Resolving Complicated Relationships

When analyzing some of the challenges women face and the affects of their increasing spheres of influence, relationships came up as a key point of reflection which needs further unraveling. So if we were to understand this shaky business, lets first examine an ideal condition to grasp the interplay of wavering emotional frequencies that strike a chord when males and females interact with each other.In the next post we’ll see how these key takeaways are applicable to other non-personal relationships between two sexes. In this ideal situation we are assuming that both the sexes are at peace with each other and want to help each other grow and prosper. To understand possible problems that may arise in this situation, we are going to rely on American psychologist John Gray’s 26 year of experience as a relationship counselor and conclusions based on his seven years of research on more than 25000 participants.

According to Gray, one of the biggest complain men have with women is that they are always trying to change them. And women often complain that men don’t listen to them. This problem arises because both men and women expect each other to behave just the same had they been in the same position which is wrong because both the sexes are behaviorally very different and so shouldn’t be expected to react the same way in the same situation. For example, when men are in problem, they like to think it through. Women on other hand talk more about their problems. Talking help women better articulate and understand the problem so they can tackle it further unlike men who want to think on their problem in silence and solitude so they can gradually unwind and develop solutions to it. Same situation but contrasting behaviours. This often leads to grievances as men zap through television channels or browse news magazine thinking about their problems at the back end of their mind while women believe their partners are not being receptive of their feelings and are disgruntled adding unnecessary granite to their relationship.

Gray suggests men enjoy problem solving and they want to achieve their success themselves. They don’t want someone else or any woman to achieve it for them.Men usually don’t prefer asking for help unless the person in question is a sage and renowned for his expertise. But women keep on offering unsolicited advice and direction making them feel as if they cannot do it on their own. For women, asking for help isn’t a big deal and giving advice is their way of helping the other person grow.But this just puts off the other sex and creates distance between them. For men being able to accomplish things without the help of other is a feather in their cap. For women having a supportive relationship to achieve what they want is a feather in their cap.Similarly when women express their distressed feeling, men try to offer solution to their problem which makes them feel as if they are invalidating their emotions.

Example:

A wife complains about her inability to maintain work-family life balance. She is aggrieved she can no longer spend the due time with her children. The husband carefully listens and appraises the whole situation and suggests her to quit the job because they are not financially needy and she is on a job out of her own insistence to be a career oriented woman besides a wife.The wife feels as if she’s not understood and her feelings are being invalidated by her husband so she repeats them again.

Result and Explanation:

Husband’s advice has turned on a defense mechanism in wife where she is trying to emphasize the intensity of her emotions and husband just comprehend as if she is over exaggerating and creating an unneeded drama out of the whole thing.This leads to further disagreements and disputes and strains their relationship.

At times more than a solution women want empathy which is a source of great fulfillment to them rather than the actual solution. Similarly, more than the unsolicited advice men just need the trust that they’ll conquer their challenges which is a great motivation for them. Personally, I feel both problem solving and giving suggestions are tools for a healthy relationship but its their problematic timing that can create complications. 

Men and women have different emotional frequencies and tendencies. Every man needs to feel appreciated, trusted and accepted. Not to be needed is a slow death for a man.Deep inside, he fears he is not good enough.Likewise women need to feel cared for, understood and respected.Not to be cherished, is slow death of a woman.Deep inside her she fears she doesn’t deserve to receive more consideration from others.On receiving end, both men and women value their rewards differently. Men like one big solid gift. Size matters. Women like numerous small gifts. Frequency matters not the size. But this can be discounted as an over generalization since I’ve personally known women who would rather prefer one big hefty gift rather than numerous small ones.

As for their love needs, both men and women follow different emotional rhythms. Women are like waves. During their peaks they can be fully supportive,  give in too much love, sacrifice for emotional objectives and not even complain about it. However once their peak lapses, they have regrets about their sacrifices, second thoughts about their choices and little emotional stamina to move on until their emotional peak begins to rise again.Men are like rubber bands.They instinctively feel a need to pull away even when they value a relationship.They pull away to fulfill their need of independence and autonomy.It is not a decision or choice, neither his mistake nor her fault. Its just a natural part of male intimacy cycle.Like a stretched rubber band they distance themselves and then come back again on their own picking a relationship at whatever degree of intimacy it was when they left.Generally a woman’s trough and a man’s need to pull away coincide.This means men sometimes pull away exactly when women try to get close as too much intimacy triggers their alarm bell to pull off and restore balance by automatically switching to feel the need for autonomy.

Knowing these basic dynamics of male-female relationship will help us understand and monitor our own level of emotional maturity and regulate relationships we commit to. Next, the bigger task is to develop an understanding of the application of these basic dynamics outside the context of romantic relationships.

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