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Old 10-26-2013, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
18,125 posts, read 11,938,597 times
Reputation: 8903

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I am interested in other's thoughts about how men and women differ in how they go about handing arguments.

I have been in three committed relationships during my life and between my own experiences and what I have frequently observed in other people's relationships, there is a tendency for these general patterns.

In the case where the woman is upset about something that is of a sufficiently button-pressing nature, the response is a 180 degree turn from how women normally want to deal with issues. By this I mean, rather than endlessly talking about it as per normal, they refuse to talk at all. Then comes the cold-shoulder treatment and various judging, demonizing and punishing behaviors for some hours or even days, of the sort which if the man engaged in them, he'd never hear the last of it, and rightly so. By this time I usually can't remember what the heck even started the whole thing and I was generally puzzled what the problem was in the first place -- but remember, she doesn't want to talk. I'm supposed to "know". (Or in some cases, i now exactly what her issue is but feel it's based on a misreading of my intent but she's too busy ascribing motivations and editing my reality to listen to my side of things).

On the other hand, in the case where the man is upset about something that is of a sufficiently button-pressing nature, he goes to his man-cave and broods until he either loses interest and gets over it, or comes out to discuss rationally.

I suppose it is no mystery which way I think is better, but basically, I'm trying to figure out if my perceptions are skewed by the sorts of women I'm attracted to and I tend to notice the same things with other people because of my own experiences ... or if this sort of off the rails and out of control emotional response is just inherently female. And yes, I know men can do the same thing in the form of physically beating the woman senseless -- I just wonder why there's something less wrong with the female response simply because it's more often a mental than a physical cruelty.

If there is one thing that disillusions me about continued investments in intimate relationship with women it is this issue. I find it hard to get over these things and it builds up a residue of disillusionment and resentment that leaches the joy out of a relationship and damages trust. I am a gentle, understanding, caring, good, decent human being and I expect to be treated as such. If I deserved to be (not) spoken to and treated in these ways, it'd be a different story. Am I perfect? No. Do I claim to be? No. But I just can never understand this inability to keep things in perspective and this desire to throw the baby out with the bath water. And it's always over something small like a perceived slight to cooking skills or something along those lines. It's never about anything substantive that would in my mind make such volcanic eruptions at least understandable -- like me cheating or being chronically inattentive or neglectful or dismissive of the relationship. It's always something comparable to if I were throwing things and storming out of the house because she lost the car keys for the nth time. It's those kinds of no-big-deal-unless-you-choose-to-think-of-it-that-way things.

In my current relationship the only mercy is that these occurrences are infrequent. But they still exist. I am simply trying to get my arms around the phenomenon. Is there the slightest hope that my twilight years could possibly be lived in a peaceful and understanding way with her, or am I doomed to go to my grave with this scimitar always hanging above me? Or am I just a p___y that I even let it upset me? I swear that when crud like this happens, I lose the very will to live. And I think at some level she knows that, which makes it worse.

Mind you I am talking about infrequent and particular blips in an otherwise mature and comfortable relationship. I'm not in some kind of living hell with a mentally ill person. That was wife #1. I am not in an uneven and unpredictable day to day situation where I never know what to expect next. That was wife #2. I am in a basically satisfactory situation with occasional returns to the Land of Kafka. I can live with this, I am simply trying to understand it. At my age, heck, it's almost an idle curiosity because this has so defined my existence for so long that I don't even entertain the hope that it will ever go away. Ladies, maybe you can help me out here. When you get really p.o'd, and you get like this, what are you thinking or going through? Particularly in those instances where, after the fact, you're kind of ashamed of yourselves because the trigger was not really all that big of a deal. Is there something the guy could / should do to defuse things and help you out? Thats the kind of insight I'm seeking.
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Somewhere
8,070 posts, read 6,535,034 times
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I don't get upset for days. My anger usually lasts from 5 minutes up to probably 2 hours if I am really hurt. What I don't often is intiate contact after a fight because I am afraid the other person is still upset with me.

I guess we are all different. I grew up around angry people who would fight and 5 minutes later they would be talking as if nothing happened. Even toxic environments seem to have their advantages.
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Old 10-29-2013, 07:58 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
18,125 posts, read 11,938,597 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sugah Ray View Post
I don't get upset for days. My anger usually lasts from 5 minutes up to probably 2 hours if I am really hurt. What I don't often is intiate contact after a fight because I am afraid the other person is still upset with me.

