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April 14, 2009

Men vs. Women: Those Little Things You Do

Interesting article: do the little things you do without thinking making your spouse feel bad?

25 ways to make a woman anxious

• Ignore her
• Tell her what to do
• Be short with your answers
• Tune out her feelings
• Stonewall or give her the cold shoulder
• Take her for granted
• Limit or criticize her spending
• Tell her stop worrying
• Tell her she's making too much of it
• Tell her to get over it
• Tell her she talks too much
• Complain about her weight
• Criticize her family
• Withdraw or shut down
• Yell or get angry
• Pout or sulk
• Threaten to quit your job
• Flirt with other women
• Don't know her dreams
• Tell her she's just like her mother
• Complain about her girlfriends
• Give her the cold shoulder
• Dismiss her ideas
• Sound like you're trapped in the marriage
• Buy a sports car

25 ways to stimulate shame in a man

• Exclude him from important decisions
• Correct what he says
• Question his judgment
• Give unsolicited advice
• Dismiss his opinion
• Imply inadequacy
• Make unrealistic demands of his time and energy
• Overreact
• Ignore his desires
• Focus on what you didn't get, rather than what you got
• Withhold praise
• Use a harsh tone
• Be abrupt - spring things on him
• Undermine his wishes
• Condescend
• Criticize his personality
• Disrespect his work
• Show little or no interest in his interests
• Criticize his family
• Interpret, psychoanalyze, or diagnose him
• Make comparisons to other men
• Focus on your unhappiness
• Put friends before him
• Value others' needs over his
• Rob him of the opportunity to help

I was surprised by how different the lists were. But also, the thought struck me that when it comes to men and women, trying to treat others as you wish to be treated backfires more often than not.

I've written before about how differently men and women interpret the same things. But I'm not sure I ever fully realized how often, in trying to show that we care, we do something that is interpreted in exactly the opposite manner.

That strikes me as almost unbearably sad, somehow.

Posted by Cassandra at April 14, 2009 07:21 AM

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Comments

Threaten to quit your job makes the grade, but leaving the seat up doesn't?

**buzzing in my ears**

Posted by: spd rdr at April 14, 2009 10:59 AM

Leaving the toilet seat up wouldn't even register on my radar screen :p

But on the other hand I can't imagine the Unit threatening to quit his job. Maybe I am just weird.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2009 11:07 AM

The one that baffled me was, "Buy a sports car."

We have had arguments (good natured ones, but arguments nonetheless) about buying a sports car. I wanted him to go ahead and do it, he said it was a waste of money.

Most of the other things either do bug me now or would bug me, if someone did them to me.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2009 11:11 AM

Only thing I've ever done that made KtLW anxious was hint about taking an OCONUS job that didn't utilize direct deposit.

She doesn't do anything that stimulates me to shame because she realizes that's *my* job -- and I'm really pretty good at it.

Not.

Posted by: BillT at April 14, 2009 11:17 AM

I'm not sure I care for this list - it seems awfully shallow. Like the key to both men and women is "It's all about me!"

Posted by: Pogue at April 14, 2009 11:23 AM

Good observation, Pogue.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 14, 2009 11:56 AM

I suppose that is another indication of men seeing things differently (in general) than women.

What I took from this was not 'it's all about me', but that most people find it difficult to step outside their own skin and imagine how things seem to someone who doesn't think the same way they do.

Not impossible. Just difficult.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2009 12:15 PM

Just one more observation, Pogue.

These are lists men and women have made of the things they have observed themselves doing, that seemed to backfire:

I ask the men to list all the ways they are likely to make their partner anxious or afraid without meaning to and the women to list all the ways they are likely to stimulate shame in their partners with no intention to do so.

IOW, it's not men complaining about women or vice versa, but men and women noting when they do something that seems to upset the other person.

I don't understand how that translates to "it's all about me"? Maybe I am missing something, but it seems more like the exact opposite -- i.e., "I didn't mean to make the other person feel that way, but in the end my intentions don't determine someone else's reaction".

If anything, making the effort to understand someone else seems the opposite of selfishness.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2009 12:31 PM

That's how I saw it, too, Cass. I would NEVER imply my husband was inadequate or disrespect his work.

But... I did notice three things in particular on there that I am guilty of doing without noticing that I'm doing them. Or rather, they wouldn't bother me, so I assumed they wouldn't bother him. I mean, our lifestyle is one of things being sprung upon me and I am used to it. But perhaps it IS an issue for him when I just decide that we're going on a vacation somewhere next week. Or whatever I disrupt everything to change. I actually printed this out because I'm going to ask.

