Discussions Over Men’s Emotions and Why Women Don’t Understand Them

April 2, 2010

This is a copy of a blog post that I subscribe to called Happily Ever After.  Go to the bottom and read that blog first and then scroll up and read my response.  Then leave a comment about whose opinion you agree with.  If you disagree with me, tell me,  If you agree with me, tell me that as well.  I invite all comments

“John Wilder” marriagecoach1@yahoo.com
“Project Happily Ever After” <alisab@ptd.net>
Hey Alisa:
I have to disagree in part with your social worker. Men are emotional.  And yes they do not typically show their emotions.  Men gaurd their emotions more than they do their testicles.
Women make serious mistakes with their husbands and cause them to keep their emtions to themselves.  Women dream about living happily ever after and men do as well.  The problem is that women don’t make it safe for a man to open up to her.  A man wants his wife to be his best friend and confidante.  Unfortunately, when a man says anything deemed the least bit critical of the wife the average woman immediately goes on the attack and teaches the man to never ever do that again.  Unfotunately the man learns the lesson all to well and pulls back like a turtle in a shell.  Additionally, when a man approaches his wife for sex, he is very vulnerable emotionally.  When she refuses him and makes put down comments when he persists it dashes his hopes of happily ever after.  60% of women have their husbands on a starvation diet of sex once a week or less.  The man seethes inside but usually stays around, unhappy.  To quote Thornton Wilder and his play Our Town:  “Most men, live lives of quiet desperation”.
Men also want their wives to be the biggest cheerleaders and most women see it as their mission in life to fix the husband and make critical comments to him.  The man has to rein in his emtions, because if he let them go, he would rage at her.  He feels cheated, denied, undervalued and utterly defeated.  It is my job to try and fix the damage done to the guy’s ego in the marriage.  It is also my job to teach the wife the care and feeding of the husband.
I hope that this gives you some fresh insight into the male psyche and why we have trouble expressing emotions.
Best Wishes
John Wilder
— On Fri, 4/2/10, Project Happily Ever After <alisab@ptd.net> wrote:

From: Project Happily Ever After <alisab@ptd.net>
Subject: Project Happily Ever After
To: marriagecoach1@yahoo.com
Date: Friday, April 2, 2010, 1:04 AM

Project Happily Ever After


When was the last time you saw your man cry?

Posted: 01 Apr 2010 04:39 AM PDT


Why Do Men DO That Is Back!

I’ve been wanting to do a he said/she said blog exchange for a great long while. I did one with a blogger months ago and it was quite successful. For various reasons, however, we could not continue to swap posts long-term.
Enter Ben Klempner, a licensed social worker and founder and editor of Effective Family Communication. Not only can he provide some male perspective here from time to time, he’s also a real, bona fide couples expert. (I just play one on TV).
Check out his post here about men and feelings. Then click over to his blog to get my take on why women want to extract feelings from men. Enjoy!

Why Men Don’t Do Feelings

Recently I read a study that indicated that men are almost as emotional as women. So why is it that women express their emotions much more freely than men? I don’t know if there are any easy answers to this question. I also don’t know if any good would come from a greater understanding. But to venture a guess, it probably stems from cultural conditioning. Take for instance the expression “What are little boys made of?
Snips and snails, and puppy dogs tails
That’s what little boys are made of!”
What are little girls made of?
Sugar and spice and all things nice
That’s what little girls are made of!”
Boys are conditioned to be mean and hide their emotions while girls are encouraged to be nice and easily express their emotions.
Being unemotional is considered masculine, while being emotional is considered feminine. Take for instance a study done in Africa in which a group of farmers slaughtered a large group of alpha male chimpanzees. (They had been making trouble for the local farm animals.) With all of the alpha males dead, the more emotionally expressive male chimps took over the herd. These emotionally expressive males were far from typical. They groomed each other and were not interested in violent confrontation with other chimps. The thing about this study is that it found that the next generation of males from this herd were just as emotionally sensitive and expressive, thus proving that aggressive chimp behavior is not instinctual but a learned and culturally conditioned behavior.
How much different are we from chimps? I suppose it depends on how different we choose to be.
Here’s what you really want to know: How can I get my man to open up?
Understand where he is coming from. Understand that men have been culturally forbidden from being emotional. Just take a look at James Bond. Bond is cool and debonair, he can kill a dozen men and make love to a dozen women in the same day without losing a wink of sleep over it all. (Bond sounds like a sociopath to me, by the way).
Search for more subtle signs of emotion. Knowing that men come from a society in which we are not allowed to show emotions will help you to understand that there are more subtle ways of being emotionally expressive. While your man may not be overtly emotional, he may be very emotional in covert ways (i.e. cheering for a ball team or giving you a love pat). Recognize his covert attempts at emotional expressiveness and join him. Cheer for his team and take in interest in the things he gets emotional over.
Understand his fear. Men often live in fear.  Men are fearful of a great many things. Although they typically do everything in their power to hide this fact from their woman. Know what your man fears, and be sensitive around those issues.
ASK. A lot of times, getting what we want is as simple as asking. Ask your man how he’s feeling or what’s on his mind. Use the language and terminology he’s most comfortable with. If he tells you he doesn’t want to speak, respect that, but be open to him when and if he changes his mind.
The main thing to remember is this: even if it doesn’t always show, men are emotional. We just express our emotions in more subtle ways than women do. Once you tap into your man’s way of expressing his emotions, you’ll have your man wrapped around your finger and he won’t even know it.
Ben Klempner, LMSW, founder and editor of Effective Family Communication, trained as a social worker at the Barry University School of Social Work, in Miami Shores, Florida.  He has worked with a large and diverse variety of peoples.  His accomplishments include writing several books and helping individuals and families work through issues such as: Anger Management, Addiction Recovery, Marriage Counseling, Family Therapy, Career Counseling, Depression, Grief, Anxiety.

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