HE SAID, SHE SAID

DO MEN AND WOMEN RE­ALLY SHARE MORE SIM­I­LAR­I­TIES THAN DIF­FER­ENCES?

Life & Style Weekend - - HEALTH - Joanne is a neu­ropsy­chother­a­pist, re­la­tion­ship spe­cial­ist, work­shop fa­cil­i­ta­tor and guest speaker, visit con­fi­dante coun­selling.com

Through­out Au­da­cious Au­gust, I’m bravely jour­ney­ing the world of an Aussie male. To­day I in­ves­ti­gate why we find men’s lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion is so trou­bling.

Thank you for your over­whelm­ing re­sponse to last week’s ar­ti­cle. Here’s what you asked:

■ Do we al­ways in­ter­pret the worst of what men are try­ing to say and not just as­sume the best one?

■ Do women need our opin­ion on dec­o­rat­ing ques­tions when we only see in pri­mary colours? We don’t see puce or coral or that mat­ter!

■ Don’t women de­sire sex­ual in­ti­macy as much as we do?

■ Do men suf­fer inextricab­ly worse than women when phys­i­cally in­ca­pac­i­tated?

■ Don’t men and women ap­proach sit­u­a­tions dif­fer­ently?

Firstly, let’s point out the amaz­ing sim­i­lar­ity between men and women – we all long to be loved. Yes, we might look dif­fer­ent, sound dif­fer­ent and go about get­ting love in a

dif­fer­ent way, how­ever, all the Phd’ers out there keep com­ing back to more sim­i­lar­i­ties than dif­fer­ences.

While I’ve cov­ered fas­ci­nat­ing facts about our vari­ances in brain struc­ture in pre­vi­ous ar­ti­cles, one im­por­tant point is we are mirac­u­lously de­signed to com­ple­ment each other.

I’ll now ad­dress the talk­ing conundrum with a joke from the late Amer­i­can jour­nal­ist, He­len Row­land “Be­fore mar­riage, a man de­clares that he would lay down his life to serve you; af­ter mar­riage, he won’t even lay down his news­pa­per to talk to you”.

I men­tioned last week that con­struc­tive emo­tional dis­clo­sure dis­cus­sions sup­port close­ness.

I get the im­pres­sion that aside from the close­ness part, this seems most un­ap­peal­ing to men. One help­ful male wrote in this week with this help­ful per­spec­tive: “The mas­cu­line in all of us, men and women is covert by na­ture and thus reluc­tant to open it­self up to scru­tiny. Many men, es­pe­cially those who have yet to recog­nise the power of their own fem­i­nine essence, sim­ply have not ex­er­cised this chan­nel for con­nec­tion with an­other hu­man be­ing”.

Fur­ther­more, neu­ro­science re­veals that fe­males are ex­tremely ac­com­plished at de­tect­ing when they’re be­ing lis­tened to – or not. We will catch you out! Fe­male brains have an amaz­ing ca­pac­ity to group sounds and an­a­lyse them ver­sus the male brain which lis­tens for a spe­cific fo­cussed pur­pose.

As I reg­u­larly high­light in cou­ple’s ther­apy, ladies, save some of your words for your gal pals and re­duce any ex­trav­a­gant body move­ments to min­imise dis­trac­tion!

Fel­las, hang in there with us. Keep eye-con­tact, re­as­sure, ask ques­tions and prac­tise at­ten­tive lis­ten­ing for as long as you can. Start pon­der­ing the footy scores or other bouncy things – we see it all over your face!

WORDS: JOANNE WIL­SON

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