It's your turn to listen, ladies.
We all know good communication is the cornerstone of a healthy relationship.
So when communication is lacking, the relationship suffers. We have been told that men and women come from different planets (totally believable) and the fact that we aliens communicate differently just adds fuel to the fire.
Women complain that men avoid talking like the plague.
Men complain that when they try to speak their truth, it starts a fight, they feel dismissed and so they give up and clam up.
We have been socialized (both men and women) to believe that men are callous, don’t have feelings and don’t desire to communicate like women do.
News flash: These deep thoughts and feelings are rarely shared with their partner.
Why? Men don’t talk in relationships — not even with their guy friends. Oh sure they talk, but they don’t talk.
But that doesn’t mean that men don’t feel, after all, they share with me.
Why? Because when they feel absolutely comfortable they will spill the desires of their hearts, just like women do. And it is beautiful. And guess what? They want that too.
So, how do you get the man that I see on my couch instead of the Arctic Ocean that shows up on your couch?
A surefire way not to get it is to ask the dreaded “can we talk” question. Although there are necessary times and places for these requests in your relationship, it does not set the stage for good dialogue. After all, when it comes to communication, it doesn’t matter what you say, it only matters what is heard.
When a woman asks to talk, the man hears: “You did something wrong. I am probably upset and you will be blindsided by a lot of questions you don’t know how to answer. This is going to take a long time. You will not win and you can probably forget about sex tonight too- unless you play your cards right, which you probably won’t.”
Hmm, I don’t want to go to that party either.
But the good news is that your man is trying to communicate with you — you are just missing it and he is shutting down.
The next time your man does one of the following 3 things, recognize that he is trying to communicate something to you:
1. He starts offering you lots of solutions.
To him, this is the same as saying “ I love you.” Your man wants to be the Knight in shining armor who swoops in and saves you from all your problems.
But if you get hurt and frustrated because you didn’t want a solution, you wanted to be heard and validated or maybe you just wanted to vent, then you just missed it. He feels like he failed and he shuts down. And you wonder why he just grunts when you talk?
Next time, tell him what you want before you even start venting. He will happily give it to you and be relieved that he knows just what you want (yes you have to tell him because he’s not the mind reading kind of alien).
And in the future, when he does start offering solutions, thank him for it and start a dialogue about it. He will be thrilled that you value what he has to say and he will open up more.
2. He gets very quiet.
I know this seems counterintuitive — that’s why you miss it. The quiet is just a pre-cursor to getting expressive for a guy.
When a man is dealing with a lot of stress, worry or fear, he gets quiet and retreats to his man cave. If you resist your urge to ask him a million nurturing questions and instead, give him his space or are even just quiet with him, he will open up after he has processed it.
Remember, guys don’t talk to process their feelings — that’s what we women do. Guys process first, and then talk to get a point across.
3. He gets physical.
Simply (and generally) put, when men are in relationships, they use sex to connect and create intimacy. Women need to feel intimate and connected in order to want to have sex.
I know, why can’t we be on the same page?
So when your man is getting physical, he is communicating those desires for intimacy with you. As long as you aren’t in the middle of foreplay yet, this is a great time to talk. This will create the intimacy you need to fuel your desire for him and you both reap the rewards!
Just don’t wait to talk until after sex. Those after orgasm hormones shut him down faster than a speeding bullet (zzzzzz).
Dr. Zoe Shaw is a licensed psychotherapist and relationship expert and consults with clients from all over the world. Check her out at www.drzoeshaw.com for a free session to see how coaching can transform your life and relationships!