The battle of the sexesBy Stella Damasus
If there is a battle that has never been won, ended or understood, it is the battle of the sexes. I was sitting with a group of friends at Soul Lounge and one of my male friends made a statement that got us laughing. He said: “Why do we have to be in relationships when we know they never work? The ones that last are with a lot of pain and struggle, mostly pretence.”
When he said that, I realised that everybody nodded in agreement. That really made me sad because love and relationships are supposed to be the sweetest and greatest things we should enjoy. As the conversation continued, I asked him why he said that, and the answer he gave was: “Women are from Venus and men are from Mars; they are two totally different species, so I don’t know how they are expected to co-exist successfully.”
This became the most interesting topic of the night. I know that this argument has been on for a very long time without accurate answers and solutions.
A lot of authors, therapists, doctors, experts, parents, teachers and even preachers have tried to proffer solutions, but no one has been able to clearly sort this out.
As we can see, relationships are the most difficult, complicated and sometimes most discouraging thing ever, but at the same time the most wonderful, sweetest, most fulfilling, most interesting, most educative and most sought after union on earth.
I decided to do some research on this topic and found some brilliant writers who have explained a lot of things and how they think these things can be resolved. That was how I discovered a particular woman called Barbara De Angels who wrote What Women Want Men To Know and Secrets About Men Every Woman Should Know.
As I read these books, I began to realise and understand the major differences between men and women. From the smallest things like the ability to successfully convey your needs to your partner in a way that he will listen, understand and act on it without a fight, to trying to motivate him to do something that would make you happy without making it seem like you are selfish, demanding and too clingy.
Men say women don’t know what they really want, and I must admit that after a very tiring month of research, a lot of women had a long list of things that made me realise that they want a Clark Kent combined with Voltron, Dr. Phill and Pablo plus Richard Branson.
Very few women said they wanted the men to know, value them and accept them for who they are. So, the issue now is, how do we make the men know this and still let them know they are in CHARGE?
It’s difficult to get men to go where we want them to go emotionally, to open up to the kind of intimacy (not just sex) we crave. So we need to know how the mind of a man works before we can understand why they react to certain things the way they do.
1. They can be very spontaneous
2. They listen, but probably more from their heads and not emotions; as the saying goes “men are logical and women are emotional”.
3. They want peace, space, calm and freedom
4. They want to feel like they are in charge, and are successful in all they do including their relationship
5. They don’t want hassles, stress and drama.
6. They hate having emotional processes all the time and feel as though they have to keep working on it all the time (darling we need to talk because our relationship is having problems, let’s try and find a way to fix it.)
7. They don’t like criticisms but love appreciation.
8. They hate nagging which a lot of women really know how to do.
9. They hate the fact that they have to constantly try to figure out what the woman wants.
There are loads more that I would have loved to share with you but the truth is so many people read these books and try to follow the author’s advice and what the therapists have said.
Unfortunately textbook analysis and answers hardly work for real life situations, especially when every man is different from the other. We cannot think that what works for Mr. A must work for Mr. X.
When women sit together and complain about their husbands and boyfriends or partners, they all end up saying men are this and that, men don’t know how to do this and that.
It’s easy to join the train because you don’t want to feel like the odd one out and you don’t want the other women to think that yours is perfect for you while theirs is not, so you end up saying what everybody is saying. Sincerely, what kind of man do you have as opposed to what kind of man do you really want?
I shot a pilot of my TV show called SISTAZ and one of my topics was ‘WHAT WOMEN REALLY WANT’ and in the course of the conversation, my very good friend, ITA, said: “I want to begin to look at relationships as a business venture”.
The studio exploded with laughter; even the crew members were laughing so hard. By the time she explained what she meant, it made a lot of sense.
She explained that “When you go into a business, first of all you must understand and study the business, its terrain, market values, import or export implications, start-up capital and expected profits, your whole business plan and many other things”.
