The fighting man or feeling man. In my last post, I spoke about both. But I did not speak about another kind of man – the Fixer.
He shuts off feeling by trying to fix. He’s the solutions guy. He’s super logical. And yet often a woman feels empty with him, wondering, where’s his heart?
When she talks about how she’s feeling down, or she has no time, he tries to fix it.
Well, baby, let’s see if we can get you more childcare. Then you can take better care of yourself.
Many women struggle with this part of the man. What they really want is connection.
I wish he could just hear me. I don’t need to be fixed. I’m not one of his shop projects.
The Fixer is the subject of the “Nail in The Head” video. It’s hilarious. Check it out if you haven’t seen it.
A young woman has a horrible headache. She’s talking to her partner about it. She’s seeking his attention. She just wants to be heard about her pain.
He looks at her in disbelief. It’s so simple. There’s a nail in her head. At least he sees it. We see it too. It’s clearly there.
But maybe it’s not really there. Maybe we see it because the camera is showing us the man’s point of view.
Is there really a nail in her head? Anyway, she just wants to be heard – about how she has this horrible headache and only if it would go away…. But he wants to tell her about the nail.
“You’re doing it again,” she says. “I hate it when you do that. Stop trying to fix me!”
What’s a guy to do in this situation? Why can’t she see he’s trying to help?
And so guys are just like – WTF? I’m just trying to help you.
But she wants to be heard. She wants to feel like she’s not a project you can fix, but a human being you can love and hold. Her trust relies on it.
So a guy might shift to “listening.” So, he listens and listens.
He either breaks through his “fix it” tendencies and really has a breakthrough or he gets fed up after 10 minutes (he hasn’t said a word the whole time) and screams, “Jeez, babe, I can’t be your goddamn girlfriend. This is killing me.”
I’ve seen many men hit this wall. Why?
Simply, biologically the male brain is wired for action. And when a man listens idly, he experiences anxiety.
On the evolutionary scale, men have two instincts – fuck it or kill it. (Ken Wilber) And when he can’t move into action, panic sets in.
And it’s only in the last fifty years that women have demanded he do something else. Something else typical of the female evolutionary instinct –
Relate to it.
This is a HUGE leap for all men-kind. Millennium upon millennium vs 50 years. Women, get this please– we as men are going through a massive shift.
And guys, yes, our contemporary partnerships demand that we now relate and connect with her. We can’t always pull the nail out of her head. And we need help to do differently.
Below are five ways any man can “kill it” in the listening domain. To be in relationship with more joy, less anxiety, more connection, and sex.
Number One: Stay active in your listening. After a few minutes, ask her to pause, and repeat back to her what she’s saying. “I hear that you’re upset, that you feel I’m not around much…”
This allows you to use your natural “doing” energy towards good “listening” purpose. It helps with that hopelessness we often feel as guys when we’re doing nothing but just listening. We begin to realize listening is doing, and it’s hard work.
Number Two: Don’t take on her stuff. As fixers and rescuers, we men tend to think her problems are because of us. Even if she says it’s because of you, remember, it’s her problem, her challenge. Not yours.
You might be part of the solution, but that can only happen by listening without reacting. And to not react, we have to be in touch with our triggers, hooks, and the little boy within.
When my ex-wife was in a spin, I found myself saying to my inner boy, “She’s freaking out. It’s ok. That’s her. That’s not us. We’re fine. We’re fine, little guy.”
And that allowed me to be ok and stay present with her when I felt like I wanted to strangle her. Really, I wanted to strangle the feeling of anxiety.
Number Three: Listen only when you’re present. Don’t try to listen when you’re exhausted after a long day of work.
Instead, ask for what you need — Can we talk about this after dinner when I’m more present for you? I’m exhausted right now.
Listening when you’re present and have energy is respecting yourself and her. It’s also called healthy boundaries.
Number Four: Fire your superhero fixer. Release the burden of making her better. It’s not your job. You don’t have to make anything better. Breathe. Relax. And hear her. Listening, without fixing, is a gift for you too. No need to take on so much.
Number Five: Create a time container. Yes, guys, we know she’ll talk on and on if you allow it. It’s how she processes. And it drives us mad. Start out with five minutes. Even set a timer, then speak back what you heard, then ask, is there more?
She’ll go for it when she sees a set container of times allows your male mind to stay in the game.
That’s it. That’s how you kill it for her. Oh, and one more thing. A big one for the women out there.
While you don’t want us always to pull the nail out of your head, remember that fixing is how we as men often show our love. Try sometimes to accept it. Receive it. Open to it. It’s our gift. We feel loved when we can give it to you.
And somewhere in the middle, between listening and fixing, we shall meet to grow, love, and cherish one another.
Originally Published on StuartMotola.com