In this article I will explain the 7 key differences between men and women in relationships. In order to nurture and improve your relationship, it is essential to recognize, understand and accept these differences.
When both partners understand how completely different women and men are expressing their feelings and emotions, they can create a loving, cooperating and trustworthy relationship where they feel listened to, supported and loved.
Being unaware of the differences between men and women, your expectations from your partner will be to behave, feel, react and communicate in the same way you do. These can create resentment, judgemental feelings and unjustified demands in your relationship.
More and more people are separating each year or don’t feel fulfilled in their relationship. Unable to grow together and support each other, they lose their love they once felt for each other. Read more about how to build a strong relationship here.
There are 7 main differences between women and men that if not clearly understood, can become the source of arguments and conflicts in a relationship.
1. Men try to change women’s feelings and women’s try to change men’s behavior
“Instead of ignoring our differences, we need to accept and transcend them.”- Sheryl Sandberg
Men try to change women’s feelings by offering solutions to her problems. When men are active listening to their partner, their primarily concern is to come up with a solution. Yet women only expect empathy, to be listened to and to be understood.
Women try to change men’s behavior by offering advice and criticism. Even in cases where their intentions are good, men feel undermined and criticized. Instead, men desire that their partner accepts them as they are and trusts them to solve the problems.
2. Men and women are motivated by different things.
“Good men are a bit like border collies: we’re happiest when we’re useful. That’s why the life of a good man involves constant striving for direction and meaning.”- Shawn T. Smith.
Whilst men crave to feel needed, women crave to feel cherished.
The more a man feels needed in a relationship, the more he is willing to give. Men need to feel that they are trusted, appreciated and accepted in their love relationship. And when they don’t, they become less motivated and more selfish. A man’s greatest fear is that he is not good enough for the woman he loves.
Women need to feel that they are cherished in their relationships. When they feel their actions are appreciated and they are respected, they are willing to give more. On the other hand, when they feel their efforts are not appreciated, they become consumed and exhausted. They soon start to feel resentment and frustration towards their partner.
3. Women and men deal with stress differently
“Women tend to communicate early and often about a problem. Men are more likely to view communication as a tool, and when they see it as the wrong tool for the job, they believe it should be stored neatly in the toolbox.” – Shawn T. Smith
When women are stressed they become overwhelmed and emotionally involved. In order to relax, they desire to talk about their problems. Unlike men, they are not ashamed of having problems and they feel good when they share them with their close friends.
The more they share, the better they feel about themselves. Whilst talking about their problems, they become less overwhelmed, able to rationalize and more inclined to find solutions to their problems.
When men are stressed they become withdrawn, decide to pick up the problem that they most believe requires their attention and focus on finding a solution. If they cannot find immediate solutions, they decide they need time to relax and forget about their problems for a short period of time. They choose to engage in activities like watching the news, football or playing a video game. Unlike women, they don’t need to share or seek advice for their problems.
4. Men and women express their feelings differently
“Men most often know what they want, yet they are not always sure how they feel. Women most often know how they feel, yet they may not always know what they want.”- Ken Poirot
Women need to generalize, exaggerate and use figures of speech when they express their feelings and emotions. They use expressions like: ‘you don’t love me anymore’, ‘ we never do x’ or ‘you never listen’ to emphasize their frustration . Men take the complaints literary and express valid counter-arguments. Women get more frustrated that their partners don’t understand the true meaning of what they said and feel unheard.
On the other hand, men tend to be silent and take time to process information before speaking. And if they don’t have a clear answer, they will stay silent. This can confuse the women even more as they need to share all their thoughts and feelings to better understand the root of their problem. Moreover, when a man is silent, women assume the worst.
5. Men and women argue for different reasons
“You cannot reason people out of a position that they did not reason themselves into.” -Ben Goldacr
Arguments can damage your relationship and make the love fade. On the other side, unspoken words build up and create frustrations and negative feelings towards your partner. It is important to discuss your differences and express feelings in a respectful and direct manner and if possible, try to find together a solution or reach an agreement for your problem.
Men argue when they feel criticized, rejected and unaccepted. This often happens when a woman tells them what to or how they should behave. Also, when men feel blamed for their partner’s unhappiness, they become less motivated to do things for them. Moreover, when their partner worries about their ability to accomplish a task, they feel they are not trusted.
Women argue when they feel ignored, judged and neglected. They need to feel that they are their partner’s priority and that their partner remembers the things that are important to them. Women need to feel reassured and accepted when they are upset. If they feel they are being criticized rather than accepted, they will feel unsafe to be themselves. Also, when women feel that their partner is not participating in their discussion, they feel disrespected and ignored and become argumentative.
6. Women and men need different things from their relationships
“The hope is that laying out what we understand about essential differences in the minds of men and women may lead to grater acceptance and respect of difference.”- Simon Baron-Cohen
A very common mistake both women and men are making is giving their partner the things they want in the relationship. This way, both feel they are giving everything they can, but they are still unsatisfied and feel their efforts are not appreciated. If both partners understand what their partner most desire in order to feel loved, they can re-direct their efforts towards offering their partner the right kind of love.
In order to feel loved women need to feel cared for, understood, respected and validated. Also, they need to feel their partner is devoted to them and be reassured that they are loved consistently.
On the other hand, men feel they are loved when they feel trusted, accepted and admired. They desire to feel that their efforts are recognized and appreciated. They primarily need is to feel approved and encouraged in their decisions.
7. Men desire to give, women to receive
”Man is always looking for someone to boast to; woman is always looking for a shoulder to put her head on.”-Henry Louis Mencken
When it comes to nurturing love, women need many expressions of love from their partner in order to feel fulfilled and loved. Men don’t often realize how important little gesture of love are for women and mistakenly assume that a major gesture of love can replace them.
On the other hand, men need to feel appreciated for their gestures. When they feel they are taken for granted, they stop giving. Men feel loved when they feel supported and appreciated. The best way to show a man you love him is by showing support and appreciation instead of giving advice or criticizing.
I hope that this article provided you with the information you were looking for and brought clarity into your life. By understanding, accepting and respecting these main differences between men and women you will be able to nourish and transform your relationship and your life. Read more about the importance of emotional dependency here.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them below and I will be more than happy to answer them.
All the best,
(Accredited Counsellors, Coaches, Psychotherapists and Hypnotherapists)
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