Why We as Women Need to Ease Up On Men.

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About Tamara Star

Tamara Star believes we are meant to be happy and she's cracked the code for helping people experience happier, healthier lives.
If you let her, she’ll show you how to take the life you’re living, and turn it into a life you’ll love.

Tamara is an author, life coach, speaker, and the creator of the original 40-day personal reboot program for women—a 6 week virtual deep dive into clearing the slate of what no longer works and creating a bridge leading to a happier, healthier, more abundant life.

Whether you've recently gone through a break up, or you need to break up with what's no longer working in life, Tamara will uncover the changes needed to so you can find your way home to you again.

Her global reach inspires over 30 million people a month, in twenty countries, through her programs, newsletters, and teachings. She’s spent over twenty-five years as a straight shooting guide delivering intuitive truth while utilizing traditional and non-traditional methods to get results.

With one foot deeply rooted in the world of mainstream business, psychology, and coaching, and the other firmly planted in what many consider the alternative healing world of energy, Tamara successfully bridges the two together, creating a perfect strategy for getting results in your world. find the description of her program here

For coaching or to connect with her: site, Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Her 1st book How to Survive a Break Up and Come Out Thriving is available on Amazon here.

Tamara has been featured on The Huffington Post, The Elephant Journal, Twine Magazine, LinkedIN, The Good Men Project, News.com Australia, Yoga Anonymous & numerous radio shows.

Comments

  1. Tamara, another article from you I really enjoyed. Thanks for the point by point tips that clearly out line effective guide points. I don’t think we can ever be reminded too much to simply have patience with one another. Especially since it’s so easy to loose it. I know in the past that I’ve been frustrated by an ex boyfriend’s inability to understand what I’m saying or communicate with me the way a female friend would or my Mom would. Even while at the same time understanding that it’s probably for these exact differences that I’m attracted to him to begin with.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @erin Thank you and I really appreciate the intelligent comment stream I’ve seen from you. You bring good insight into the conversation.

    • Just on the topic of gendered communication….be direct, very direct when communicating. No hints, no reliance on body language, say exactly what you need. I wishhh people did this more!

      • Being direct is wonderful. However, I’d prefer we didn’t demonize those smaller cues, body language and signals that are very much a part of our non-verbal communication. How about we meet halfway? More direct communication and perhaps access knowledge in the art of non-verbal communication.

        • @Erin…,men have criticized,on this and other threads, the exclusivity of the verbal communication metric that women use to define communication,to no avail.Reality says that we communicate using a variety verbal and nonverbal cues.Many experts say that up to 90% of communication is nonverbal. We,being the animals that we are,communicate instinctually nonverbally all the time.I believe most women very skilled at this.Often times they deny the meaning of and the use of these nonverbal cues.Denied or not humans communicate a wealth of info without saying a word.When it comes to communication, good faith is hard to find.Why listen to someone pontificate endlessly on communication who only understands a small aspect of it?Shouldn’t one know what they are talking about before giving advice and making demands?This illustrates precisely one of the biggest communication issues between men. Women see themselves as expert communicators.Women are not communication experts because;1)they talk a lot about their feelings…can’t keep em’ quiet really. 2)Women are not better communicators because they are women.This nonsense is especially irritating and will shut men down making them defensive too.3)they think their feelings are more important than a man’s.4)see numbers one,two and three.

  2. wellokaythen says:

    There are at least two big related issues here about social/cultural conditioning. One is the way that men have been taught to express their feelings to other men and society as a whole. The other is the way that men have been taught to express their feelings to women or in intimate relationships. When men are in a situation of sharing feelings with women, it can be a very different kind of dynamic than any other situation.

    Men who appear to be emotionally closed down when talking to women are not just acting out machismo or stoicism or some kind of neurotic desire to control something. They aren’t just stuffing their feelings deep down. Sometimes a man is reluctant to express his feelings to a woman he cares about because he’s afraid of the effects on HER, not just his own vulnerability.

    There’s a warped variant of “chivalry,” for lack of a better word, that suggests that saying anything that makes a woman upset is just inherently something bad. So, many man are circumspect about their own feelings because they’re worried about upsetting HER feelings somehow. Saying something that makes her sad or angry or upset means that you’re a “bad man,” so he avoids the risk of doing that by not talking about his feelings. That’s a warped way of acting in a relationship, but when you’re stuck in that dynamic it can seem perfectly logical at the time.

