Why Don't Men Get it? - Or do they?
Oh yes, many are going to say, how can a man write about this topic? After all, he is a man and only thinks like one.
Well, on the surface, that may be true. However, as a writer, and I like to think I am a good one, a writer MUST have the ability to think out of the box. Objectively, honestly, and most importantly, not bring their personal opinions into an article. Heck yes. During the earlier stages of my writing career, I found that to be quite the challenge. After all, why shouldn't I write what I think? On some level, that is true. Essentially, when you look at the larger picture, that never leads to good writing because it is strictly opinion-based, and everyone's opinion is different. Especially when writing about a gender-sensitive subject, which this is. Over time, the good writer learns to take their personal experiences along with factual based evidence, tie it all together, and have the ability to write an objective article about any topic.
Depending on the topic, opinions can always change, but the facts never change unless behavior changes. Many behaviors do not change. Let's make one fact perfectly clear. The discussion around this topic refers to men in general. As with any rule, there are always exceptions to the rule. Meaning, terms like most men, refer to the male population in general, not every individual man. As an example, when I was younger, a woman could;t tell me anything. I pretended like I was listening to avoid an argument, but the bottom line after all was said and done, it was my way or the highway. For many years that worked. The question is why?
The most common thing that people forget is that we do, and always well, and have, lived in a three-generational society. Meaning, do the lifespan of people, we always have the young, the middle-aged, and the elderly. What is the significance of this? Simply put, each generation was raised differently. Therefore, we have three different levels of learned behavior. To add insult to injury, within those three generations are multiple cultures that also have their own inherent learned behaviors. Therefore, the behavioral issues increase exponentially. When all of this is combined and put into the mix, we call this society. Let's look at a couple of examples.
My grandparents on both my mother's and father's side came over from Italy. They were immigrants. Both my parents were born in the U.S. My grandparents became citizens. Myself and my sister were born. Growing up, that old-fashioned, as it's called, "from the old country," mentality was totally different. My parents, being more Americanized, were more modern in their thinking. Why not, they were from a different generation. I remember on a Sunday for family dinner, if my grandmother asked my grandfather if he wanted more food in his dish, and my grandmother gave him even one more fork full after he said stop, he would give her a slap across the head. This drove my mother CRAZY. However, that was the culture of my grandparents. Would that be acceptable today?
Let's look at people that immigrate here from the Middle East. Many of the women retain their Middle East customs, meaning, they do not work, most do not have driver's licenses, and they stay home and take care of their husband, the house, and raise the children. Others become westernized and adapt to our way of living. They have a driver's license, work, and live as most other women do in the U.S. This not only applies to the manner in which they choose to live, but it also applies to their religion. Some maintain their religious beliefs, others do not. Most of this occurs because people have a tendency to adapt to their environment.
So that covers two of the three generations. Now, the children begin to grow up and their learned behavior becomes split between the present times and the way they were raised. With all this in mind, how can we expect that three different generations, multiple cultures, and religious beliefs will all be on the same page? They will not. Now that I have given you the basic foundational information, how does this apply to the topic?
WHY DON'T MEN GET IT - or do they?:
This can get quite complicated so I will give you the simple version. Here is where I combine being a man along with factual information. Ladies, to understand this you must first understand men in general, and remember, There are always exceptions, and your partner may be one. However, almost every woman I encounter at speaking engagements, depending on the topic, has the same complaint. "I don't think my (husband, partner, etc..), even listen to what I am saying."
First, it's a fact. Most women in general, are better communicators than men. NOT because men do not care about what's on your mind, in general, men do not want the confrontation. We all know we live in stressful times, and people handle that stress differently. Is there a right or wrong way to handle it? Well, that's another topic for discussion. However, for the purpose of this post, most men simply do not want to hear it. They prefer to go on thinking or believing that everything is fine, even when in fact it may not be. You want resolution, and they do not want to discuss it. With this in mind, most men do know this so they make it appear they are listening when in fact, they are not absorbing what you are saying.
