Are Women Using Their Men Wrong?

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Kim mentally completed a COSMO compatability quiz. Tyrone's day would soon be ruined...

The other day I was reading about What Women Really Want in a Relationship, as theorized by TIME magazine. As is usually the case when I read about things pertaining to “understanding” women I left more confused than when I showed up. Despite my fabled history in writing about the opposite sex if there’s anything I’ve learned to understand about women over the years, it is the fact that I do not understand women – and if history is a predictor of the future – I likely never will. It does keep things interesting, but the reason I don’t understand women is because of findings like this:

According to the new study published in the Journal of Family Psychology, relationship satisfaction has a lot to do with the way partners are able to read and empathize with each other’s emotions. For women, that applies more to their negative emotions than their positive ones: women are happy when their boyfriend or partner understands they’re upset.

For men, it’s somewhat simpler — they’re happy when their partner is happy. Men report more relationship satisfaction when they know their woman is happy, and not when they know she’s upset or angry.

Say what now?

If I understand women correctly, and as I said above I likely do not, women are not happy when a problem is resolved that may lead to their unhappiness being alleviated. No. They are happy when men recognize they are upset, regardless of if we try to resolve the problem that they are allegedly upset about in the first place? … Oh. Ok. Yeah, I got it.

WTF!

How dare you try to solve my simple problem with a simple solution!

Because I’m apparently a masochist and therefore enjoy pain and suffering, I turned to the women of Twitter to provide further clarification on how women think. I immediately regretted this decision.

Women (AND I LOVE YOU GUYS TO DEATH) are like weathermen. Women claim to be the more evolved of the sexes but when you ask a simple question, you get a complicated answer. Alas, like your local weatherman who claims he can tell you the seven-day forecast when he can’t even get tomorrow’s forecast right, you begin to heed their advice with a cautious ear. In other words, you can ask a group of 100 women the same question and get 103 different responses. This talent would actually be really amazing if it wasn’t simultaneously infuriating.

What confused me about the article is the fact that women appeared more focused on a man understanding the problem than fixing the problem. Mind you this is the same problem, or so I thought, apparently incorrectly, that started the very conversation we are having. And by “we,” I mean she is forcing me to have, since yours truly would not start a convo about a problem in which I didn’t want a resolution to, bro.

Anyway…

That doesn’t make sense to me. When people come to me with a problem, my natural reaction is to try to fix the problem. One woman on Twitter told me, AND I QUOTE, “When you constantly respond with solutions, SOMEtimes it feels like you’re trying to shut down the convo.”

If I only listen, won’t the problem remain? Why are we even discussing a problem without the need for or a goal of resolution? What good is listening if nothing is resolved? More importantly, why the hell are you talking to me about a problem you don’t even want fixed in the middle of the game?

At this point, I was drawn deep into the enigma that is the vortex of the conundrum that is the black hole of the female mind. It was very frightening. Eventually I found myself asking the question that spurred this blog, “How do you use your man?”

If you’re not coming to me, your man, to fix your problems, then who are you turning to? By the very nature of us having this discussion, I assume, you recognize there is a problem that needs to be resolved but while you have turned to me to listen, you have not come to me to provide a solution. I’m tasked with empathizing, not resolving. So, who is responsible for resolution?

This question is not without merit.

I have any number of female friends who turn to me to vet questions about their relationship and their respective significant other. Some of these questions are more personal and/or serious than others. I’m not positive but I’m fairly sure they do not discuss all these questions with their significant other. However, because my female friends are actually FRIENDS I can provide an honest, non-biased opinion on the subject. Her and I know she can come to me and I’ll tell her the truth without the cushy goodness her significant other is forced to use when responding to her ridiculous perfectly reasonable questions because he wants to access her pum pum star that night and maintain peace in their home so he can watch the NCAA games. I, on the other hand, have nothing to lose when I inform her, “You’re being completely unreasonable right now… He’s right. You’re wrong. Apologize, immediately! Then give him some brain like you went to Yale but you probably went to Howard and make him a sandwich.” Because that’s what real friends tell their friends when they’re being immature idiots.

This brings us to the Q&A portion of the show. To varying degrees, I believe we’re all guilty of turning to others for help in our relationships when the people we should likely turn to first, our significant other, is not always the first to hear our grievances. Therefore…

For the ladies: 1) How do you decipher between the man that can give you open and honest feedback on the various issues affecting your relationship and/or life because he genuinely wants you to succeed versus the man who is secretly trying to sabotage your relationship from the outside in? 2) Furthermore, why are you even having this discussion with another man instead of your man? 3) Why do you confide in others outside of the relationship – not limited to men, as your single friends can cause the same if not worse damage? 4) At what point does confiding in a man outside the relationship about problems in the relationship constitute being unfaithful? 5) Would you be fine with your man confiding in a woman about problems affecting your relationship?

For the men: 1) Do you play the role of confidant for a committed women in your life? 2) If yes, was there ever a time when you used this role to your advantage to purposely sabotage the relationship? 3) Do you turn to women outside your relationship to get a better understanding of your significant other? 4) Do you believe this constitutes unfaithfulness and if not, how do you safely tote the line of committed man and shy away from women with ulterior motives, especially when the majority of men’s female friends generate from X’s or past romantic interest? 5) Are you ok with your woman confiding in another man about personal problems affecting your relationship?

