Women love to share emotions.
Sharing emotions is how women connect in their relationships. Because it comes naturally, chances are it works well in their relationships with mothers and daughters, and in their friendships.
Naturally, women want to do the same with the men in their life. But because men and women experience intimacy differently, this is often a source of conflict between couples.
There are several reasons why women encounter roadblocks to intimacy with their partner.
One reason is most men connect and relate through a physical connection, while women don’t need to meet a physical need to feel an emotional connection.
In general, women can share emotions with their partners in regular conversation to create closer bonds, while men may need a physical connection to do so.
When women do what comes natural, they are sometimes met with silence, non-validation and what appears to be disinterest by their partner. Often this leaves the woman feeling frustrated, unloved and disconnected.
This does not mean that men are less emotional than women. In fact, research shows that men are more emotional than women, but since they are less likely to express it, women feel men are not.
So given these fundamental differences, what can you do to bridge the gap?
Here are 6 tips that can help you connect with the man in your life:
1. Respect the differences
Often women are described as the “overemotional gender” because of their need to share. Men, on the other hand, don’t have the desire to express emotions as much, but relate differently by sharing the events of the day, for example.
In the absence of men sharing their emotions as openly as women, women feel there isn’t an emotional connection when there actually is.
If you can respect that the genders are different, you are less likely to set yourself up for disappointment when your partner doesn’t behave in the way you would expect.
2. Appreciate his way
Women get caught up in “how ” things are getting done. Down to household chores or changing a baby’s diaper, the “manner in which it’s getting done” becomes a sole area of disagreement.
This is also true for “how” time is spent together.
Women focus on if “one-on-one time” involves meaningful conversation and sharing of emotions. Men on the other hand may want to engage in an activity together.
Begin by allowing him to express himself in a way that he feels comfortable.
An emotional connection may not be looking into your eyes on a romantic date and telling you he loves you.
It very well might be when he’s watching a T.V. show and he reaches over and holds your hand. Let him take the lead in how he connects with you.
3. Express without expectation
But even though women are the more communicative gender, they too worry about what’s going to happen if they share how they feel. This is especially true if their partner has not responded in the way they expected (reciprocate emotionally or validate their feelings.)
Some fears women have are:
“What if he judges me?” or “What if I get overemotional?” or “What if he doesn’t reassure me?”
Speak from the heart.
Trust that your heart will lead you and let go of what’s going to happen next. The man in your life will be glad that you shared even though he may not respond in the way you hoped.
4. Allow for a transition
Share with him when the timing is right. Don’t start expressing how stressed you are about your workday, annoyances with your co-worker or argument with your friend right when he walks in the door.
Give him space.
Likewise, don’t dump everything on him when he’s busy doing something, when he’s told you he needs to take care of something, is engaged in an chore, trying to relax, or doing something he enjoys.
Yes, timing is everything. By no means am I telling you to tip-toe around him. Just know when it actually is bad timing. If you pay close attention, usually there is a “better” time. The man in your life will be more receptive if you’ve respected his boundaries.
5. Show interest in him
It feels good when all the attention is on you. Our egos love it. But that creates an unhealthy imbalance in relationships. Begin by showing interest in him.
Ask him questions about his work, family and friends. Pay attention to when he shares and how he does that. Show that you value what he cares about by listening, asking questions and providing support.
6. Do things together
Research shows that couples who do things together on a regular basis feel more connected and have deeper intimacy.
Men feel more emotionally connected when they are involved in an activity and have a physical connection with their partner (going to the movies, having sex, holding hands, etc.).
Get involved in activities that he likes. Give it a try. You may like it, too.
View your relationship as broader than verbal communication. Our emotions can be expressed and experienced in different ways.
Experiences bring people together.
When we experience things our senses are activated. When we feel, hear, smell, taste and touch, we connect to ourselves to our basic human core. When we connect to ourselves, we connect to others through our shared experience.
Studies show that couples who make regularly time to connect on an emotional level have more satisfying relationships.
They are also better able to get through difficult times and periods of conflict. Intimacy can be complicated but keeping it simple has its rewards.
Notice the little things that connects him to you and you to him.
Focus on what you can do and let go of how you expect the relationship should be. Accept him for who he is. He’ll feel closer to you in the long run if you do.