I recently spent a good two hours helping a friend navigate his way through an argument with his girlfriend. I tried to leave any bias aside and use the bit of psychology I know to help him effectively communicate what he wanted to say.
But like many relationships, my friend lacked a basic understanding of women. For me, it was clear as day what she wanted from this argument. For him, not so much.
I am totally for equality, but men and women are different. And in more ways then what’s underneath our clothes. The genders think differently, feel differently, and their needs are, most often, different.
So while I don’t blame my friend for what I saw as obviously clear, I do think it could better help the male species to understand a bit about the female psyche.
Because though you think you may have it all figured out in the bed (but please know, you probably don’t), it will better help yourself if you figure out what’s going on in her head too.
1. Women Operate From A More Emotional Place
And that’s not a bad thing. Women are often portrayed as overly emotional on TV and in movies, and to be frank, that’s kind of complete bullshit.
First off, most of that is over-exaggerated. But even so, believing that women are these emotional creatures, at times too unruly to understand isn’t doing you or them any good.
Yes, we’ve been raised being told it’s ok to show our emotions. Yes, we want to express them more than males do. And yes, there is even scientific evidence that we experience negative emotions more than men do.
But our emotional intelligence makes us better lovers, partners, mothers, sisters, friends, etc. It’s understandable that men have a harder time seeing emotions as a good thing, but know that is slowly changing; not just for us, but for you as well.
So take the time to realize that we may be the ones in the argument to cry; perhaps even drag it out a bit longer than need be.
But also know that it’s because we are taught that it’s ok to express those emotions and we feel negative emotions at a higher level than men do.
2. Women Have A Long History Of Feeling Wronged By Men
Half of the population will never know a few things. Those things include:
– Being catcalled while walking to the grocery store
– Being stalked in public
– Having a friend express romantic interest in you then become angry when you don’t reciprocate their feelings
– Having someone rationalize their erratic behavior by calling you crazy
– Unwanted sexual advances that aren’t stopped with a “no.”
And that’s not even taking into account romantic partners.
Women have a long history of being wronged by men due to the patriarchal society we grew up in. No, this is not me being a “feminist” or whatever. It’s simply the facts.
Being a female in this world meant we went through experiences that made us untrustworthy and scared of men. It’s a really shitty reality, to be honest. We don’t want to feel this way, but it wasn’t like we just decided to be fearful of men.
Understanding that women feel this way can help you be a better partner and an overall better person. Communicate with your partner about how comfortable she feels in the relationship. Listen to her experiences that she has been through in the past.
Or if you’re just out in the world, maybe give the woman walking by a little extra room on the sidewalk. Perhaps even skip out on revving your engine and absurdities through your window. Just a thought.
3. Women Want To Feel Understood
I hope by now that everyone knows the importance of listening. Not just for the sake of your relationship, but any interaction with a human being that you somewhat care about.
But a step beyond listening is understanding. And while the first step to understanding is listening, women want a bit more than that.
Understanding means that you can say back to the person what they told you. It’s asking questions about how they felt, what they thought and if there is any way you can help them.
We don’t need you to fix things; we don’t need you to be our mother; we just want you to understand.
4. Women Are Not Crazy
There is a term for undermining someone’s experience and making them question their sanity. It’s called gaslighting.
Usually, the term is used when the person consciously manipulates the situation to their advantage. And while I’m not saying that all people who call a woman “crazy” is gaslighting them, I am saying that it’s how it feels to us.
Because the word “crazy” isn’t just crazy anymore. There is so much stigma held behind calling a woman crazy. It’s a pretty loaded term, and generally, women aren’t going to react well to hearing it.
And I’m not sure there is ever a justified moment to call someone crazy. Each person’s feelings are valid: you can’t deny what someone is feeling.
Whether you agree that their feelings are well-founded is a different question. But I would advise you have that conversation once you both have cooled down.
5. Women Endure A Lot Of Pain
A friend of mine — gay, male, maybe as objective as one can get in this matter — once had a conversation with me when I said that I prefer men picking up the tab and buying me gifts, but I don’t want them to feel like they own me.
My friend explained how women go through a lot of pain. Literal, physical pain. We ovulate every month — a pain man will never understand no matter how hard they try. When the time comes, we are the ones bearing a human-alien fetus inside our wombs for 9 months.
Then we’re congratulated on the feat by having said human-alien baby pushed out of our bodies that in a way that is said to be one of the most painful experiences in our lives.
That is a burden we must endure. You’ll never come close to knowing these kinds of pain.
My friend concluded that, since females on our own experience so much pain, we deserve to be treated like queens.
And I whole-heartedly agree.
6. Women Want Equality, But We Also Want Nurture
Now I can’t speak for all women on this matter. But I can speak for the majority of the women I have talked to about this.
We want to feel respected; with our opinions, our careers, and what we think about the relationship. We want to feel like your equal, not like your sidekick.
With that being said, we still appreciate you holding the door open for us. We love romantic gestures like flowers. We still want you to pick up the tab more often than not. We still want to be held like we are the most precious thing in the world.
And because of what we’ve put up with as women, and the pain we have to endure, those things should not be mutually exclusive.
7. Women Will Always Want Romance
There is never a point in the relationship where we want the romance to stop. Not six months into the relationship, not 6 years into it.
This is perhaps a relationship-saving piece of advice. Complacency isn’t great in life and it’s especially not great in a relationship. Women want to feel appreciated and loved no matter how long you’ve been together.
So if you feel like she’s been distant or things aren’t what they used to be, so consider upping the ante. Take her to the spot you went on the first date. Write her a card explaining all the reasons you still love her.
Just don’t forget to make her feel appreciated.
8. Women Are All Different, Understand Us As An Individual
Please don’t ever feel like you totally understand part of our personality, decision-making, feelings, or situation simply because we are “women.”
Just like you, we are an individual. We are human. We aren’t the same as your ex. So please stop assuming we think, feel, and act the same way they did.
Ask your partner about her specific love needs. I’d suggest having the 5 Love Languages conversation because that seems to be a real relationship-saver for a lot of people. Plus, it’s a great way to create more intimacy.
But see and speak to a woman like she is an individual. Not merely part of some massive cluster of people known as “women.”
9. Women Are Fragile and Strong
Yes, we may “crack” at any moment and start crying. But if anything, that’s a healthy trait for us and one that’s been suppressed for you.
Women have been raised to feel like it’s ok to express our emotions. We’ve been taught that showing them isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a normal part of life. Couple that with being the more emotional gender and we have what could be seen as a fragile person.
But also know we are resilient and strong. We endure 5–7 days a month where our body sheds itself, bleeds, and we don’t die. We run companies and households. We fight for change, mercilessly, until we see it come to fruition. We put up with a lot of unfair systems that make it harder for us to succeed.
We may be fragile sometimes, but we are always strong.
10. Women Need Time To Feel Comfortable
It’s safe to assume that all women have experienced some kind of trauma with men. And yes, that most likely affects you. Whether that’s emotionally or sexually, those feelings make it so we require a bit of time to build up trust.
I hope by now that it goes without saying that pressuring a woman into anything is entirely unacceptable. But having an open conversation about where her head is at will quickly clear the air of any misunderstandings.
Maybe it’ll take a few days, or perhaps a few months. If the person means a lot to you, you’ll know that it’s worth the wait.
Because her feeling uncomfortable isn’t about you, it has to do with what she’s been through. It’s the father that abandoned her, it’s the boyfriend that emotionally abused her, it’s the men that catcalled her on the streets throughout her life.
I promise it’s not about you, but with time, she will open up.