Men Provide Less Emotional Support to Their Partner When Stressed

Men Provide Less Emotional Support to Their Partner When Stressed

Ladies, have you ever turned to your partner when he is stressed out, looking for emotional support and validation, but instead receive the sound of crickets in return? If you are lucky you may get cold, calculated logic, instead of understanding. Now you could just call up a friend, your mom, or your sis. But a significant part of any romantic relationship is providing emotional support for one another. If you cannot get that, what are you in this relationship to begin with? Don’t blame it all on the male portion of the population. Men are not socialized to express their emotions in our society. So they already come at a disadvantage. Those men and women in supportive relationships feel closer to their partner, and that ultimately is what everyone wants. They feel more confident too. The sex is better since both parties feel close to one another. Intimacy abounds. And this support spills over to other areas of life too. We have a rock to depend on, a partner to carry us through the hard times, and to help us reach our educational, career, and personal growth goals. Emotional support for both men and women is often sought from their primary, romantic relationship. But a new study published online by the journal Psychological Science, has some bad news. Researchers discovered that when stressed, women do a better job of providing emotional support to their partner than men.

An international team of psychologists conducted the study, led by Thomas Bradbury. He is the co-director of the Relationship Institute at University of California (UCLA). Bradbury said that men manage stress differently. The male of our species, or at least in our culture, when stressed are less comforting, supportive, or nurturing than women, according to Bradbury. This becomes more evident when a partner expresses her feelings in an emotional way. 189 highly satisfied couples, who had been together for a little over four years, participated. The average age for the men was 28, and for the women 26. The couples were then split up into three cohorts. The first had couples where the man was the only one suffering from stress. In the second, only the woman felt stressed. For the third, both parties were stressed. First, Researchers conducted a fake job interview with each active subject individually. Then they were asked to count down from 2,043 by 17 each time, as fast as they could. They also had to start over again from the beginning each time they make an error. These tasks as you might imagine caused participants tremendous stress. Researchers then took saliva samples from each, testing their cortisol level—the stress hormone. Afterward, the couples were put into a room and videotaped for eight minutes.

When each active participant went back to their partner, they all complained, talking about the stress they were feeling, and what they had experienced. Researchers analyzed the videos later on to see how supportive each partner was, and whether men, women, or both were equally supportive even when feeling stressed. Investigators measured the number of positive, supportive responses, to the number of negative or dismissive ones. They also recorded non-verbal cues such as hand holding, eye contact, lack of eye contact, and whether they sat close together or far apart. And even when feeling stressed themselves, women were more responsive to their partner’s emotional needs than men. Bradbury said that each partner can be emotionally available and supportive of the other. But women should also realize that their partner operates a little differently. When he has had a particularly stressful day, and use another method of approach than a full onslaught. On these days, perhaps wait until he has had some time to unwind, or talk and vent but in a calm, matter-of-fact manner. This may elicit better responses. Meanwhile, both partners can recognize the role stress plays in their own separate lives, and in their relationship together. But each person must remember that you cannot tell how stressed your partner is until you ask them.

If love is stressed-filled battle field, learn the rules of engagement by reading Men, Women and Relationships: Making Peace with the Opposite Sex by John Gray.

Ending the Affair

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Ending the Affair

An affair can be so edifying, passionate, and you may find the person you are having it with irresistible. But infidelity can also tear your life apart. If you are thinking of switching up, think carefully. Will you be able to trust them? Will they trust you? The one you are cheating with may not have the best long term relationship qualities to begin with. They cheated with you after all, what makes you think they won’t do it again when things get too tough? It’s best to end the affair. But it must be done in the proper manner. Only if you are determined can you put an end to it.

It may be comforting to have a place to go to when your spouse or live-in partner doesn’t understand you or ignores you. But sooner or later they are bound to find out about the affair and blow everything wide open. If your relationship is too far gone and you’ve tried everything you can to fix it, with little success, perhaps it’s time to end that too. Usually, an affair is caused for some reason. The cheater isn’t getting their needs met in the primary relationship. Determine what needs aren’t being met. Is it intimacy, appreciation, or fulfillment? See if you can reinvest in your primary relationship to have your needs met and reconnect. But if not, perhaps consider ditching them both and starting over from scratch. You may be happier in the long run.

