Woman Are Crazy – a man’s perspective | Examining Gender Roles

Why Men Think Women Are Crazy

We’re going to talk about why men often think women are crazy. I’m not joking about that. From a male perspective, women can seem nuts. Let’s quickly define what I mean by that. When we talk about someone being crazy, we’re referring to how they stray far from the norm. If you’re a man with male friends, you have a sense of what’s normal according to the male perspective. Women, however, veer from that in pretty extreme ways across several categories.

As a couples counselor, I’ve seen five key areas that really ratchet up the tension in relationships. These areas are what make men think women are nuts. By understanding these differences, women can better explain their perspectives to their partners, fostering connection. Men, on the other hand, can develop coping techniques to alleviate some of the stress and tension these differences can cause.

Understanding the Differences

These observations are sweeping generalizations. There are more feminine men and more masculine women, but these traits are classically seen as more feminine or masculine across cultures. A man might still be a masculine alpha male while possessing some of these feminine qualities.

Comfort with Expressing Emotion

The first major difference is comfort with expressing emotion. Men tend to be less comfortable expressing their emotions. There’s a stoicism valued among men, the idea that they can cut themselves off from emotion to focus on logic. This tendency is quite prominent on social media and various platforms where stoicism is celebrated by many men.

The Reason Behind Stoicism

The reason for this stoicism is twofold. First, men value logic and predictability highly, so being able to detach from emotions is seen as beneficial. Emotions can be unpredictable and can sometimes be viewed as a weakness. If someone sees you’re sad or vulnerable, they might exploit that weakness. For men, having an internal life that isn’t visible to the outside world keeps them safer. This need for safety is especially significant as men are often tasked with the safety of their families. Being perceived as weak could potentially compromise their ability to protect their loved ones.

Understanding these foundational differences can help both men and women navigate their relationships more effectively. By recognizing and respecting these traits, couples can work towards greater harmony and mutual understanding.

The Value of Logic and Perception of Emotion as Weakness

Men often value the ability to cut themselves off from emotion to focus on logic and predictability. This is because logic is highly prized, offering a sense of control and reliability. Emotion, on the other hand, can be viewed as a vulnerability. If someone can see you’re sad or distressed, they might exploit that. Protecting one’s emotions and maintaining an internal life that isn’t visible to the outside world can feel much safer. This sense of safety is crucial, especially since men are typically tasked with the safety of their families.

The Role of Stoicism in Male Behavior

To ensure their well-being and that of their loved ones, men often adopt a stoic demeanor. They don’t want to be viewed as weak, fearing it might invite threats or challenges. This stoicism becomes particularly significant in physical altercations, where men are expected to be the primary defenders. In contrast, women face different types of threats and don’t benefit as much from hiding their emotions. Physically, women are generally less formidable and carry a unique sexual vulnerability that men don’t experience.

Women and Emotional Expression

Women understand that they won’t likely win in most physical confrontations, especially against larger men. As a result, hiding emotions doesn’t offer them any advantage. If someone intends to attack, that threat remains regardless of emotional display. Instead, women use emotional expression as a technique to connect with others and garner safety, particularly from their partners. By expressing emotions, they can foster connections and create a support system that enhances their sense of security.

Communication as a Relationship Builder

The second significant difference that often frustrates men is women’s tendency to be more verbal. Women use communication as a tool to build and maintain relationships. This is why stereotypes about women talking on the phone or chatting for hours exist. They don’t just talk for the sake of it; they use conversation to fuse and strengthen their relationships. In a marriage or even during dating, when a woman wants to talk extensively, it’s her way of nurturing the connection.

Understanding These Differences

Recognizing these differences can be incredibly helpful for both men and women. For men, understanding that women use verbal communication to build relationships can reduce frustration. Instead of seeing it as pointless chatter, they can view it as an important relational tool. For women, explaining this aspect to their partners can help bridge the gap, making their need for communication clearer and more understandable.