I guess we are all different. I grew up around angry people who would fight and 5 minutes later they would be talking as if nothing happened. Even toxic environments seem to have their advantages.
Thanks for the response. Yes, my idea of hell on earth is what I call a BNF (Big, Noisy Family), e.g., the stereotypical Italian household where everyone is gesticulating and shouting constantly and "f__k you" is tossed off as casually as "good morning". I suppose if you grow up that way you'd be desensitized to a degree, and it's all you'd know, but it would still be toxic overall for someone with more gentle sensibilities. But I'm sure someone from such an environment would be fond about it in ways. Certainly there can be solidarity and loyalty that arises from such passion. But still ... it seems like family should be a refuge against such chaos, not a microcosm of it.

Everyone has doubts at times about their relationship with their significant other, and exasperations. Some of them are even legitimate. My ideal has always been that once I commit to a relationship I don't go to certain places, even in my head. I don't wonder aloud if I should have gotten married or threaten to end the relationship unless there is a DARNED good reason. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I also believe in grace and mercy, particularly when it's most needed. I believe in perspective. I have never been close to anyone who shares these values at a deep enough level for it to do any good when it's most needed. You think you vet someone in this regard, think you know them, and then unrelated pressures instruct you otherwise. It's too bad.

It's not always a fundamental character defect, sometimes it's an irrational button that you trip over and accidentally press. That's the case in my current relationship. Intellectually, I get that. Emotionally, not so much.

This also gets into the meaning of loyalty and devotion. I was under the impression it was us guys that are prone to be feckless polecats. But there are forms of disloyalty other than sexual infidelity. In my experience and the experience of others that I've observed, women match men in other ways ... verbal abuse and emotional withholding are very, very common. To the point where if I ever found myself alone again, I absolutely would not bother and would finish out my course alone. I no longer have it in me. And that just seems sad and unnecessary.

I know someone is apt to chime in that men can do these things too, but I am just talking about tendencies and leanings. Maybe I've had women on too much of a pedestal and I'm just seeing things in a less romantic and idealistic light and it's a shock to me. Maybe it's better that I take women (and the ideal of intimate relationships, perhaps, as I'm sure some of the same things apply to gay relationships) off that pedestal. I suppose that is what is happening here. But then I ask myself, what was the point?
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Old 10-29-2013, 08:20 AM
 
Location: Southwestern, USA, now.
20,228 posts, read 17,423,513 times
Reputation: 21968
For men only:

Regarding your last yrs spent in peace... here is the secret...since it seems many
have not read, 'Men are from Mars, Women from Venus' (first chapter explains most of it)...
Or gone to a good therapist to get the tools.

You say, "Yes, dear" most of the time, don't have any expressed thought or opinion of
your own, mostly ever again.

And when she is upset, never try to fix it...just listen....then say,"Aw, honey, I had no idea,"
Open your arms, now...."I'll never do that again, come here."

Try this...you can thank me later. And you probably think I'm kidding.
After the first time you do this technique you'll see that I'm not.

(Psst, a women only wants to be listened to....she is a little girl who's feeling
never counted.)
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Old 10-29-2013, 02:14 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
18,125 posts, read 11,938,597 times
Reputation: 8903
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miss Hepburn View Post
For men only:

Regarding your last yrs spent in peace... here is the secret...since it seems many
have not read, 'Men are from Mars, Women from Venus' (first chapter explains most of it)...
Or gone to a good therapist to get the tools.

You say, "Yes, dear" most of the time, don't have any expressed thought or opinion of
your own, mostly ever again.

And when she is upset, never try to fix it...just listen....then say,"Aw, honey, I had no idea,"
Open your arms, now...."I'll never do that again, come here."

Try this...you can thank me later. And you probably think I'm kidding.
After the first time you do this technique you'll see that I'm not.

(Psst, a women only wants to be listened to....she is a little girl who's feeling
never counted.)
I already do all that stuff. I don't have an opinion unless she specifically WANTS my opinion, and even then, I'm wary of giving it. Most people don't want my opinion even if they ask for it. Not unless it rubber-stamps their opinion. That is why these forums are a draw ... people come here to actually engage, and no one has to worry about sleeping on the couch afterwards ;-)

And yeah, I get the little girl who doesn't count thing. When I'm a little boy who doesn't count ... well, I guess it doesn't count. So it goes.

It's not so bad once you get used to the double standards. One of many in the world. Not something I'm going to change. Millions of men have died trying.

But seriously, thanks for the advice. It's good advice. It does help.
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Old 10-29-2013, 04:10 PM
 
Location: Southwestern, USA, now.
20,228 posts, read 17,423,513 times
Reputation: 21968
I just asked a married man of 43 yrs.