Turn to a trusted friend for support. It can be really difficult going through something like this by yourself. Having a shoulder to cry on, a sounding board and someone to give you advice is the thing you need. Instead of focusing on the positive aspects focus on the negative ones. Break off the affair in your head first and start thinking about it as over. Look for the shortcomings and problems with the person you are having the affair with and the affair itself. It’s time to change your mind set about it. If all you want to do is be with that person, even though you know it’s the wrong decision, you have to start having a negative outlook on it. Once your mind has turned from enjoying to reviling the affair it will be easier to sever the ties to that person. Get rid of all the mementos and signs that an affair has occurred. Erase the text messages. Sell the gifts and tokens. Delete the secret file on your computer of you two together.

Have a face-to-face meeting with your lover. Make it someplace public so that they won’t make a scene. Explain to them how much you enjoyed it but that you need to end it and the reasons why. Let them know that you are cutting off all contact. Once you’ve explained yourself get out of there. Avoid getting back into the affair. Remember that just because you’ve changed the affair’s status in your mind doesn’t mean they have. They could call and plead, beg, even use blackmail to force you to see them. Resist or find yourself in the same situation all over again. For more advice read, How to End an Affair: Stop Cheating with Proven Steps to Infidelity Recovery by Eugene Marks.

Relationship Skills used by Happy Couples

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Relationship Skills used by Happy Couples

Have you ever looked at what you thought were the perfect couple and thought, “I want to be like them.” Well it isn’t fate or happenstance. Good relationships have certain qualities in them. They don’t come prepackaged. Anyone can practice them, and indeed should. Here are relationship skills used by happy couples. The first one is empathy.

Sympathy is knowing how someone else feels and showing compassion for them. Empathy is really feeling what they feel, knowing how they feel and showing compassion. Don’t assume you know how they feel outright. Our assumptions without the benefit of reflection are usually wrong and may anger or hurt our partner.  You don’t have to have lived through the same thing. Use your imagination and walk a mile in their moccasins. Close your eyes and feel what it is like to be in their position. What are their concerns, priorities, responsibilities and actions? What did they expect and what occurred instead? Once you understand their point of view intimately, from inside their head, then discuss things with them.

The next is called emotional validation. When your sweetie is upset or angry, let them know that you understand how they’re feeling, and that they have every right to feel that way. Give them your concern and sympathy. You may think that they will be even more upset with you. The truth is they will likely calm down and be able to discuss things with you rationally and calmly. That’s because you’ve validated their emotions. Emotional validation is something we all need. When we feel upset, angry or frustrated we want our partner to understand why we feel how we do, and sympathize with us. When this happens we experience an emotional release from the tension we were feeling.

Lastly, use civility and consideration in your relationship to make it healthy and happy. Little gestures such as letting someone sleep in, flowers, a small token, a handwritten note, a compliment or a big hug can change the tone instantly. These things can decrease the intensity of an argument and give room for talking and working things out. Often couples get caught in a cycle of negativity. One gesture won’t change that. But if you develop a routine of civility and consideration you can change that cycle. It’s particularly powerful if both partners become committed in breaking a cycle of negativity and replace it with a positive one. For more advice read, Changing Behavior: Immediately Transform Your Relationships with Easy to Learn, Proven Communication Skills by Georgianna Donadio.

Important but Painful Realizations about Divorce

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Important but Painful Realizations about Divorce

Are you going through an unexpected divorce? This can be a devastating experience. Whether it’s being constantly reminded of your spouse or having trouble adjusting to single life, lots of people have made these important but painful realizations about divorce and come out the other end stronger. Though this advice may sound hollow or cliché, it may be exactly what you need to hear to help you get back on the road to independence, recovery and contentment.

Just remember that following a divorce should be a period of grieving. But things can only improve over time. In the beginning it can be an emotional roller coaster. But once things level out you do feel a little bit better every day. If you have children with your ex, you are going to have to get used to the situation. Don’t let seeing them again open old wounds. Find a healthy way to interact. Put on your best face and move forward. Find healthy ways to help yourself heal and feel better; exercise, meditation, or talking to a good friend are all good ways. Alcohol, junk food and locking yourself up for months at a time, not so much.

