This month’s article will focus on what men wished women knew about them by listing below just a few ways women can better understand their partners. Stay tuned for Part Two: What Women Wished Men Knew About Them.
1. After all this time, why do women still have such a difficult time understanding men?
Men and women are different. Our brains are wired differently, our hormones are different and our EMOTIONAL NEEDS are different. Men tend to do for women what men need and women do for men what women need. We tend to give what we want to receive. So, in the case of relationships, do NOT to unto other as you would have them do unto you.
2. You say there are key areas that highlight how a man’s emotional needs are different. Let’s start with Appreciation. What do you mean by that?
Men risked their lives for tens of thousands of years, going out on the hunt, protecting their families from dangerous neighbors, handling emergencies, etc. In those days, it was easy for women to appreciate men. Today, women can have jobs and earn good income, society has police and a general sense of safety, and they can even hire a handyman. Women don’t need men as much. Men have sort of lost their “jobs”.
3. So men need to feel needed?
Deep inside a man is a need that what he does has a positive impact on a woman. A man needs to feel that what he does has meaning and purpose.
4. So how can a woman help a man in her life in this area?
A woman needs to show and express appreciation for the little and big things a man does. She should tell him that she appreciates how hard he works, that she appreciates his raking the leaves, taking out the garbage, etc. Appreciation fulfills a man’s sense for meaning and purpose. When a man knows his efforts are appreciated, he is naturally encouraged to do more.
5. Is Trust a key emotional need for men?
A man needs to feel that a woman can count on him. That he’s a can-do guy. And a woman can help by expressing confidence in her man and that she knows he does his best and wants the best for her. Criticism drains a man of feeling trusted. If he makes a mistake, for example, forgets the milk, let him off the hook. A man certainly isn’t perfect, but a woman needs to refrain from making him into a “home improvement project”.
6. What does it mean when men need “Cave Time”?
This is time alone, perhaps reading a newspaper, watching sports, playing video games, etc. Men reduce stress by forgetting about their problems. It’s sort of a mini-vacation. We all know how taking a vacation helps us forget our everyday problems. Interestingly, women reduce their stress by talking about their problems! So women need to understand that men need to reduce stress in a different way.
7. What should a woman do when a man is in his Cave?
Don’t take it personally. Remember, it’s his way to reduce stress. Don’t chase after him or criticize him or he will retreat deeper into the cave. While he is in the cave, a woman must try to do something for herself that will make her happy, then she won’t resent him. By being supportive, she has put honey outside the cave and not vinegar. With this support and understanding, a man will return and be more emotionally available, caring, and loving.
8. How are men like “Rubber Bands”?
Men go through a normal cycle of getting close, pulling away, and getting close again. This cycle is like a very hungry man eating a large meal and feeling very satisfied and then not focusing on food until he is hungry again. Think of a man’s need for emotional closeness in this way. A man also has a strong need for goal-oriented independence. His independence and emotional isolation is what fuels his desire and attraction back to the woman. Like a stretched rubber band, he will spring back.
9. What if his independence and isolation happens over a long period of time and a woman is feeling emotionally abandoned?
A woman’s primary emotional needs are Caring, Understanding, and Respect. A woman needs to educate her man on what her primary emotional needs are in a positive way in order that she feels cared for and number one in his life. It’s the time together that’s most important to a woman. But most women – and men – aren’t clear about what they need and don’t know that their primary needs are different, and this lack of communication and awareness can cause emotional resentment. Women often feel that they are giving and giving and giving and are not getting enough back. They ask, “So why should I meet his needs?” Men often feel, “I’m doing so much for her and all she does is complain.” Men can then give up, believing that nothing makes her happy.
Men and women are different and see the world through male or female eyes. It truly is difficult to understand and accept our partner’s different set of emotional needs. Men and women need education on these differences to help their relationships. Men and women desire to satisfy their partners, but when they miss the mark because of their differences, they can often end up in a frustrated state of resentment and feel stuck.
So if a couple is feeling stuck, and a woman is feeling emotionally abandoned, I suggest they read or listen to couples self-help books together. If the couple still feels stuck, then they should always seek professional counseling and get back on the road to better understanding and communication.
Richard Drobnick, LCSW, DCSW is the Director of the first Mars & Venus Counseling Center in Northern New Jersey with offices in Teaneck, Oradell, and Ramsey. He has been a practicing counselor/psychotherapist for more than 30 years. For more information on Richard Drobnick and the Mars & Venus Counseling Center, please visit www.marsvenusnewjersey.com or call 201-692-0508.