Meaning that you will have to study and understand the business like the back of your hand. If there is a manual that comes with the machines you need, depending on the kind of business, you must read the manual if you have to operate it. We find that we read manuals for things that are valuable to us but we are not so familiar with.
After all that, you must service your business. This means finding the right location for the office or store, getting the right kind of staff, furnishing it with the right equipment, going all out to advertise your business, trying to upgrade a data base and so on. All these have to be done in order for your business to move forward, attract customers and most importantly make profits because that is the main reason for investing in the business in the first place.
Then finally you have to believe in the business that you are into so that it motivates you to want to come up with innovative ideas that will help the growth and development of the business, which in turn will ensure constant turnover and profit. So, if you believe that the business will profit you, then you will put in your best effort to ensure the smooth running of this business that you believe in and understand so much.
Now the exercise here is remove all the places I have written YOUR BUSINESS and replace it with YOUR RELATIONSHIP. Try and see if it all makes sense.
The truth is that no book, therapist, doctor or even preacher can tell you how to handle a man or a relationship, because people are different. You meet a guy who is from a totally different background, whose beliefs and yours might not be the same, who probably was raised with the ideology of men being superior, and you were brought up exactly the opposite way. How do you expect to live with him if you don’t understand where he is coming from and why he is the way he is?
Get to know the one you are with, if you believe in that relationship, then you have to try to make that extra effort to find out who your partner truly is; his reaction to certain things and so on. Know him like the back of your hand; the way you know your best friend. I am sure by now, you understand that this article is talking to the woman. The next one will be for the men. Let us tell the men how they can understand us and live in peace. All my male readers get ready for this. Don’t forget to send your comments please, they really inspire me.
Quote: I truly believe I am a performer and not a member of the audience. Who are you?
Battle Of the sexes (2)I was so glad when I got so many messages and feedback from the last article Battle Of The Sexes. So, by popular demand, I am doing a conclusion to that.
One of the first things we need to know is that men are not the way they are because they just want to drive women crazy. They have been trained from childhood to behave in a certain way. This makes it difficult for them to be as intimate as you want them to be.
Parents of newborn male babies tend to describe their sons as firmer, larger more alert and stronger, etc.
Parents of new born female babies describe their daughters as adorable, softer, smaller, prettier and more delicate.
They tend to place more demands on little boys , expecting them to be more responsible and take more risks.
Boys are pushed to be independent earlier and faster.
Parents offer less comfort to boys than girls when the child is frightened or injured, and they give boys greater freedom at an earlier age.
Boys are encouraged to control their emotions and are told that it is not manly to feel strong emotions. Not only are those emotions considered “weak” such as fear or sadness, but even passion and intense love.
Boys are taught that only a narrow range of emotions can be expressed to show their masculine strength and authority; like being competitive, aggressive, angry, defensive, and feelings associated with being in control. As they grow older, sexual feelings are added to the list.
Weakness, fear, vulnerability, tenderness, compassion and sensuality are allowed for only girls and women; so that a boy who exhibits such traits is likely to be made fun of and called a “whimp”.
We are in constant battle between the way men have been taught and the way women want or ask them to be; for example, men are taught to be defensive and suspicious, hide their emotions, be strong and unconquerable, stay in control but women want them to be trusting and open, show their emotions, express their vulnerability, master the inner world and express intense romance.
So you see that most of the major problems are as a result of women telling men that the characteristics they have worked hard to cultivate all their lives are the very ones that drive women crazy and turn them off. And the characteristics they really want to see the men develop are the ones they have been taught to see as “weak” and “feminine”.
When you think about this, it becomes easier for women to understand why men seem to resist anything that will make them feel they are not in control.
I can assure you that most times men actually want to open up, to learn to feel deeply and express those feelings to the women they love. But to them the process is a bit difficult because of the way most of them grew up.
1. The men in your life need all of the compassion, patience and support you can find in your heart, to help them open theirs.
2. Part of improving your relationship with a man, whether it’s your husband, boss, father or brother, etc, it is not just understanding his behaviour but also taking an honest look at your own behaviour as well.
