What do Women Want?

Women are very good at letting us know what they want. We men, being natural "fixers", problem-solvers and rescuers, are very good at attempting to give them what they want in order to please them. None of it works very well for us, and we are forever puzzled, hurt and angry. Our logical minds tell us that it should be a perfect fit: They want things and have problems, and we are good at providing things and solving problems.

But as soon as we get in the middle of it, we get shut down, belittled, disrespected and generally made to feel like an idiot. We are bewildered as to where in hell the fury and icy silences are coming from.

Women may know exactly what they "want", but often don't know what they actually need. This especially applies to younger women with little life-experience and to women who have never experienced receiving what they need from a man. These woman absolutely believe that they know what they need -- and they are wrong. They are wrong because no matter how much they get what they are asking for, they are still miserable, depressed and feel misunderstood and "small".

Women, most of them, don't want their problems solved. Having a problem is a part of their emotional psyche that is essential to their mental health. If they don't have a problem they can chew on at the moment, they will manufacture one. As a friend of mine puts it, "If you were actually able to solve all of a women's problems that she tells you about, then you become the problem." In other words, she will focus on you as the cause of all of her emotional misery and turmoil, because you have taken everything else away.

Women are creatures of emotion. The way they process their emotions (read that "live with themselves"), is to talk it out with another human being. Their natural and historical outlet for this talking process has always been other women. Other women are very interested in what your woman has to say about her emotional state and all of the problems that created it. They calm each other so that by the time they get back to you, they are possible to live with in harmony. A women with a lot of women friends that get together is an easy woman to live with. The man practically doesn't need to do anything to get along with her.

But if your woman has isolated herself at home all day with the kids, or in an office with a lot of males, when she gets home she needs something from you: She needs you to listen while she talks and processes all of the emotions that are swirling around inside her that she doesn't know how to handle. Your job at that point, if you are to have the peace and quiet that you crave, is to listen attentively and actively without interrupting or expressing an opinion except to agree or express wonder at what you have just heard. If you hear her describe a problem in her life that is "Driving her crazy", stifle the urge to blurt out the "solution" that is so obvious to you. Suppress that primal urge to fix her and make all of her problems disappear.

This actually happened: A couple of years ago, after following my own advise for a long time, my wife expressed a problem that was really bothering her. I immediately saw the solution in a flash of male ego and inspiration and started to blurt it out to her. She stopped me with her hand and yelled at me, "Don't do that. Damn it, you know better! You're fucking everything up." I realized what I was doing and freaked out. I stopped immediately, completely put my "solution" out of my head and apologized and asked her to continue, which she did. When she got done, nothing was "solved" about the "problem", but she was okay and we went on to have a lovely evenling.

©2008, Irv Engel

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One's life has value so long as one attributes values to the life of others, by means of love, friendship, indignation and compassion., - Simone de Beauvoir

Irv Engel is a successful salesman, builder, husband, father, grandfather and friend. He loves to sing, dance and is currently taking an art class to learn water color painting. He is the creator and coordinator of the Relationship Training Course for Men. This book, The Real Deal: A Guide to Achieving Successful and Real Relationships, is the result of hundreds of hours spent writing down the lessons learned in a lifetime of marriage, divorce, re-marriage and raising four kids. He hosts free telephone conference coaching sessions in the evening or on weekends.The conference is a good way to find out about relationship coaching and to ask any personal questions around your own relationships without risk to your money or your privacy. E-mail him for phone number, access code and schedule. Irv and Monica live in Lake Forest, Calif. They have eleven grandchildren. They have celebrated their thirty-fifth wedding anniversary.

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