    I know I was like that for a very long time, without even being very conscious about it. I seemed to create relationships with people who simply reinforced my shut-down role, though they were probably not conscious of what they were doing, either.

  3. Tamara, I read your post AGAIN. And it’s still as good as it was when you published it. (grin) And tonight, I wrote a small portion of my side of the shame/vulnerability picture. I hope you enjoy. Of course I linked back here to your wonderful post. John McElhenney

    http://wholeparentbook.com/asking-men-to-be-vulnerable/

  4. Richard Aubrey says:

    Talked to a MSW family/marriage counselor about twenty years ago. He had a case where, among other things, the wife didn’t think hubby was interested in women because she’d never seen him checking out the hot ones, of whom one lived across the street or something.
    He said staring, checking out, or ogling, were all rude. So he didn’t do it.
    Boy, that’s a toughie.

  5. John Anderson says:

    Hi Tamara, great article, as I’ve read both article comment threads I think there are a few things that could be added to the advice given to women about how they should approach their men.

    * Listen to what he has to say. Hearing is not the same thing as listening.
    * Believe what he has to say. Don’t assume you know him better than he knows himself.
    * Accept what he has to say. Getting a man to open up does nothing if what he has to say gets ignored.
    * Don’t misuse what he has to say..

    Nothing will shut a man down faster than when he has communicated his feelings to his woman and she ignores, disbelieves, disregards, or misuses what he’s said.

    My two cents.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Brilliant John. More than 2 cents actually…that’s worth 2M

    • How strange that all these same points could be applied to women as well… oh wait, we’re people too! Well, damn, maybe none of this has to do with gender, and it all is just about respecting other human beings as people.

  6. Adam Blanch says:

    How nice to hear a woman speak about men as if they were human beings instead of a convenient scapegoat for women’s pain. Also nice that you don’t claim to ‘know’ what men’s experience is but mainly express your opinion as your own.

  7. Finally. Thanks for sticking up for the other half! Hope it becomes a trend. We’re not all bad…have our faults…but who doesn’t?

  8. A very good insight and thanks for sharing. Whilst my father led the way to teach my brother and I that “real men don’t cry” when we were growing up, he led the way in showing his emotions as he got older. He stopped saying the former and showed the latter. I’ve always been emotional (that is what you see is what you get regarding how I am feeling) and crave, at times, opportunities to open up to my wife. She asks occasionally.I hope she asks more – like daily.

    Many men are kinaesthetic so we struggle to put words to our feelings. I do. According to some socioathropological studies women are far more developed at communication because in previous years women were the gatherers and did so in groups. A great forum for communication. Men were the hunters. Speaking openly put the hunt at risk. Hunting was done in silence for the most part. If not, no one got fed. As a result, men have a few centuries of catching up. Apparently, men speak on average of 15,000 words per day and women 25,000. We use fewer words and are result focused. We say what we need to say mostly in as few words as possible. We are strategists. We are thinking ahead of what the ramifications will be of what we say and do. In short, we may look like ducks but our feet are paddling.

  9. I had to stop reading all these comments by women that think they have a bone to pick with this .. Maybe you guys missed the beginning of this article:

    “This isn’t about the men that hurt on purpose, men that rape, or men that abandon their families. This is about the average Joe, the guy that loved his mama, tries his best and is still mystified by those of us that are female.”

    I know you’ve been hurt, you know we’ve been hurt.. so let’s both put the swords down. Geez. Just recognize who is worth your patience and support, and who isn’t. Walk away from those who don’t.. but with those who do, stop perpetuating the cycle. And, trust. We all want to. Thanks.

  10. Thank you Tamara.
    I recently came out of a relationship with a massive communication break down,
    I couldn’t say what I wanted to say in the heat of battle quick enough, the topic would go from one thing to another and I just couldn’t process it all or keep up. It got the point where I was so lost with it all, I just shut down. I thought there must be something wrong with me, I can’t communicate properly or I don’t have the attention span, I couldn’t work it out.
    I love her still even though she is now gone, but it won’t work with the communication the way it was.
    I’m glad you have she’d some light on this topic for me, and that I’m not the only guy out there in this same situation.
    Thank you for making me feel a bit normal. :)

  11. From the comments, it sounds like women still don’t get why men are shutting down and opting out. Do yourself a favor and read Dr Helen Smith’s “Men on Strike”. Thinking of us as “men that hurt on purpose, men that rape, or men that abandon their families” or, as indicated in this article, “men that need their mommy” may play well in your feminist critical theory classes, but you’ll end up alone with 8 cats for the rest of your life.

