How Men Think How Women Think, Part Two
Written by Randi Fine
Since the brain drives our emotions, and the brains of men and women are physiologically different in that area, it comes as no surprise that men and women experience their emotions differently. Though they are typically thought of as being the more emotionally expressive of the two sexes, women understand, accept, and manage their emotions better than men do.
Men are analytical, objective and direct. They run for cover whenever they hear words like “emotions” or “feelings;” they view emotion as impassioned, unstable behavior. They do not want to feel emotion, share their feelings, or be within earshot of someone who is expressing them. They have no instinct to call on when dealing with an upset woman. They do not know to handle an emotional woman anymore than they would know how to deal with a schizophrenic in the middle of a psychotic episode.
Men have a tendency to retreat into dark rooms or go to sleep when they are threatened, upset, or need to decompress. When they are in that mode, they want to be alone. They do not want to talk about what is bothering them or discuss their feelings in regard to the issue. They do not want to process their thoughts; they just want to mindlessly sit at their computer, listen to music, watch television, play video games, or stare into space for awhile. When left alone, they will soon feel better and resume interacting with others in their normal way.
Women need to express their feelings and be heard in order to come to terms with them. When women are upset, hormonal, depressed, or tired they want love, compassion, and understanding. They want and need extra attention from their partner, even when they are acting irrationally or are out of sorts. During these episodes, a man tends to want to leave the woman alone because that is what he would want from her if the tables were turned. He does not know the first thing about how to handle her mood swings.
Guys–here is a tip you better learn quick; leaving her alone when she is upset will only intensify her mood and make her feel unloved. Just hug her and tell her, “Everything will be okay. We’ll work it out.”
The funniest portrayal of a similar male/female dynamic was on the Everybody Loves Raymond episode from season four called “Bad Moon Rising?” When Debra is hypersensitive and annoyed at everything Ray says and does, he recognizes her behavior as PMS and knows the insanity he is up against for the next few days. Attempting to head it off at the pass and make his life easier, he gets a bottle of PMS remedy pills and suggests that Debra take them for her “ladies days.” But that only makes matters worse. At the mention of the pills Debra blows a gasket. Her irrational behavior, switching between needy sobbing and devil-possessed raging, continues for several minutes and in no particular order. Ray does not know how to handle her. When he tries to comfort her she pushes him away. When he backs off, she snaps at him for not hugging her. If you have not already seen it, I suggest you Google, “Bad Moon Rising,” and watch it. It is classic and it is hilarious.
It is funny to think about the quirky differences in the ways men and women think and do things. There are certainly exceptions to the tendencies, but here are some stereotypes we tend to think about when comparing the sexes:
Women notice when something is dirty, nearly empty, or out of place, and then do something about it. Those things are mostly invisible to men. Women recognize when the toilet paper is almost out and will replace the roll immediately. Men will wait until it is out and then yell for someone to bring them a roll. Women remember the dates of special occasions and buy cards and gifts ahead of time. Men remember at the last minute and then panic and run to the store. Women put things on the bottom step of the staircase to carry up next time she has to go upstairs. Men just step over the pile until they are told to pick them up. It is important to a woman to have lots of closets and storage space. Men do not care–they would rather leave everything spread out where it is easily accessible to them. Men refuse to pay a lot of money for a haircut because it has very little importance to them; a haircut is a haircut. Women will pay anything when it comes to their hair looking good. Men can watch six different channels at the same time and keep switching between them. They will continue to have a death grip on the remote control even if they fall asleep. Women choose one show, do not want to miss a second, and watch it from beginning to end. Women recall every outfit they have worn for the past two years. Men cannot remember what they wore yesterday unless it is on the floor or thrown over a chair.
What women and men do have in common is that they both seek loving, rewarding relationships; they want devoted partners who will love, understand, and care for them. There are differences in what each sex prefers and how they go about getting it, but they both want the same end result. I will first talk about what women want. These generalizations may be typical, but not every woman feels this way.
Communication is what makes a woman feel more intimate and closer to a man. They are looking for their soul mate and are attracted to an immediate, effortless, emotional connection. They want a man who is stable. A man with money is always preferable, though definitely not necessary. What is most important to a woman is that he has the potential and motivation to give her a comfortable life. Most women do not expect to have things handed to them on a silver platter; they are willing or expect to help out financially. They just want to know that the man will pull his share.
