Why Don’t Some Men Realize A Relationship Is Over Until It’s Too Late? by N. Reilly
I relate to this story I am linking to in this post.
This happened to me a bit with my ex fiance, I’ve seen other women go through the same thing.
Before women break up with a guy, they will have spent weeks, months, or years letting the guy know that there is a relationship problem, and exactly what that problem is.
(Edit. One variation on this: women who feel that they cannot even tell the guy what the problem is to begin with, because a lot of men will accuse the woman of nagging, so the woman may choose to stay mum and not tell the guy she believes there are problems with the relationship. But as for women who do speak up and tell the guy repeatedly what the problem is…..)
But a lot of men seem to be lazy at relationships. The woman will stand there and say, “It really bothers me when you do X,” or, “You need to start doing Z.” But the guy will just sit there, maybe not even listening to what the woman is saying. Or, the guy might half listen but make no attempt to change things.
This same scene will play out many times over months or years, with the woman saying she just cannot stand X or lack of Z anymore. Men get plenty of warning that the relationship is going south. They choose to disregard this or fail to read the signs.
After weeks, months, or years of trying, the woman gives up and moves on.
Women usually start emotionally pulling back, they stop fighting with the guy – they’ve already accepted things are over, and they make plans to leave.
By the time the woman tells the guy, “it’s over,” the guy expresses shock. They claim they didn’t know anything was wrong.
I don’t know why so many men fall into this pattern. It’s really not a mystery when a woman leaves a guy. Most women will give you plenty of advanced warning that things are over, or soon will be, if things don’t change. That is what this page discusses:
(Link): Why don’t some men realise it’s over until it’s too late? by N. Reilly
I’ve written about this statistic (Link): before [that women are more likely to initiate a divorce than men are], and extrapolated that, generally speaking, men tend not to be as in touch with the relationship, or their own needs, as women are.
Psychotherapist and relationships counsellor, Guy Vicars, former president of Australian Association of Relationship Counsellors, calls it avoidance.
“I think the tendency for men is to avoid relationship issues. Once they have emptied their bag of relationship tricks, they can kind of grind to a halt,” he says. “This is frustrating for their female partners who then feel like they are hitting their head on his brick wall.”
…But what happens if you’ve been raised as a traditional male, and you’re so disconnected from your feelings, you don’t recognise your own shame and hurt? A counsellor I know once had to gently tell all the men in the room, “You may say you’re fine, but if your pulse is racing and you’re raising your voice, it means you’re upset.”
Dear Reader, the year was 2011.
According to Vicars, this “not listening” thing is made worse when women aren’t able to properly communicate what is wrong.
“When men know clearly, they are usually more than happy to at least try and provide what is being sought. However some women find [the problem] hard to articulate and feel frustrated, let down and lonely,” he says.
I think this is what’s known in lay terms as the “nothing’s wrong’ defence. I know there are some evolved, mature communicators out there, but the rest of us know how this goes.
“Are you ok?”
“Yup” (Looks away. Tears prick eyes.)
“Are you sure?”
“Hhmm mm” (please note lack of articulation, due to aforementioned tears).
Cue: deeply uncomfortable silence until someone switches on the TV.
The thing is, we, as women, have been told for so long that our feelings (Link): aren’t real, or that we’re (Link): over-reacting, or (Link): nagging, that we become hesitant to say what’s bothering us. This is also known as avoidance! Check mate!
“[Trivialising a woman’s request] is a double-edged power play.” Is how Professor Susan Krauss Whitbourne describes the (Link): dynamic
“It saves him actually having to do anything in response to her request until he’s good and ready, if at all. By resisting her efforts to mold him to her will, the man can look as if he’s in control when he agrees to the request.”
So we stay silent, and quietly make plans to GTFO.
Yeah. Bad move.
“Of course it just gets worse, says Vicars. “Men hope it will go away, women get fed up with the lack of emotional connection and simply cut the knot.”
“This is why men are surprised when they come home to an empty house and a post-it note stuck to the wall where the fridge used to be.”