“He doesn’t open up to me!” “He won’t share his feelings!” “I never know what he’s thinking or if he wants what he says he wants!” “He won’t talk to me”!
I hear these comments from my female clients constantly. They are clearly distressed and want answers. They are taking it personally too and making it mean negative things about themselves and it’s affecting their relationships, often breaking them up.
If this is something you’re wondering about, then read on because these hiccups in your relationship have less to do with you as a woman and more to do with him as a man and what he’s learned about life and relationships.
Ladies, men are People Pleasers too.
They have a different expression than we as women have, but they still put themselves last for the needs of another and it’s the same sacrificial lamb getting slaughtered in the end.
Many men grow up feeling unsafe to share their feelings. Because they have been misguided by parents or others in their young lives, they too, embark on becoming what other people need them to be and so they acquiesce, agree to make peace but resent the heck out of it all. Just like we do. This can make them appear oppositional and confrontational because they, like us, will blame the person they are trying so hard to please.
Men too, are not honoring themselves and attending to their needs because they too were trained to put others first.
Comments like “Happy Wife, Happy Life” and “Yes, Dear” are used for men who give in, in the hopes of living in peace.
Yes, men want peace and harmony too.
As women we’re confused because we want to dance in harmony and enjoy emotional connections with men. Men who think women just want to get their own way and will nag until they get it, have bought into a myth and that myth was learned and it’s a lie. To give in to avoid disappointing others doesn’t work. Just because people are staying together in dysfunctional relationships doesn’t mean anything is working or anyone is happy.
Both men and women are dissatisfied in their relationship because of People Pleasing. Both men and women do it. Many people stray, divorce or give up because sooner or later you just get that you’re living a lie and it doesn’t feel good and it doesn’t create harmony.
I made the hard decision to end my marriage when I started saying YES to my husband’s propositions for jewelry, choosing the restaurants and vacations we went to, insisting he had no preference and refused to choose when I insisted.
For a long time, I felt the ingenuine, insincerity he extended but decided to end the bickering and just take him up on his offers.
When he resented it all in the end, I realized that I was co-creating a dysfunctional relationship and that my accepting his invitations was a way of accommodating him.
It was ingenuine on both our parts.
If you’re like me, and many women have agreed with me, you like men with confidence, strength and a mind of their own. Someone you can admire, have an authentic relationship with, someone who lets you in and who you share with too. Right?
People Pleasing is wreaking havoc in so many relationships because everyone says they want honesty and transparency, but everyone is scared to death to share because somewhere along our journeys we’ve been given messages that it’s not okay to be selfish, to have our own self-expression, to be angry or to use our voice to demand respect, to set boundaries and to feel entitled to be treated fairly and decently.
So, what can we do to turn things around and bring the harmony back?
Take care of yourself, make yourself the priority, decide what you want and make sure your needs are taken care of. By you.
And assure him that it’s safe for him to do the same. Stop looking to him to build your confidence, you must do that for yourself. Share your deep thoughts with your girlfriends, or seek support.
Make sure he knows you care and you want to see him happy and that he needs to step up his self-care too. Get passionate about something on your own so your relationship isn’t the only focus in your life and assure him that you want him to be happy and that his interests are important. Let the Man Cave be a place where he relaxes not where he escapes you!
And stop taking responsibility for his moods too! That’s not yours to take and for sure don’t take it personally. We never have to let the moods of others affect us. If we do, it’s our choice.
Just like for us women, when we say yes and we mean no, we don’t honor and nurture our truth and we are not being true to our partners or the relationship either.
We can only take responsibility for ourselves. Our partners must be true to themselves and we can only communicate and hope that they are.
If they choose drama over harmony it isn’t healthy for anyone involved and it’s our choice who we want to surround ourselves with. Sometimes we have to make the hard choice to let a relationship go. That’s a loving choice too.
Go forth this week, this new year and take care of yourself, your needs, your desires. And inspire your loved ones to do the same. You will be blown away at how you’ll dance together in harmony.
COMING SOON, I WILL BE LAUNCHING A PEOPLE PLEASERS REFORM SITE FOR MEN, so that men can find support and become better partners in relationships with themselves and YOU! STAY TUNED.