By acknowledging and respecting these inherent differences, couples can create a more harmonious and empathetic relationship. Understanding the underlying reasons for each other’s behavior is the first step towards better communication and less tension in relationships.

The Role of Communication in Relationships

If you’re in a marriage or even just dating, and your girlfriend or wife wants to talk endlessly, as a man, you might find yourself thinking, “What’s the point of all this? We’ve already discussed this seven times!” Often, women revisit topics because it feels good to talk about them. This tendency baffles men, who might see it as insanity. One patient once told me, “Isn’t the definition of insanity doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting different results? My wife talks about the same things over and over, expecting different outcomes. Why doesn’t she get it? Is she crazy? Does she need medication?” This constant revisiting can become irritable because men don’t understand the purpose behind it.

Confusion and the Need for Understanding

For men, confusion about why these conversations happen can be maddening. Not understanding the purpose behind the repetition is beyond irritating. However, once you realize that these conversations are happening just to connect, it can provide an anchor for why the discussion is taking place. This understanding can significantly reduce frustration and foster better communication in the relationship.

Stress Responses: Men vs. Women

The third major difference between men and women is their typical stress responses. Men usually have a straightforward fight or flight response when faced with stress. Occasionally, they might fix the problem or freeze, but their reactions are quite animalistic. Different parts of the brain signal that you’re in stress mode, communicating to either get out of there or fight. This response is very straightforward and effective in life-and-death situations or scenarios involving serious physical or financial harm, as quick decision-making is crucial.

The Tending and Befriending Response

In contrast, the stress responses of most modern-day situations aren’t life and death. Due to the relative safety of first-world countries, the risks we face today are rarely high-stakes. This environment is more suited to the feminine stress response, often referred to as “tend and befriend.” When women feel stressed, they want to share their feelings, get things off their chest, and express their emotions. This response helps to alleviate the trauma associated with stress.

Emotional Sharing as a Coping Mechanism

Women often skip the fight or flight phase altogether, feeling an immediate need to talk to someone about their stress. I have clients whose wives, when stressed, not only talk to their husbands but also call their moms, friends, and sisters. They go through a cycle of seeking comfort from multiple sources. For example, a wife might first tell her husband about her stress. If that doesn’t suffice, she calls her mom, who tries to calm her down. If her mom’s advice doesn’t help, she might then call a friend, and so on.

This constant need to discuss and express feelings is a vital coping mechanism for women, helping them to manage and reduce their stress effectively. Understanding this can help men be more supportive partners, recognizing that this need for verbal expression is an essential part of their partner’s emotional well-being.

The Cycle of Emotional Sharing

If talking to her husband doesn’t work, a woman might call her friend. If her friend can’t provide the comfort she needs, she might call her sister. This cycle can continue until she calls her mom again to relay what her sister and friend advised. Then, she might go back to her husband, who might respond with, “We’ve already talked about this.” This can prompt her to call her mom again to complain about her husband’s rudeness, followed by another round of calls to her sister and friends. This tendency to constantly talk about an issue until the nervousness calms down is connected to a higher sense of neuroticism, which is common among women.

Risk Aversion in Women

Another significant difference is risk aversion. Women tend to be less risk-averse than men. This trait is very pronounced in couples counseling, especially in the business field. Men are more likely to take risks, whether it’s investing, marketing, or hiring new employees. They might think, “We might lose everything, but we have to take this shot.” The pressure to provide financially can offset their natural risk aversion. Women, however, are generally more conservative. This is evident in the investment world, where financial advisors see distinct profiles between single men and single women regarding their investment preferences.

The Logical vs. Emotional Mind

This risk aversion can drive men nuts. They might not understand why their wives prefer putting money in low-interest accounts instead of taking risks that could potentially yield higher returns. Men often think, “Don’t they see the math? We will never reach our financial goals this way.” From the male perspective, it’s a logical issue, but for women, it’s driven by the emotional mind. This difference can create significant contention, especially in finances. Occasionally, this difference appears in physical risk-taking, such as skydiving or bungee jumping, where men are more inclined to take risks. However, with physicality becoming safer, men have also decreased their sense of physical risk-taking, aligning more with women’s approach.