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From Our Partners

  • milo

    As a woman, when I go to my man and tell him (for example) about the bullshit my boss did to me at work I don’t need him to tell me what to do next. What I want is just someone to listen to me, plus a lot of the time I already know what a solution to my problem is. My relationship with my man is special because he was my best friend and is my best friend. I go to him first before I go to my girls. Even when I’m mad at him I don’t go to all my friends and ask for what to do, because I already know me and him need to figure it out together. I would only go to my girls if the problem was so overwhelming for just myself. I have some male friends that tell me about their relationship dramas and I’ll listen but I would never in a million years go to them and tell them about myself. I am a very private person and I just don’t like everyone to know my business. 

  • brownbelle

    I do both. Sometimes I just need to vent. Every once in a while I'll get super irritated about something that's totally not a big deal and easily solvable, but I need to whine and get some sympathy before I can be an adult about it. A lot of the time I do come to my man for a solution. When something goes down, I get very "in my feelings" about it and he's good at letting me know if I'm overreacting or not.

    When it comes to problems that are specifically about the relationship, it is very important for him to acknowledge my unhappiness BEFORE moving on to how to fix it. It just makes me feel better. I guess I just don't believe he can really know how to fix the issue, without knowing how it's affecting me first.

    The only outside people I talk to about my relationship are my sister and brother. I've been on the receiving end of too many "my man won't do right" convos w/ friends to inflict that on someone else, lol! Plus, my siblings & I are very close and they have my best interest at heart. If I'm happy with someone, they aren't going to tell me to dump him just because we had an argument. But I've never had to ask for their advice and ended up not addressing the situation with my SO afterward.

  • http://Twitter.com/InAnimateAlpha Animate

    Good stuff as usual

  • twism

    I actually had this conversation with someone recently in an email. I'll share a bit of it to clarify.

    Sometimes we're needed by those that love us to be there for them. They may need to express anger or sorrow; they may talk or be silent; they might want us to hold their hand or give them time alone. Whatever the case, when we're "there" for someone, we give of ourselves to help contain and sort out some of whatever is overwhelming them at the time.

    Sometimes you just have to be a steady figure that they can lean on for support. Be able to help someone confront the issues that are bothering them, but also be aware enough to know when to back off. All the while with the underlying understanding that in those moments it really is all about them and not you. It's a free space to get it all out with worrying about being misunderstood or how they're being perceived. Every now and then, one of the best things you can do for someone is to just be there when they need someone to turn to.

    My gift and my curse was growing up with my mom, my two sisters, and my grandmother. Majoring in psych to help me figure out what the hell was wrong with them helped too.

    • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

      All. Of. THIS.

      What I think WIM is not understanding is it takes MORE trust/inimacy/WhateverYouWannaCallIt to allow yourself to be 'emotionally compromised' around a person that it does to simply state "I have an issue, wanna help me with this'? If an issue has you so upset you are shaking your fists, randomly nodding your head & raising your voice in the direction of the wall, there are only so many people on this earth that you can do that around that won't call the police, HR, or Ward's Island. If you hapen to be one of them, just listen. Most of the time, women have the answer, but, to be politically incorrect, as Black people we are only allowed SO many levels of emotion before we "become a problem", and sometimes we just need to VENT, and have a listening ear around, before we go nuclear on a co-worker. :-)

    • Muze

      Men with lots of sisters always seem to rock. they know exactly the right thing to say, they're understanding, etc. good job. lol
      My recent post How Garlic Saved My Life (or just my hair)

    • Naija

      Truth.com.

  • Adonis

    Alpha above everything…

    I believe in the power of listening & understanding… But I still think women are full of sh*t…

    But I will still give them what they want if it leads to enthusiastic s*x & endless orgasm response…

    When trying to understand the tormented souls that is women, MSM is not the wave…

    SSTTE

    • Sapphiresk

      You might want to talk to a grown-up who knows that all woman are not full of sh*t.

      Your comments show a remarkable lack of understaning, depth and sensitivity.

  • http://travelwisconsin.us TracyAnn0312

    There are women who are using their men in wrong reason and I think that I'm one of them that is why my husband and I separated for good. There are certain times that women use their man for a reason and sometimes they can also get benefits from them. Thanks for sharing this wonderful idea so that women must know their limitations.
    My recent post אילוף כלבים

  • BM10

    It's really simple why you're confused. From the tone of the first half of your article it seems that you only see one way to solve the problem: to fix it. But how can you "fix" a problem if you don't understand the root in the first place? How can you understand if you don't listen? That's just common sense. You don't jump into a business problem without understanding the context first. In some ways SOME women are the same. As a woman, I know sometimes I act ridiculously and things that I temporarily believe to be problems actually aren't. As an adult, you learn to sift through and determine what is really a problem, what is really not.

    I should also note that with two brothers, SOME men do the same thing (regarding problems with no interest in solutions), and either way you have to listen before you start throwing solutions. Women aren't aliens and neither are men. If you want a healthy relationship with someone, don't apply a generic formula and expect it to work (women to men or men to women). That's just insulting to both sexes.

