Women feel taken for granted and underappreciated, perhaps more often than men do. Or at least women talk about that more frequently in my office. Yes, that is a sweeping generalization and not always true, 100% of the time. Having said that, it is true more often than most of us care to admit.
If you say, “Thank you,” and you appreciate her and you initiate conversation (especially about conflict) and you show affection the way she values and you listen without interrupting, she feels emotionally connected to you and everything seems to work better. There is the “to do” list for most men in counseling.
Women are generally not looking for you to fix them, or to play devils advocate, or to solve their problems. If you simply listen to them and understand them, instead of listen to reply, you will get tremendous return on that investment. Add validation and care…
Women traditionally have done more of the work around the house than the man has. Men hate hearing that. They argue that it is not true and they get defensive instead of hearing the sentiment behind the statement. Women tend to feel taken for granted. They are not looking for 50/50, just appreciation and gratitude and acknowledgement. Oh, and the research (conducted by men) demonstrates that men over-estimate the work they do around the house.
Women traditionally do more of the childcare than the man does.
Women traditionally do more of the relationship work (the behind the scenes communication work) than the man does.
When she asks you for help, she is already at the point of being very frustrated. When you refuse to help when she’s feeling this desperate, she tells herself that she cannot rely on you and does not want to move forward. When you rationalize or justify or defend, instead of listening, that is not a strategy that serves either of you.
This is often when the “I’m done” factor comes into play. The story in her head is that if you won’t do those basics, that you do not care for her or value her. She might even think that you don’t even like her.
Put yourself in her shoes-Why on earth would she continue a relationship with someone she can’t rely on? Why would she stay in a relationship if you don’t care about her feelings and her preferences?
In her story, you are telling her, “you don’t matter” when you won’t listen to her.
Women tend to connect by doing what men describe as “complaining about their day.” The man hears this as she is not happy and jumps in to “fix” the problem, because he did not understand the dynamic. She is not complaining, she is relating. She is not broken and does not need you to fix her. Simply listen and listen with the intention of understanding.
When you hear women talk with other women, they often talk about how difficult life is, and they gather together around that. This is a very different process than men do, and it would be wise for men and women to not see their partner- if it’s a heterosexual relationship, as having the same exact mindset and thought process as they have.
Gender communication pattern recognition comes in very handy with the situations.
What would you like us to know about gender communication and what each gender misses?