This week we are continuing on with examining how men and women have different ways of relating to their partner. The book “Why women walk and men talk” has some fascinating insights into male and female behaviour in relationships.
In a couple who disconnected, she may not know that he, like most men, has a heightened sensitivity to feeling shame and inadequacy. (How could she?) His impulse when he feels shame is to hide, so he can’t tell her about it. Instead, he disguises it with annoyance, impatience and anger.
She does not understand that each time she tries to make improvements in their relationship, the overriding message he hears is that he is not meeting her expectations – he’s failing her – which sends him into the pain of his own inadequacy.
While trying to ward off feeling like a failure, he is no longer sensitive to her fear of being isolated and shut out. In the beginning of their relationship, he sensed her need for connection and wouldn’t have dreamed of shutting her out. But now he has no idea that each time he rejects her concerns or raises his voice in anger – purely to protect himself – he’s pushing her further away and deeper ino the pain of isolation.
It’s so easy for couples to slip into this pattern, because the different vulnerabilities that so greatly influence men and women interact with each other are virtually invisible. In the beginning of the relationship, the fall – in – love chemicals our brains secrete make it easy to focus on each other’s more subtle emotions. But once the effects of those chemicals wear off – within 3 to 9 months – we need to make a more conscious effort to protect each other’s vulnerabilities. To do this, we need to understand the different vulnerabilities of men and women and how we manage them in relationships.
Here’s another good news story from our A Table for Six dinners.
S told me she had dated a lot in her 20’s and felt there were plenty of guys to choose from. She settled down and married and was in her marriage for 20 odd years until it broke up for various reasons. She found herself single again and in her late 40’s. S found the dating scene at this age to be very different than when he was in her 20’s. Yes there were men to date, but having the checklist she had in her 20’s just wasn’t realistic now. She didn’t want to date anyone who had dependent children, didn’t have the same interests as she had or didn’t share the same religious beliefs. This proved to be very unsuccessful for S.
Eventually S realised that she could have a strict checklist and be lonely or she could become more realistic and be open to meeting men who could offer her genuine love and commitment even though they might not fit the exact profile she had in mind. S decided to be open to the men she met who were gentlemen and showed interest in her. We noticed the change in her feedback from dinners and about 4 months ago she met R at a dinner. They have been dating since then and they let us know that they are very serious about their relationship and very in love. If S had kept to her list, he would never have got to know R. They have differences but their core values are the same.
We are happy for them and look forward to hearing how their relationship progresses. We love hearing about and passing on our good news stories.
What is the most important relationship in our lives?
Our significant other, our parents or our children may spring to mind. These relationships are significant, but there is one other relationship that is with us all of our lives.
Our relationship with ourselves has a huge impact on our lives. To have a healthy relationship with another, it is first important to love and nurture yourself.
Do you ever have the urge to spend some delicious time by yourself doing whatever it is that makes you happy? It may be reading magazines, watching a movie or going on an adventure by yourself. It’s important to know yourself and what is important to you before you can reveal yourself to the world as someone who knows what they want and believe in.
In her book Prosperity Pie, the writer asks “What if when someone asks you if you are dating anyone, you respond ‘Well I am really involved in loving myself right now’ ” How liberating!
The little voice in our head tries to tell us we are being selfish when we put ourselves first, but it is a brave and smart person who knows and understands the importance of loving and honouring yourself. Everyone around you will benefit from it too.
“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be fund anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
Could you do with some dating optimism? Well the best news is that you are enough just as you are.
If you are clumsy, cheeky, uncertain, crazy, single, gorgeous, unorganised, super tidy, untidy or always late, you are unique and one of a kind. There is no one quite like you.
If you are ever dating someone who makes you feel like you are not good enough, remember that you wouldn’t want to spend time with that sort of person anyway. A life partner should make you feel like you are special just the way you are.
The best news is that once you know that for certain, others will too.
“Be yourself and I promise people will enjoy it. And if they don’t…forget them.”~Mitchell Davis