Do you have questions about creating intimacy or developing mindful relationships?
Confusing questions? Awkward ones? Deep, dark scary ones?
I want them. Email your questions to: [email protected].
All authors remain anonymous. No judgments, just soulful answers.
Q. I am very good at talking to women regarding why or how men act the way they do around women. That isn’t my problem. My issue is more personal.
I’m 38 and have lived a life of drugs and alcohol. I’ve been sober four years now. Doing things differently. The issue is I tend to wear my feelings on my shoulders. Women seem to want to know what’s going on in my head, but when I tell them how I feel about them, they don’t take it well.
Why do women ask what I’m thinking if they don’t seem to really want the truth? What’s the deal?
A. You’ve already made the best first step to connecting deeply with women by getting—and staying—sober.
The fact that you are as open and sharing as you are is a blessing for those women who want to learn more about men. Just as men complain they cannot understand the nuances of womanhood, women, too, need some help translating the thoughts and behaviors of men. Of course, you are offering your own perspective, and not necessarily speaking of all men everywhere! Still, every bit helps; communication is essential if we are going to truly learn from one another.
This brings us to your dilemma.
It seems as though the women you talk to have no trouble accepting your thoughts about men in general. They only seem to have difficulty when you discuss how you feel about them.
Three possibilities come to mind as I consider your question: Intention, delivery, and content.
Most men cringe when a woman asks them, “What are you thinking about?” Usually, this is because they feel pressure to relay some deep insight or loving epithet that will appease the woman’s sense of curiosity. Their desire to know you better is a positive one, despite the possible feeling that you’re being put on the spot. Finding a way to see their curiosity as a window into your true self (not just generalizations about men) may help you accept their intention and create your own intention to share your heart in a mutually loving way.
You said that you have no trouble sharing insights into the inner workings of a man’s mind with any woman who asks. You may ask yourself how you deliver this information. In other words, what language do you use? Is it inviting while being informative? Is it objective? Kind? Educational?
What do you sound like when you talk? What tone do you use? How might you compare these answers with how you tell a woman what you think about her? It may be, for example, that a more blunt approach is off-putting to a woman, especially when what you’re saying involves her directly.
What’s going on in your head is a virtual Pandora’s Box that a woman may or may not be ready to hear about. If women balk at your candid expression of how you feel, it may be because what they are hearing is difficult. Speaking about general topics (e.g., Men versus Women) insulates us from too much emotion; we can always speak objectively and argue our points. However, when we tell another human being how we feel about him or her, we must be prepared for the fact that he or she may not like what’s being said.
That’s perfectly natural.
Just as we must be honest about how we feel, we must honor that the person who asks may have a different reaction that we might expect or like. The key is to meet our conversation partner where he or she is and continue the conversation. Otherwise, growth and learning stop in their tracks.
There will always be trip-ups on the path to understanding one another. What is essential is that we speak our truths with dignity for ourselves as well as for the person to whom we are speaking. If a woman gets upset about what you say, invite her to share why she feels that way. Listen to her without judgment. Open the floor for discussion with the intention to better understand a fellow human being. Even if you come to an impasse, you will have kept the growth process alive.
Author: Rachel Astarte
Editor: Renée Picard