2) Number Two
Don’t take on her stuff. As fixers and rescuers, we men tend to think her problems are because of us. Even if she says it’s because of you, remember, it’s her problem, her challenge. Not yours.
You might be part of the solution, but that can only happen by listening without reacting. And to not react, we have to be in touch with our triggers, hooks, and the little boy within.
When my ex-wife was in a spin, I found myself saying to my inner boy, “She’s freaking out. It’s ok. That’s her. That’s not us. We’re fine. We’re fine, little guy.”
And that allowed me to be ok and stay present with her when I felt like I wanted to strangle her. Really, I wanted to strangle the feeling of anxiety.
3) Number Three
Listen only when you’re present. Don’t try to listen when you’re exhausted after a long day of work.
Instead, ask for what you need — Can we talk about this after dinner when I’m more present for you? I’m exhausted right now.
Listening when you’re present and have energy is respecting yourself and her. It’s also called healthy boundaries.
4) Number Four
Fire your superhero fixer. Release the burden of making her better. It’s not your job. You don’t have to make anything better. Breathe. Relax. And hear her. Listening, without fixing, is a gift for you too. No need to take on so much.
5) Number Five
Create a time container. Yes, guys, we know she’ll talk on and on if you allow it. It’s how she processes. And it drives us mad. Start out with five minutes. Even set a timer, then speak back what you heard, then ask, is there more?
She’ll go for it when she sees a set container of times allows your male mind to stay in the game.
That’s it. That’s how you kill it for her. Oh, and one more thing. A big one for the women out there.
While you don’t want us always to pull the nail out of your head, remember that fixing is how we as men often show our love. Try sometimes to accept it. Receive it. Open to it. It’s our gift. We feel loved when we can give it to you.
And somewhere in the middle, between listening and fixing, we shall meet to grow, love, and cherish one another.
Written by Stuart Motola
Originally appeared in Stuart Motola