Thursday, August 11

You, Me and Stress (Part 4)


Ready for the gyaan session?

Buckle up!!

Let’s start with something extremely important…
- Men and women don’t complain about their partners when they are feeling good. Problems emerge when we are frazzled. Unrealistic expectations (such as that our partners be more like us) emerge when we attempt to get our partner’s help to lower our stress. The problem is never just our partner, it is also our inability to cope with tension and anxiety. It is unreasonable to expect our brains to suddenly adapt and thinking/behaving patterns to change.

In fact, going by experience, people NEVER change. Every transformation that you observe is bound to be artificial and temporary. As is reiterated in the Hollywood flick Ugly Truth, men are incapable of growth, change or progress… (I didn’t say it, don’t pass judgements on my being feministic!)

So, I guess your best bet would be to adjust with your partner the way he/she is, and in case you find that some qualities and aspects are just too annoying or unbearable to live with, then don’t commit. You’ll make life hell for both of you by making that decision, and then expecting him/her to alter habits hardened by time and environment.

- Women find comfort in talking about their problems and men prefer to retreat. This explains why she wants to interact and discuss things, while he withdraws into his cave to forget the problems of the day. Faced with stress, a man will often become quiet. Saying “forget it” is fruitless to hassled women, while a man can simply disconnect if exhausted.

This simple difference can be destructive if not appreciated or respected. When a man needs time alone or doesn’t want to talk, it doesn’t mean he cares less for his partner. Her strong emotional reactions don’t mean she doesn’t appreciate what he does for her.

Brief and direct comments that appear supportive from the Mars perspective can be downright insulting to Venus. She needs to be heard and understood to feel better, and a man usually focuses on solving her problems which leads to arguments and discontent on both sides.

I can cite N number of instances where I’ve taken hard knocks because either I felt rejected when the person expressed a desire (directly or indirectly) to be alone, or a person refused to understand (purposely or involuntarily) that I merely wanted to speak and reduce my frustration.

However, I must also share that there are times when I want to be left alone, and hence, I can empathize when a man expresses the same need. “Express” being the keyword. He has to SAY that he wants to be by himself, as this will assure the woman that it is not she who is annoying him, and he needs to convalesce in solitude. An unsaid assumption also being that he will approach her himself once he feels better...

It would be, thus, fair to say that expectations should be set in taxing situations. So, the woman clearly states, “I need to vent and I would like you to listen” and the man says, “Give me some time alone, and I’ll talk to you when I am back to normal.”

Of course, different people may think differently about this, yet I am going to risk a generalization here. Your comments are welcome!

- A woman has a never-ending to-do list; there is always something that needs to be done. If a man tries to change her perspective about something, she will feel misunderstood and bitter. He will feel defeated and stop trying coz nothing he does is useful. Instead of comparing and prioritizing her actions, men should just listen with interest and empathy and behave thoughtfully.

Things might get a little subjective here. “Behaving thoughtfully” could mean different things to different women. To one, it might mean the guy helping around the house. To another, it might just mean some advice. To a third one, it might mean something else. What remains common to all three, is that the guy should listen CAREFULLY and with INTEREST. On so many occasions, guys only pretend to be paying attention, and it’s a big turn off and irritant. Don’t blame us if that stresses or annoys us women. And once stressed, it’s child’s play for us to stress you out and bash you up. Beware!!

In continuation to the above…
- Men think that relaxing comes before tending to the home. He anyway operates better in emergency situations than mundane tasks, and resting is generally his first priority. What is of the essence, though, is that he has a genuine need to replenish his energy; what a woman considers laziness is actually a real requirement for him on a physical and mental level. Connecting at this time will stress him out further.

On the other hand, a woman can’t rest even if she wants to when there is work to be done. Stress levels increase for women when they return home because there is so much to be accomplished.

She will expect her man to notice, and do things, and he won’t. If she asks him to do it, he thinks she is nagging and do the job so half-heartedly that she would think it was better to do it herself.

The solution is – she needs to ask for his help in specific ways instead of criticising or rejecting him. Give him projects to complete rather than steps to follow. Easy wins motivate a man to do more. Don’t expect him to pitch in, just ASK. And ask directly. If you expect men to notice/conclude for themselves, then you’re mistaken.

Also, unsolicited help from a woman can annoy the man, when he is working on a task. What she sees as loving on her part, and helping him reach his potential, is viewed as interference by him. If you really want to be helpful, appreciate him for what he does.

Now this is interesting…
- It’s natural for men to look at other women. Don’t get offended or doubt him. But he should keep it respectful and brief, and follow it up with more attention and affection to his partner. A woman needs to trust that a man cares for her as much as she cares for him.

I used to feel restless about guys (even friends) ogling at other chics when we were out together. It made me feel less appealing and attractive. However, I learnt soon enough that if I tease the guy and he responds in a casual but genuine way, the situation will pass without any negativity. It actually becomes a joke for life.

How a guy behaves when he watches the girl and how he responds to the girl with him on being questioned is also vital. After all, a girl will not fall for crap and trust you if the evidence points otherwise. As John Gray has written, “look, but don’t drool!” And hey, the same applies to women too, in case they are “bird-watching” the guy should be ok with it! No emotional blackmail and nautanki allowed!!

Gotta wind up… There’s so much to share, I quite lose track of time and space!

G’day bud :-) And give a biiiiiiiiiiig hug to the one you love… The best way to make her and your day…


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