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/06/19/why-men-are-going-galt-a-review-of-men-on-strike/

    • Kloi Dav. says:

      What’s wrong with cats anyway? A lot of women don’t want to marry and the more time passes the less they will want to. In fact, in some Euro Countries and Japan, for example, men are the ones suffering – they want to marry, women don’t. They don’t NEED to marry just like men don’t.
      Also they still could adopt a child, get pregnant (artificially or not) or get a dog or bird lol.
      But really, trust me: there’s a lot of men that wold marry the worst witch in this world because that would make sex a reality, so don’t try to shame women with this sexist tact, it doesn’t work.

      • jasonlyle says:

        why do you feel its shameful ? This is supposed to be enlightening, not to be offended by.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ Kloi Dav

        “But really, trust me: there’s a lot of men that wold marry the worst witch in this world because that would make sex a reality,”

        To a large extent this is because society (mostly pushed by women) have made prostitution illegal to maximize women’s sexual power. Why do you think (mostly) women are against pornography? It reduces their sexual currency. Women themselves will tell you that it’s something they have to compete against.

        We should however look at what’s healthy for individuals and society as a whole. Japan is suffering a major labor shortage. Bringing in people for outside will change their culture (I’m not taking a position on whether this is a good thing or not. Just pointing out that it will happen). From what I understand about 25% of young men and 40% of young women report not being interested in sex, not just marriage. When 25% of men are not interested in pre-marital sex, that signals a serious problem in my mind.

        • Actually, there is plenty of research out there that shows pornography is hurting all of us through our relationships.

          And I’m not sure where your theory comes from, but the outlawing of prostitution and pornography was driven by religion – which is led rather exclusively by men.

          Wow are you off-base.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ Natalie

            Actually, many of the earlier religions were fertility religions that didn’t have a problem with prostitution I’m not sure that even the 3 monotheistic religions explicitly forbid it. It’s most likely a cultural or political decision that some choose to mask as religion. Why would that be? The “religious” tend to want to outlaw ALL pre-marital sex not just prostitution. That way the church controls marriage. They also control sex.

            So why has society in general decided that only a small instance of pre-marital sex is wrong? Why has this society also looked at only this particular act of consensual sex outside of marriage as wrong?

          • religions may be superficially led by men, but the fact of the matter is women make up the majority of churchgoers. The male “leaders” are really more like figureheads, especially in Protestant churches.

        • Prostitution was made illegal because of the feudalistic patrilineal property system (you know how much trouble the “bastards” in Game of Thrones cause, right?), which turned to religion as a cover story to make the case to serfs with no property. This turned it into an emotional issue, which has been hard to evolve past. How much sense does it make that women would want to be seen as some kind of sexual bankers? This phenomenon creates an expectation among men that women owe them sex, converted into a commodity rather than an activity, as some twisted social contract, which leads to all kinds of horrible situations. Sexual power is not real power. Military and monetary power are real power. Lysistrata is fiction. Sorry, but you’re just calling women whores. It’s bullshit.

          “Going Galt” means withdrawing from society, not to amuse yourself to death and refuse to accomplish goals, but to create your own better society. Women have always had terrible stereotypes (weak, stupid, passive, mean, volatile, greedy, amoral) about them. So have men – it’s just that in the past, destructive qualities were presented as virtues (violence, disposability in wars and industry, heartlessness, greed, etc.). Realizing that these horrible stereotypes are, in fact, horrible, is a step in the right direction. No longer do you have to repress your anguish, die inside, and stoically mold yourself into Don Draper. Be free.

          While there are very few gender essentialist ideas that hold up, higher activity level and aggression in boys and men is consistently observed. This means that they need more attention in the classroom, and more physical activity. These qualities are being phased out of schools, not because schools are trying to teach children to work together, but because we are refusing to invest in our schools. Conservative and MRA ideals, which are anti-feminist, almost always support this. Why?

          This is just one example of the disconnect from reality that book you referenced has. I know it’s based on how men feel and perceive the world, but how did it get that way, when:

          - Divorce court often tends to side with women based on judicial decisions, not the law, and judges are more often old white men with rigid ideas of gender – ideas of gender that MRA’s and conservatives usually support.

          - There are copious instances of universities covering up rape.

