A Good Man Is Hard to Find. Only 35% of Men Are Emotionally Intelligent.

If this was a blog for men, I would spend a whole lot more time talking about how men need to change. But since this is a blog for women, usually my focus is on women’s blind spots, what they can learn, how they can understand men and take responsibility for their piece of all relationships.

Today, we’re going to turn the tables and talk about one thing men really suck at:

De-escalating conflict.

Now, to be clear, there is a lot of complaining/nagging/attacking on the part of the fairer sex – a behavior that Dr. Jamie Turndorf ably outlined in her seminal book, “Kiss Your Fights Goodbye.” In short, if you attack your male partner, it’s either fight or flight. He’s either going to push back or pull away from the conflict.

Today’s post is courtesy of Dr. John Gottman, the Godfather of Couples Counseling.

If you attack your male partner, it’s either fight or flight. He’s either going to push back or pull away from the conflict.

In it, he talks about how insensitive men trigger their wives by INCREASING the negativity in a conflict instead of attempting to listen, validate and calm things down.

It’s not terribly surprising, but, for many couples, failure to de-escalate is like throwing a match onto a pile of kindling. Things blow up fast and get out of control.

The typical male response to female input: “You are not the boss of me!” is not the way women operate. Women actually take others opinions into account. The irony is that couples would be happier if men allowed their wives’ opinions to matter more.

The problem is that only 35% of men are emotionally intelligent.

You ever wonder why I tell women to be the CEO and treat men like interns? That’s why. 65% of guys are incapable of being good partners.

“The husband who lacks emotional intelligence rejects his wife’s influence because he fears a loss of power. And because he is unwilling to accept influence, he will not be influential.

The emotionally intelligent husband is interested in his wife’s emotions because he honors and respects her. While this man may not express his emotions in the same way his wife does, he will learn how to better connect with her.

65% of guys are incapable of being good partners!

When she needs to talk, he’ll turn off the football game and listen. He will pick “we” over “me.” He will understand his wife’s inner world, continue to admire her, and communicate this respect by turning towards her. His relationship, sex life, and overall joy will be far greater than the man who lacks emotional intelligence.”

We can go on and on about how women need to be more patient, sensitive, understanding, easygoing, and supportive of their partners. It’s true.

But if anybody needs to take this advice to heart TWICE as much, it’s men.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

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Comments:

  1. 1
    ScottH

    What percentage of women are emotionally intelligent?

    1. 1.1
      Emily, the original

      What percentage of women are emotionally intelligent?

      100.  🙂    As a general, and probably due to how girls are raised differently than boys, statistics show that more women than men seek treatment for their psychological issues, depression, etc. They’re more likely to have worked on themselves.

      1. 1.1.1
        KK

        Emily,

        What percentage of women are emotionally intelligent?”

        “100. ☺”

        Come on, let’s be realistic… I think it’s closer to 90. 😂

        1. Emily, the original

          KK,

          Come on, let’s be realistic… I think it’s closer to 90. 😂

          LOL    Yeah, the rest of the female community treats that 10% like it doesn’t exist … they’re giving us a bad name!   🙂

        2. H.

          Speaking as a woman, based on my own experience with women (friendships and other non-erotic relationships), I would say that 90 % is grossly exaggerated. I don’t know what the right percentage would be, but I have come across quite a few selfish, egocentric, emotionally obtuse women.

           

           

        3. Emily, the original

          H,

          Speaking as a woman, based on my own experience with women (friendships and other non-erotic relationships), I would say that 90 % is grossly exaggerated.

          We were obviously kidding. Can you not see the emoticons?

      2. 1.1.2
        Chris

        But yet I remember reading somewhere lesbian relationships break up faster, on average, than heterosexual ones. Okay that doesn’t mean much, but it does imply there are factors other than “emotional intelligence” in the success or failure of relationships.

        1. Emily, the original

          Chris,

          But yet I remember reading somewhere lesbian relationships break up faster, on average, than heterosexual ones. 

