WHEN TO TALK WITH A MAN
When a man is pulling away is not the time to talk or try to get closer. Let him pull away. After some time, he will return. He will appear loving and supportive and will act as though nothing has happened. This is the time to talk.
At this golden time, when a man wants intimacy and is actually available to talk, women
generally don't initiate conversations. This occurs for these three common reasons: 1. A woman is afraid to talk because the last time she wanted to talk he pulled away. She mistakenly assumes that he doesn't care and he doesn't want to listen. 2. A woman is afraid the man is upset with her and she waits for him to initiate a conversation about his feelings. She knows that if she were suddenly to pull away from him, before she could reconnect she would need to talk about what happened. She waits for him to initiate a conversation about what upset him. He, however, doesn't need to talk about his upset feelings because he is not upset. 3. A woman has so much to say that she doesn't want to be rude and just begin talking. To be polite, instead of talking about ber own thoughts and feelings she makes the mistake of asking him questions about his feelings and thoughts. When he has nothing to say, she concludes he doesn't want to have a conversation with her. With all of these incorrect beliefs about why a man is not talking, it is no wonder that women are frustrated with men.
NOW TO GET A MAN TO TALK
When a woman wants to talk or feels the need to get close, she should do the talking and not expect a man to initiate the conversation. To initiate a conversation she needs to be the first to begin sharing, even if her partner has little to say. As she appreciates him for listening, gradually he will have more to say. A man can be very open to having a conversation with a woman but at first have nothing to say. What women don't know about Martians is that they need to have a reason to talk. They don't talk just for the sake of sharing. But when a woman talks for a while, a man will start to open up and share how he relates to what she has shared. For example, if she talks about some of her difficulties during the day he may share some of the difficulties of his day so that they can understand each other. If she talks about her feelings about the kids, he may then talk about his feelings about the kids. As she opens up and he doesn't feel blamed or pressured, then he gradually begins to open up. How Women Pressure Men to Talk A woman sharing her thoughts naturally motivates a man to talk. But when he feels a demand is being made that he talk, his mind goes blank. He has nothing to say. Even if he has something to say he will resist because he feels her demand. It is hard for a man when a woman demands that he talk. She unknowingly turns him off by interrogating him. Especially when he doesn't feel the need to talk. A woman mistakenly assumes that a man "needs to talk" and therefore "should." She forgets that he is from Mars and doesn't feel the need to talk as much. She even feels that unless he talks, he doesn't love hen To reject a man for not talking is to ensure that he has nothing to say. A man needs to feel accepted just the way he is, and then he will gradually open up. He does not feel accepted when she wants him to talk more or resents him for pulling away.
A man who needs to pull away a lot before he can learn to share and open up will first need to listen a lot. He needs to be appreciated for listening, then gradually he will say more. How to Initiate a Conversation with a Man The more a woman tries to get a man to talk the more he will resist. Directly trying to get him to talk is not the best approach, especially if he is stretching away. Instead of wondering how she can get him to talk a better question might be "How can I achieve greater intimacy, conversation, and communication with my partner? If a woman feels the need for more talk in the relationship, and most women do, then she can initiate more conversation but with a mature awareness that not only accepts but also expects that sometimes he will be available and at other times he will instinctively pull away. When he is available, instead of asking him twenty questions or demanding that he talk, she could let him know that she appreciates him even if he just listens. In the beginning she should even discourage him from talking. For example, Maggie could say "Jeff, would you listen to me for a while? I've had a hard day and I want to talk about it. It will make me feel much better." After Maggie talked for a couple of minutes then she could pause and say "I really appreciate when you listen to my feelings, it means a lot to me." This appreciation encourages a man to listen more. Without appreciation and encouragement, a man may lose interest because he feels as though his "listening" is "doing nothing." He doesn't realize how valuable his listening is to her. Most women, however, instinctively know how important listening is. To expect a man to know this without some training is to expect him to be like a woman. Fortunately, after being appreciated for listening to a woman, a man does learn to respect the value of talking.
WHEN A MAN WON'T TALK
Sandra and Larry had been married for twenty years. Sandra wanted a divorce and Larry wanted to make things work. She said, "How can he say he wants to stay married? He doesn't love me. He doesn't feel anything. He walks away when I need him to talk. He is cold and heartless. For twenty years he has withheld his feelings. I am not willing to forgive him. I will not stay in this marriage. I am too tired of trying to get him to open up and share his feelings and be vulnerable." Sandra didn't know how she had contributed to their problems. She thought it was all her husband's fault. She thought she had done everything to promote intimacy, conversation, and communication, and he had resisted her for twenty years. After hearing about men and rubber bands in the seminar, she burst into tears of forgiveness for her husband. She realized that "his" problem was "their" problem. She recognized how she had contributed to their problem.
She said, "I remember in our first year of marriage I would open up, talk about my feelings, and he would just walk away. I thought he didn't love me. After that happened a few times, I gave up. I was not willing to be hurt again. I did not know that at another time he would be
able to listen to my feelings. I didn't give him a chance. I stopped being vulnerable. I wanted him to open up before I would." One-sided Conversations Sandra's conversations were generally one-sided. She would try to get him to talk first by asking him a string of questions. Then, before she could share what she wanted to talk about, she would become upset with his short answers. When she finally did share her feelings, they were always the same. She was upset that he was not open, loving, and sharing.
A one-sided conversation might go like this:
SANDRA: How was your day?
SANDRA: What happened?
LARRY* The usual.
SANDRA: What do you feel like doing this weekend?
LARRY. I don't care. What do you want to do?
SANDRA: Do you want to invite our friends over?
LARRY: I don't know. Do you know where the TV schedule is?
SANDRA: (upset) Why don't you talk to me?
LARRY: (Stunned and silent.)
SANDRA: Do you love me?
LARRY: Of course I love you. I married you.
SANDRA: How could you love me? We never talk any more. How can you just sit there and say nothing. Don't you care? At this point, Larry would get up and go for a walk. When he came back he would act as though nothing had happened. Sandra would also act as though everything was fine, but inside she would withdraw her love and warmth. On the surface she would try to be loving, but on the inside her resentment increased. From time to time it would boil up and she would begin another one-sided interrogation of her husband's feelings. After twenty years of gathering evidence that he did not love her, she was no longer willing to be deprived of intimacy.