There is a common pattern in heterosexual couples that is deadly to growth and progress. Women come into the office, with a number of issues, that build up into an emotional intensity that leaves males completely overwhelmed. Men watch the emotions pile up and think to themselves “if she feels this badly, then what can I ever do to fix this besides leave?” I watch too many men silently become overwhelmed and give up. The woman is often so wrapped up in her own hurt and she’s hoping for validation and has no idea that her partner is adrift.
When anyone is overwhelmed it is really helpful to break things down into smaller more manageable pieces. If a basement filled to the brim is overwhelming, bring up one box at a time to sort through. In every couple the box of problems that get unpacked is always about both people. Taking time to explore both points of view requires lots of talking over time. Talking to each other does not mean two parallel monologues.
Women need to learn to be aware that men easily get lost in emotional intensity. So the alternative would be to say something that’s important to you and a couple of paragraphs about why; then build a bridge over to the other person instead of repeating yourself all over again. Even though a woman may feel she’s earned the right to her intensity because so much hurt is at stake, know that it is unlikely to lead to problem solving. While women can become very sensitive and believe their feelings are reality, men get swamped. Then Truth becomes buried and it will be impossible to serve the greater good of the couple or the “US“.