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Why Women Nag & Men Withdraw

Despite what fairy-tale stories might have lead you to believe about love, our modern version of relationships is much more complicated. It’s not as simple as falling in love and you are all set for life; I wish that could be true as we’ll probably have less divorce and breakups.

Those love fairy tales leave out the important details: The everyday living of couples together, which can either make or break a relationship.

You see during the time of cavemen and cavewomen, roles were more clearly defined – Men were hunters, providers and protectors of the family, on the other hand, women were the caregivers and nurturers.

With the move of feminism, women have left their marks in what used to be just a man’s world. You see women in the workplace, being CEOs and they are just as capable of doing what a man can do. This change has done a wonderful thing for women everywhere, at the same time, it has created a shift in the dynamics at home.

Women are no longer just the caregivers and nurturers of the family, they are also the hunters, breadwinners and providers of the family. Every day, many women everywhere put on their ‘power’ coat to go to work.

When they get home, they still have to wear many different ‘hats’. They don’t just switch off and relax because the housework still needs to be done, the kids need to be taken care of, the bills need to be paid, the finances need balancing etc. Men on the other hand often go home thinking they have accomplished their roles as a provider and it’s time for them to relax and recharge. One of the things that many women (including myself) do a lot is putting ourselves on the back burner and forgetting to ask for help. Well, we do ask for help but it’s not a straightforward approach that men can understand.

Women’s ‘nagging’ is simply a code to their men to say “I’m so very tired and exhausted, please help me”. They are asking their man to ‘step up’ and help them, to protect them. If you know men, you know they often suck at ‘mind-reading’ and much prefer the straight-forward approach.

Men often see nagging as a reminder and being bossed around, which in their mind feel like being back at work. Adding to that, men are not good at dealing with women’s feelings and emotions so they withdraw into their ‘cave’ to find solutions to their own, and their woman’s problems. So the more she nags, the more he withdraws.

This creates a ‘push-pull’ effect in the relationship, which over time can destroy the foundation of love, trust and intimacy. When she feels like he is emotionally unavailable, she feels less supported which results in a lack of trust and ultimately a lack of intimacy.

So what can you do?

  • First of all, understand and accept that you are different and be more conscious about the way you communicate. Ladies, instead of asking him to read your mind, communicate what you want, how you would like to be helped and when he does, make sure you show appreciation (even the smallest things). The more you appreciate what he does, the more he will do it. Also make sure you take care of yourself, take time out to relax and recharge. You don’t have to be the one holding it all together.
  • Gentlemen, I know that may be growing up you weren’t allowed or taught not to show emotions and feelings, hence having negative responses when it comes to a woman’s emotions. Just remember, all she needs is your support and your presence, she may forget to communicate it in a way that you understand. So when she ‘nags’, it means she desperately needs your help and support.
  • Don’t try to fix the problem for her, be there for her with your undivided attention. Ensure her that even if the sky was going to fall, you would be there for her.  Last but not least, tell her you love her more often and it doesn’t hurt to make sure you contribute to running the houselhold and the family.
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