Updated: Dec 20, 2018
Ladies fall prey to fairytales and Prince Charming myths! Men fall prey to 'other, less known myths'!
In the world of marriage, partnerships, and even dating, there are many beliefs that can really hold us back from experiencing healthy, thriving, joyful relationships-- and with all the juicy goodness relationships can entail. Read on to learn about 3 common myths that can trip men up in their relationships.
Myth #1 -- “My wife’s (partner’s ) controlling behavior has nothing to do with me.”
This myth is first on the list because I hear it everyday from my clients... “My wife (girlfriend / partner) is sooo controlling.”
If this sounds familiar to you, then let me guess; you play the part of the nice guy. You are the more passive one, a real steady Eddie, calm, cool and collected, known for being sweet as pie...am I getting close?
I hate to burst your bubble, but being the one that makes the ladies or gents swoon, “awe, he’s so nice!” can often be as disadvantageous as your partner's overly assertive role that can drive you crazy. As hard as that may be to believe at first, when taking a closer look, we begin to discover you may have greater ability to transform our relationships than first thought.
Note: you might play reverse roles, man super assertive, woman too passive. As with gay couples, when reading, follow the role played not the gender.
Your lady might be nagging, critical, or bossy often, and I get this is a common relationship complaint – I used to be a total control freak myself, fitting this description all too well! Common though it may be, the 'overly assertive' qualities don’t usually come across as kind or helpful, wanted or invited.
But, what if it's possible that these qualities in your mate are partially triggered by your tendency to be overly passive, indecisive, or lacking in assertiveness? It may feel uncomfortable to consider, but let’s take a look at what that could mean.
The thing is, couples CAN function equally, as yin and yang, complimenting each other. Thus, bringing balance to the whole. Each individual in a relationship sits on a figurative seesaw. It’s simple to visualize that the farther each is from the middle of the seesaw, the more steep, or even volatile, the ups and downs. If both are sitting closer to the ends of the seesaw, the highs and lows will be extreme. Conversely, when both individuals sit closer to the midline on our 'emotional seesaw', the ups and downs are soft, slower, and far less volatile. Let’s look at an example.
When the dude demonstrates consistent 'nice guy habits', like procrastinating about taking action, or being indecisive or vague when asked questions; mistrust and doubt are likely to be experienced by his lady counterpart. It is when she feels the ramifications of this experience that she exhibits controlling behavior. (We call this triggering; when one person's behavior elicits a certain set of actions, typically perceived to be negative, in another.)
Extra insight: it is at this point, that behaviors, like nagging come into play. She nags in hopes that his habits will become more consistent and trustworthy. She equates trustworthiness with safety and stability, arguably, the two most important components of a relationship for many females. Believe it or not, many of her controlling behaviors can be driven by fear.
Perhaps more than anything, she wants to feel safe and stable. But, indecision, procrastination, and lack of consistent action and assertiveness, or lack of clear communication from her partner can leave a woman to feel that SHE MUST to take charge of any given situation or no one will. Because she wants (in most cases) an equal partnership with neither individual in control, she can behave in angry, naggy, and controlling ways.
If you can relate and would like your partner to become less controlling, bossy, or naggy, try this:
Practice being, even 10% more assertive, decisive, and consistent in your words and actions. I promise based on years of experience in my own life and with clients that you will both begin to feel happier, stronger, and more courageous, bit by bit. It is likely that this dynamic has been alive and well in your relationship for quite some time - so be patient. Consistency is the key!
Myth #2 -- “My wife (partner) gets so upset and emotional. There is always something wrong with her (him).”
News flash dudes, ladies are emotional creatures! And, this is not a bad thing! It can be challenging, sure. But, you can impact her emotions greatly and in favorable ways with just a couple simple secrets.
So, let’s break this down.
Perhaps you have experienced a time where your wife or partner brings up something that has been a historically upsetting topic. Maybe it is a story you have heard one hundred times about an old relationship, family member, or co-worker. You know it is futile the moment she begins and are thinking, “Great. Here goes our whole night- down the tubes again.”
I’m here to tell you that this doesn’t have to be the end of your fun!
A lot of the time what your emotional companion is looking for is an emotional connection... with you!
Sharing drama is a specific tool women are socialized to deploy from a young age in order to promote bonding and cultivate emotional intimacy In fact, a chemical is even released, called oxytocin during this exchange. It is often referred to as the, 'bonding drug'. It is a key and invaluable part of the bonding experience for new mothers. But also sought and elicited with emotionally connecting with others.
Now, let’s be clear, I’m certainly not advocating for egging on drama or dredging up the past, as these habits are not actually useful for anyone.
Rather, I’m suggesting not getting freaked out, and throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. As she shares, just listen acknowledging to yourself that emotions are much like waves- they crash in, and recede out, in and out, and in and out again. And when there is a safe, steady and validating receiver… ie, ‘wow honey, that is an interesting perspective...” the waves may recede far more quickly.
But, when she is ignored, scoffed at, teased, or even criticized,, the wave can begin to swell. Before ya know it, a tsunami has just hit your relationship. Everyone wants to feel important, valuable, and validated, after all. It doesn’t bode well for anyone involved to deny or to dismiss another’s emotional experiences.
The point is, although a woman’s emotionality has nothing to do with you, you can influence it positively or negatively depending upon how you respond. If you continue believing the myth that her emotionality means there is a problem or that something is wrong, then you will be likely to respond impatiently, critically, and so on, which will have a great tendency to inflate emotion.
Instead, know the truth. Accept, and embrace women's differences. Know that she often feels happy when connecting with others through talking about emotional things.
Regardless of if she is bringing up in relation to you or others, do your best to simply be present and caring, and an emotionally validating resource.
What to try:
No walking on eggshells, no ignoring, and certainly do not ever assume it (whatever it is) is a problem just because she is emotional. Most of the time she seeks to feel heard by and connected to her partner. Use simple, validating statements that demonstrate your care for her emotional state. The goal is to help her to soothe. With practice, you may watch evenings previously unsalvageable take beautiful, fun or even passionate turns you had no idea were possible!
Myth #3 -- “Giving advice to my wife (partner) is the best way I can help her.”
Ok, how is this still a thing?
It’s old news at this point that women are not looking for advice as often as they are seeking connection, so how is it that men are still ‘just trying to help’ her when all she wants, and we’ve all heard it a million times, is for you to ‘just listen.’
Well, maybe because men’s brains function to be helpful first and foremost!
Note: Yes ladies, it's true. Men’s brains are designed to solve first. Our brains are designed to connect first. So, try to give your fella a break! He really does love you and wants to help. These are completely precious qualities ladies - work dillegently to appreciate such differences.
How about that guys? It’s the way you work naturally. Sometimes it’s a relief to know something we do is in our nature and doesn’t mean there is something wrong with us, right?
While you are in NO WAY responsible for your partner's emotional well being, mood, or happiness (only she is responsible for herself), you might like to try this in order to offer loving support:
It would be very helpful and appreciated by your lady (and likely soften her frustration, annoyance, and anger), if seeking to understand her and validate her words, thoughts, and feelings occurred prior to any advice offered. If you really want to shine with your lady, trade instant advice giving for validation and use the magic question, “darling, that sounds tough, I’m sorry you are struggling. What can I do to support/help you?”
Disclaimer: please make sure you are willing to support or help before offering, haha!
And, ah hem, beware… this shift in you might just take you right down the hallway to the bedroom. Why? Because actions like this promote emotional connection; the key to igniting the female turn-on switch!