Relationship Advice: Why Couples Misunderstand Each Other?

Question From A Reader:

Dear Shafin,

I’ve been married 9 years and I can say I’ve been reasonably happy until recently. For the last few years things have changed. I have never had more pressure at home with our 3 growing children and every time I want to share my problems with him, it seems he just doesn’t understand. Even before I can begin he starts with his own ideas of what I should do. The more I try to share, the more he tries to shut me up and get back to his tv. I feel tired, frustrated and lonely. What is the point of being with a man who is never there to support? I don’t have money problems and I don’t need to depend on him for financial reasons only. Physical intimacy has long stopped. Neither of us are interested any longer.

You are my last stop before I seriously consider getting out of this relationship.

I am writing this with consent from my husband, who is also a big fan of yours, so if you reply he will read this too. We have already bought the 5 essential mindsets program from you but we have not started listening to it. Having 3 kids makes it real hard to sit together and learn. We are hoping to go through it over the weekend and send the kids to their grandma.

Thank you for your time Shafin. We have both learned a lot over the years from you. I hope you are able to help us out this time too.

M***

My Answer:

Hi M***

First off, allow me to congratulate you for reaching out and asking for help. Believe it or not, this sort of situations can reversed so fast that it’s not even funny. As unique as your situation is, this is common problem faced by couples around the world in varying degrees of complication. I have personally worked with more than 10 families who have not only solved this same situation that bothered them, but also renewed their relationship to a level unimaginable before. Truly all the problems in our life have one purpose only: to help us grow to the next level!  

Let us begin…

What I am about to tell you will get a little bit technical but please pay attention because understanding this will improve your communication skills not only with your husband or wife, but with the opposite sex in general. Understanding and following what I am about to tell you can help you avoid countless arguments and needless trauma. This is not your usual relationship advice, so please go through this slowly and patiently.

We humans have two different emotional systems. One is called the Mirror Neuron System, the other Temporal-Parietal Junction system. MNS and TPJ for short. Both these emotional  systems work in conjunction in our brain but males seem to use TPJ more and women seem to use MNS more.

You can understand how these two work by taking a hypothetical ride in both your brains when you are trying to share your problems with your husband and he “apparently” is not listening.

Imagine this… he comes back home from work, tired and waiting to relax. You are waiting back home, tired, feeling overwhelmed, waiting for him to get back from work so you can share with him what’s bothering you.

When you begin to talk about your problems of the day, about kids, about all the work that needs to be done, the first emotional system that activates in him is the Mirror Neuron System (MNS). MNS allows a person to feel empathy (it allows him to feel your pain). So far so good…

If he was a woman, he would primarily stay in the MNS and empathize with you and listen to you and talk about the emotional colors of the situation.

He’d take your side and let you vent out all that’s on your mind without judgment or criticism allowing you to feel loved and cared for.

He’d tell you he loves you and that he will always be there for you. He’d ask you if there is anything he can do to help and maybe even connect to you on a bodily level giving you a gentle massage or just hold you tight while you let it all out.

In a perfect world, he would even do all of this even if you were complaining about him! He’d understand that your complains are just part of your venting out system. Its healthy, its healing, its good.

But he is not a woman!

And that’s why you married him in the first place. He’s got his flaws but he can learn. And it’s pretty easy to do when you know what to do.

What happens in reality is that right after you begin to pour out all your stress and troubles, he begins to FEEL your PAIN with his MNS. First off, this is NOT what he wants to FEEL right when he walks through the door at the end of a work day. He wants to feel relaxed.

Secondly, even if didn’t mind feeling your pain, even if it was in the middle of a vacation on the beach, even if he was lying with you in bed fully satisfied, even then his hormonal system is hardwired to switch over to the Temporal-Parietal Junction system and primarily operate from there.

The TPJ allows a man to detach from the situation and find solutions analytically and cognitively. It allows him to not get affected by the emotions of other people and it allows him to be objective. This is called “cognitive empathy” - the man is empathizing with you on the problem, not on the emotional qualities of it.