Also, I tend to exclude him from some major decisions - not because I want to, but because he's so often deployed or TDY that I'm used to making the decisions on my own. He occasionally complains about it, but it never really registered to me that it might be an issue. And the putting others' needs first... we have kids.

I appreciate you linking this, Cass, because it did cause me to reflect on something I might not be reflecting on often enough.

On the same topic, though, I see a few things on the chick list that he does that I try to blow off but that really do crap on my day when they happen.

Air Force Guy and I really try to communicate and we've been tremendously happily married a long time, but a marriage takes work. If this list brings something to my attention that could make life better, I think it belongs on my fridge!

Posted by: airforcewife at April 14, 2009 01:06 PM

Thank you for understanding.

That is why I put it up - because I saw several things I am guilty of doing, too. And I do them because that is how I wish I would be treated, so I try to apply the Golden rule, but since that doesn't happen to be how my husband wants to be treated, it backfires on me.

And since like most guys, he would rather die than talk about his feelings, I am left to watch, and guess - often wrongly. It's not a very efficient process and it frustrates me.

The thing is, often I think we tend to think of our own reactions as "reasonable" and the other person's as "overreacting" or not sensible. But when I've been able to stop for a second and try to think like the other person, I often find it's not hard to understand why they react the way they do. I might not react that way. But that doesn't mean they're unreasonable or trying to irritate me.

They just see things differently, that's all.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2009 01:20 PM

Whenever you post something like this it serves as yet another reminder just how *odd* my marriage must be. I'm still trying to figure out if that's a good thing or not.....
*sigh*
0>;~\

Posted by: DL Sly at April 14, 2009 01:50 PM

If you neither of you ever do anything that bothers the other one and the two of you never have misunderstandings, I'd say that's pretty good.

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2009 01:59 PM

And then again, it may just be one more sign that I need to learn to keep my thoughts to myself and confine myself to linking to what other people have to say :p

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2009 02:01 PM

Let this be a lesson to you, Pogue.

Posted by: spd rdr at April 14, 2009 02:51 PM

A vast majority of our *misunderstandings* -- if they can honestly be called that -- derive from both of us working towards the same goal but where I think we're going right, he thinks we're going left. Works great for another round of "Honey, do you believe in the hereafter?", not so good when you're moving sheets of plywood. Has been frustrating on those rare occasions, but we've both learned to recognize it for what it is. Our marriage is anything but perfect. However, like I said, things like this leave me wondering if we really are the Addams family.

Posted by: DL Sly at April 14, 2009 03:06 PM

Ron White has a saying I probably should have considered before opening my big mouth:

"The next time you have a thought, let it go."

Posted by: Cassandra at April 14, 2009 03:54 PM

Ms. Cass, we do seem to go through this every couple of months ago. As I recall, most everyone here pretty much comes in order to listen to your "big mouth" (though "active fingers" would be more appropriate since you're typing after all). We might not always agree, but I don't think anyone who comes here (barring the occasional troll) wants you to "shut up".

Posted by: MikeD at April 14, 2009 04:12 PM

The next time you have a thought, set it down and then set it free.

Posted by: Ron White's Better Muse at April 14, 2009 04:13 PM

Why are they asking men how they inadvertently make their wives anxious (why anxious? is that like the vapors?) when the whole point is we're clueless? It doesn't matter what I think upsets my wife - what matters is what she thinks. :)

"And then again, it may just be one more sign that I need to learn to keep my thoughts to myself and confine myself to linking to what other people have to say :p"

Now even with the smile that's a disturbing statement... anyone can be an echo chamber for someone else's thoughts, very few people can write an essay that makes you think and explore areas that are perhaps a little uncomfortable. Don't confuse my lack of understanding of a viewpoint with a lack of interest in hearing it or trying to understand it at least in the abstract. When it comes to gender differences we all look through the glass darkly, but you frequently make the glass a little less dim. That's why it's so upsetting to many of us when you take one of your sabbaticals.

Posted by: Pogue at April 14, 2009 04:25 PM

If not for you, I would miss many gems out there in the 'sphere like this one. I printed it, too, and we'll be talking about it over chicken alfredo with linguini. And before anyone thinks that's a trap, he asked me to bring it home with me. :)

Thanks for some more stimulating dinner conversation!

Posted by: UinenMaia at April 14, 2009 05:23 PM

You had me at 'alfredo'.

Posted by: Mr. Dumbuttons at April 14, 2009 05:41 PM

The next time you have a thought, set it down and bash the living daylights out of it.

Posted by: Ron White's Better Muse's Evil Twin at April 14, 2009 06:07 PM

As always, your are not being the least bit helpful. You're a brat. You've always been a brat. And I'm telling Mom.

