Thursday, June 11, 2009

What Women REALLY Want in Relationships and Marriage, Part 2A, Reader Response on Drama of the Day

This topic of what women want is really waking some people up. Check out what this reader has to say about “sharing the drama of the day,” and how the situation is easier to handle than his experience has led him to believe…

I’m downright proud of the responses I’m getting from readers on this subject, even when they don’t get the whole message, because they’re taking the time to really look at their life and situation and taking the time to discuss it, looking for solutions instead of just ignoring a bad situation and letting it fester and finally erupt.

This reader didn’t include his name, so I’m just going to refer to him as “Steve.” Check him out:

OK. I understand that women do not operate by logic. However, it is beyond me as to why in this scenario Alyson can't take a step back, reflect and say to herself "Gee, he's doing everything else right - all other areas of the relationship are great - I'll just leave him alone on this one." The guy is batting at least .900 by her very own words!!!!! I know it is a "logical" statement to say "you're getting everything else you want, so give the guy a break" - especially since he's not necessarily doing anything "wrong" even in her complaint.

I know in the real world things aren't fair, but having been the guy at the dinner table, I have felt the heat from "Alyson's" complaint and I have always felt it was extremely unfair to be accused of doing something wrong just because I had no dialogue about the day. At least now I know the thought process that has driven me at the dinner table. I now realize that if there were no significant achievements in the day, the day had no value or meaning to me by the time I would get home and I would feel like there's nothing to share. So I guess you could say my "male filter" translates questions like "How was your day" into "Did you have a major victory today?" If my logical search engine doesn't find anything to match that query, then my response is "It was ok". I have returned the search results and that's the end of the story about my day. Then her "female filter" translates "It was ok." into a marriage crime punishable by nagging, poking, accusations and the most tortuous punishment of all - forgetting all of the other really important good things that the male has done.

So why can't "Alyson" just step back and leave well enough alone considering how great everything else is? Is the argument for emotional connectedness that heavy or is there some selfishness included which doesn't allow "Alyson" to look at the situation and ask herself "What is it that HE needs at the dinner table rather than focusing on what HER need is - again considering the fact that most if not all of her other needs are being met??????????????????

My reply:

Good morning, Steve,

This isn’t so much because women don’t operate by logic as because they are wired to do things differently than we are, and don’t realize that we have different emotional scales, different communications methods and protocols, etc., any more than men realize it. Until a woman is aware of how differently we think and communicate, she takes everything that you say as having meant the same thing and been said for the same reason that a woman would say it. In “man-world,” a succinct terse reply of “status quo, nothing to report” is a favor, where in “woman-world,” a terse answer without details says, “I don’t like you and don’t want to share with you because you’re not worth enough to me for me to allow you into the intimate details of my life, so go away.” It’s hurtful at best, and insulting at worst.

Alyson can step back and leave well enough alone if she understands that you are not closing her off and that there was really nothing to discuss, or that you find rehashing a bad day irritating. Women want to nurture the man they love, not torment the life out of him. Women generally don’t find rehashing a bad day irritating; for them it’s like a bonding ritual and a show of support to sit and listen to another’s problems with no expectation of getting involved in a solution; most women are offended by the offering of a solution before all the sharing and dramatizing is complete. You’ll notice that Alyson did acknowledge that the problem may be on her end when she said, “What can I do to make him talk or am I going about it the wrong way, the nagging wife syndrome?”

Remember, our emotional scale runs from extreme negative to extreme positive, while theirs runs from no emotion to extreme emotion without much discrimination between positive and negative. That’s not to say that they enjoy disaster; they simply find the “rush” from crisis to be as “emotionally relieving” as success and celebration.

Women accumulate emotional energy, and if they don’t have some outlet for it, they will create one, and here’s a big hint to chew on: It’s a lot faster and easier to create negative emotional energy than positive. Achievement and success take a lot of time to arrange, at least a lot more time than negative. Next time you’re having a fight over what seems to be absolutely nothing, it’s possible that it’s a real issue that the two of you are not able to communicate effectively about, but it’s more likely that she got so bored that the emotional energy boiling up in her erupted over something insignificant, because a fight over something insignificant is very easy to start and very easy to end when she gets all that pent-up energy out of her system; She can simply say, “I’m sorry, that was silly. It just struck me the wrong way and I exploded,” and proceed to making up.

I know all too well how frustrating this scenario is from personal experience. It was one of the things that put me on the road to doing the research for "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage," and the women in the test group were quite surprised to find out what I just explained, and when they understood that sharing the details of a bad day was different for a man than a woman, they had no problem with being satisfied with a few minor details and a declaration that the rest of the day was something the man didn’t want to discuss as long as there was nothing that threatened the man, his job, or the household, and that he wasn’t trying to hide some on-going problem that they should know about, like his life, health, job, financial security or happiness being threatened.

If you can grasp the significance of 118 women agreeing on something, you’ll understand how important this distinction is: the entire group agreed that women want to know that if trouble comes, the man can deal with it and involve them if they can help, and DO NOT want to be shielded from news of a potential credible threat. They don’t like being blind-sided any more than we do, and most of them are a whole lot tougher than you might think when things get tough as long as you take the lead and keep them informed and involved to whatever extent they can help.

As I wrote that paragraph it immediately put me in mind of a scene from “The Rookie,” the story of Tampa Bay Devil Rays pitcher Jimmy Morris who found that after an injury and surgery that had taken him out of professional baseball for over a decade, he had a 98 MPH fastball and went back into Major League Baseball for 2 years. In the scene, Jimmy is telling his wife that if he takes the offer to enter the minor league team in preparation for the major league performance, it will put too much of a squeeze on the family finances and too much strain on her, and she says, “Jimmy Morris, I’m a Texas woman, and that means I don’t need no man around to keep things running. This is your dream shot, and you go on and take it. We’ll be fine.”

That's paraphrased because I can't remember the exact quote, but the point is obvious. He was assuming she couldn't cut it or didn't want her to have to, and she stepped right up. Mentioning that “some bozo squirted ink all over himself and somebody else got caught being naughty in the supply closet, but otherwise the day was a waste of time,” is a small price to pay for that kind of support, any good woman will gladly give that and more once you tune in and connect with her.

I hope this clears things up a bit for you. I’m not suggesting that you just give in and talk about everything you don’t want to talk about at all. I’m saying that if you and your wife understand each other’s priorities, preferences, communications styles and needs, etc., there is an easy and very agreeable solution to this most common and frustrating problem.

Take care,

There’s not a lot I can add to that, except to say that readers of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" know all of this and much more about how to understand and connect with the women in their life and how to navigate and negotiate these sticky situations so that all this stress and frustration are not an issue for them, and you have the same opportunity for a better life that they have. All it takes is a quick trip to and a few mouse clicks to download your copy of "THE Man’s Guide to Great Relationships and Marriage" and a little time and effort. It really doesn’t get any easier or any better, so go ahead and be good to yourself and your family and get it now. Everybody involved will thank you for it, and you’ll be glad you did.

In the meantime, live well, be well, and have a wonderful day!
David Cunningham

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