          - There are plenty of male spaces (sports teams, men’s groups, musical groups, lots of sports bars, fantasy football, lots of gaming guilds, hunting/fishing, gyms, strip clubs, etc.) for men to go. If there are none in your area, start one. Male-only business associations are off-limits for ethical reasons, however, because livelihood is too important to take away for some people’s social recreation.

          Technically letting women in does not strip it of being a male space; in lots of these places, the “no girls allowed” rule is enforced by simply making women uncomfortable enough to wonder why they’re there and leave. The only place I can think of that men are truly technically not allowed is Curves, convents, all-girls schools and camps, and women’s bathrooms. All of these except Curves have male-only equivalents, which basically does because of the existence of boxing gyms.

          A) Is it really important for you to go to these places? and B) Does this not make sense?

          Campus Women’s Centers, which have heard a lot of complaining from MRA’s and conservatives, allow men to be there, but use the alienation principle, like all the male spaces I mentioned. Furthermore, it does not disadvantage men to let women join business clubs, which they need to do to have equality of opportunity. Your argument is equivalent to, “Well, if I can’t go to Curves, you can’t go to the grocery store!” Bulllllllloney.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ chiiill

            I’m not quite sure who you’re talking to. It seems the comment addresses many comments, but I’d like to address some of your assertions.

            Prostitution, rape, slavery (including sexual slavery) has been around for millenniums. If female purity for marriage (women as property) is an important societal belief, wouldn’t it make sense to have prostitutes? That is if men wanted to have premarital sex. So the act is legal, but not socially legitimized. Your child with your slave does not inherit your wealth. Some feminists have pointed out that women’s bodies were effectively used to breed the next generation of slaves.

            If it was simply an issue of legitimacy, why is the act itself banned? To my knowledge slave owners were not punished for raping slaves. Laws were interpreted or passed to keep the offspring as slaves to answer the question of legitimacy. Very few interactions with a prostitute result in pregnancy let alone child birth. The only purpose served by making prostitution illegal is to stop men from having an easy avenue for premarital sex (Yes, women hire prostitutes also, but I don’t think that’s societies motivation).

            “Sexual power is not real power. Military and monetary power are real power. Lysistrata is fiction. Sorry, but you’re just calling women whores. It’s bullshit.”

            Why is military power real power? The threat of it’s use. Why is monetary power real power? The threat that it will be with held. Companies can negotiate prices or get concessions from suppliers if they do a large enough volume and can threaten to go somewhere else. Minimum wage protects employees by preventing companies from with holding money and forcing them to provide additional labor in order to make (hopefully) a subsistence wage. Sexual power can be used either way. If you do or don’t do this, I’ll have an affair with or have sex with X. Strippers use it to make money. Some women use it to get out of traffic tickets or get discounts, etc. Sex can also be with held. If you don’t do this or give me that, I won’t do this.

            You may have a point when you look at levels of coercion especially when it comes to a desire vs a need. So if a person can rent a room for $100 a week, heat it at 60 degrees, shiver but not freeze. If a person only needs 6 hours of rest a day to survive and can live on 5 loaves of bread a week and some water, any wage above $1 or so an hour would not be coercive because they don’t absolutely need it to survive. If society guaranteed each individual 6K a year, money would significantly lose it’s power?

            I think most people would agree that life is to be enjoyed and people limiting my enjoyment in an unfair way is exercising coercive power. Most people also look at relationships as compromise. When one person uses an aspect of that relationship as leverage to gain advantage in other aspects, that’s power. Believing that sex as a gift while expecting a man who doesn’t like to dance to dance with you, expecting him to pay for dates, expecting him to buy you flowers on Valentines Day, etc. and not viewing these as gifts, but entitlement. That’s bullshit.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ chiiill

            “No longer do you have to repress your anguish, die inside, and stoically mold yourself into Don Draper. Be free. ”

            The difference being that men should do this because it benefits them. The stereotype that seems to persist, however, is that men should be able to do this on their own. Women have a problem, we need a societal response or need men to fix it. Tamara suggests ways that women can help, why shouldn’t they?

            “These qualities are being phased out of schools, not because schools are trying to teach children to work together, but because we are refusing to invest in our schools”

            Wrong, society has made the choice to medicate this. They have chosen to “convert boys into girls” so to speak rather than attempting to address the needs of boys.

            “Divorce court often tends to side with women based on judicial decisions, not the law, and judges are more often old white men with rigid ideas of gender – ideas of gender that MRA’s and conservatives usually support.”