    As for the second part of your article I personally feel that unless the situation is very serious and the friend is very trusted, everything that happens in a relationship should be with that partner. I cannot for the life of me understand the women and men who choose to liberally share their relationship ills with others. It never works well. The external person rarely gets the full picture of the story and by definition is giving faulty advice (because it's likely that they never have all the pertinent facts).

    Enjoyed the food for thought, but you might want to be careful of the way you generalize. Men and women do have some separate characteristics, but it wouldn't hurt for you to be a bit self-reflective (don't tell me you've never made an irrational decision lol).

  • http://up4discussion.org/ up4dsn

    Great post WIM!

    I will admit that I turn to my female friends when there may be something I need insight about in my relationship. I don't think that means I'm being unfaithful at all. If anything I'm going to another woman in hopes that I will be able to view the situation from a different perspective. That's why I'll go to a friend who will not just automatically side with me, but look at what's going on from both sides and then provide and objective viewpoint.

    Yes, I'm cool with my woman confiding in one of her male friends about our relationship. They are friends and that's what friends do. I would trust that my woman would not have friends who would only want to sabotage our relationship, or at least be able to notice the signs if that was the case. I'm not a very jealous person to begin with, so my woman talking to a male friend wouldn't bother much at all. Sure there are certain details in a relationship that shouldn't be shared, but if we are going to our friends to seek insight or direction, I feel there is no reason to get upset or feel betrayed.
    My recent post Question of the Week: Time to Move In?

  • http://belindakalu[email protected] B

    Women like to vent. We need to vent. We grown, we know what to do, venting makes us feel better. I don’t bother men with my venting because they don’t understand and will likely just be hiding their annoyance. I have girlfriends for that. I vent to them, they vent to me, it works. As for relationship advice, if I go elsewhere, which I do often, I take it with a grain of salt since this person is not in the relationship but it’s usually just to find out if something is worth bringing up or if I should just let it go. I know I overreact.

  • http://twitter.com/leighvl @leighvl

    My Mind is blown, on how much this post makes sense. I do understand women like to feel that they are appreciated and listened to by their significant other, but as of late I feel that not only the woman wants me to understand what she is saying, but feel it as well. Emotions and all.

    As for the question part, I do try to be a person of trust and security for the empress in my life, because I understand that she needs to vent and feel someone is always on her side. It does put me at an advantage because she has opened up to me, but I try not to be tempted to betray it, Mainly because that wouldn't be nice.

  • L..

    If you expect to understand women using standards that are so black and white, you will fail. Some things to consider:

    1. If she doesn't specifically ask you what she should do, that should serve as some indication that she may not be looking for advice. When your female friends come to you, I'm guessing (and I could easily be wrong) that they are more likely to explicitly ask for your opinion on the matter.

    2. Not every thing that makes us upset can be resolved. We know there are some things we just need to accept about life, but it doesn't mean we have to like it. And that's why some of us like to use our men, just to share our frustration with that reality.

    3. Just because I am sharing my concerns or expressing my frustration about something, it does not mean I don't know how to resolve the issue. It is very possible that I've already considered the suggestions you are making and ruled them out or I'm in the process of perfecting my plan of action.

    4. Don't you think It would actually be best to let the person with the problem draw their own conclusions about what should be done? If you really want someone to resolve their issues, a proven approach is to guide them to their own solutions, by letting them talk and open up about what the root of the problem is and how they believe it can be resolved, and following up by using questions that point out flaws or inconsistencies in logic, or address feasibility issues under the circumstances. That approach is completely different than telling someone "this is what you need to do (now let me get back to the game)"

    5. If you are going to give advice, make sure to consider her perspective on things. Unless we have the same personality, what you would do in a similar situation isn't necessarily going to be helpful to me. Also, to fully understand my perspective, I think you need to listen to and understand the whole problem, that's one reason it can be off putting to have a guy serve up a simple solution before I'm even done sharing my concerns.

    • https://www.facebook.com/naturalnique82 Dominique Ferguson

      I agree wholeheartedly :)

  • Hugh Jazz

    For women, that applies more to their negative emotions than their positive ones: women are happy when their boyfriend or partner understands they’re upset.

    For men, it’s somewhat simpler — they’re happy when their partner is happy.

    So men are happy when their woman is happy. And women are happy when they are upset?

    Forget the listening to a woman vent, or a man offering officious advice to his woman: a woman is "most satisfied" when her man knows she's upset? Really? Happy? It that hyperbole, a bogus study, or what is really the deal here?

    • Top5DOA

      Ladies, Please Respond.

      • https://www.facebook.com/naturalnique82 Dominique Ferguson

        We, women, are not happy that we are upset, BUT we are happy that our man understands (acknowledges, recognizes) that we are upset. When I am unhappy, it is not that I want my guy to be unhappy with me, but I want him to do something about my unhappiness- ask me what's wrong, comfort me, listen to me…pretty much give me the full attention I need to get back to happy.

        Make sense? If not, my apologies in advance :-)

    • spice

      Um…I think it might be focusing on the happiness part rather than specifying for what.

      Yes, we like to see you happy. I think this is true for any reasonably normal human being though and not all that specific to romantic relationships. Even when I am upset seeing someone laugh often makes me laugh or smile as well.

