The more I learn about differences between men and women (or I should rather say feminine and masculine) the more I discover the causes of misunderstanding and miscommunications that that are pervasive in man/woman relationships. The following is a perfect example how masculine and feminine perceive and interpret reality, which if understood and handled properly can solve most of the relationship problems, but if unattended can easily escalate to a break-up or divorce.
Here is the example in the two correspondences that I received from Alison Armstrong, a relationship expert who I respect very much. (Her books, courses and CDs you can find in the right column on this website.)
After reading this example try to see other occurrences where gender differences, if understood properly can save you a lot of grief in your relationship.
What doy think about this? Let us know.
One of the things we discovered years ago is that the Masculine measures reality by trusted FACTs while the Feminine reality is created by her FEELINGs. Both of these are completely valid ways of seeing the world.
An interesting and hazardous side effect, however, is when you put these two realities in an automobile together. Let’s call the Masculine a “Man,” although this is not always true, and the Feminine a “Woman,” also not always true ~ but easier to repeat over and over again. He’s going to pay attention to being Factually safe, while she can’t help but notice if she Feels safe.
Add to this the difference in eyesight for men and women: He can track moving objects way better than she can; she has a peripheral vision that’s more sensitive and prey-like than predator ~ meaning she sees more threats.
This is how you have a woman full of tension and potentially freaking out because he keeps changing lanes. Every time he moves the car to a lane on her side, it will look to her like cars on her side might hit her. So she doesn’t Feel safe. He may know factually that he hasn’t had an accident in decades, that the car over on the other side wasn’t going to move, that the speed with which he slipped in that spot missed the other car by a mile… and so on.
Unfortunately, the Fact of her being safe will not make her Feel safe. And a man’s greatest challenge with women is making them FEEL SAFE. Because everything good from a woman begins with her feeling safe ~ and everything nasty begins with her feeling unsafe.
I would love your comments and questions related to this topic. It’s worth exploring!
Thank you for your profound response to “Changing Lanes.” I’m thrilled that so many of you found insight, inspiration, relief and, even, healing, in a seemingly small thing that effects our time with the opposite sex in such a big way.
To continue the dialog: Since learning about the effect of changing lanes on my feelings of safety, Greg has modified the way he drives. On a recent trip back from Oregon, he apologized for getting close to a semi-truck as he negotiated the holiday traffic. His apology was sweet but unnecessary. As I said to him, “Honey, chillin’ the cavewoman is a partnership. I just reminded myself that, as a hunter, you track moving objects much better than I do and the fact is you’ve never plowed me into the back of a truck! So I calmed myself down.”
I tell you this because understanding our instincts and having a victory of human spirit is something we can all do. On one end, it’s making an accommodation to not antagonize another’s most primitive reactions. On the other, it’s being responsible for having them and talking yourself back down off the cliff edge. Being willing to act from whichever end you’re on is a gift to our partners — and just plain smart. Using the information about our greatest weaknesses and demanding solely the accommodation from our partners isn’t fair or in true partnership.
Speaking of partnership, I’m off to Colorado for three weeks of bliss with some of my favorite two and four-legged partners. PAX World News will return in September renewed. Meanwhile, Patrice will give you ample opportunities to listen and watch the latest interviews sharing my most recent treasures from the adventures of studying men, women and partnership. Look for those emails from her in August.