“He just does not listen… He doesn’t even try to understand me; let alone talk to me… I can’t talk to him anymore”.
“She says I don’t listen; I try to be supportive but it’s never enough. I constantly feel rejected, like I’m not good enough”.
Does this sound somewhat familiar? We all want to find a relationship with true compatibility and a deep connection of the body, mind and soul. I believe this is achievable although sometimes, we expect that connection to just happen, rather than realising that perhaps we need to put in a little work in order for two complete individuals to share that harmonious coupled existence.
At one point or another most couples will find themselves in conflict; not to worry as this is natural for the progression of any relationship. Early on in a relationship, conflict can occur for a variety of reasons, mainly because each is exploring whether they are compatible by means of expressing their values, drives, goals, beliefs, seeing if it fits with the other.
Conflict in relationships can escalate from something very simple, often a misunderstanding of the others perspective; It is important to remember that as an individual, you hold a unique perception and method of understanding. More importantly, it is crucial to bear in mind that men and women differ quite drastically in how they interpret certain situations. Therefore we sometimes have to step outside of ourselves and try to understand the other’s perspective rather than assuming everyone thinks with our own logic.
It is said that men are from Mars and women are from Venus, so I guess a clash in communication is bound to occur. Perhaps by understanding where the miscommunication arise, we can spot them, and prevent that awful escalation. So, let’s look at two examples of the most common forms of miscommunication that arise in many relationships.
Men in their caves
Okay ladies, if your partner is quiet, feeling down and does not respond to your support, then it is best to leave him alone and give him his space. According to relationship expert Dr John Gray, author of “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, when stressed, men often retreat into what he describes as a ‘cave’ – their own means of a quiet sanctuary where they can relax, wind down and recharge. What is important to know here is that wanting to spend time alone does not mean he is neglecting you or does not want to be with you. Men and women differ when dealing with emotions and stresses; women usually like to talk about their problems and be heard while often men prefer to pull away until they have managed to find a solution to their worries; that is not to be mistaken with neglect or disinterest. Don’t resent him or take it personally as fighting with your partner or trying to force him to open up will further make him want to retreat into his cave.
The Blame Game
Gentleman, here is something you should know by now: women like to talk! When stressed, women will express their frustration through talking; most likely to the person they feel most comfortable with and closest to - you. Take this as a compliment and keep this in mind. Next, remember that they are venting their anger and frustration toward you, not at you – there is a big difference here that is often mistaken. As previously discussed, men like to solve problems. They don’t usually talk and express just for the sake of it – they have a goal in mind to fix the issue. Women don’t always share this same goal; talking is sufficient enough for them to feel better therefore by trying to ‘fix’ her, you accidently overlook her emotions and focus on the end goal, making her feel like you are not listening which in turn makes you feel blamed for her anger. Women just want to be heard and reassured, all you need to do here is listen and respond to her emotions, not her words.
References: Gray, J. (1992). ‘Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus’. USA: Harper Collins.