Women like men who have a good, appropriate sense of humor. She wants a man who knows how to make her laugh and keep things light in her day to day life, but also knows how to be serious when the situation calls for it. She wants a man who shows interest in her work, hobbies, and passions. Women want to be valued and respected for the choices they make in their lives related to friends, opinions, interests, and health. The man does not have to like everything she likes or agree with everything she does. He just has to be willing to be supportive of her choices, and listen with both ears when she talks about things that are important to her (not yawn like my husband does whenever I talk about anything remotely deep, though he insists he’s not bored and is really listening).
A woman wants a man to show her that she is his top priority by wanting to spend time with her, by noticing the little things that make her special. Cards, gifts, and flowers are icing on the cake and expected from time to time, but what women really need from their men is their time and attention. Guys–look up from the television from time to time and give your woman a smile. You will not believe how much that small gesture will mean to her.
A woman wants to be told that she is loved and appreciated; that her man notices all the things she does to make their house a home. When she cooks a meal that you enjoy, let her know. Guys–it is not enough to lick your plate clean. All that tells her is that you were ravishingly hungry. Complements and encouragement go a long way. And speaking of complements, guys–let me tell you, every woman already knows what their physical flaws are. Women may obsess over or complain about their bodies to you because they feel insecure about them. She can say those things but you cannot. A woman does not need to hear jokes or criticism about her imperfections from her man. She needs to be told that she is beautiful; that he loves her just the way she is.
Women do enjoy sex. But a man just lying naked next to her in bed or spontaneously jumping her bones is not going to get her motor going. It is the attention and intimacy a woman gets from her man in their day to day life that turns her on and keeps her sexually interested.
Now let’s talk about what men want in a relationship. In the beginning men want a challenge, a conquest. A woman that comes on too strong, is too available, or is too sexual right off the bat may turn him off. He wants a woman who values herself, not someone who seems needy. His perception of a woman’s value and her level of confidence is what keeps him interested or chases him away.
Both sexes are attracted to those with good looks. If all things are equal, the more attractive person will usually win out. But a man does not need a woman to look perfect in order to be attracted to her. He wants a woman who is feminine; who takes pride in her appearance and is comfortable with herself. A man is not looking for an unattainable goddess. He wants someone who is intelligent and real; someone who understands him, someone he can talk to and trust, someone he can share his favorite activities with and have fun with, and someone he can be intimate with. He wants a best friend and a lover all rolled into one.
Men need to believe that they are the strong one in the relationship. Their security in a relationship comes from feeling needed and appreciated. An overpowering, overly self-sufficient woman makes a man feel insecure and useless. He wants a woman who is tender hearted, expressive; who makes him feel good about himself, and supports his hopes and dreams. A man wants someone who will nurture him, take good care of him, and pay attention to his needs. And just as importantly, he wants a woman who respects his need for space without taking it personally.
Men want the women they care about to be happy and will do anything in their power to try to make them happy. When she is unhappy, he wants to fix the problem. When he cannot fix it he feels like a failure.
Men want to be acknowledged, valued, and praised for what they bring to the relationship. They need emotional support, but they are not very good at verbalizing their needs. That is where a woman’s mind-reading and body language skills come into play. He counts on her to be perceptive enough to anticipate his needs. And speaking of needs, men need sex. In a relationship, sex makes a man feel loved. The more sex he gets, the less frustrated he feels and the more loving he is to his partner.
Men and women were created by nature to complement each other, not to be alike. Though they innately think and act differently, relationships between the sexes do not have to be difficult. Successful relationships are built on the acceptance of gender differences, respect between the two parties, and their ability to compromise with each other.
Though everything in the universe is either male/ female, yin or yang, love is not gender specific. Men and women have the same ultimate goal; to love and to be loved.
This is an excerpt from my November 17, 2011 show on A Fine Time for Healing. To listen to this show in its entirety, please go to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/randi-fine/2011/11/17/how-men-think-how-women-think-reading-the-opposite-sex
Other Relationship Articles:
- Managing Relationship Conflict Part One
- Managing Relationship Conflict Part Two
- Dysfunctional Romantic Relationships
- Compromising Opinions Maintains Close Relationships
- Personal Boundaries Build Healthy Relationships
- Emotional Relationship Boundaries