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Why You Can’t Talk to Your Man & How to Change This

Updated on January 2, 2010

If you’ve ever been in a relationship, ladies, you know that there are many times when you came home from a shitty day at work wanting to tell your man about your day and vent about the crap that you had to encounter, and all he did was either nod nonchalantly or give you a simple reply that ends the conversation. I’m going to explain to you why it is that men do not have lengthy conversations and how you may be able to change this.

Why?

As young kids, boys were raised to repair. We are not taught to talk about our emotions. On the contrary, we are raised to hide our feelings. Just take a look at what happens when a boy scrapes his knee when he falls down while playing a sport. He is told to get up and try again, don’t cry, man up. Boys aren’t asked how they feel; instead, they are told to toughen up. Don’t talk, just do. When we go to the mall, we don’t shop around. We walk in there with a mission, and we will accomplish that mission. We don’t go in there and buy everything except the thing we go there (which is what I have witnessed nearly all of my female shopping friends do). And don’t even talk about if we don’t have money. While girls may try things on just for fun even if they can’t afford it, guys just don’t see the point.

Girls and guys talk for very different reasons. Or more specifically, we respond to oncoming conversations differently. When girls are on the receiving end of a complaint, they talk things out and vent. They don’t feel the need to find a solution; they just want to complain and let it out. On the other hand, when guys are on the receiving end of a complaint, their brains automatically transition into repair mode. Our train of thought is along the lines of, “If she is telling me this, she must want me to do something. And since I am her man, and she is telling me, I should help her fix the problem.” So when our girlfriend or lady comes into the room complaining, we rack our brains for an answer.

For example, you might come to us complaining about your friend saying, “(Insert Friend’s Name) is always talking about me behind my back. She never pays for anything for herself and always asks me to cover for her.” Because we were raised to repair, we assume that you must want a solution, so we will respond with a way to fix the situation and might say something very simple, like, “Just stop hanging out with her.” Sound like a typical male response? Now you know why we do this. It isn’t that we are trying to be rude, inconsiderate, or unsympathetic. It is because when you complain and we see a solution, we will voice it as if a simple solution is what you want to hear. We don’t know that you want to have an in-depth conversation with us and or vent. That’s not in our genetic make-up. As your man, we feel that it is our job to fix whatever is wrong in your life. If you have a guy friend that is harassing you, we will kick his ass for you. If you complain about your broken sink, we will fix it. If you have a problem or complaint, then we will do whatever we can do find an answer.

If we cannot give you a solution, we do not feel like anything is resolved. If you tell us about your emotional past, how a close friend died, how you were abused as a child, or something that we can’t fix it, then we feel like we don’t have anything worthy to say to you.  As a result, we may blank out and nervously reply with, “I don’t know what to say to you…I’m sorry that you had to go through that...?” If we have to respond that way, we do not feel like we've accomplished anything.  We feel useless, because we have no fix for your problem. We will feel like we haven’t done our job right.

How to just have a conversation with your man

Please know this: one of the most nerve-racking things for a guy is when you come to him saying “I have a problem” or “We need to talk”. Why is this nerve-racking? Because we feel pressure to have to solve the problem for you. We don’t just assume that all you want to do is talk. We feel that it is our job as your man to fix your problems. So if you just want to vent and converse with your man, give him a notification. Say, “Hey, can I just vent to you about my day? There’s nothing wrong, I don’t want anything, I just need somebody to listen.” This will allow us to put our guard down and just listen, like how we do with our boys. Not only are you going to have better conversations giving us this notification, but you are going to do us a huge favor by taking the pressure off of us.

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