I did not know how to properly communicate with the men in my life.
I’ve had my share of blunders through sheer ignorance and stupidity. As a result, I’ve read countless sex and relationship books, especially the ones pointing out the differences in the way men and women communicate.
As a sexologist, I’ve been privileged to have had front-row insights into the inner workings and thinking of men. While not all of what I have to share may be true or applicable to all, and there will be some generalisations, surely some of it will be helpful. Please read this in the spirit of my intent to share, to illuminate and to help.
1. He just wants her to be happy.
When a man is in love with a woman and the woman is the centre of his universe, he wants her to be happy. It’s not that complicated. In a mature relationship, all parties know they are responsible for their own happiness. Just because he loves her and wants her to be happy, it does not mean he can be blamed for it all when she is not.
2. He takes it personally when she is not happy.
Men generally process women’s sharing quite differently and can take it personal when it was not intended to be. Oversharing and over-communicating unhappiness can lead him to come to the wrong deduction that he is not good enough, not trying hard enough, feel inadequate and/or come to the conclusion that the woman is too difficult or impossible to please or satisfy. Women should be careful not to shut their man out the relationship through their own downward spiral of negativity.
3. He cannot be her best friend in all things.
It is important for a woman to have her own friends who get her, speak the way she does and do not feel that their energy is zapped the way her romantic love will. She needs to recognise that she needs somebody to talk about him too!
4. He is not a psychic.
Acknowledging, complimenting, praising, celebrating and cheering on a partner should not go out the window just because of a long term relationship. She thinks he knows her and that he should know what she’s thinking. He doesn’t.
5. He is listening to the tone of her voice.
It’s not about what she says. It’s also the way she says it. If she is with a man who is more auditory than she is, he can be more sensitive to the tone of her voice or the choice of her words than she will ever be. Hence she may fail to get why he always seems to be reacting in more negative and extreme ways than she is.
6. His communication style is probably different from hers.
Effective communication is not more communication but speaking in ways a partner can comprehend and appreciate and that may include adapting the preferred communication style or method drastically e.g. being more direct; using shorter sentences; not giving long passages of dialogue at a time; emailing him instead; being mindful of body language; touching him to reassure him when communicating certain news; choosing times when he is more relaxed and open; checking him when it would be a good time to have that important discussion instead of springing big topics on him out of nowhere.
7. He does want to talk about sex.
He just might not have a lot of experience talking about sex. Sex is just another communication topic. Sex does not need to be a sensitive subject. It is only regarded sensitive because we are not used to talking about it. The same knowledge we possess and the skills we apply to communication also applies to all communication about sex. It is less about using the right anatomical terminology but more the tone and the intent behind the words that is important.
What did you think of this article? Discuss this with your beloved. Or your male friends. Were you already aware of these communications insights? If not, what might you begin to adopt in your communication with your partner? I love to hear your thoughts!
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Author: Martha Tara Lee
Apprentice Editor: Yaisa Nio / Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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