When it is all said and done, what we are left with is total frustration. Frustration, that over time, leads to other problems. Increased anxiety, stress, and eventually, a total breakdown of communications. All of which, at any level, is unhealthy. Not only physically and mentally, but also for the relationship. Yes, as I said earlier, I used to be that guy. So was my father. Actually, my father was so good at it, he could actually make my mother think he was listening to her when in reality,r he had no idea what she was saying. For them, it worked because he was so convincing. An occasional response, such as, "I understand, Yep, or Uh Huh", made her think he was listening. Therefore, this became my learned behavior and became quite one-sided in my thinking. Not until I started taking my required Psychology courses, and dated a girl that didn't take my crap and saw through my deception, did I learn I really needed to change. Yes, I really liked that girl and lost her because of my own inadequacies due to my learned behavior. I now realized I needed to change.
Life was not the same as when I was growing up. Women were more independent and were not going to settle for what was not best for them. This is when I started researching generational differences and studied and learned the three-generational concept, and, it made perfect sense. Now the question was, how do I achieve this and become a better man. Not just for me, but for future partners and eventually my children and the values I wanted them to learn? I realized one of the most important lessons I ever learned in life.
"Don't just look at life through your eyes, look at life through the eyes of the other person."
What a wake-up call that was. The first question I asked myself was; "When I talk, do I want others to listen?" Did what I have to say seem important to me and did I want it to be important to someone else?" The answer to both those questions was YES. Logic would dictate that if I felt that way, isn't it true that others probably feel the same way? I don't think I have to answer that question for you unless you totally lack common sense. Therefore, I started to listen as well as absorb what I was hearing. The second lesson I had to learn was to keep an open mind. If I were to think that my perception of something formed an opinion in my mind, it only stands to reason that someone else's perception of the same subject would cause them to form an opinion in their mind.
Yes, this introduced something very interesting to my relationships and conversations. Disagreements and conflicts of opinion. Something that started out like most for everyone. Arguments. Then I learned I hated to argue. It served no purpose and led to a decrease in intimate moments. That was not an acceptable outcome for me. Especially the latter. Now I had to learn another new behavior. Compromise. Not easy at first, especially since I always had the "my way or the highway" attitude, but after I learned to compromise. My life took on a new meaning and changed drastically with my relationships and methods of communicating. Finally SUCCESS.
Realize that most behaviors are learned behaviors, and learned behaviors can be changed as long as a person realizes that what they are doing is non-productive, or hurting others. The trick is, you have to want to change that behavior. Once you do, in time, your new behavior will become second nature and not require any thought. The answer to the question in the topic title is, yes, men do get it. They know exactly what they are doing. However, not every man is ready to change. Some will and some may never. Only time will tell if either party can sustain the deception, because the reality is, that is exactly what it is, deception. Not deliberate in every case and not intentional because it is their learned behavior. Therefore, in their eyes, they are not doing anything wrong, even though they know exactly what they are doing. It is how they perceive or justify their actions.
One other important thing to learn is, not every time your partner has an issue they want to discuss, will you be in the mood to discuss it. Most will understand if they are told, "Now is not the best time for me to talk about it. Let's set a time when I'm in a better frame of mind to discuss it." What is paramount here is trust. When you set that time, you must follow through with it. This will give the other person the sense of security that in the future when you say that, you will follow through with your promise. In addition, keep in mind that there will always times when something is so important it requires an immediate discussion, regardless of your frame of mind. That we call life. Things do not always happen at the best or most convenient times.
The real message behind this post is simple. People are different. Men and women are different. People's needs are different. We do not only have a responsibility to ourselves, but we also have a responsibility to our partners, our children, our family, friends, and co-workers. Life is not just about you. That doesn't mean it can't be, you could certainly make life just about you. However, that comes with a price. A price you must be willing to pay. We live in a society and a multi-generational one at that. People are simply NOT going to conform to you.
Let me add one last thought. Mostly, this behavior is more prevalent in men than in women, but women also do the same thing to men. After years of becoming what I felt was a better man and better person, I dated a girl who was exactly like I used to be. Frankly, I couldn't stand it. I refused to tolerate what I perceived as her disrespect for what I had to say. In a short time, after explaining my story to her to try to resolve this issue from what I learned, I knew she didn't get it because she wasn't listening, I ended that relationship. I remember that night as clear as if it were yesterday.
I thought to myself, "I can't believe that at one time in my life I was that one-sided."
Stay safe and be well. Thank you.
VIDEO PRODUCTION WORK:
We produce video book trailers, business ads, and speaker introductions.
You can subscribe to receive an email notification when a blog is posted by clicking this link. SUBSCRIBE. We do not share or sell your email.