Why Men and Women are Speaking Two Different Languages
Relationships are a vital part of our existence, and no one is perfect or without fault, so people need to see their partners for the well-rounded person that they are, rather than focusing on their shortcomings. Recognizing all aspects of each other puts both on equal ground, and that is when they can start working on making their relationship the best it can be.
One partner may complain that the other person doesn’t understand them, saying, “He hears me ask him to do the same thing 10 times, and then claims I never said it!” or, “She talks constantly about what she’s feeling and I can’t get a minute to breath!” This dynamic is all too familiar for many couples, and does not seem to get better over time. In fact, the majority of my work as a couples therapist surrounds the topic of communication. The task of a couples therapist becomes that of a translator, hearing and interpreting what each person says for their partner.
Our genetic differences set us on different paths before birth, with men having difficulty with attention, whereas women are able to efficiently multitask. Men are also born with less verbal fluency and emotional understanding then women. This is compounded over time when boys are socialized to be tough and girls learn to empathize with others. This stark difference in how we understand and experience emotions puts us on different playing fields, and this difference is quite obvious in relationships.
As adults, women feel their emotions on a multitude of levels; first acknowledging its presence, second trying to understand where it comes from and third, communicating it. Men typically don’t share this ability, instead having difficulty with their emotions and burying them below the surface, due to a lack of understanding.
In order to get start speaking the same language, women can try two this two-step technique that will help them communicate (i.e. speak menglish) with their partner. Start by remembering that men have a limited focus and wait until we have their complete attention to speak. Next, give that partner some time to think about how he wants to answer us. Emotions are complex, and working through them can take time, especially for someone that is not as well-versed or high in emotional IQ.
Danielle Adinolfi, MFT, is a couples therapist/relationship expert in practice for seven years, practicing at 100 S. Broad St., Ste. 1304, in Philadelphia. For more information, call 215-995-0176, email DanielleAdinolfi@philadelphiamft.com or visit philadelphiamft.com.