You’re going to be okay. This is a mantra for a lot of divorced people. But if you repeat it to yourself enough times, have enough talks with friends, cry, and reconnect with yourself, though the pain is immense in the beginning, you start to know that your happiness doesn’t begin or end with a divorce. It begins or ends with you, who you are, who you choose to be and the choices you make. Realize how better off you are without that person in your life. Is this the kind of relationship you want? Of course not. You need someone who is loving, supportive, appreciative and who will be there for you no matter what. And if you are reading this it’s obvious your ex wasn’t that person.

You can view it as the end of a marriage. Or you can view it as a new beginning. If someone tells you they are there for you to talk, believe them and use them. It will really help you. Gather your network around you. You need all the support you can get. When people tell you their sorry, understand that they are on your side. They don’t know what to say exactly. But they want to comfort you. If they say this, believe them. For more advice read, Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow by Elizabeth Lesser.

Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

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Things Divorce Teaches You about Marriage

A divorce can be devastating. It’s one of those pains that you don’t really understand unless you’ve been through it. Not only does it cause tremendous upheaval in your life, it alters how you view yourself and romantic relationships. Some people swear off marriage wholeheartedly, while others jump into the next one as if their last had nothing to teach them. But most of us reflect on the state of marriage and relationships at this time. If a split is anything it’s a great teacher. Here are some things divorce teaches you about marriage. First, marriages are always different for those living them than how they are viewed from the outside. Sometimes when someone gets divorced, others are shocked, thinking they had the perfect marriage. Issues that seem reconcilable to some are end games to others. But some people somehow find a way to make it work. Everyone’s marriage is a bit messy, much like human life, though they may seem picture perfect from where you stand. If we could just break down the walls and talk about what marriage is really like, instead of putting on airs, perhaps we could make everyone’s better.

Another problem leading to divorce is a sexless marriage. Make time to be physical together. Statistics show that 20% of marriages today are sexless. But becoming physically intimate is a way for both people to bond. Being in a sexless marriage itself may be a big warning sign that things aren’t going well for one or both parties. Of course men tend to compartmentalize. With women, if things aren’t going well in the relationship, goings-on in the bedroom suffer. That’s because to a woman the emotional intimacy in the relationship is what’s most important. Though this may be important for a man, most men are more driven by libido. A failed marriage makes us look at other marriages in a new way. What are others really struggling with and how do they make it work? Communication is always crucial. But so is negotiation, not holding grudges, clearing the air and coming to a deep understanding of one another. We also need to accept the flaws in ourselves and our spouse for what they are. Recognition is one thing, acceptance another. One of the common causes of divorce is infidelity. Some people are shocked when they find that their husband or wife was cheating. A person may be an incredible breadwinner, an expert parent, a phenomenal homemaker and still have a spouse who cheats. The reason people go astray is they are trying to heal something wrong inside the relationship through outside means.

One of the problems with modern marriage that experts often point out is that we expect our spouse to take up all of the roles that traditionally an entire village provided. We want them to be our mentor, coach, partner, lover, confidante, best friend, co-parent and more. Find some of these needs outside your relationship if you can, and take some pressure off of your spouse. Spending some time with friends or close family members and becoming more well-rounded people by spending time at one’s favorite pursuits can help replenish each person and the marriage as well. But tenaciously clinging to one’s partner can bring the whole thing down. It’s best when both people are totally fulfilled, realized people who choose to go through life together. Marriage isn’t easy. But for most Americans, they see little alternative. We’ve been called serial monogamists and perhaps it still fits, at least if you are of a certain generation. Statistically, second marriages are less likely to last. Some say the third one is a charm. Be that as it may, don’t wallow in a failed marriage, learn from it and make your next relationship the romance of a lifetime. For more pick up a copy of, Learning From Divorce: How to Take Responsibility, Stop the Blame, and Move On by Robert LaCrosse and Christine A. Coates.