      As for the first part the first commenter answered this wonderfully. Rather than writing a whole book in the comments section I want to instead suggest one. It's called "For Men Only" (there's a "For Women Only" as well) and these are the only books I've found so far that really outline how men and women tick. For many of us we try to understand others using our own brain, our own logic. We then project accordingly, leading to topics like these, lol. Anyway, I **highly** suggest you read the book…one friend calls it the "sex book" because without saying, it worked wonders for him, haha.

      • Hugh Jazz

        spice: "Um…I think it might be focusing on the happiness part rather than specifying for what."

        Because that's what the study says: "women are most satisfied when their partner knows they’re upset." I'm pretty sure that's hyperbole, and I take it with a grain of salt since psychology is a soft science. Which is why I posed the question to the ladies here.

        However, if this study is true, and if anybody defends this inanity, I'm going to make sure I thank my girl for being a reasonable person and not looking for drama to find happiness.

  • http://www.WisdomIsMisery.com WisdomIsMisery

    I forgot to ask or discuss this question in the post although it came up on Twitter. I see similar themes here today. How is a man suppose to know when to listen versus when to offer solutions? Many are saying your man's only responsibility is to listen to the problem, but if he only listens, and you want a solution, how does that help? It seems to be a catch-22, seeing as some days you'll want him to listen versus other days you'll want him to help with a conclusion/answer. How is he to know which day is which?

    Further, no one has specifically commented on seeking advice from outside counsel. To be perfectly honest, while I'm not the jealous type, I'm not sure I'd be ok with my woman seeking personal advice on our relationship from another man – friend or otherwise – if I am not afforded the same chance to address her concerns. I can see this easily metamorphing into, at minimum, "emotional cheating" whereby she begins to only feel comfortable addressing concerns in the relationship with other men who happen to be her friend. Whose to say this wont blossom into more? He already knows all that ails you and what I'm doing wrong. It's almost like giving the other team our playbook and hoping they don't use it against us to win the final game.

    To be clear, if this occurs, I place full responsibility on my significant other. This is why I'm not the jealous type. I expect my girl/fiance/wife to be able to successively navigate the nuances of having friends of the opposite sex, which is fine with me, but if you overstep the bounds of that friendship, I will hold you fuly accountable for any and all indiscretions, not him.

    Lastly, while it has been largely glossed over so far today, most women I've dated are not comfortable with/happy about the amount of female friends I have and/or talk to, even though we are just friends. So every woman here is perfectly fine with their man having female friends?

    *reviews comments on Slim Jackson's Business Card Exchange post*

    Okie…dokie…

    • Hugh Jazz

      WIM: "Further, no one has specifically commented on seeking advice from outside counsel."

      Occasionally, it's fine. If there is a particular problem that my woman really needs a male’s perspective that’s not mine, every once in a while is all right. But when she’s always going to the same knee grow about every problem we deal with, and he knows everything about what is supposed to be our intimate relationship, it’s a problem.

      • Paul B

        I can see to a certain degree the value of having outside counsel (wise counsel from a genuine person) from the opposite sex as long as there are reasonable boundaries. The truth is that sometimes the friend of the opposite sex is going to be able to offer fresh eyes and an insight not limited by the emotion of the moment. The sad part is that sometimes the friend that is best able to be that source of insight isn’t the one that many of us go to; people will confide in the Yes man/woman that’s feeding bad advice and will cause more harm than good.

        With that said, sometimes our S/Os aren’t going share certain pertinent details that may actually change the way we approach the situation because they’re too caught up in the moment. Having a genuine friend of the opposite sex (friendly relationship that you consider like a brother or sister) is like having an inside man or woman.

    • http://twitter.com/Amaris_Acosta @Amaris_Acosta

      Honestly, I didn't answer the second part because I don't do it. My guy friends know when I have a S/O that we'll still hang, but more in a group setting than one-on-one. And really, I don't ask for relationship advice that often. When I do, I'll ask my friends that have been in relationships longer than me. If I just need a random guy perspective, I might ask a friend, I might just post it as an open FB/Twitter question. No one understands your relationship better than the people in it, I have learned, and if the only reason you talk to your friends about your relationship is because something is wrong, don't be surprised if after a short period of time their only advice is to "breeak up with that #SummOvaBich.

    • Streetz

      We are supoosed to read their minds, silly rabbit!

    • Bree

      How is a man suppose to know when to listen versus when to offer solutions?
      Answer – listen intently first and try to understand the "why." Ask if she wants/needs your help or if she is just venting. If she says yes I want to know what you think then give her practical, but thoughtful solutions. If she balks at them ask "well what do you think the best course of action is?" If she is just venting just listen and don't offer any advice.
      In the end most impnt thing is letting her know your there for her and that whatever she decides you will support her.
      Thats the time you step into the "supportive friend" role in your relationship and out of the "boyfriend" role.

  • Mr. SD

    Aiight here we go:

    1) Do you play the role of confidant for a committed women in your life? Yes, but not 100%. I realized women need to feel like they can tell their man anything, just as much as they would tell their best girlfriend. So its necessary to sit there and listen to ya lady. BUT dont let her drive you crazy! Filter some of it and leave the rest for her girlfriends to decipher.

    2) If yes, was there ever a time when you used this role to your advantage to purposely sabotage the relationship? I wanna say no but because some (most) women make the mistake of saying too much, it leaves the door open for you to use their own bullish against them…its not something i suggest guys do but it happend to me once.