3. Believe it or not, you may be bringing out the worst in the man you love by the way you behave around them.
4. He needs a wife and a lover, not a mother, so stop treating him like a kid who does not have brains.
5. Don’t scold or correct him in public
6. Even when he is wrong, talk to him nicely but at the same time make him believe it was his bright idea that solved the equation, a confident man will not be afraid to admit that his woman is intelligent.
7. Stop being over-helpful by doing things that men would naturally rather do by themselves.
8. Stop thinking you will become indispensable when you make the man depend on you.
9. My mother will kill me for this, but I think pet names or abbreviations are better from my point of view than calling your husband “daddy”.
10. Mind your language, especially when you are upset. You may think men forget hurtful words easily. That is a huge lie, they remember everything you say that is capable of damaging their ego and self-esteem.
11. Do not use phrases like “I thought you were this but now I know better”, rather try saying “sometimes I am hurt when you say this or do this, it worries me”.
12. You cannot change a man who is set in his ways but your attitude and the atmosphere you create around him can do the magic.
13. When he is going through a difficult time with work and his abilities to accomplish, he will definitely not be in the right frame of mind to focus his attention on relationship issues.
14. Even when you are having issues and arguements with your husband, there are three things you should never deprive him of (food, shelter and sex).
15. Your husband feels extremely rejected when you reject his sexual advances, especially when there is no physical or spiritual justification.
16. Men like their wives to also initiate sex, it makes them feel wanted.
I sat down with some of my male friends as usual to get their perspectives on different issues. Then I asked them what their major turn offs in women were, and so I thought to share this with the women.
1. Unshaved armpits
2. Bad breath
4. Constant bad hair days
5. Body odour
7. Chipped and peeling nail polish
8. Excessive clinging
9. Wearing tent dresses around the house
11. Loud mouths
12. Too much make up
Having said all these, there are basic things we can do to understand and communicate with our Men better, so we can have better relationships.
Men communicate best when they have focus for the conversation. Due to the fact that they are goal oriented, they tend to feel most comfortable operating within boundaries that they know about in advance. Your man would like to know what the purpose of the discussion is and what you want from him. This gives him the sense that he knows what he is doing when he is talking to you.
Give him an agenda. Tell him exactly what you would like to talk about, what you hope to accomplish and what you expect from him. For example, instead of saying “honey I think we should talk about our relationship” which will make him think there is something you want him to figure out, try “honey, we have been together for this long and I think it’s great, but I really would like you to tell me what you think our strengths and weaknesses are, and in what direction and pace you hope it will go”. This way you will make it seem like he is the one that will determine the direction but you know that you have taken his attention to the area of the conversation you want him to get to without fighting. Sometimes they get frustrated with hints, be direct.
Another mistake women make, including myself, is thinking aloud and expecting the man to react instantly to every thought and when they don’t, we start to feel neglected and accuse them of not being sensitive enough. We forget sometimes that men are solution-oriented; they internalize their thinking process and communicate the end result. Sometimes when your partner is silent, he is not ignoring you. His mind is probably processing the information you gave him and he has to try to get in touch with his feelings. Also remember that men don’t really multi-task as much as women do because they are just not built that way.
Let him figure out how to say “I am sorry and I love you” by himself, especially if you say yours without expecting to hear it back all the time.
Don’t start interrogating him as soon as he opens his mouth, give him time to find his way and help him relax. Even if you don’t agree with him, just let him know you understand his point but you beg to differ so that he too can give you time to lay your cards
I am not saying you should walk on egg shells around him, I am just saying try not to hurt his ego, just be sensitive towards his feelings when communicating. After all no one forced you to choose and marry him, so carry your cross the best way possible
Prayer is also the biggest secret to a successful marriage.
Remember that these are just my thoughts and not rules you must live by.
Quote: Find a man who wants to take full responsibility for fixing himself so that you don’t have to do it yourself.