"You're right."
"I'm wrong"
" I'm sorry"




I always add, I'll never do it again.
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Old 10-29-2013, 06:37 PM
 
41 posts, read 36,481 times
Reputation: 39
I hear your frustration, and understand it, at least to whatever degree will allow, given that I'm a woman

I'm not sure I can impart Deeper understanding, at least not in one post, but this topic does interest me greatly. I'm not currently in a relationship, and have no desire to give it another go anymore....I'm in that place you mentioned in which I'm not sure if i I'm completely disillusioned, or simply too old to believe in romanticism, or both.

The is much about my past relationships that I can't even remember anymore, aside from the reality that they were dismal experiences overall...generally speaking. What I can share with you though, is the sense of frustration I felt when I tried to have a rational, even tempered discussion with. my former partners about issues that were of some concern or relevance to me, be it minor or more pressing.

What I found, without exception is that I was seldom really heard, the issue was rarely taken seriously, crucial details forgotten or overlooked, my concerns taken into account only if they affected him is some adverse way. I discovered that the only way to get him to really take notice of what I was saying, was to charge the discussion with emotionalism. Anger, despair, irritation....whatever most suited the occasion, even though i didn't actually feel that way. Except of course, by the time I finally realized this was the only course of action on my behalf that provided some likelihood of giving my position on the matter any relevance in his eyes, I felt resentment that I felt so compelled to resort to such measures.

Why for example, did it take ten years of me smiling as I gently told him again and again...thank you honey for the wonderful meal, but I really don't like fennel, I can't stand the taste of anything licorice. Only when I finally got really pissed off for the umpteenth time and told him I f'n HATE FENNEL damn it did he finally clue in and stop putting it in nearly everything he cooked, from soup to roast beef? Just an example, and I have no idea if it applies in any way to your situation but your post prompted this memory for me, so I thought I'd toss it your way, for whatever it might be worth.
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Old 10-29-2013, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Northeastern US
18,125 posts, read 11,938,597 times
Reputation: 8903
Quote:
Originally Posted by sparksy View Post
Why for example, did it take ten years of me smiling as I gently told him again and again...thank you honey for the wonderful meal, but I really don't like fennel, I can't stand the taste of anything licorice. Only when I finally got really pissed off for the umpteenth time and told him I f'n HATE FENNEL damn it did he finally clue in and stop putting it in nearly everything he cooked, from soup to roast beef? Just an example, and I have no idea if it applies in any way to your situation but your post prompted this memory for me, so I thought I'd toss it your way, for whatever it might be worth.
*chuckle* well ...

In all honesty two of the three or four kerfuffles of the past year have had to do with this very topic. Let's just say I don't get to have even the gentlest opinion or request about food she cooks or even selects unless it's asked for. For some reason that's just a button. So I pretend I love it whether or not I do. Given that she's really good about keepin' it real in all other departments, I can allow her that fiction, I guess, but I really didn't need to have my head bitten off to learn it. Being a dude, I might have needed her to get my attention with some mild firmness, but not a full-on snit. The sad thing is it's not even that she's a bad cook, quite the contrary, it is really just a request along the lines of "please no fennel".

At any rate, thanks for taking the time to respond, and I do hear you regarding being heard. I know that some of the emotional fulminations in a relationship can come from not being heard (or seen). My partners have never had that complaint, in fact my current wife really likes more "space" than I'm used to giving. It is always a "hot button" issue of some kind that I don't particularly "get" and about which they aren't terribly open to discuss. Or it is maybe not even about what they think / claim it is about. My late 2nd wife was wont to complain when she was angry that I was "disrespectful" and her "proof" of this was always some minor oversight all out of proportion to her rage. The reason I know it was an itch I wasn't able to scratch is that she had the same complaint about her mother, her aunt, my daughter, some of her coworkers and friends, plus she just didn't suffer fools well. And it was on equally tenuous grounds and she was just as strident with them. I came to see that she did not feel worthy on some levels and this was deeply entrenched, probably related ultimately to the fact that her father abandoned her and her mother when she was 11. I would have insisted she work on this, with a professional if necessary, but she was too physically sick, had bigger fish to fry, and died still saddled with her daddy issues. Or whatever they were.