    3) Do you turn to women outside your relationship to get a better understanding of your significant other?
    ABSOLUTELY YES. But I filter that as well. I have a squad of about 3 women that i go to. Keep in mind the information they give me will always be one-sided. But it comes in handy when trying to understand ya lady.

    4) Do you believe this constitutes unfaithfulness and if not, how do you safely tote the line of committed man and shy away from women with ulterior motives, especially when the majority of men’s female friends generate from X’s or past romantic interest? Its totally faithful. Its not cheating in my eyes. I actually should get credit for reaching out for a greater understanding..lol

    5) Are you ok with your woman confiding in another man about personal problems affecting your relationship? Absolutely

  • HolidayNC

    1.) I used to play that confidant role for female friends, but it became a constant irritant because I was often attracted to the women who were confiding in me and became infuriated that they were putting up with such bullshit from the douchebags they were dating while keeping me in the friendzone; thus I cut them off completely and only provide relationship advice to females I'm either related to or completely unattracted to… this gives me the ability to be "no holds barred" with advice, i.e. completely and utterly honest as a blunt instrument.
    2.) I never used it to sabotage a relationship; I was completely honest, even if the advice didn't work in my favor.
    3.) I never look for advice outside my relationship unless it's from my grandmother; I don't trust the advice of dudes with regards to my woman because they don't know her, and I don't EVER trust the relationship advice of a female. The smart ones are smart enough to say "I can't advise you on your relationship because I'm not in it", while the dumb ones give advice that they either can't take themselves, or advice that obviously isn't working for them because they're usually single anyway.
    4.) I don't believe it constitutes unfaithfulness, provided it stays within acceptable guidelines; unfortunately, even if it stays within acceptable guidelines your woman could still be upset with you discussing your (plural) business with someone else, especially female, so I choose to avoid that potential pitfall altogether.
    5.) No, I'm not ok with my woman confiding in another man about our relationship problems; honestly I'm not comfortable with her telling her girlfriends all our business, but I'll accept it as a necessary evil. Other men on the other hand, I can't justify.
    My recent post Darker Than Blue

    • Hugh Jazz

      HolidayNC "I used to play that confidant role for female friends, but it became a constant irritant because I was often attracted to the women who were confiding in me and became infuriated that they were putting up with such bullshit from the douchebags they were dating while keeping me in the friendzone; thus I cut them off completely and only provide relationship advice to females I'm either related to or completely unattracted to…"

      Truth.

      Key play in the playbook: NEVER be friends with a woman you're attracted to. If you want a relationship and she won't give it, don't give her the friendship. Oddly enough, if you do this, the lady sometimes will develop an attraction.

  • Bree

    1) How do you decipher between the man that can give you open and honest feedback on the various issues affecting your relationship and/or life because he genuinely wants you to succeed versus the man who is secretly trying to sabotage your relationship from the outside in? I'm not in every way like the average typical woman, therefore I don't handle situations like many other women or think and feel the same, (just wanted to put that disclaimer out there).

  • Bree

    To answer the question I rarely go to other folks for advice. I don't always listen when folks tell me what to do so I'm the last person to go to someone for advice or help. I wholeheartedly believe that if you have a problem with the person your in a relationship with you discuss it openly and honestly with that person….not with friends, family cowrkers, and others. I'm the type of person that if I have a problem with you or something your doing I will let you know straight up what it is.
    2) Furthermore, why are you even having this discussion with another man instead of your man?
    Please refer to answer to question # 1.
    3) Why do you confide in others outside of the relationship – not limited to men, as your single friends can cause the same if not worse damage? Please refer to question #1

  • Bree

    4) At what point does confiding in a man outside the relationship about problems in the relationship constitute being unfaithful? I don't think it's unfaithful but I think it's playing with fire and potentially dangerous to confide in another person the intimate details of your relationship and your feelings. When you have discussions and/or do things with another person it causes you to naturally bond with that person and your feelings to deepen for them. I've experienced this myself. I'm the "go to" person that folks always talk to about their problems, issues, feelings and all that other ish. I'm there I'm a sounding board, I listen and when asked for advice I tell folks to figure it out, do whatever they feel is best for them and stop asking other folks (including me) for advice and/or I give them honest answers to their questions. Some stuff I say folks don't really like hearing cause it's hardcore 100% straight up no chaser Truth wit a capital T.

  • Bree

    The reality is we one to be able to do things in the quickest and easiest way and find the quickest and easiest answers, like when doing math problems. Unfortunately, that cannot always happen in real life. And sometimes even if it is a quick and easy solution it can be painful and hurtful and feel really bad to do that and so folks don't wanna do what they need to do, they wanna do what they wanna do.

  • Bree

    5) Would you be fine with your man confiding in a woman about problems affecting your relationship?
    The last thing I would want is my man confiding in another woman about our problems. For one I'm a pretty private person and don't like folks in my business….the less they know the better. The other thing is I pride myself on being the type of person my man, family and friends, can come to and tell ANYTHING, and I do mean anything. I've had friends "come out" to me, I've had friends and ex's tell me about being raped and molested as children and have heard all type of personal stuff about folks.
    I don't judge and don't make people feel worse than they already do about a bad situation they are in or something horrible they did or that happened to them. If anything I always try to uplift, inspire, and encourage and always pray for and with them.

