by Gladys Diaz
I don’t know if you’re anything like me, but, when I feel there is a problem, I like to do anything I can to resolve it as quickly as possible.
This problem-solving skill serves me well when it comes to helping my clients get through difficult situations in their love lives and relationships. It’s also served me well as a businesswoman.
It doesn’t, however, always serve me well when it comes to my relationship with my husband.
See, what many women don’t realize is that while women’s brains are wired to almost instantaneously think, feel, and say what we are thinking and feeling, men’s brains are not. In fact, the female brain has 7 areas that connect feelings, emotions and words, while the male brain has 2 areas that are wired in this manner.
Now, that doesn’t mean that woman are any better or smarter than men. Our brains are wired differently for a reason.
Think about it… Men, at their origin, were hunters. If they did not kill the prey, the entire tribe would go hungry and die. They had to have laser-like focus. Feelings and emotions could not cloud their judgment. They had to think about one thing and one thing alone: getting food for the tribe.
The reason it’s important to know and understand this is because, if you’re like many women, when there is an issue concerning your relationship, you want to “talk” about it, and you want him to want to talk about them NOW!
Your man, on the other hand, may not want or be able to talk about it right at this moment, and, again, if you’re like many women, you may find yourself making this mean something about him and how he feels about the relationship.
For example, you may think to yourself:
If he really cared about me or us, he’d want to resolve this as soon as possible.
He obviously cares more about his work (or whatever he is doing) than me.
This relationship is clearly not a priority for him. Otherwise he would drop what he was doing and deal with this NOW.
I know it does to me!
In the past, when there was a problem in our relationship, I would want to discuss it, right here, right now, and then be shocked when my husband would say, “I don’t want to talk about this right now.”
Then things would go something like this:
Me: (In my head) What? Doesn’t he see how important this is? Clearly he doesn’t see how important this is!
Me: (Out of my mouth) But we need to discuss this. It’s important.
Him: I get that it’s important, but I don’t want to talk about it right now.
Me: (In my head) I can’t believe he doesn’t care about us!
Then I would proceed to keep emphasizing how important this was and how we needed to talk and how it couldn’t wait, and (you get the picture)… until, finally, he would blow up at me and storm out of the room, and then I’d really feel as if he didn’t care!
And that would lead to hours (and, sometimes, days) of stone-cold silence, anger, and unnecessary pain – for both of us.
The truth is that he did care. He does care. (And so does your guy!)
What happens, is that men need a little more time to process the information, especially when a slew of emotionally-charged information is being thrown at them.
What’s happening when your guy is not ready to talk about something is that he is processing the information he’s been given, or he is focused on something else that is important (not necessarily “more important” than you, which is what you may be making it mean), and he needs some time to process and get his thoughts together so that he can focus on the issue at hand before he can talk about it.
So, what do you do when there is something you want to discuss and your guy isn’t ready to talk right now?
1. Respect his preference.
I know it’s hard. This one can still be hard for me. Even this past weekend, my husband had to repeat to me that he didn’t want to talk about something before I could hear him. In the past, I would get upset because I felt ignored and uncared for. Now, I get that when he’s saying he doesn’t want to talk and I keep pressuring him to talk, he’s also feeling ignored and unheard, and this means that any conversation that takes place right then and there is probably not going to lead to a resolution.
2. Remind yourself that “not now” does not mean “never.”
One of the reasons I would panic and keep insisting on getting my husband to talk was because I feared that we would “never” discuss it, and that worried me. That fear and anxiety triggered my need to try to control the conversation (and him), which just led to him resisting the conversation (and me) even more. Now I remind myself that “not now” actually means “later,” not never, which helps me to calm down, step back, and allow both of us space to calm down and gather our thoughts so that, when we do talk, it leads to a win-win for us.
I will also say something like, “I understand that you don’t want to talk right now, and I respect that. Please know that I’m here when you’re ready to talk.” Sometimes we’ll even set a time to talk (after the kids go to bed, for example) so that we know that the conversation will, indeed happen.
3. Focus on something else.
I’ve found that focusing on something else – like going for a run, reading a book, playing a “mind-numbing” game on my phone, listening to something inspirational, or drawing – help me busy my mind so that I’m not hyper-focused on when the conversation will happen or what it will be like. By taking care of myself and my needs, I can control the only side of things that is ever mine to control: me. This allows me to relax, feel empowered, and not come from an emotionally-charged place when we finally do have the conversation.
4. Talk to someone else.
Talking to someone else – a girlfriend, sister, or your relationship coach – is also a great way to sort and work through your thoughts and feelings before speaking with your guy. Now, I will add a caveat here. It’s important that you be very selective when you choose who you are going to talk to about your relationship. Make sure that it is someone who is standing for your relationship to work, not someone who is going to bash your guy, take your side, or give you relationship or communication advice that is not for your highest good. If your friend is not in a happy, loving relationship, she may not be the best person to turn to. You want to share with someone who is going to love and support you and have you show up in your best light. This is where having a good relationship coach can make all the difference.
Otherwise, you’ll just be getting “advice,” and advice is usually shared from the other person’s own fears and doubts, as well as her patterns. Coaching, on the other hand provides you with the exact steps you can take to speak with love, be fully in your power, and seeking a win-win solution.That way, when you finally do have the conversation, you are not just talking about something that happened or needs to be resolved, but you are talking for something (resolution, peace, and the highest good for both of you in the relationship).
I know it’s not always easy to hit the “pause” button and not resolve something that is on your heart and mind.Uncertainty can trigger fear and sometimes fear gets the best of us and begin trying to push to try to get something to happen, rather than stepping back and allowing things to come together peacefully and naturally.
However, I promise you that if you follow these 4 steps, not only will that eventual conversation be a lot more peaceful, but you will also feel so much more empowered and connected to your guy when you know that you are coming together at the right time as partners seeking the best outcome, versus “enemies” seeking to prove their own point or get their own “win.” Because, by default, when only one person “wins” in a conversation or argument, the other person must “lose.” And, where there is true partnership, a win-win is always the best outcome.