By Shelly Bullard August 7, 2013
In this article, I’m going to talk about three ways men are different than women in relationships. Obviously, there are exceptions to what I’m about to say, but the truth is that these experiences are quite typical, and they often cause problems between us women and the opposite sex.
My hope is that by understanding how we’re different (rather than loathing it), we can work towards feeling more bonded to each other in love.
1. Men pull away to feel autonomous, while women pull away because we feel negative emotions.
As women, it can be difficult for us to understand that men need space from us (even if they love us). When a guy starts to back away, we may worry or panic that we did something wrong. We may think his love has come to an end!
But the truth is, we believe these things because when we take space, it means something is wrong. Men are different from us.
A man takes space away from his woman simply to come back to his sense of self.
Women have a larger capacity for emotional intimacy than men. It’s what we’re made for! We thrive on deeply connected relationships, not only with our men, but with our girlfriends, too.
While men love feeling bonded with us, they also have a strong desire for autonomy and independence. This is part of what makes them men!
Therefore, it’s not uncommon for a man to back away after being deeply connected to a woman. It’s actually a good thing. The space allows him to come back to his sense of self, so he can reengage with you in a solid way.
A man is likely to approach you ready for more love if you can respect his space. Know that his distance doesn’t necessarily mean something is wrong; it’s simply his way of feeling like a man again (which makes him even more available for a deeper connection with you).
2. Men feel competent by making women happy, while women feel met by receiving from their men.
We often don’t realize how important it is for a man to please his woman; a man derives great satisfaction by providing for and making his partner happy.
And women love receiving from their men!
But here’s the problem: women often over-function so much in relationships that we don’t allow space for a man to come forward to do things for us.
If we are the ones constantly making all the plans, cooking all the meals, controlling the schedule, and making sure everything is taken care of, there’s not enough room for a man to be a man. This doesn’t feel good to him; providing is actually what he wants to do!
When women over-give, men take a back seat.
This, of course, infuriates women! But anger is not the answer; sitting back and creating space for your man to come forward is.
Remember, a man feels competent by doing. A woman feels loved by being taken care of.
If you want your relationship run smoother, give up some control and let a man start doing things for you. Everyone will be much happier as a result.
3. Men are more likely to orient to the world with their minds, while women are more likely to orient to the world with their hearts.
We as women can often feel like men don’t get it. And we’re right. They truly don’t understand the world of emotions the way we do.
Problem-solving makes him feel good! Logic makes him feel good! Being mind-oriented makes him want to fix. It’s just how he relates to the world.
And emotions — well, they aren’t fixable. This is why our emotions can feel so frustrating and scary to a man.
The best thing we can do about this difference is respect it.
Women, embrace your feelings. Your emotions come and go, like waves of the ocean. They’re here one minute, and gone the next. This is normal; just let them move through you.
Feelings aren’t easily understood with the mind because they’re an experience of the heart. You don’t have to explain your emotions to a man. Instead, the best way to communicate your feelings is simply by feeling them.
He may not get it, but this doesn’t mean that he doesn’t care. Nor does it mean that he doesn’t want to help! What it means is: he doesn’t know what to do when you are having a strong emotional reaction.
Remember, he wants to make you happy, so if there’s something he can do, tell him what that is and he’ll probably be very willing to help. Some examples might be: hold me, just be with me, listen and don’t say anything.
And — this is important — continue to lean on your girlfriends to understand your emotional experience (because they get it in a way that’s hard for him to do). Don’t hold this against your man; just recognize that it’s one of the differences between us.
The next time you start to feel misunderstood by a man, remember: he’s different than you, which is why you love him so much. The more we can embrace our differences in the world, the more we can all live in peace, harmony and love.