WHAT TO DO WHEN HE GOES INTO HIS CAVE
In my seminars when I explain about caves and dragons, women want to know how they can shorten the time men spend in their caves. At this point I ask the men to answer, and they generally say that the more women try to get them to talk or come out, the longer it takes. Another common comment by men is "It is hard to come out of the cave when I feel my mate disapproves of the time I spend in the cave." To make a man feel wrong for going into his cave has the effect of pushing him back into the cave even when he wants to come out. When a man goes into his cave he is generally wounded or stressed and is trying to solve his problem alone. To give him the support that a woman would want is counterproductive. There are basically six ways to support him when he goes into his cave. (Giving him this support will also shorten the time he needs to spend alone.) How to Support a Man in His Cave 1. Don't disapprove of his need for withdrawing.
2. Don't try to help him solve his problem by offering solutions. 3. Don't try to nurture him by asking questions about his feelings. 4. Don't sit next to the door of the cave and wait for him to come out. 5. Don't worry about him or feel sorry for him. 6. Do something that makes you happy. If you need to "talk," write him a letter to be read later when he is out, and if you need to be nurtured, talk to a friend. Don't make him the sole source of your fulfillment. A man wants his favorite Venusian to trust that be can handle what is bothering him. To be trusted that he can handle his problems is very important to his honor, pride, and self-esteem. Not worrying about him is difficult for her. Worrying for others is one way women express their love and caring. It is a way of showing love. For a woman, being happy when the person you love is upset just doesn't seem right. He certainly doesn't want her to be happy because he is upset, but he does want her to be happy. He wants her to be happy so that he has one less problem to worry about. In addition he wants her to be happy because it helps him to feel loved by her. When a woman is happy and free from worry, it is easier for him to come out. Ironically men show their love by not worrying. A man questions "How can you worry about someone whom you admire and trust?" Men commonly support one another by saying phrases such as "Don't worry, you can handle it" or "That's their problem, not yours" or "I'm sure it will work out." Men support one another by not worrying or minimizing their troubles. It took me years to understand that my wife actually wanted me to worry for her when she was upset. Without this awareness of our different needs, I would minimize the importance of her concerns. This only made her more upset. When a man goes into his cave he is generally trying to solve a problem. If his mate is happy or not needy at this time, then he has one less problem to solve before coming out. Knowing that she is happy with him also gives him more strength to deal with his problem while in the cave. Anything that distracts her or helps her to feel good will be helpful to him. These are some examples: Read a book Call a girlfriend for a good chat Listen to music Write in a journal Work in the garden Go shopping Exercise Pray or meditate Get a massage Go for a walk Have something delicious to eat Take a bubble bath Watch TV or a video See a therapist
The Martians also recommended that the Venusians do something enjoyable. It was hard to conceive of being happy when a friend was hurting, but the Venusians did find a way. Every time their favorite Martian went into his cave, they would go shopping or out on some other pleasing excursion. Venusians love to shop. My wife, Bonnie, sometimes uses this technique.
When she sees I am in my cave, she goes shopping. I never feel like I have to apologize for my Martian side. When she can take care of herself I feel OK taking care of myself and going into my cave. She trusts that I will come back and be more loving. She knows that when I go into my cave is not the right time to talk. When I begin showing signs of interest in her, she recognizes that I am coming out of the cave, and it is then a time to talk. Sometimes she will casually say, "When you feel like talking, I would like to spend some time together. Would you let me know when?" In this way she can test the waters without being pushy or demanding.