  • Bree

    To give you some insight WIM women are all about "feelings." Thing is women like you to sympathize with them and show that you understand how they feel. Even though it's not what they "need", most times what people really want is for you to agree with them, it makes them feel good.
    Honestly the solutions to a lot of life's most challenging problems are not things we want to have to do because they take a lot of time, and they are not the easy things to do.

  • Bree

    For instance if you know your with someone who does not satisfy you in the bedroom and the sex sucks but this is your spouse you have been married to for almost 10 years and you have kids with them it's not an easy thing to straight up tell them your gettin lazy in the bedroom and not satisfying me. Or if it's your s/o you have been with for a long time and may have kids with. Either way it's not easy to discuss it and honestly many people have a hard time effectively expressing how they feel, and what they want and need unless they are pretty natural writers and/or have naturally expressive personalities and it comes easy to them.

  • Bree

    So that is 1 reason why folks go to other people…..it's just easier to do. As for women, well we are very emotional creatures and thats just how it is. We like to vent and say whats on our mind and understanding the root of our problems and how we feel about them is more impnt than trying to mechanically, quickly and easily solve the problem. It makes women feel good and this is one reason why women are more prone to turn to psychotherapist and seek counseling when they have no girlfriends….lol Many Men could give a damn about counseling and feel it's totally unnecessary.

  • Bree

    Last point is this……follow your own advice that you gave to women WIM. Stop always overworrying about what women do, think, want, and feel.
    Honestly certain things about each other we will probably never fully understand about each other and thats ok. I don't think we were meant to understand every single nuance of the opposite sex. To me the fact that we don't makes life so much more fun and interestingly complicated.
    So stop obsessing over it and asking questions that you may never get an answer to that you will fully understand.
    The most impnt thing is that if your with someone you try to understand her as much as you can and the rest "let go and let God."
    And do like the old heads do….nod and say "yes dear", "whatever you say baby", "I understand it's ok", "yes baby your right"…..lol Can't go wrong wit those…..*smile*

    Sorry for the going so much over you guys word count. Can't get as much in this box on the work computer.

  • Top5DOA

    1. Ummmmm in the present day, No. I used to back in the day. I used to refer to myself as the Black Dr. Phil (granted his advice sucks at times, but u know what I'm saying). I think I'm too self-involved at the present for a platonic friend to even ask me for my advice. Plus I stopped giving advice cuz the women weren't taking my advice anyways … "Didn't we JUST talk about this same thing last time?" … smh
    2. No, even tho I liked some of the women. I'm all about integrity.
    3. Nah. I only look for other women to get some self-assessment. Not on my S/O.
    4. Nope, but yeah it is toeing the line a bit when you're confiding with women you've dealt with prior to. To be honest, in most situations you really shouldn't be doing too much more than making sure your Xs or past romantic interests are alive and well. Only leads to insecurities and mis/displaced trust, especially when ur engaging with them often.
    5. I don't want my woman confiding in another man. Once in a blue moon is fine, but anything more than that. Nah Love. I'm a pretty open, communicatory guy that likes to get to the bottom of things sooner than later. How can we speak on what we got goin on when she's off getting outside influence (good or bad).

  • cynicaloptmst81

    First, let me say I act more like a guy when it comes to this stuff. I'm more of a "resolver" than a "listener"…and so is my bf. We talk with purpose. I vent…but I'm venting cause I have an issue. Maybe I've got a plan to resolve it…but I'm running it by him 1) to vent and 2) for his feedback/opinion. I don't talk just to talk. I'm annoyed when people come to me with the same problems over and over again…and I don't wanna be "her", lol. If I have a problem, I'm looking to get past it and move on…not stew in it indefinitely.

    • cynicaloptmst81

      Now, for these questions…

      1) How do you decipher between honest feedback and sabotage? – I can't speak for anyone else but I usually know when a man is feeling me out. I know when I'm talking to someone who's interested in being more than just my friend. So, I don't tell that guy my rela business.

      2) Furthermore, why are you even having this discussion with another man instead of your man? – Feedback from an unbiased source is always helpful, to me. Moreso, when you and your partner are disagreeing on something…could help you to understand your partner more.

      3) Why do you confide in others outside of the relationship – not limited to men, as your single friends can cause the same if not worse damage? Wisdom and experience comes from all situations. I like to hear it all and then decide on a course of action sometimes…

      • cynicaloptmst81

        4) At what point does confiding in a man outside the relationship about problems in the relationship constitute being unfaithful? – When you are knowingly confiding in a man so he can prop you up, boost your ego, and possibly keep him on the back burner in case you and old boy don't work out, lol…

        5) Would you be fine with your man confiding in a woman about problems affecting your relationship? – If she's really just a friend…or a relative or something, I'm cool. If its more like my answer for #4, we got problems.

  • Beef Bacon

    "How is a man suppose to know when to listen versus when to offer solutions?"

    If I just want to vent I say before I even go in, hey babe, I just need you too listen. Sometimes during my venting I will come to a solution. However, most of time I do need help finding a solution. I ask him to get a different perspective of the situation. I need help forming a well rounded solution. I use his opinion/thoughts to make a final decision. I like to see how my actions may affect someone that thinks differently than I, of course I cannot do this alone.

