People that succeed in relationships do two things very well:
- They communicate effectively when they’re happy.
- They communicate effectively when they’re upset.
And you’re probably wondering: “How do my partner and I communicate effectively when one of us is upset?” Well, that’s usually the hard one.
I’m going to break it down into five easy and manageable steps — specifically for when a woman is upset — because that’s usually the eye of the storm.
Men and women respond to stress differently. It’s going to take new gender understandings and BOTH of you on the same page to make this a success. So pay close attention.
I don’t feel comfortable talking to my boyfriend when I feel sad because what’s the point? He doesn’t give me his full attention. And he gets really disturbed that I get angrier the longer he “listens.” It just seems like he doesn’t know what to do or what to say. He’s stuck in fix-it mode.
I wish I could give him step-by-step instructions to handle me when I get upset. What can I say to help make him understand that I’m not directly upset with him, I’m just feeling things and need to talk about them? I don’t want our relationship to end, but I’ve given up and don’t talk anymore.
This is a very common scenario in a relationship. The reason he is SO wildly uncomfortable with your upset is that he can’t relate to it in the way you’re doing it. You look crazy to him.
The TRUTH Behind the “She’s Crazy!” Attitude
Under moderate stress, women have eight times more blood flow to the emotional center of their brains than men do. So, a tiny problem can yield a bigger upset reaction in a woman than in a man. His brain gets equally fired up — but only for the big emergencies.
So when a woman is talking about her day and expressing herself, a man sees this upset and assumes it’s in reaction to a proportionally disastrous problem. Because you’re upset around him, he takes it personally and believes it’s his fault.
This misinterpretation leads him in a few directions. He can minimize the problem and tell you you’re “over-reacting.” He may interrupt with advice to make it go away. Or he may feel unjustly blamed and get defensive.
All these reactions are well-meaning AND just make things worse!
A man in love doesn’t want to make things worse — he wants to make things better. So, we’re going to learn how men and women can communicate more effectively around a woman’s upset.
The Stakes Are High
Women often need to process things verbally to move through negative feelings and move on to more positive ones. So, it’s important not to ignore or devalue a woman’s instinct to “talk things out.” It’s a vital ingredient to being a healthy, happy, and feel-good Venus.
When a woman stops sharing her innermost thoughts and feelings in a relationship, it’s not something a man should celebrate. It doesn’t mean she’s finally happy or that she’s not “crazy” anymore. It means that she has shut off her desire for her partner — and her trust in him.
Not only will a couple’s sex life dry up, but all those negative feelings she’s not sharing and expressing, fester into resentment of her partner. (Click here to learn how men and women can get rid of resentment.)
Your relationship may be great today, but resentment will be your undoing. If you want to experience lasting love, intimacy, and fulfillment, learning how to communicate better around a woman’s upset needs to be a priority for you both.
Talking and sharing is the lifeline of your relationship.
The Step-By-Step Manual: How Men and Women Can Communicate Without All the Drama
We need to find a way that a woman can share her negative thoughts and feelings with her partner so that he can listen without going into Mr. Fix It mode or getting defensive.
With the gender insights you’ve just learned, you’re already ahead of the game. Simply understanding how men and women react to stress differently can go a long way to improving communication.
However, I also have a step-by-step manual. In this scenario, each partner contributes to the success of the interaction. The woman takes these five communication steps. The man responds.
People hate it when I say it the first few times, but the truth is: You can’t change your partner. You can only change your approach so that they respond in a different way. With this approach, a man responds by listening in a more supportive manner.
1. Ask him for his full attention for 10 minutes. That’s all.
When a man has a goal in sight, and he can see the finish line, it’s easier for him to listen.
2. Let him know that you would like to share your feelings with him because it makes you feel close to him and, ultimately, it’ll make you feel better.
When a man has direction for how to make you feel better, it gives him the confidence to just sit and listen. A man in love wants to help you feel better.
3. Tell him you don’t want any solutions to your problems because him listening is a solution in itself!
The act of listening allows a woman to feel that she is not facing her problems alone — she has a partner, she has support. This feeling triggers calming hormones in the body.
4. And lastly, here’s the magic phrase that you teach your man to pull out at the end:
“You do so much for so many people. Is there anything I can do for you?”
5. At the conclusion, thank him for listening.
This gratitude moment brings the two of you together after your intimate sharing. This positive feedback also communicates to him that he did a good job. If a man knows he’s good at his job, he’ll be more enthusiastic about doing it again.
In the meantime, as a man learns to listen better and a woman learns to communicate her needs better, there needs to be room for mistakes and disappointment.
For Liz and other women reading this, if your partner is not capable of meeting your needs as a listener right away, then you need to look elsewhere. Look to your friends for that particular kind of support and intimacy, but never stop talking and expressing yourself because it will be the death of your relationship and of your bright light in this world.
Women need to talk.
Want to express yourself freely?
Improve communication with your sweetheart?
Change your approach to get a new result?