships, women cannot express emotions and opinions at all. It’s usually the guy that expresses them first. That’s how it is in our society.
Women may not use more words than men, but the language processing and area over all in women’s brains are different. Female use both lobes for language storage whilst men use just one.
However, commendable article, for the most part.
I do believe society has a lot to do with it.
For example, certain African tribes the gender roles are switched. The women are powerful, dominating and aggressive whilst the men are sensitive, compassionate, empathetic and emotion-oriented.
It’s the social norms. In the west female babies and male babies are treated differently. Boys are taught to be without emotional reaction, females are to be nurturing.
If an elementary school boy is hurt he allowed by the fellow students a few moments to be “hurt” but then he has to put on a brave face and be strong. If a girl is hurt she is immediately surrounded by friends and soothed.
So, aye. Again the infamous question of nature vs. nurture.
I enjoyed the article. Many thanks for posting.
I did a google search for men express emotion and found this site and I have to say it’s nice to find someware that argues from a man’s perspective, the last women I dated broke up with me saying.
“you don’t open up and tell me how you feel, I’m a very open person and you need to be 50/50 with me”
the irony was I was telling her that I had feelings for her and wanted us to be exclusive at the time. Mind you I over heard her say to a girlfreind of hers.
“men, what’s wrong with them”
the biggest irony with women like that is they get aprotched by capable, confident men (which there atracted to) then spend months/years trying to change them. One of two things then happen, the man doesn’t change and she gets frustrated and leaves him OR the man changes (thinking it will help the relationship) at wich point she looses interest becouse he’s gone from capable and confident to talking about what he’s thinking and feeling all the time.
And the worst part is women have accepted this, the “experts” have told them that men should open and express there emotions like women and that women are entitled to manipulate and play games in order to achive this. Then to add insult they say that if a man doesn’t do this it’s just becouse he doesn’t care for the women or her feelings.
I watched a vid on YouTube where an “expert” was answering a question from a woman saying “He invites me out, he looks after me and we always have fun but he doesn’t tell me how he feels, does he care about me” the experts answer was (this was a man giving the so called advice)
“If he hasn’t told then chances are he doesn’t, if he can’t express how he feels then you may want to consider finding someone else”
I wanted to rip my hair out.
Women need to understand that men do not feel, think, express and by extention comunicate the same way they do, and demanding emotional entitlemant reinforced by “experts” isn’t going to help fix the damage done to relationships and marridge.
Just my rant.
This is somthing that realy gets me about women, this need they have to make men open up and express themselves emotionly, as though they way we express ourselves is somehow defective. I was alway under the impression that been open was about expressing who YOU are not how THEY say you should. I told a women I was dating once (after being manipulated) that I was falling for her, she told me when we broke up “I didn’t feel like you said it right”.
The sick thing is these are the same women who complain to men about being what they, but once they’ve manipulated and twisted them into what they say they want, turn around and lose interest uttering the phrase “your not the man I met”.. Course he isn’t, he’s the product ofyour handy work but your to obsessed with your own feelings and wants to recodnise what you’ve done. So clearly it must be his fault for atending to your needs (and I though compromise was part of a healthy relationship)
The fact is guys there are alot of women out there who are just plain angry, fueled by chaotic emotional driven thinking and the “experts” in the media telling women they can do no wrong and blaming men for there own inability to maintain stable relationships.
This is so true!
‘It’s a lot easier to appreciate and desire men in all their glories and faults, then to try to make them become “like us.” ‘ – I think it’s the quintesence of a happy and lasting relationships.
I don’t want my man to cry, although I also don;t want my man to solve every one of my problems (need to work on that solution-focus vs process-focus difference).
Fantastic post, Shrink4Men. Thank you
I have experienced this phenomena my whole life. I believe this year i have cracked the code. I have had many relationships similar to what has been described, and these behaviors do not bear repeating. The conclusion I have come to is that a great crime has been committed against women, and It is preventing positive mutually respectful relationships throughout our society. 80% of women my age have been convinced that they are princesses, or that the Ideal for a woman is a princess. The man must struggle fight and work, the princess can judge. The emotions of the princess are precious and special, the mans emotions are worthy of ridicule, a source of amusement or disdain.
