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Relationship puzzle #1: Men and women feel things differently

young attractive couple have an argument over something, outdoor shootMen and women feel things differently. Isn’t that the truth you might be thinking. Emotional habits are part of our social conditioning and it’s an accepted truism that boys and girls are conditioned, from an early age, to behave – and respond differently. Gender differences emerge at a young age. Little girls are often encouraged to be empathic, to be kind and sensitive to other people’s feelings. Little boys on the other hand are congratulated when they show strength and leadership skills.

But it’s not as simple as that. There are crossover points for girls and boys and men and women. Some women are tough and don’t show their emotions easily while some men are sensitive and can be moved to tears publicly. Yet, one of the most common complaints by women about their men is that the men don’t freely express their emotions. Men, on the other hand, often express surprise that women need to talk, often at length, about their emotions and process their experiences. Sound familiar?

These gendered patterns and the relationship puzzle they create can cause confusion and dissatisfaction. A good way of understanding the differences in patterns is by reflecting on your own emotional habits. Perhaps you’re quick to temper if things don’t go your way. Maybe you’re a bundle of nerves before giving a work presentation to colleagues. Perhaps you feel insecure and anxious before a first date.

Reach your relationship potential by:

  1. Recognise the way you react emotionally – think of a specific incident
  2. Try to substitute these feelings with more positive ones that will achieve the outcome you want

By understanding your own feelings and why you react the way you do will make you behave more mindfully in your relationship. It’s not easy changing well-established emotional patterns. Understanding how hard it is to change emotional patterns will help you appreciate how your partner may find it difficult to express themselves in the way you would like.

Being mindful of the range of emotions and the different ways they may – or may not – be expressed will go a long way to helping you reach your relationship potential.

To read more about improving on your relationship see The Rules of Love

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