Unfortunately, when you share a problem, and he goes into the TPJ searching his entire brain for solutions, while you remain in the MNS, feeling his emotions too (MNS mirrors emotions of the other person by reading facial expression, body language, tonality etc), all YOU end up FEELING is detachment and his lack of presence.

Here is where it goes wrong: he is trying to help you by detaching from the situation and offering solutions, you are feeling his detachment and mistaking it for his lack of interest.

He is interested, just on a different level.

Remember this always, men are Solvers. Men take pride in solving problems and if someone shares a problem with us, we do our best offering them a solution. (I go into much greater detail on this issue in my latest home study course “5 Essential Mindsets Of Magnetically Attractive Men” including how to turn your relationship around even if you are on the brink of a divorce. If you already bought it, you’ll find more on this in the Q&A Part 5.) 

What most men don’t realize is that when a woman is sharing her problem, she is NOT ALWAYS looking for a solution, most of the time she is sharing it with her partner because that is what allows her to feel relaxed, unburdened and supported.

Men have a hard time understanding this because primarily they are solution oriented. Women have hard time understanding why men begin to try to “fix her” even before she fully expressed all her emotions. She feels misunderstood, even insulted. Why is he trying to fix me? All I’m trying to do is tell him how I feel. What is he trying to insinuate? That something is wrong with me???

Try to remember this: men are not designed to wallow in your anguish, sharing the moment, deepening the bond. That is not how they operate in the “big bad world”.  The way they operate is by being logical, analytical, goal oriented and solution focused. On the other hand, women do not share problems ONLY when they need a solution to it, they don’t even complain BECAUSE it’s HIS fault. Most of the time she just NEEDS to SHARE.

So here is my advice for your husband (and all men): when she is talking about problems, be it in about children, work, finances, even you… let her talk and get it out. Don’t defend yourself, don’t immediately try to find solutions at the back of your head (as hard is it may be to avoid), don’t assume she is blaming you. 9 times out of 10, she just needs to share.

Shall I say it one more time? 9 times out of 10, she just needs to share and she is NOT looking for a brilliant solution from you and offering that solution will NOT be appreciated, in fact, it will completely backfire on your face.

When she is talking, LISTEN and empathize. If you wish to talk, REFLECT what she is feeling. Try to feel her pain and that’s it.

Don’t think, don’t analyze, don’t theorize, don’t offer her your autobiographical account of how this one time you had a similar problem in office and how brilliantly you solved it. NOT relevant! Simply listen and empathize. That’s it. (And keep reminding yourself over and over… This is not about me! She is not blaming me! She is not asking me to offer her my brilliant “fix it” ideas! )

And here is my advice to you (and all women): remember your husband is designed to be analytical, solution oriented and logical. He is a man. That is why you married him. When he begins to show that blank face when you are crying, it’s not because he doesn’t care, it’s because he is fervently looking for solutions in his head that will solve your problem. That is his way of showing love and support. I know it would be lovely if he could just shut up, hug you and sit with you patiently while you let it all out, but honey, he is a man! As hard as it is to believe it right now, that is exactly why you fell in love with him and married him!

The good news is, with training and proper understanding he too can learn to stay in his MNS and empathize rather than get all analytical and cold. He is perfectly able to sit down and listen to you, supporting you, loving you, helping you when you need it and keep his mouth shut when you just need a shoulder to cry on. He is able to do all of that, he just needs to know how.

On the other hand, you can also learn that not all times are good times to make him FEEL the emotional pain you are going through. If you try to share all your problems right when he walks through the door, he will instinctively try to solve your problem so he can just sit down and relax. He will do it not because he does not care, but because he does. That is how he shows his love.

In the end, remember this: our intimate relationships are our greatest teachers. They teach us to become whole. They help us integrate within our personality the complimentary opposite qualities. Men and women truly are two halves of the same Unity in this great dance of the opposites. The more you study, the more you observe, the more you love… the more you become whole.

I hope I could teach you some new things in this little article that has already become a little too big. If you wish to learn more about love, seduction and the psychology of attraction, I suggest you either go through the free video course The Psychology Of Attraction or invest in the home study course “5 Essential Mindsets Of Magnetically Attractive Men”.

With you always on the road to awakening,

Shafin    

   
     
     

 

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