As a result, relationships become disingenuous. Men become cynical and lose respect for women because the narcissistic princess who will never give you emotional validity is only good for a Friday night fling (sorry princesses). The princesses notice this and lose respect for men.
Just for one moment put yourself in the shoes of an actual intelligent emotionally balanced man.
In those shoes, would you really want to be with a princess?
I am looking for a WOMAN. There are so very few of them around.
I understand that women want a strong man to provide and protect.
What has made me the strongest and most capable I have been in my life is a positive relationship with a supportive woman.
When I have that, It feels like nothing can stop me.
Manipulative, abusive relationships make me weaker than I am when I am alone.
Like one of the earlier postings stated, I have currently decided to stay out of relationships with princesses. I cant afford the inherent life draining involved.
I am single, Looking for a real WOMAN, not a princess. (even on a Friday night)
I hope you find her. She’s out there, you just have to watch for those red flags and listen to your mind when it notices things aren’t quite right. Good luck! 🙂
Gee it’s hard to “open up” about feelings when every time you do you are ridiculed, laughed at, told your feelings are not important, held up to scorn, ignored, or told you are just plain wrong. Every time I’ve tried to tell my STBXW about how what she does makes me feel it’s suddenly all about how I’m the one hurting her and wrecking her life and being mean. My brother was a drug addict and died of an OD. She has told me on more than one occasion it was my fault he died. When I’ve tried to tell her how those words make me feel she launches into a very detailed analysis of why it was my fault. And you think I’m going to try to discuss how I feel ever again with anyone? No thanks! I will open up about feelings when hell freezes over. Oh and BTW, if you think I’m listening to you blather on for hours about how something I said or did hurt your feelings guess again. And what’s up with calling and leaving long voice mails detailing all my faults. If I don’t listen in person what makes you think I will listen to a recording for more than 5 seconds before hitting the delete button?
Steven Burda, MBA says
– Steven Burda
Cyclotron Majesty says
I think women are threatened by male emotions and power. As is society in general. It’s not just the female half of the race which smothers male expression of emotion, it’s also those males who’s identity is based around pleasing the female. American culture does not really have the apparatus to deal with the passion of the male psyche. The male psyche is the the wagon of the female emotional body, he must endure her power, and never dispute it. A strict rigid code of conduct is demanded in all sectors of social society which is based on this male / female model of relationship. If you break the rules, someone will just call security, or try to find some way to silence and control you. It’s actually a kind of mind control, by controlling the emotions of the masses you control the desires and passions of the people, and therefore limit their decisions. They are not allowed to speak out, or dissent because that is “unfriendly” or “hate speech” and yadda yadda yadda. In otherwords, the people who are hearing this, are unable to deal with it, thus they shut it down with some excuse. Videos are banned daily on YouTube, and Forum postings get deleted everywhere, comments censored. We really don’t live in a totally free speech society. And not only that, people are deaf, fenced off in fear and separatism. They think they are mature, but in fact they are actually causing the problems with their deaf ears and closed minds and hearts.
down not out says
Expression was always a problem with my ex during are time together. Or lack of it I should say. I knew something was not right as the months went by. I’d never been with anyone who talked so long and so fast about so many diffrent things all about her, her life, her friends, her job, her this, her that. It was impossible to get a word in edge ways. We would meet for a date and she would’nt stop talking for 5 or 6 hours none stop ! At first I put it down to her being nervas as some people talk alot when thay are. I thought just give her time to relax and in time a more two way dialog will start to come but it never did. 3 months of dating came and went then 4 months of dating came and went.
all this time we’r been seeing each other 3,4 times a week and even after all this time I still had’nt been able to ask her anything or if i managed to ask something I would’nt relly get an ansaw as she would go off the subject was quickly and meander off on to something completley diffrent for 2 or 3 hours till the point got lost every time it was exorsting trying to keep up with it in the end. and all this time she never asked me anything about myself but then when ever I tryed she showed no intrests anyway I would get a bord look even only after a couple of minets of my saying something whitch would put me off carrying on the conversation. It was like she did’nt want me to speak or express myself.