            Then why do feminists, if they are as progressive as you claim, oppose laws limiting judicial decisions (joint parenting) while simultaneously advocating for laws like mandatory arrests in DV cases because it limits police discretion? Could it be that in one case the victims are men and in the other case the victims are women and even if they’re not they know the person arrested will be a man?

            “There are copious instances of universities covering up rape.”

            That sucks. I also think it’s worth noting that there have been many men who have been raped, many by women. Just because these rapes were unreported and not covered up doesn’t make the problem less severe or less worthy of a societal response. Just wanted to point that out especially since you wrote this “Campus Women’s Centers, which have heard a lot of complaining from MRA’s and conservatives, allow men to be there, but use the alienation principle, ”

            It sucks just as much that men don’t have the support systems to even report being raped. It’s sad to think that getting to the coverup stage would be an advancement.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ chiiil

            As far as male only spaces go. There are many more women only spaces. I’ve heard male survivors of rape who’ve contact rape hotlines only to be told that they only assist women. There was the story of the guy who wanted to get tested for breast cancer and was turned away by a women’s clinic. He contacted a news organization that contacted Komen who set up an appointed for him at a Komen funded organization. The lump was already fist sized. If an unaccompanied child is on an airplane, guess what the seat next to him is, a women only space.

            There are women only swim times and road races. Harvard had adopted a women only swim time without having a similar men only time. There was a huge controversy among runners a few years back when men started winning women only races. There was more sexism involved than “exclusion”. Some men were denied prizes. Others started in positions so far back they could not possible cross the finish line first even if they had the fastest time.

            Society demands that women be able to compete with men at the “highest level”. Try to keep a woman out of the NBA or PGA and wait for the feminist backlash. If men started demanding tryouts for the WNBA or LPGA, that would spell the end of those leagues as women’s leagues. Women would still complain even if they capped male participation like they do in coed sports leagues. These leagues pay money so I don’t think the “business is conducted here” really has as much merit as you think. You’re still denying someone a career.

      • actually, Japanese men are the ones foregoing relationships. see: the grasseater male phenomenon

    • Tamara Star says:

      @Fen what a toxic comment this is…I am saddened by your response.

  12. “how to please your man” written by some lady.

  13. Thank you for making this article. I really appreciate having a woman write this and understand men so well. I truly believe in equality and I have been trying to understand women as best as I can. It’s really nice hearing a woman talk about this and express what many men are too afraid to express because of their programming. There are many things in this world that are unfair for women, I truly believe that. Unequal pay is just one of many examples, and beauty magazines would be another example, having to live up to photo-shopped pictures that aren’t even real. But this article highlights some of the problems men face. We grow up in a society where we are told if a man shows affection and love for another man then he must be gay. “Don’t hug other men otherwise you are gay. Don’t cry otherwise you are a sissy. Real men don’t cry.” All this garbage that is forced on us from a very early age and it’s hard to break free from. It’s strong programming pushed on us by the age we can talk, it’s ingrained in us.
    So yes it’s very hard for men to express their feelings because they have been attacked in the past for doing such things. And I believe men can overcome this programming if they can learn to accept that it’s okay to feel, to cry, to love their fellow men. It’s just hard for men to accept this is okay when other men have been telling them their whole lives that “real men” don’t do these things. And obviously there are men out there who are flat out jerks and shouldn’t be excused, but like Tamara was saying there are also average Joes who are just a product of this society they are brought up in. I am a man who wants to feel and care and for the most part I am a very caring person, but I still have some programming to shed but I see other men and the way they act and I am frustrated by their lack of progression. But I understand why some of them are the way they are, and I am also disgusted by some men as well. It’s definitely hard being a man who cares about women when there are so many men who treat women like garbage. Because I get grouped in with these other men, yet I’m nothing like them. You can’t group all men together just like you can’t group all women together. We are all people and all individuals but both men and women have been victims in this society in different ways.

    Thank you for this article. I really appreciate the thought and understanding that went into this.