    Most of the time I talk one close girlfriend about my marriage, the rest I talk to God about. If it's something real serious, I have a talk with my aunt and she's been married almost 20 years. If it's a must know from a man's perspective, I go to written resources. I have yet to come to an issue that is new, so it's written somewhere.

  • Bree

    How you say what you say is just as impnt as what you say.

  • Bree

    Exactly Beef Bacon….when I'm just venting you'll know it because I'll say…..I'm just talking…if I want your opinion I'll say…."what do you think?"

  • http://sharemysonshine.wordpress.com Share my Sonshine

    I have male friends that are completely platonic and I bounce things off them from time to time. With all advise its always wise to consider everything instead of just that one person's advise. I'm not a huge advice seeker and I would usually go to my guy first with any issues b/c I believe in keeping my business "in-house". I would be upset if my guy dicussed issues in our relationship b4 dicussing them with me. If he discussed them with me first then I doubt it would get to the point that he would need outside advice. I'm in the business of dealing with and resolving issues at the source.

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  • Dr. J

    I gave some advice to a friend who was telling me how his girl won't let things go and sometimes he just wants to know what the solution is and she is talking about why she's mad or how she feels…

    "Dog, you know that's how they are. Preface her statement by confirming you are listening to her, "Babe, I understand that you want me to know how you feel and I don't want to take that away from you." Then let her talk until she stops talking responding to only her questions, you can zone out for the rest. When she is done, repeat back the key parts of what she said and talk about how you will fix them going forward and then say. "There's no way that I can fix all of this right this second, so give me time to work on being a better man." Then walk away and go back to doing whatever you were doing cause you're always going to be having that same argument."

  • Zeek

    2 different grandparents (my mothers mom & my fathers dad) each told me the same thing at 2 different points in my life. And it was simply this — If you ever get married,son, just know that you will NEVER understand your woman, you'll simply die trying to do so

  • Rich

    So, if I'm not mistaken, this article says that women are happier (a relative term, maybe better stated as "contented") with her man if he were to simply acknowledge that there's a problem, than she would be if he were to offer a solution?

    If that's the case, doesn't a man's offering of a solution (whether he is the one to implement the solution or not) automatically imply that he acknowledges that there's a problem to be solved in the first place??

  • jwoodny

    1) Do you play the role of confidant for a committed woman in your life? Because she's naturally a pretty private person, I definitely give her my undivided attention when she comes to me w/ something heavy. But there are things where I just don't care to listen, so I'll politely tell her that maybe she should be having this talk w/ her girls or my mom

    2) If yes, was there ever a time when you used this role to your advantage to purposely sabotage the relationship? No, she knows me too well to even attempt to be slick w/ her

    3) Do you turn to women outside your relationship to get a better understanding of your significant other? Very seldom because obviously if they're my friends, they're going to hear 1 side of the story. I don't think people tell 1 side of the story purposely. But when it's something you feel that you're passionately right or justified about, you want that validation from someone outside the relationship. The only woman I would trust is my mom

    4) Do you believe this constitutes unfaithfulness and if not, how do you safely tote the line of committed man and shy away from women with ulterior motives, especially when the majority of men’s female friends generate from X’s or past romantic interest? I think the longer you stay platonic friends w/ a woman and see how she interacts w/ your girl or talks about your girl, you'll see whether she's someone you could confide in or not.

    5) Are you ok with your woman confiding in another man about personal problems affecting your relationship? If I don't know the dude, then hell no! Maybe I'm old fashioned in that respect but I think what goes on in my house should stay w/in those walls. Moreover, if the dude doesn't know anything about me, I don't think he's in a well-equipped position to offer up his opinion on what's right or wrong in my relationship.
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  • Adara

    I'm confused… is this post about what kind of support women want from men they are dating when they have any kind of problem or is it about the rightness or wrongness of stepping outside the relationship for advice about said relationship?

    In any case, I'm the type of person to keep my problems to myself. I only involve other people if there is a specific role they can play in the solution. If I don't want solutions or advice and just want someone to listen to me rant for a while, I make sure to say so. Stepping outside the relationship for advice is sketchy to me and also kind of silly. If I have a problem with one person, why am I talking to five other people about it?

    But again, problem-solving is a huge component of my personality. Every issue gets attacked strategically and solved methodically. If it can't be solved, I bounce.

  • Tracey

    I dont think is that women are upset that their man is responding solution, it is the fact that many men do not listen enough to the context of the complaint to provide a reasonable answer. If you are listening to your girlfriend speak and just focusing on when she will stop talking, that means you missed the meaning of the conversation and thus the solution you are about to provide is meaningless and without substance. Women, thus feel as though if a man understands why she is upset then they can work to finding a solution that will ACTUALLY work. Sometimes men are so quick to end a conversation to avoid confrontation that it makes it seem as though he is intentionally discounting her feelings (although that may not be what he means to do).

    I do also feel as though women should be short, sweet and concise when telling a man how they feel. Although their point may be valid, if they go on and on they will start to sound like Charlie Brown's music teacher to any man after about 2 minutes.