After 6 months of dating nothing had changed. I had pritty much given up trying to say anything or express myself. It was like talking to a brick wall or worse still somehow she would twist what I had said and I would have to keep trying to reexplain it and always to no avile. comuiction became a very hard and tirering thing to try and do. It made me feel very bad inside. people would ask me how things were going with her and say ” hay you must be doing something right” I relly just did’nt know what to tell people in the end all I could say was ” I don’t know what i’v done right” what could I say ? I had’nt felt like she had even gotten to know me how could she have, having never asked or let me say or do anything in regards to expressing who I was where i’d come from in life or where i was looking to go in life. How could i even say she relly likes me ? how could she when shes knows little to nothing about me. It was very worrying and i felt like a failer for not being able to make things better. Anything I had managed to say about myself she shoot down anyway it was boring or crap.
When ever I would try and say something that ment something to me she would call me such a girl ?? was a strange thing to say. but she would say anything to ridicule anything that ment something to me. I felt like such a loser and a failer like nothing about me was any good or that i could’nt do anything good. I began to wounder why was she with me, WHY ? I just could’nt understand waht i was involved in. In the end I just caved in and could’nt take it anymore. I knew she would want to know why i was breaking up but after all that had happend I stil could’nt bear to hurt her, breaking up killed me inside and i could’nt even bring myself to say what the real problems were I just woundup telling her it was all my fault and that i was so very sorry and that i did’nt want to hurt her feelings. I know I should have told her but what use would it have been she never lisend anyway whats the point in telling someone that thay never lisen there only not going to hear you when you say it !!
That being said a short while after breaking up I met her and we talked, it was the first time in the hole year that I could feel that she was relly lisening to what i had to say with out attcking it ither. It was helpfull for me as i knew it was’nt my imagination or my reading things wrong all that time. But it made me sad that i had to go to such exstreams in breaking up just for her to sit and notice anything that i was saying 🙁 . I don’t know why it all had to be the way it was all I wanted was to have a voice in the relationship for my feelings to atleast be accepted / respected or just for her to know them/hear them at the very least. But she could’nt even do that ??? is it relly such a hard thing to do ??? dispite all the cold and cule things she did and said to me I don’t have any ill feelings towards her, I know looking back I should have put the breaks on things sooner I knew something was’nt right early on but i just kept hoping. the last thing I ever wanted was any hurt for ither of us. looking back all the problems came down to one thing witch was bad comuication.
Michael Pepin says
All I can say is that you are truly a breath of fresh air in a forrest of fetid exhaust. Thank you!
Thank you, Michael. Please be sure to check out the new Shrink4Men website https://shrink4men.com.
Oh, by the way. Why women want to cuss out and tear their husbands apart, especially in the Delivery room while having contractions, It BURNS ME. And the nurses tell you not to take it offensively. OH YEAH then why say to your husband that he’s stupid when your in pain!!!?? Is it personal. Why say that and expect the person to not take it offensively?? Men have feelings too. Just like when my cousin (when she was in excruciating labor pain, and I was shocked when she told me this-and I wished she didn’t tell me about that) told he husband he was stupid while having pain. Why would you do that to your husband??!! He’s your support system. Now what if he left out on you, because you were so mean to him. That’s not nice.It’s just like in the Hollywood movies (I wanted to vent and I couldn’t get out my mind). If I was in tremedous pain, I would NEVER say that to him!! Even when having acid reflux (I had these sometimes). I understand that women are emotional, but don’t TAKE THINGS OUT ON OTHER PEOPLE, EVEN MEN. PEOPLE HAVE FEELINGS TOO!!
I understand the pain hurts super SUPER bad, but why cuss people out and say hurtful things to people are you. They are helping YOU out. I would like to add, Women like to be out of control when having labor pains. WHY CAN’T YOU GET AN EPIDURAL IN THE FIRST PLACE INSTEAD OF BITING PEOPLE’S HEADS OFF?? (COME ON GUYS DO YOU FEEL THIS WAY, AND WOMEN TOO WHEN WOMEN IN LABOR TREAT YOU THIS WAY??)
By the way thanks for the article. It’s a Big breath of fresh air.