  14. this was a great article! it made me realize why i do some of the things i do as a guy. thanks for helping me evolve as a human

  15. The Dude Abides says:

    It seems a lot of people misunderstand the relationship setting. INDIVIDUALS want and act differently. The more universals you try and establish the less people you’ll please. There are guys that intend to hurt, rape, etc. and then there are guys that are at the opposite end of that spectrum. There are plenty of women that I’ve met that are just as negative, spiteful, vengeful, and outright sex-craved as men. Everyone is shaped by their pasts and their coping methods are their own: there’s no right way to grow up. I know men that express their feelings better than women and women that are more callused than men. My best advice is approach every person pragmatically; you can’t just throw a blanket over everyone. Get to know people, and do whatever it is that you do – have sex to cope, talk about every intricate detail of every man/woman that’s ever hurt you, what have you – within your own comfort limit, and go from there. It’s pretty easy to establish a read on someone if you ask the right questions. I think the article is pretty on-point if we’re just discussing women being more patient with men.

  16. Paolo De Marco says:

    You have superior genes? Because you have a privileged natural athlete body, or above average IQ, or extraordinary body functions… or it is just because you were born with a penis? Because of men that think they are superior is that we as Humanity do not prosper, we need equality, which doesn’t mean we’re exactly the same, it means we benefit form each other strengths; a superiority complex is out of the question, really 1950′s and we’re over that already: women and men!

  17. Did we read the same article?
    How does the author make men into pets?

    Considering the vast vast compendium written daily of male obligations to women in mass media I am very thankful to see an article detailing female obligations to men. Additionally, I am willing to overlook the (insanely small by my eyes) imperfections in the article.

    Celebrate successes and don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I dare you to find another 3 articles detailing female obligations to men.

  18. Jim

    I am afraid your breed will die out.
    It is not much we can do about that. Selective breeding is the thing.

  19. I read the piece, but only a few of the 300+ comments.

    For my part, I’d rather not be cut any slack. Most women I’ve known do not have any serious problem with men. Being baffled by things many men tend to do is not a serious problem. Assuming that I do those things without any evidence is headed toward serious. Harboring a serious grudge against me because of men is something I’d just as soon know about so that I can take the appropriate evasive action.

    I guess assuming anything about a person based solely on sex is potentially problematic and something we all would be well served to check. By “check”, I mean controlling the behavior that might be prompted by untested assumptions. I’m guilty of both the assumptions and occasionally of not checking them.

    Assessing me as an individual who happens to be a man seems pretty basic. No one does that perfectly, but striving to do it well seems more like common decency, and I don’t want or expect more than that. I think the piece is aiming at a different target, but not at my request.

  20. 45 year old white male here– thank you for this. As a member of Mankind Project, I can tell you that getting in touch with those wounds and expressing our pain in healthy ways (and in a safe environment) is KEY to becoming more open, more trusting, and more accountable in my own life. Thank you again for your insight, Tamara Star! http://www.mankindproject.org

  21. so my issue is, I am always curious and love to communicate with others. So my question is….when my husband is upst or angry about something how do I encourage him to talk about it without it turning into an argument. I just hate not knowing what’s going on, if I’ve done something, or if I can help? But it always feels like he’s angry with me or himself?????? I just hate feeling so helpless. So do I just wait for him to come to me, because most he won’t. And then we don’t talk for day’s and I’ll feel really distant from him. Seems ti maj e the matter worse. Your thoughts?

    • @pain:
      May I suggest letting him brood in the matter first, then when he seems cooled down, bring up the subject and listen, ask questions and maybe help him formulate his feelings. Could be he has a hard time finding the right words for his world of feelings.
      Not interrupting, not going into ‘fix mode’ is key, just as with women.
      Does this help?