Multitasking Abilities

The most prominent difference, in my view, is multitasking. Women have a remarkable ability to multitask, handling two or three things simultaneously. As a man, I struggle with multitasking and often consider it a myth. I don’t believe you can do two things at once effectively. Women laugh when I say this, but that’s genuinely how I feel. For example, doing the dishes while holding a conversation might work because it involves both physical and cognitive components. However, multitasking, in general, seems like a magic trick to me.

The Mental Load of Multitasking

What drives men crazy is not just the act of multitasking but the mental load behind it. Men don’t understand that while women are doing laundry, working, or caring for the kids, they’re also thinking about household tasks, financial matters, upcoming birthdays, and other responsibilities. Women are constantly juggling multiple thoughts, like whether they’ve bought a gift for someone’s birthday or if their husband remembered to get a card for his mom. This ever-present mental load forces women to multitask, managing numerous tasks and responsibilities simultaneously.

Supporting Your Partner

As husbands, one way to help is to avoid adding to your wife’s mental load. Instead of asking, “What do you need me to help with?”—which requires her to organize her thoughts and delegate tasks—offer specific assistance. Ask if the laundry is done, if she needs you to handle grocery shopping, or if the kids are all set. Simple, binary questions can significantly reduce her mental load and make her feel more supported. By recognizing and respecting these differences, we can create a more harmonious and understanding relationship.

The Mental Load Women Carry

At any given moment, there are about 17 things running through a woman’s mind, at least from what I’ve observed in relationships. Men often don’t grasp this. I often joke during counseling sessions that I sometimes forget I have a wife and children. Women laugh, and men nod in agreement. When men are at work, they can completely immerse themselves in the task at hand, forgetting everything else, including their marital status. It’s not about falling into traps like flirting with another woman; it’s about having laser focus on one task to the exclusion of all others.

Ever-Present Mental Load

For women, though, their thoughts are always floating around. This constant presence of a mental load forces them to multitask. As a husband, one thing you can do to help is to avoid adding to this mental load. The classic example is asking, “What do you need me to help with?” This question requires your wife to stop, organize her myriad thoughts, and delegate a task that you hopefully won’t mess up. This process takes cognitive energy and time, making it often easier for her to just do it herself.

Offering Specific Help

That’s why I always advise men to pitch specific ideas for help instead of asking general questions. Instead of “What can I help you with?” try asking, “Is the laundry done? Do you want me to handle that?” or “Do you need me to go to the grocery store?” or “Are the kids all okay?” These yes or no, binary questions significantly reduce her mental load and make her feel more supported.

Understanding Differences

These five areas—comfort with expressing emotion, communication styles, stress responses, risk aversion, and multitasking abilities—are where men often look at women and think, “You’re nuts.” By understanding these differences and learning how to address them, men can alleviate some of the stress and tension in their relationships. Women can also help their husbands understand these differences, fostering better communication and empathy.

Recognizing and respecting these inherent differences can lead to a more harmonious relationship. It helps reduce misunderstandings and conflicts that arise from these fundamental differences. By taking a better cognitive approach and applying practical solutions, both partners can navigate their relationship with greater ease and understanding.

Enhance Your Relationship Understanding Today

Navigating the differences between men and women can be challenging, but understanding these key areas can significantly improve your relationship. From emotional expression and communication styles to stress responses, risk aversion, and multitasking abilities, recognizing these differences helps reduce tension and foster empathy. By learning to appreciate these traits and offering specific support, couples can enhance their connection and create a more harmonious household. Remember, effective communication and empathy are the cornerstones of a healthy relationship.

If you’re struggling with these dynamics or other important areas of your life, I’m here to help. I offer a free consultation to discuss your unique situation and provide personalized advice to improve your relationship. Don’t let misunderstandings and frustrations continue to impact your happiness. Reach out today to start your journey towards a more fulfilling and connected partnership.

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