(Then I'm putting crickets under your covers.)

Posted by: Ron White's Better Muse at April 14, 2009 06:22 PM

No, no, no. Not crickets. Scorpions. I *hear* they're plentiful this time of year.

Posted by: Snarkammando at April 14, 2009 06:38 PM

Mmmmmmmm......brats. I like mine grilled with a thick line of spicy brown mustard and lots of red onion.

Oh, and beer.

Posted by: McGruff at April 14, 2009 06:40 PM

Then I'm putting crickets under your covers.

The Engineer might not be OK with Cricket being under Bill's covers...

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Ron White's Evil Twin at April 14, 2009 06:41 PM

**sput-sput-sputering**
Now you're really gonna get it!
MOMMMMMM!!!!!

Posted by: Ron White's Better Muse at April 14, 2009 06:48 PM

"The next time you have a thought"...^2
Remember, the next time you have a thought and set it free, if it comes back, your children will have a hard time having you committed on the basis of diminished capacity.

You have a right to be...somewhere, whether or not it is clear to you at any moment, no doubt the relationship is unfolding as it should.

Posted by: Desiderata at April 14, 2009 06:51 PM

You can be a cricket under my covers anytime, Desi. *sigh*

Posted by: Ron White's Better Muse at April 14, 2009 06:57 PM

Hey you two - get a room!

Posted by: Ron White's Evil Twin at April 14, 2009 07:07 PM

"Hey you two - get a room!"

With a view?

Posted by: Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca the Third--but you can call me Dot at April 14, 2009 07:14 PM

My brother also said, "I believe that if life gives you lemons, you should make lemonade... And try to find somebody whose life has given them vodka, and have a party."


Cheers!

Posted by: Ron White's drunk sister at April 14, 2009 07:37 PM

Vodka - Martini - Shaken, not stirred. Then following CDC guidelines concerning Lyme disease, I tell my SO that an inspection is, ah, necessary. As a, you know, a health issue.

Cheers!

Lists? We don need no stinkin lists...

Posted by: Ron White's third cousin, twice removed, once repossessed at April 14, 2009 08:22 PM

Does a lady with a plexiglas navel count as a womb with a view?

Posted by: Ron White's Better Muse's Evil Twin at April 15, 2009 12:52 AM

You'll have to add putting Cricket under my covers to the list of 25 ways to make a woman anxious.

*dangling straight line in front of Sly's lair*

Posted by: BillT at April 15, 2009 01:17 AM

Geez, a post about relationships and it took over twenty comments to finally roll around to sex.

*baiting straight line*

Posted by: BillT at April 15, 2009 01:36 AM

"Geez, a post about relationships and it took over twenty comments to finally roll around to sex."
Yeah, it's a tough task but someone had to do it and get it over with.

Now where in the heck did I leave that sports car parked?

Posted by: Ron White's third cousin, twice removed, once repossessed at April 15, 2009 06:28 AM

A convertible, I trust?

Posted by: BillT at April 15, 2009 06:59 AM

Now where in the heck did I leave that sports car parked?

*looking around anxiously*

Posted by: Ron White's Bratty Little Sister at April 15, 2009 07:05 AM

"A convertible, I trust?"
Granted, the convertible, if down, does make it easy to fall into the car... But based on my past experiences with convertibles, I steer well clear of 'em. So nope, not a one currently in the stable is a convertible.

Now one of em does have -what else- a sport-roof, *speaking of baiting straight lines* a removable hard piece.

But mostly making old ones like new again is the derived pleasure and the purpose of the exercise. Six years, so far, on the latest one.

But my preferred mode of land transport is a truck because, well, like cus and the rest of the Redneck tour, I'm just a country boy at heart.

Posted by: Ron White's third cousin, twice removed, once repossessed at April 15, 2009 08:43 AM

*looks up to see blue thong hanging from skyline attached to skyhooks in corner*

MOMMMM!!! Mr. DeBille is going *commando*......again. Make him zip up his zipper.
0=:~o

Posted by: DL Sly at April 15, 2009 12:12 PM

Heh. The 'toon is sooooo getting an update.

Those Who Know, Know.

Posted by: Ron White's Better Muse's Evil Twin at April 15, 2009 02:53 PM

If I knew exactly how everything I said to my S.O. would be interpreted, it would mean it was a man and I was gay. :)

I deal with the surprised reactions of my wife and I deal with them. I also try and understand where my wife is coming from when she interacts with me (IOW, I try not to get too offended).

It's part of The Promise™ to love. The rest of the vows are commentary.

Posted by: Tony at April 16, 2009 05:02 PM

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