He might very well want or need our perspective on a situation but before you rush in to save the day, be sure to ask if he’s drowning and wants your help
No one wants to create a safe place for that! Our instinct is to run from that, to push it away. For men, that’s rejection. That says “Sure honey, I care about what you think and feel as long as it doesn’t have anything to do with me.”
Being a safe place means accepting that we aren’t perfect. It means understanding that with intent or without it, we can sometimes be a source of pain for the person we love. It also means understanding and being calm and patient when we’ve been misunderstood-when something really isn’t our fault. Good communication doesn’t happen at high volume or high-intensity.
Creating safety will sometimes mean sitting with blame until things calm and you can talk it out and of course, it means accepting responsibility and apologizing when we have hurt or let them down, even if it wasn’t our intention.
It’s not on us to solve the problem.
Men really aren’t that different from us when it comes to talking about feelings. They want to be heard, validated and understood. When we rush to problem-solving, we’re not really hearing what they have to say. He might very well want or need our perspective on a situation but before you rush in to save the day, be sure to ask if he’s drowning and wants your help. He just may want company while he figures it out.
We can validate the feeling even when we don’t get why he feels that way.
Men don’t always understand our reactions to things. We can get upset or sad about things that seem little or insignificant to them. The same is true for men. They may react with feelings to a situation that seems confusing or just doesn’t make sense.
We have to be careful not to judge the feeling and instead relate to it. You may not get why something is angering or saddening your guy. He may be disappointed about something that you just don’t get. That’s ok. Relate to the feeling. You’ve been mad, sad, and disappointed before. Stay in that place and relate to the feelinga and you will create a safe place, the loving thing that most men needs.
They don’t always need to talk about it. Really.
Sometimes women put too much emphasis on conversation. Sometimes, words aren’t necessary. Sometimes, he’s just going need someone who can be quiet with him, someone who can keep him company while he figures things out, himself.
Maybe he needs a company at the gym while he works it out. He might need to be held, hugged, or have his handheld. Making love to him sensitively and with compassion also creates safety and acceptance. Being a safe person sometimes means accepting that not talking is an acceptable option. And that that way to give the most loving thing a man needs.
Accept when they’re done talking and Let. It. Go.
My poor husband. I am a therapist. When I am not bungling up his feelings and making them about me, I am usually all too happy to jump right in and talk…and talk…and talk. Poor guy. Not everyone likes to or needs to, go round and round their feelings ad nauseam. Sometimes, they just need to put it out there that they are going through something and then they can move on.
Safety means letting them. Women can get sucked into the intimacy that gets created when a man opens up and that feeling can tempt us to drag out the moment longer than he is comfortable with. Take your cue from him. When he’s done talking, let him be done.
After all, safety also means being aware of what’s going on with him and following up a day or two later to see how he’s feeling or how it all worked out.
Are you ready to do the most loving thing you can do for your man?
Written by Heather Gray Originally appeared in The Good Men Project Republished with permission