Whenever life is challenging, shutting down never helps….women! But it may be absolutely necessary for men!
For women it is a fact: talking helps their mind solve problems. In addition it is a stress relief remedy especially if the person they talk to is NOT trying to solve their problems.
Very often for men, high stress implies shutting down. There are two types of shut down though that you should learn to identify. One is necessary and the other is detrimental.
Men need to shut down to deal with stress.
Shutting down is the necessary step for men to switch their mind to something more relaxing…for them. While they relax, their mind is far from their issues and they are more able to address these issues when they have relaxed.
Distraction is the best way for men to handle their stress. Unlike women, men are not programmed to handle too much mental stress: action is always the road they choose when facing adversity, followed by collapse before the next action.
Talking is not relaxing for men. Men relax in front of TV, playing games with their kids, practicing a sport, browsing the internet, or making love! In fact, conversation can be really stressful for them, especially if it gets personal.
What our female mind has difficulty to understand is that relaxation allows men to solve their problems afterwards. All men take any challenge as if it were a physical challenge. Recuperation is key.
If we respect this time off, we will get more quality time with our male partner. And we won’t go into useless fights trying to dig out the cause of their shut down. In due time, usually afterwards, men can talk about it. Then and only then we can offer them our useful advices.
Men don’t need to shut down when their partner needs to talk.
The other shut down though is never welcome. It is damaging to your relationship beyond your understanding.
This shut down occurs whenever the female partner is in desperate need to talk out her own stress. She needs to talk, badly. She needs to express her anxiety and/or her frustrations. This is her way to find a solution.
Men take this need as a request for help when most of the time it is not. Men’s adrenaline slowly but surely rises to match their partner’s level. They come up with the best solution they can find, and they are rejected because that is not what she wants. And quickly, shut down becomes for them necessary.
As a result they are ready to watch TV, play games with kids, practice a sport… or have sex!
On the other hand she has daggers in her eyes! Not only she does not feel understood but she also feels disrespected. Her own problems do not deserve the attention she expects.
If men understood that just listening without trying to solve her problems is all she needs to be able to find her solution, relationship during stressful times would be so much easier.
If you listen without absorbing her stress, you won’t need to shut down, and her stress level will soon lower. Then your solution will not appear as offensive, she might even be grateful.
The urge all men have to bring solutions when we only need them to listen is so annoying! All it does is making you gentleman the target of our anger or frustration when you had nothing to do with it initially.
So ladies, let him relax the way he likes. Don’t harass him with your mothering attention that makes him feel even lower. If him shutting down triggers anxiety, talk with your mom, your sister, your best friend to get relief, but let him be.
You, gentlemen, resist the urge to bring your brilliant solution in the first minutes she expresses her discomfort. Let her talk. Sooner than you think, she will ask for your advices and then you will be her hero!