          If only 35% of men are emotionally intelligent and a woman is lucky enough to land one, she ain’t going nowhere. But A woman who dates women has more options.   🙂

    2. 1.2
      ljsrmissy

      @ H

      Obviously Emily and KK were being facetious.

    3. 1.3
      Karl R

      I tried to find information on the original study being cited.

      Fact check #1:

      The “35%” number comes from research published by Gottman and Nay in 1999. They had studied newlyweds. In addition, Gottman and Nay stated that the percentage of emotionally intelligent men had increased over the decades.  Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that the percentage has increased to more than 35%.

      Fact check #2:

      The “emotional intelligence” term specifically measured whether the man’s/woman’s response, when criticized, escalated or deescalated conflict. It did not measure any other EQ criteria. So, as an example, Jeremy’s examples (seeing someone else’s perspective) were not considered in this study.

      Fact check #3:

      In the same test, women “rarely” escalated conflict. “Most” women, or “the vast majority” of women, either responded in a way that maintained the same level of conflict, or they responded in a way that deescalated the conflict.

      I could not find a specific number associated with this study.

      1. 1.3.1
        Jeremy

        Thanks for this, Karl, it’s very helpful.  It reminds me of Daniel Kahneman’s “what you see is all there is” principle.  If all we’re using to define emotional intelligence is whether a person’s responses escalate or de-escalate conflict with no regard to any other parameters, how important or valid is the information?  How accurate is the model created?

  2. 2
    Jeremy

    “The irony is that couples would be happier if men allowed their wives’ opinions to matter more.”  Hmmm, not sure about this statement.  I definitely agree with most of this piece – that men respond to conflict with “fight or flight.”  That men should de-escalate, validate and calm things down in an argument.  But how often do fights occur because wives believe their opinions are the ones that matter the most?

     

    When the couple fights over un-done household chores is it because the man isn’t valuing the opinion of his wife, or vice versa?  Perhaps both?  Would men be happier if they allowed their wive’s opinion to matter more in such a case? Or would such just be a sublimation of men’s own opinions for the opinions of their spouses, resulting in a happier “couple” because the wife is happier while the man is silent?

     

    This is kind of a loaded question.  My intention is not to say that men should not do as Evan suggests (they should), but what I see in my circles is most often women believing their own opinions to be the only ones that matter.  The “mature” ones.  And as important as it is for men to acknowledge their wive’s opinions, I think the reverse is even more critical.

     

    Whether or not socks on the bedroom floor is a problem depends on the eye of the beholder.  It is not based on a universal morality.  If a husband who is not bothered by them acquiesces to clean them to make his wife happy, he does so as a favour to her.  Not because her opinion is right and his is not.

    1. 2.1
      KK

      “When the couple fights over un-done household chores is it because the man isn’t valuing the opinion of his wife, or vice versa?  Perhaps both?  Would men be happier if they allowed their wive’s opinion to matter more in such a case? Or would such just be a sublimation of men’s own opinions for the opinions of their spouses, resulting in a happier “couple” because the wife is happier while the man is silent?”

      Hi Jeremy,

      I think it depends on who does the majority of the household chores. If it’s the wife, then yes, her opinion matters more. The rest of the family should help out, and if not, the very least they can do is not make her job more difficult or create more work for her. The husband is completely entitled to hold on to his opinion that the world isn’t going to self destruct if he tosses his socks on the bedroom floor but that’s not the issue. It’s about respect. If you know she takes pride in keeping a clean house, why not acquiesce out of respect?

      1. 2.1.1
        Jeremy

        Hi KK.

         

        “If you know she takes pride in keeping a clean house, why not acquiesce out of respect?”  Because respect doesn’t just go one way.  This is the most important and basic thing I can say.  Respect does not go one way.  And while the woman in your example takes pride in her clean house, she should take greater pride in her marriage.  If she realizes that her husband needs down time, and does not see the socks on the floor as a problem, she should realize that getting on his back to clean them is creating a problem where none need exist, because she is prioritizing her clean house over her marital happiness.  Her desire for cleanliness is not a moral imperative to which her husband must acquiesce in an argument the two may have.  It is simply her desire.

