In honor of Mother’s Day, last month’s article was designed to help men better understand the women in their lives, so they could be better equipped at becoming stronger husbands, sons and fathers.
This month, I’d like to celebrate Father’s Day by sharing with women, one of the greatest observations I’ve made about gender and how it impacts relationships. I’m not exactly sure that most men would articulate this as a problem on the front end of relationships. In fact, perhaps it’s almost the opposite. It’s seen as a desirable trait in women. But in the end, this trait causes tremendous friction, disappointment and resentment in relationships.
Women have been conditioned to believe that so much of their happiness is tied to having a man in their life, as if our self-worth depends on it. We have been taught to conform on so many levels to the things that make us “competitive” with other women, so we can be “chosen” by a man.
We have been led to believe that once we have our man, we will live happily ever after, that all of our needs will be met. But it seems that this very thinking causes both women AND men a lot of problems throughout the duration of our relationships.
I was raised this same way and found myself challenged by chronic unmet needs, disappointment and hurt feelings because I was expecting my partner to be everything to me. It wasn’t until I observed the difference between how men and women managed relationships that I started to question my approach.
Most everyone would agree that we shouldn’t invest all of our money in one investment vehicle, but should have a diversified portfolio. It makes us stronger, more impervious to risk. I believe that men approach relationships in this diversified why. They value the women in their lives, but we are usually one spoke, sometimes very important and prioritized and other times not, on their wheel of fulfillment.
Because women have made men the very hub of our wheel, we tend to need more from them than they are often able or willing to give. That leaves women left with unmet needs and expectations that inherently create resentment, bitterness and drama.
In order to create healthy, intimate relationships with our partners, women need to look mindfully at their needs, both met and unmet, to determine how to get them fulfilled. The more we can diversify (within our emotional and sexual monogamy) how we achieve fulfillment in our lives, the more content we will be with the people we love, regardless of how much or little they can give us.
And this contentment goes a long way. For a woman, emotional fulfillment is highly linked to sexual interest in her partner. If you are able to work with your partner on the things that he can change and then learn to address your unmet needs in other ways, you will find yourself appreciating your partner for what he DOES bring to the relationship, rather than the list of things he doesn’t.
- Write down all of your needs.
- Create a list of people in your life who are resources to you in living a happy life.
- Identify which of these needs are being met by your partner.
- Of those that are not being met, determine who or what else can fulfill them.
- Reach out and take initiative to connect with those people.
- Enjoy less pressure and stress in your romantic relationship.