Why Men Need a New Map of the Female UniverseMost guys think of a woman a little like a swamp: you can't see where you're stepping, and sooner or later you just know you're going to get stuck in quicksand. And the more you struggle to get free, the deeper you get sucked in. If you're nodding your head in agreement right now, this post is for you. In a recent landmark field study, over 6,000 respondents participated in revealing what women really want. The findings, published in For Men Only: A straightforward guide to the inner lives of women explains things about women that might've left both of you feeling helpless, confused, or just plain angry. Along with each insight are doable solutions for helping the relationship. My man and I have poured over the findings and here are 5 of our favorite insights.
The Deal Is Never ClosedAccording to the study, "Your woman likely has a fundamental insecurity about your love. There are periodic times when her feelings need to be convinced and reassured." Buried inside most women--even those in great relationships--is a latent insecurity about whether their man really loves them, and whether the relationship is okay. This sense of vulnerability is usually under the surface of their minds, but when it is triggered, most women show signs of distress until the concern is resolved. 7 out of every 10 women said their relationship and how their man felt about them was anywhere from 'occasionally' to nearly always on their minds."…when this relational insecurity was triggered, it was very painful--sometimes almost debilitating--and it became difficult, if not impossible, for them to get it off their minds.
According to the findings, triggers for feelings that make her wonder where the relationship stands include:
"If a woman doesn't feel loved, it's the same for her as if she isn't loved."
- husband/partner's withdrawal
- a depleted emotional bank account
- husband/partner is absent a lot, and
- unresolved relationship issues.
How to make it better:
- Reassure her
- Continue to pursue her
- If she's upset, she doesn't need space--she needs a hug. Lean in.
- Listen without becoming defensive
Windows…Open!One thing you should know about the fabulous female brain is that women can have several open loops active in their brain at any given moment. Their brain is far more multi-task aware than the male brain, which naturally focuses on just one thing at a time. In addition, women deal with multiple thoughts and emotions from their past and present all the time, at the same time--and these can't be easily dismissed. "They are like busy computers with multiple windows open and running all at once, unwanted pop-ups intruding all the time, and little ability to close out or ignore any of that mental or emotional activity until a more convenient time," report the authors of the study. About half of all female respondents said they have stored thoughts or feelings from the past that regularly pop up into active mode whether they want them to or not. And 8 of 10 women seem consistently unable to close these windows as easily as men can. One female respondent said, "There's never a time that there's nothing going on in my head. If I answer 'nothing,' it's because I'm mad at him!" The Feldhahns added, "She may not be holding onto a grudge, but actually trying to process through it so she can let it go and close that window for good."
Your Real Job Is Closer to HomeFor most women, "Money talks, but Emotional Security sings." Your woman needs emotional security and closeness with you so much that she will endure financial insecurity to get it." According to the research, when a woman thinks of 'security,' her primary thought is NOT about a house, a savings account, or tuition for the kids. For her, 'emotional security' matters most: feeling emotionally connected and close to you, and knowing that you are there for her no matter what.
In fact, since what she wants is your time and attention…, if you appear to give more time and attention to work, it appears that you are making work your priority. To her, that means that she's not your priority. Instead, that choice leaves her feeling distanced and unloved by you. "Creating a sense of closeness between the two of you is more important than anything else--to a woman, it is almost a synonym for emotional security. Even small little gestures convey love and build closeness in a way I never would have thought," says the authors. "The little things are the difference. She feels secure when you make time together a priority." One woman put it this way, "I need to know that he will be there for me, no matter what. We have a good relationship, but I still need to know that he's not going anywhere--physically or emotionally."
"Seven out of ten married women said that if they had to, they would rather endure financial struggles than distance in the relationship."