        Should he try to make her life easier?  YES.  He would be a selfish fool not to.  Should she realize that her clean house matters only to her?  Yes.  She would be a selfish fool not to.

         

        I have a beautiful saltwater aquarium with a living coral reef in my living room.  It is my hobby – I built the plumbing, the electrical, I arranged the rockwork and the livestock and created a living work of art.  When it needs maintenance, I DO IT.  It is not my wife’s job.  No matter how much pride I take in it.

        1. Gala

          Her desire for cleanliness is not a moral imperative

          Seriously?

        2. Nissa

          This is why I genuinely do not see myself having another relationship without two things: 1) separate bathrooms and 2) maid service twice a month. My relationship was never better than when I had those two things. I was happy to pay that bill, because with both of us working full time, there just weren’t enough hours in the day to keep up the house (which my husband decided was ‘my job’. So I managed it by ‘fulfilling my job’ in making sure the house was clean, and we were both happy with it.  And yes, before anyone asks, I would have had no problem with my spouse paying to do ‘his’ yard work. If it gave me more time for my spouse to spend with me, why wouldn’t I prefer that? Win – win.

        3. KK

          Respect is a two way street. Agreed.

          So what if your wife took off her dirty socks, threw them across the room, and they accidentally landed in your aquarium? : )

          Would she be doing you a favor by getting them out? Or would she be showing you respect?

          In the same way, impeding her efforts to keep a clean home shows a lack of respect for her goal. Walking a few extra steps to toss your dirty socks in the hamper is not doing her a favor. It is showing respect for her.

        4. Jeremy

          KK, the point I am trying to make here is that the women I know are generally unable to acknowledge the truth of the 2-way nature of respect.  Emily’s satirical comment above of 100% of women being emotionally intelligent is reflective of this.  Women, generally, DO  believe themselves to be the guardians of emotional intelligence.  Yet how many women adhere to the adage “Happy husband, happy life”?

           

          Walking a few extra steps to throw one’s socks into the hamper is a sign of respect, agreed.  Not nagging a husband because he doesn’t see the bathroom as dirty while you do is also a sign of respect.  Society, in general, encourages men to take the perspective of their wives, and emotionally intelligent men try to do so.  I include myself in this category.  But notice how society does not, generally, encourage women to try to see men’s perspective when perspectives differ in marriage?  There IS no adage “happy husband, happy life.”

        5. KK

          “… the point I am trying to make here is that the women I know are generally unable to acknowledge the truth of the 2-way nature of respect.”

          Jeremy, if that’s true, that’s not good. But is it possible that the women you know do acknowledge the truth of the 2-way nature of respect but they just have a different perception of what that means? After all, you and I seem to disagree on what that means, which is why I included the aquarium example. If you’re responsible for all the yard work and you take pride in keeping your yard nice, how would you feel if every time you went to mow, you had to pick up 15 toys, before you ever got started? What if amongst those toys, your wife’s flip flops were strewn across the yard? Should you respect your wife and children’s desire to be slobs because they don’t see it as an issue? Of course they don’t see it as an issue because YOU are the one who is picking up after them.  : )  If they respected you, your wife would tell the kids, “hey, let’s go put up our stuff so daddy can mow”.

          I think the reason this bothers you is because you are very emotionally intelligent. Disagreeing on household chores doesn’t change that. So I can understand how it’s frustrating to be grouped in with all men. But women will tell you that you are the exception. Definitely one of the 35%. Most men are not like you, though.

           

        6. Emily, the original

           

          Jeremy,

          Emily’s satirical comment above of 100% of women being emotionally intelligent is reflective of this.  Women, generally, DO  believe themselves to be the guardians of emotional intelligence. 

          I certainly don’t believe women are the guardians, but look at the stats. More women seek help for their issues. When you start working on yourself, you can develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence. I don’t know too many people who don’t, at some point in their lives, need to work on something. No one emerges from childhood completely unscathed. But if you don’t do the work …

        7. Emily, the original

          KK,

          But women will tell you that you are the exception. Definitely one of the 35%. Most men are not like you, though.

