We want connection too!
Men are wired differently to women. That is no secret! What is not widely accepted though is that men want the same thing as their partner, by and large. Men want connection, we want intimacy and not only the sexual kind. We want to share our lives and our thoughts fears and feelings. The woman’s world however often resembles a foreign country and a no-mans-land where only the brave or the foolish go. Or men who are considered by other men as ‘soft’ or ‘under the thumb’. Go here and here to read part 1 and 2.
Firstly men have feelings and emotions and we are pretty good at identifying them, most of the time anyway. When you ask us how we are feeling we go searching for the emotion but in the meantime you are moving on and asking us again. We are still formulating in our minds what feelings we have while you might think we are stalling. But the reality is now, we are starting to panic and dread is setting in. You often encounter ‘stonewalling’ at this stage.
According to author Stephen Bergman the process looks like this: When we reach a kind of impasse our immediate thought is disaster is inevitable and going into this discussion will only make matters worse. The second thought is that this will never end and time will cease to exist. The next outcome is irreparable damage. Anything we say or do at this point could spell the end of this relationship. And because we love her so much the closeness causes more dread.
The whole sense of things is precarious so we can’t trust that even a resolution won’t end up betraying me. Men now feel caught in a process where there are no landmarks, no footholds and nothing to grab onto. The fear now is that something uncontrollable will happen and all is lost. Women know this terrain and are familiar and comfortable in it. We are then racked with guilt for ‘not being enough’. Following this we fear aggression and deny it. It is not the aggression we fear but the fear and panic and losing of control. At this point we have lost the ability to engage in this conversation.
Incompetence and shame are now biting at our heals. I am now ashamed at my perceived ‘incompetence’ which leads me to paralysis and the dread just doubles down. Everything we were afraid would happen is now happening but it is bigger and scarier than we care to admit. Most men at this point do the one thing they know to do and that is run. But do not fear there is away to stop the overwhelming feeling of dread and learn to embrace the opportunity to communicate better.
Next week we will look a those ways we can connect and stayed connected.