Love Between Men, Women Can Be Like Apples and Oranges

Men may feel love more strongly but be less able to express that love.

I’ve read studies about how men tend to fall in love faster and have more emotional difficulties managing a breakup. To add to this line of thinking, a recent Rutgers University study of 5,000 American adults found that men are becoming more interested in commitment and attachment, while more women are seeking relationships with a degree of independence.  So, the stereotypes of women having stronger emotional ties may not be true, at least in present day.

But even when a man feels the emotions of love very strongly, he often expresses himself much differently than a woman.  Generally, he expresses much less of himself. One reason is that our brains are simply wired differently. Women generally have more developed language and communication centers. That’s because the corpus collosum (the communication strip between the two cerebral hemispheres) is more developed in women, allowing women to integrate data and experience subtleties. 

Knowing all of this, why do we women push our men to communicate as we do? We want more intimate talk, more complete understanding, and more communication of all kinds. Are we asking too much? Maybe, at least for some men.

In addition, men may be more private with their deepest feelings, says author and Huffington Post writer Peggy Drexler. She suggests when you have a man who is reliable, kind, and attentive, it makes sense for a woman to stop pushing against the “boulder of biology” to try to make him communicate like you.  Can we appreciate that love is present, and be grateful for our mate’s positive qualities? Can we recognize and even embrace that our man is built much differently than we are?

I think it’s tough sometimes for us to realize when our expectations may be out of line.  I do think that husbands should do their best to communicate effectively and not shut their wives out. On the other hand, wives should probably learn how to speak more succinctly if we hope to keep our partner’s attention.

The bottom line is even if your hubby isn’t writing you poetry each week or professing his undying love before he hits the pillow every night, it doesn’t mean that your marriage doesn’t mean the world to him. Husbands:  Please take a brief minute and tell your wives that her love means the world to you, and that you know you should tell her more. Wives:  Don’t make it into a marathon conversation. Just kiss him, smile and tell him thanks.

Men:  Consider taking this to the next level to other important female relationships. Tell your daughters you love them and you’re proud of them. Tell your mothers you appreciate all they ever did for you. Unlike men, women tend to look for these important expressions as a barometer of the quality of your relationship.

What do you wish your mate would tell you today? Have you asked for what you need?

Photo by photostock courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net.

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7 responses to “Love Between Men, Women Can Be Like Apples and Oranges

  1. I have stopped getting my husband to open up and express his feelings like I do. I have found that it is useless because it is just not him. He loves me in his own way and he doesn’t express it well but after so many years, does it matter? I guess not.

  2. While I do have a man who is ULTRA communicative most of the time, it has been a hard lesson that we just don’t and aren’t going to have the depth of friendship that I do with my girlfriends not only because we are polar opposites, but because we don’t (and can’t) communicate the way I do with my female friends. Good enough is good enough and that was hard for me to accept. I am realizing it is what it is and my expectations had to change.

  3. I agree with both of you. I did much more pushing on this early on in my marriage thinking I just needed to explain how I wanted him to communicate. Despite him being very outgoing, we are different in the way we communicate, and yes, my expecations had to finally get in line with reality. Thanks for your useful comments!

  4. Pingback: Happy Hour from 37,000 Feet | The Romantic Vineyard

  5. Guys stop sharing their feelings when their wives make it unsafe or unfruitful for them to do so.

    If you reject your husbands compliments when he does say you are attractive and mean everything to him, then why would you think he would keep doing that if you reject it?

    Further, if you tell him he shouldn’t feel the way he does, then why would he share his feelings?

    You may be saying to yourself, I don’t do those things. Really? So when your husband comes on to you, do you read that as a sign he finds you attractive and desires you? Or do you dismiss it thinking, how could he want me right now, doesn’t he know the day I’ve had, or how I look, or whatever you are thinking that ultimately invalidates how he feels towards you.

    Or how about when you tell him he shouldn’t feel the way he does about his sports team, or how he likes the lights on or off or whatever? What if you tell him he shouldn’t feel so angry? Or that he should be more angry about what happened?

    All of those are just some of the many examples where you may be telling your husband that his feelings are “wrong” or “inferior” or don’t meet your standard.

    Pretty soon, you’ll be complaining that he doesn’t share his feelings. Remember, he probably did, until you taught him that it wasn’t emotionally safe for him to share with you.

    If you want him to share, you have to accept how he feels and not degrade, belittle or otherwise criticize how he feels.

  6. Tony is right about making it unsafe for the sharing of feelings and many other things. Women do have to learn to accept compliments and then SHUT UP, or better yet give your husband a compliment.

    However sharing feelings is a two-way street that includes the husband putting himself in his wife’s shoes sometimes. Empathy for each other goes a LONG way.

    But on the whole, I agree with a lot of what Tony said. Think before you speak and remember your husband has feelings too :) Women don’t fully appreciate the power they hold over their husband’s emotional well-being.

  7. Tony – thanks for your insight. My husband and I end up hurting each others feelings during fights all the time, even when it wasn’t the intention in the first place. We get so fed up and the anger snowballs, and it’s easy to forget the other person’s feelings.
    One thing that’s helped us a lot is blending conversation and sex – even silently. We use some of the tips from “Conversation is Sexy” by Todd Reed (http://www.conversationissexy.com) like kissing with our eyes open for several minutes. It’s a fun little adventure, and gives us a chance to connect on a deep level. I’d recommend it!

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