    Potential solution: Short concise answer by women + a man who listens = possible solutions

    Tracey :)

  • Kan

    ***NODS VIGOROUSLY***

  • Vee

    I'm not really ok with either of us talking about our possible problems with anyone, whether the opposite sex or not. I'm an extremely private person so I got me a guy who's even more private than me, in that most of his friends have never met me and don't even know my name. That is completely fine with me. I hardly ever talk about him to anyone either, except if describing an event that involved him. If asked, I'll just stay we're doing fine. I write in my diary though, that helps me get my head around things.

    When I get unreasonable, I know I'm being unreasonable. And because I try to be a nice person, I even let my guy KNOW I'm being unreasonable, but I also tell him that he just needs to let me be unreasonable right now, and that I'll get over it soon. Whether it be something he did, or unpaid library loans that set me off, I just need to vent and bitch and moan for a while, and I'll be good. He sometimes makes the mistake of belittling my problem, and whilst I know that it is a tiny problem, I tell him that this is certainly not the time to say that, can you not see I'm upset and you saying I shouldn't be upset is definitely not the right way to approach it… And if he's smart, then he'll learn and not make the same mistake the next time.

    I don't think it's that complicated, if your girl just talks to you and knows herself.

  • http://sarahjohansson.wordpress.com sarahjohansson

    Ok, this post for some reason have me wanting to write an essay comment. In order not to I'll make two points.

    1. Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus by John Gray written 20 years ago discuss this exact topic. I've read half the book three times but can never finish it because the man uses analogies like a kindergarden teacher, can't stand it + he serves the generalizations that he bases his stuff on as the truth and nothing but the truth. However he does give some insight into how to distinguish between when a woman wants to vent and when she wants a problem solver.

    2. Making this distinction has as many alterations as the number of women you date, but I'd say a good start is to let her vent, validate her feelings and then see if she asks for some form of advice. No matter if the woman wants advice or not, you will still get +points for listening to her vent so it can't hurt. I used to live with a problem solver and this was an issue for us until I started saying "vent time" before I needed for him just to listen. I then had about three and a half minutes (otherwise he would resort to DrJ's tactics) of him listening and caring. Perfect as it also limited my negative thinking to a short time frame.
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  • Fans

    Wow, this is deep. I haven't read the comments so I might end up making the same observations as others have before me… Anyhow, I can definitely understand the findings by the study you sited. I usually know the solution to my problems, but I still go to my man just to vent about them and because sometimes (or most of the times) I just need somebody close to me (and who better than the man I share my home and life with) to tell me that I'm not crazy, and have every right to be upset. Also, I know (logically) that my man is happiest when I am happy, so I do try to keep my drama to a minimal.

  • Fans

    Wow, this is deep. I haven't read the comments so I might end up making the same observations as others have before me… Anyhow, I can definitely understand the findings by the study you sited. I usually know the solution to my problems, but I still go to my man just to vent about them and because sometimes (or most of the times) I just need somebody close to me (and who better than the man I share my home and life with) to tell me that I'm not crazy, and have every right to be upset. Also, I know (logically) that my man is happiest when I am happy, so I do try to keep my drama to a minimal.

    When I have issues with our relationship I usually talk to him about it, and keep it focused on my feelings and what changes I think I need to make (which usually makes him want to make some changes as well, or at least he's aware of something I'm struggling with). But then there are those issues that are just too confusing, and I fear might hurt his feelings if I share them with him. And there's where I go to my friends for advice–and my friends usually tell me that it's not a big deal, or that I just need to accept whatever is bothering me.

    So to your last point about going to others for advice who may want to sabotage your relationship, well that's a whole separate issue that people have in the company they choose to keep. As an adult, I know for a fact that none of the people I have confided in have ever tried to sabotage my relationship. I'm as picky about my friends as I am about the men I date.

  • niksmit

    CynicalOptimist gave the definitive answer to #4. I would only add that it's emotionally unfaithful when a problem develops and the SO is talking to the friend about it before their partner or bypassing their partner altogether. I think all the people that are bold enough to give out relationship advice agree that relationship partners need good communication. Using a third party in this manner is breaking down the communication between the partners.

    On the flip side, it's fine to seek out an outside opinion if you have reached an impasse with your partner or you need a REAL "am I the crazy one here?" check. I say real because this is different from the ego stroking and comforting that Cynical described, but people get it twisted. Real is a just the facts conversation with all the details including where you may have messed up, not a one-sided relay for emotional maintenance. I think it's good to have someone trusted one can go to for advice because we all have our little issues and that's what real friends are for, to help you through your messes. Seeking outside counsel should be rare and get rarer the longer you're together with your partner.

  • Yolly

    I don`t think there is a need decipher between man A and man B – if you`re discussing your relationship with someone it should imply that there`s a certain level of trust there. The person you`re confiding in should be able to remain objective. There`s a reason they say there`s 3 sides to every story. That person should be able to put some clarity on the truth. Personally, I`m not one to ask a question without wanting an answer; if I`m asking it`s because I havent been able to figure it out on my own. But that`s not really the issue. The problem comes from us either not getting the solution we want or it coming before we had a chance to fully vent. Getting cut off mid rant is vexing. Which is another reason why not discussing every issue with your S.O. first is for the greater good. That and let`s face it we all have moments of temporary insanity that can blow things completely out of proportion. A neutral sounding board can reign me back in and avoid some seriously deserved side eye.