The Language Barrier

I'm in the long and suck-tastic process of divorce.  But, the ex and I are really working hard to remain friends.  Probably because I've agreed to leave his infidelity out of the divorce proceedings, and he's agreed to actually PAY the child support.  But, he had needs I couldn't or wouldn't meet, and we parted.  But, I digress.

So, I've noticed a difference between women and men in the way they have responded not only to learning about the ex's infidelity but also our divorce.   I hate to admit it but, it is divided right down the sex.  The women, while sympathetic, steer clear of me like I have a disease and they're afraid I'm contagious.  The men, instinctively recognizing my vulnerability, while acknowledging the weaknesses of their "buddy", are VERY supportive and willing to help with the things they THINK he was doing.  Overtly, they mean mowing my lawn, fixing the drywall in the laundryroom, working on my car.  Subtly, I think they are willing to offer a bit more help and secretly hoping that some of the stories in Penthouse Forum are actually true.  When you get right down to it, when I said, "Husband likes younger girls, we're getting a divorce," the women hear, "you could be next;" while the men hear, "YOU could be next......"  Ok, so its the same words, but the meaning is so very different.

For those of you, still married, happily or otherwise, you have to start out knowing you speak different languages.  And, I don't mean the trite, mars and venus crap.  We read those books too, and it really didn't help US communicate with EACH OTHER.  We could figure out what was wrong, but not how to fix it.  If you want to keep things working, you have to move to that next step.  Ok, so there IS a language barrier, now move to the next step and try to reach across the chasm and understand each other.  If your partner misunderstood you, then you failed to clearly express yourself.  YOU have to ensure they understand on THEIR end what you truly mean.

Men have "wants," Women have "feelings."  Men WANT to feel basically one thing,...******.  Other than that, I'm sure they want to feel wanted, loved, appreciated.  But, correct me if I'm wrong guys, men would take sex over their "feelings" any day, every day.  Obviously not to be treated like scum, cause I've seen that too.  But I'm talking generalities here.  Women, want to FEEL.  Here is a quick list of the things women want to feel, and they are NOT in order, or preference or indicative of anything else: loved, cherished, worshipped, appreciated, needed, supported, sexy, feminine, strong, romantic, intelligent, vibrant, essential, modern, classic, did I say "sexy" yet? ...and they'd REALLY, REALLY, REALLY like to feel ******* at least as often as their mates do.  But you have this language thing, getting in the way.  A woman can be set upon making love to a man, and all he has to do to screw it all up is talk. 

My best friend says this little snippet all the time.  She says, women hear more than just the words.  So when a man says, "I don't know what you like" the woman hears, "I don't know you."  And, by that she hears, "I don't LOVE you."  So you can imagine his confusion when all he WANTS is to know what she wants to eat for dinner, and she bursts out in tears lamenting, "you don't love me."  Men want you to tell them, and they want you to say it in a way that does not demean them or imply that they are stupid.  Men are not stupid, but they do not take leaps of logic.  All he really wants is to enjoy a meal with you, that you enjoy, and his tastes are varied so he's amenable to letting you pick out what you'd like to eat.  But, at the same time, he can say things that sound so heartless and shallow, and he means nothing by it.  It hasn't occured to him what you might infer (however correctly) from the sometimes thoughtless things he says.  And, women take HUGE leaps of logic, sometimes to their peril.  But, no one will read you and know you, between the lines and between the sheets quite like a woman who CAN take giant leaps in logic.  A woman that can pull together seemingly unrelated bits of data is both exciting and surprisingly intuitive, and annoying and frustrating. 

If we take a minute, to ensure that the message gets across, however which way it must go, maybe we can start communicating and moving on to step two, UNDERSTANDING.  Wouldn't it be great?

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3 Responses Feb 23, 2010

Talking, listening and hearing....a concept that reaches both men and woman differently. I have started asking for a repeat of what I just said because I know i have been tuned out or he has been distracted. Communicating with a man is difficult if we don't how to come out and say exactly what we are thinking. That is the hard part for me. I want to be heard but am not sure how to say it out loud.

I think we should do it! I'm not kidding. I have thought about forming some sort of support group for betrayed wives...once I am in a better place.

I am going through the same thing for pretty much the same reason. I appreciate your wisdom. I am ok with the new life waiting for me, but I don't have any hope of ever being in another relationship. You summed it up very well, and it seems way too difficult to execute.