    • @pain
      It’s important to remember that many men are not programmed like women, where expressing their pain necessarily makes them feel better. Whether it is because he was brought up by society differently or just because he was wired differently than you, having to express his feelings may be painful for him. I know that some of the times I was most hurt haven’t been solved by talking about what happened or how I feel, but by doing something I love like woodworking or camping and just refreshing my mind and not thinking about it. When men comfort other men, the first order of business is never to express their feelings. It’s to go to their favorite bar and have a drink, or shoot pool, something to remove themselves from the mess of feelings at least for a little bit. Later on the feelings may come out, but only if he’s feeling a little better and feels secure to let his guard down. Telling a man he’s safe to express himself is not the same as making a man feel like he’s safe to express himself. And sometimes he may not want to talk about it all, either because he doesn’t have the words to express how he feels or it just isn’t the right time for him to talk. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been emotionally comforted. In any case, it sounds like your husband is feeling pressured to express himself, which can only compound the problem, and he’s seeing you become frustrated by not being able to help and a frustrated wife is only feeding his frustration. You say you love to communicate, but wanting him to tell you what’s wrong sounds like its more for your sake than his.
      All of that is not to say that you can’t be there emotionally for him and comfort him. Next time he’s upset or angry, try telling him you recognize he’s had a rough day, then try to do something nice for him like cooking his favorite meal and getting a six pack of nice beer, and then leaving it at that. Let him pick the tv show, and later on he may tell you what’s wrong or he may not. Whichever way, you’ve shown him you care about him and comforted him. Whatever you do, don’t say things like “I want to help but you won’t tell me what’s wrong” because he probably already knows what he needs to do, but knowing that doesn’t mean it’s not still a problem. Also, don’t try to give advice after he tells you what’s wrong or help him fix the problem. Men don’t want that, and in my experience women don’t wan that either, but women often don’t realize they’re comforted when a man just listens to them, and men want the same thing. It’s more a human thing than a man thing, but it fits better into a man’s state of mind. If he tells you what’s bothering him, he really just wants a sounding board to get it off his chest.
      This is a great article though to let women know that its tough out there for guys too. Women have been shaped differently than each other by their experiences and seem to want very different things from men, so its good to give men a little leeway as they try to figure you out.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ pain

      I heard a relationship expert suggest starting by talking about a topic he’d like to talk about. In this case, I would think during a time that he wasn’t angry. I suspect that he’d either open up or you can introduce the topic into the conversation.

      From what you’re describing it sounds like he’s under a lot of stress. I would suspect something work related or financial, but it could be health related or related to the health of another. A couple guys I know work through stress by working out. Some guys feel the only emotion they can express is anger (not grief, fear, or doubt) and maybe that’s why he avoids you.

  22. When I read things attributing universal characteristics to two groups of people it makes me wonder if I am missing something. I feel like it is difficult for me to place the behavior of the people I know into two clear categories, myself included.

  23. Thanks for this great article Ms. Star. Judging from some of the comments however, it seems you’re fighting a losing battle.

    • John Anderson says:

      I think people mostly comment when they don’t agree with something said like this comment. I think a lot of the negativity you see is people feeling attacked and feeling the need to defend themselves. There will also be some people who believe that articles presented as one size firs all should be one size fits all, but it gets unwieldy to put all the disclaimers in and they need (I’m guilty at times too) to view it in light of the author’s overall intent.

  24. THANK YOU!!!!

  25. Fantastic! You’ve shared such great insight, things that most women = and men – need to hear. Giving men a chance to open up and share their vulnerability without fear, creating a safe space for them to do so can be the foundation of a beautiful and deep relationship.
    Thank you for sharing this with such grace.

  26. Wow Tamara that was a great read. It really made me think about my upbringing and why I am who I am. I was brought up in an all boys private school where I was taught to be tough and anything less was considered “gay”. Lucky for me one of my best friends is gay and I believe if I had not become friends with him, I would still hate “gay” people as I was taught to hate them from a young age. Seriously there is something wrong with this culture. I remember bring brought up in a culture that was so “anti gay” I feel so ashamed. Even my father, friends, teachers all contributed to this culture of hate. It still subconsciously effects me as I try not to be “gay”. This has put serious strains on my previous relationships as I have shut myself off at the fear of being “gay”. You really have nailed the point which is in my opinion; a typical male is so afraid of opening up to anyone, because of the culture he’s been brought up in, that it is having serious consequences on relationships. Keep up the good work I’d love to date you lol

  27. Thanks for writing this, Ms. Star!
    We need more women speaking out as ambassadors.
    I’d like to add that I’ve found that some western women have a hard time coping with the feelings of their men. Especially handling their own criteria of how much is ‘too much sentimentality’ from a male partner.
    Also, men don’t express certain feelings but act them out, other men understand and recognize this. These feelings will be handled differently by women in general and seeing men not handling these feelings the same way makes these women think we’re not handling them ‘the right way’.
    For instance, sometimes I’ll brood on a problem and wait till my intuition comes up with a solution and then I’ll act upon it.
    I just won’t need to talk about it. Many women find it a problem and call ‘we don’t handle our feelings’ well. The only difference is: we don’t talk about these feelings because we trust we’ll recognize the problem and fix it – by ourselves.
    Women on the other hand will often need to talk about certain feelings to their friends and only by speaking about them and hearing opinions will they recognize the problem and fix it. They stay in the ‘what am I feeling?’ and ‘am I normal feeling this?’ phase much longer. Men seem to almost skip this phase or in any case, not talking about it loudly and elaborately.
    We just need our woman to understand this and not arrest their love or patience during this phase. We’re just men being men this way.
    Internet hugs to both genders!

