What To Do, What To Do?

What To Do, What To Do?

Try this experiment that I have run dozens of times with consistent results. First, using only your imagination, picture your partner coming to you with the statement that follows.

 

“I’ve been feeling distant from you recently because I’ve been holding on to a resentment. I think if I can talk for a few minutes with you I can let it go and get right with you again.”

 

Run this thought experiment in a group of friends, or yourself. Just put out the statement and ask that people simply notice what they are think and feel as they imagine that their partners were making that statement to them. What feelings come up? What thoughts arise? What sensations do you notice in your body? Then, ask that people share their thoughts or feelings about the moment of hearing their partners say this.

 

Now ask your group if this experience sounds positive, negative, or neutral. You will find that 90% of those that perceived it as a negative event, or something to be avoided are MEN. And, 90% of those that would feel positive about that conversation are WOMEN. Men typically feel threatened by the existence of disturbances in their relationships. Women tend to see the sharing of feelings as an opportunity to mend the distant feelings.

 

This fact may explain why women seem to feel even more upset with their partners when they are frustrated in their attempts to talk it out. They are often seen as unnecessarily complaining or critical; when they are actually reacting to feeling as if their partner doesn’t care to help resolve a problem.

 

Unfortunately, men believe that they are saving themselves trouble by avoiding the discussion. The plain and simple fact is that they are doubling their troubles by trying to avoid, minimize, or explain their way out of the situation.

 

The glitch in getting through resentments seems to be the man’s tendency to avoid or dismiss the expression of frustrations by their partner. I wish I had a magic wand to wave and make men more aware of how their avoidance is actually multiplying their woes. But that’s just a fantasy. What I do have is a method of responding to a partner’s feelings without giving up your right to explain your side of the story. You can get a summary of how this is done HERE.

 

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