What I've come to realize is that when you take on a life partner you take on their issues / baggage and it can be surprisingly extensive. Worse, you're asking them to take yours on and while I think I was remarkably free of them once upon a time, now, that's not so true anymore and I am damaged goods, too. It is one of the reasons I think being mortal is a Good Idea. Maybe personalities wear out too.
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Old 10-30-2013, 09:03 AM
 
Location: Southwestern, USA, now.
20,228 posts, read 17,423,513 times
Reputation: 21968
I may have missed it....some therapy would help tremendously.
(My opinion...it's always childhood injustices eating away at people, then they project
their pain onto the innocent due to lack of self awareness)
It is bec of a therapist I made a list...

Future partner:
1. Employed, none of this, "between jobs stuff"
2. Health conscious
3. Not fanatical about anything...running, religion, vegetarianism, anything.
4. Social drinker ok, but non smoker
5. Believes in some Higher Power (too hard being with an angry atheist for 2 yrs)
6. Has been in therapy OR is willing to go to therapy.
7. Realizes I am not the source of their happiness OR pain...(usually a result of a couple therapy sessions only)

Red Flags right from start:
1. Irritable with wait staff or service
2. Unresolved family fights...of decades
3. No listening skills
4. Pouts when I have to change plans

Why did I post this here? I figure someone reading this topic is moving into a new
relationship, maybe a third marriage....stop and make a list....what comes up
In the dating stage only intensifies later.
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Old 10-30-2013, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Somewhere
8,070 posts, read 6,535,034 times
Reputation: 5654
Quote:
Originally Posted by mordant View Post
Thanks for the response. Yes, my idea of hell on earth is what I call a BNF (Big, Noisy Family), e.g., the stereotypical Italian household where everyone is gesticulating and shouting constantly and "f__k you" is tossed off as casually as "good morning". I suppose if you grow up that way you'd be desensitized to a degree, and it's all you'd know, but it would still be toxic overall for someone with more gentle sensibilities. But I'm sure someone from such an environment would be fond about it in ways. Certainly there can be solidarity and loyalty that arises from such passion. But still ... it seems like family should be a refuge against such chaos, not a microcosm of it.

Everyone has doubts at times about their relationship with their significant other, and exasperations. Some of them are even legitimate. My ideal has always been that once I commit to a relationship I don't go to certain places, even in my head. I don't wonder aloud if I should have gotten married or threaten to end the relationship unless there is a DARNED good reason. I say what I mean and mean what I say. I also believe in grace and mercy, particularly when it's most needed. I believe in perspective. I have never been close to anyone who shares these values at a deep enough level for it to do any good when it's most needed. You think you vet someone in this regard, think you know them, and then unrelated pressures instruct you otherwise. It's too bad.

It's not always a fundamental character defect, sometimes it's an irrational button that you trip over and accidentally press. That's the case in my current relationship. Intellectually, I get that. Emotionally, not so much.

This also gets into the meaning of loyalty and devotion. I was under the impression it was us guys that are prone to be feckless polecats. But there are forms of disloyalty other than sexual infidelity. In my experience and the experience of others that I've observed, women match men in other ways ... verbal abuse and emotional withholding are very, very common. To the point where if I ever found myself alone again, I absolutely would not bother and would finish out my course alone. I no longer have it in me. And that justp seems sad and unnecessary.

I know someone is apt to chime in that men can do these things too, but I am just talking about tendencies and leanings. Maybe I've had women on too much of a pedestal and I'm just seeing things in a less romantic and idealistic light and it's a shock to me. Maybe it's better that I take women (and the ideal of intimate relationships, perhaps, as I'm sure some of the same things apply to gay relationships) off that pedestal. I suppose that is what is happening here. But then I ask myself, what was the point?
No they are not noisy Jersey shore type, they are just aggressive like if they get offended they raise their tone, pick a fight very easily and tell you that you are the source of all their misery and probably the antichrist. No I'm not fond of that environment AT ALL. I just find that I don't get upset with people for more than a couple of hours. I just can 't relate to your post about the silent treatment for days. Maybe I am a little BDP, I know if am still upset after the anger has passed I will cut that person out if my life if possible.

There are things that bother me but just when they present themselves. It's like all the negative feelings associated with the situation come back in a second, its a tidal wave of negative feelings. Alll the negative past experiences come back in a milisecod. Let me give you an example. I worked independently while my partner worked for a corporation. He would check my reports constantly work when I didn't ask for feeback. He always thought I was making the wrong predictions. They were predictions right? The jokes bothered me every time. "Oh as usual you did this hahaha" No matter how many times I said I did the best I could, that markets are unpredictable or that if I had psychic powers I would guess the powerball ball numbers instead, the comments never ceased. I got visibly irritated but I guess their need for communication was more important than belittling my work
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