  28. C.J. Hayes says:

    We, as women, can be patient when men talk with us, give them time and space to express themselves and understand that they don’t communicate like our female friends.

    -Correct. We don’t hum and haw and speak in double meanings. We say what we mean and we mean what we say. Talking to us is an exchange. You speak, I listen. I speak, YOU listen. That’s where the breakdown usually happens. You assume we weren’t listening when we were. And when you do that, we shut it off. Not because we were “embarrassed”. But because we’re frustrated with you.

    Bantering with girlfriends and talking over one another is common behavior when we gather together, but a man’s sharing is a different process. Men don’t jump from subject to subject. It’s not that they don’t want to share with us, it’s that often when they try to, we jump in and interrupt the flow

    As stated before, it’s an exchange. But a vast majority of women seem to be so in love with the sound of their own voice, it sends the message that they’re not listening. So, if you’re not going to listen, what’s the point in speaking?
    .
    We can count to 10 in our heads when they stop talking and give them a chance to speak again because 9 out of 10 times, they will.

    Not always, but it’s a nice gesture to consider.

    We can have patience.

    Yes, please be patient enough to let us finish our sentences. We don’t interrupt you, so stop doing it to us.

    We can understand that a closed down reaction during a fight is most likely embarrassment and pain as our men realize they’ve disappointed us.

    WRONG. We’d rather not get into a verbal altercation with you. Because we’d rather avoid saying something we did not mean. If that means silence, so be it. It’s the most sensible choice.

    We can take a step back and not take the lack of immediate communication as anger and instead, take a time out.

    That’s exactly what’s going on here. We’re giving you a time-out. If we’re angry, we’ll tell you. Don’t worry about that.

    Most importantly we can remember that our man is not going to be like our female friends. Changing men is not the goal. Even if we successfully changed them, chances are we wouldn’t be attracted to them anymore.

    You finally figured this one out? It’s about goddamn time.

  29. “The women I know all agree that witnessing an empowered man opening his heart, despite his wounding, and putting it all out there in a vulnerable way–is sexy.”

    I object to having to be empowered in the first place. I am not empowered and it isn’t something i demand from myself. The whole idea of appearing powerful is annoying. No one has power. We are all the same weak, needy, lost human beings struggling through this life and we should appreciate seeing each others weakness and find comfort in that. Male or not I need as much protection as you do – i am talking emotion here – and empowerment is nothing one just inhibits, it’s something attained between EACH OTHER. A single individual doesn’t have the empowerment most woman seem to seek, at least in my opinion, and i be damned putting on a show to appear more attractive. I want to be valued for who i am, not what i make you believe i am. I am empowered, alright, but i am not without you. That’s just so fundamental, ultimately, i think that’s the only reason we seek each other out (beyond the whole stupid basic drives).

Trackbacks

  1. […] to their spouse and child, don’t particularly complain, and just make it work every day. Those Average Joes may not have the status of other guys, but we‘ve long loved […]

  2. […] recently did a post entitled Why We Women Need to Ease Up on Our Men and openly discussed the ways we women need to pull back a bit and have patience with our men and […]

  3. […] Why We Need to Ease Up On Men – The Good Men Project, Tamara Star […]

  4. […] wrote Why Women Need to Ease Up on Men and Why Men Need to Give Women A Break Too in an effort to foster compassion and understanding […]

  5. […] Article from The Good Life […]

  6. […] Why We as Women Need to Ease Up On Men. — The Good Men Project. […]

  7. […] when it comes to how to interact. One is The Good Men Project, which has awesome posts like “Why We as Women Need to Ease Up On Men,” and “What If He Cries?” but these projects are few and far between with […]

  8. […] A reply to: ”The women I know all agree that witnessing an empowered man opening his heart, despite his wounding, and putting it all out there in a vulnerable way–is sexy. Sexy, but not easy. Most men have been shamed in the past for asking for what they want. They’ve been shamed for wanting sex, shamed for feeling attraction and shamed for their vulnerability. It’s an uneasy playing field out there, actually a mine field when you think about it.” Tamara Starhttp://goodmenproject.com/the-good-life/why-we-as-women-need-to-ease-up-on-men/ […]

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