Stop Fighting in 30 days

Week 3: Use Your Ears to Resolve Conflicts

Listening Roadblocks

Sometimes a man fails in his attempts to listen because he simply can't understand why his mate feels the way she does about a given situation. If either of you finds it hard to understand why your mate feels the way he or she does about a given situation, the following exercise will help you put yourself on your mate's emotional side of the fence.

Forget the particular situation that is upsetting your mate and instead focus on the feelings he is having. Now, think of a situation that has triggered similar feelings in you. When you are on the same emotional page as your mate, you will find it easier to identify with and to listen to his feelings.

Guilt is another common listening roadblock, especially for men. When a man finds out that he said or did something to upset you, all his bells and whistles go off. Don't forget, he was socialized to protect and care for his wife and children. Now you're telling him that he failed in his job as a man and husband. So his guilt is working overtime. This causes him to switch into the other role that he was socialized to play -- the doer and fixer. Now he makes it his job to make your boo-boo go bye-bye. Unfortunately, since he has not been socialized to handle the emotional side of life, he is clueless on how to ease your pain. So the poor lug resorts to sentences like "Don't feel that way" or "Don't be upset." Unfortunately, these responses infuriate most women. Being told to "get over it" is majorly annoying when all you want is to be heard and understood. Have patience with your guilt-riddled macho man. Remember, he only wants to make you feel better. He just doesn't know how to go about doing so.

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