Think females are more sensitive than males? Not so fast says clinical psychologist David B. Wexler, Ph.D. Yes, it's true that by the time boys become toddlers, they've already learned to suppress a show of feelings. But Wexler cites evidence that boys actually start out as more emotional (yes, more) than girls.
This made us wonder: What other misconceptions might women have about men? Of course, we've noticed that their heads swivel when a figure-eight female passes on the street; they seem to crave sports and all things competitive; and they loathe stopping to ask for directions even when they're undeniably lost. But what are the psychological, cultural and evolutionary underpinnings of these behaviors -- and might understanding what's behind their actions give women a shot at better communicating with the Mars set?
We think so. To really comprehend the "basic male code" and to uncover what women most often misunderstand about men, we called on two renowned experts in gender development: David Wexler, Ph.D., founder of the Relationship Training Institute in San Diego, and author of When Good Men Behave Badly, and Terrence Real, founder of the Relational Life Institute in Boston, and author of The New Rules of Marriage.
AOL Health: What do women most often misunderstand about men?
Wexler: Women often don't realize how much power they have in men's lives. A man is very sensitized to how he is viewed by the key women in his life -- his mother, his girlfriend, or his wife, for example. Many women don't understand how their level of approval or disapproval -- their look of love or disgust -- can deeply affect a man's sense of well-being, connection, and value. This is not a power that women necessarily seek out: Most women are not power freaks who want to control men. Rather, it's a power that women are stuck with. And yet the more that women realize this, the more it can sensitize them to why a man is reacting in a certain way. Women sometimes fall into criticizing a man's efforts by saying things like, "You're still not doing enough." That's a psychological buzz kill that discourages the man from becoming the man you would like him to be. But here's how she can use her power in a constructive way: Catch him doing something right. You might say, "I really appreciated how attentive you were at dinner tonight" or " It really means a lot to me to see how you're relating to the kids -- even though you were frustrated, I think you really handled it well." Those kinds of words just make a man swell up with pride -- and that's much more likely to bring about the desired result.
Read more from AOL Health:
- What Turns Men On? The Smell of Pumpkin Pie, Researchers Say
- When It Comes to Health, Men Are the Weaker Sex
- It's a Guy Thing: Study Shows Why Men Shut Down During Fights
Next: Find out why men are so obsessed with sports and competition...