          Yes

        8. Alex

          @Jeremy

          Evan does advocate for women to be more easygoing all the time. You coming back with “oh women should cut men some slack sometimes too” doesn’t really apply here because that’s not the topic he presented and he regularly says what you just said.

          In addition, talking about chores like they are women’s work bothers me because I know way too many women who have full time jobs and still do all of the cooking and cleaning for their families. And most of the childcare at night.

          True, your wife doesn’t help you with your aquarium, but she also doesn’t dump dirty water in it or rearrange the plants just because she feels like it.

          If you aren’t going to complete a chore, you don’t get to complain about how someone else does it. And you don’t make their life harder repeatedly every day. Understanding that is what I call emotional intelligence. It’s being a grownup.

        9. Jeremy

          Alex, I want to be clear because I understand your comment.  It’s not that I consider household chores to be “woman’s work.”  Nor am I talking specifically about household chores.  I am talking about dealing with a situation where perspectives clash in a marriage.  Advice to be “easygoing” is not appropriate in such cases.  Rather, the proper advice IMHO is to understand that one’s perspective is not the only valid one.

           

          Tell me, if a couple is stressed and the man wants to withdraw and the woman wants to engage and communicate, who is “right”?  Most people will say that she is.  My point is that she ISN’T.  Because engaging at that moment and in that way might be what she wants, but will not be helpful to him.  Her believing that he should engage with her at that time is not an example of emotional intelligence, it is an example of bias based on a lack of understanding of the opposite gender.

           

          The reason this article bothers me is not because I am emotionally intelligent.  It is because I see men get bashed in society for not being “emotionally intelligent” (which might be true, generally), but women get lauded for being emotionally intelligent – which is generally NOT true.  They may seek relationship advice and medical/psychological help more often than men, but are they generally better at perspective-taking than their male partners?  My observation is no.

        10. Gala

          @Jeremy:

          Tell me, if a couple is stressed and the man wants to withdraw and the woman wants to engage and communicate, who is “right”?

          I can tell you that (s)he whose approach is most likely to produce a desirable outcome is the one who is right in this situation. I don’t really see how disengaging going to produce a desirable outcome – assuming of course that by that we mean a functioning relationship with this particular partner, but hey what do I know.

        11. Alex

          @Jeremy

          I think Gala is right here. Disengaging is never going to solve a problem. Just because men naturally want to disengage in an argument doesn’t mean it’s a good way to solve relationship problems.

          I agree, we are very quick to bash men unnecessarily in this culture (or maybe it’s the cultural climate?) but in this case, I think most women will at least attempt to talk out what’s going on. If nothing is ever discussed, nothing ever gets fixed.

          It seems really clear that you think that people are very very bad at knowing themselves/introspection of any kind. Why is this? Yes, I find there are a lot of people who are bad at this, but overall I would say individuals know what they want out of life. But since relationships are messy, people don’t always make the right decisions to get what they want.  Am I way off base here?

          The chores thing is kind of a trigger for me. sorry if you were in the crossfires there:) Didn’t mean to imply you think that way.

        12. Jeremy

          Hi Gala.  The solution is C, neither of the above.  I’ve addressed this elsewhere, but it involves understanding of the biochemistry of oxytocin.  Women seek to engage, when stressed, because doing so makes them feel better.  Conversation with a partner releases oxytocin in their brains – they seek engagement not because they are more mature, nor because it leads to better outcomes for their partner, but rather because it makes THEM feel better and more bonded to their partner.  But conversation does not lead to the release of oxytocin in men’s brains.  Sex does, though, and other things result in endorphin release.  When a man’s brain is awash in oxytocin, he will be MUCH more receptive to conversation with a beloved partner.
          The mistake is not in the woman seeking engagement with the man, it’s in her timing of doing so and the circumstances surrounding that timing.  Most women don’t understand this.  And most men don’t understand that although their brains tell them to withdraw, withdrawing will not make them feel better.  So both parties are guilty of lack of emotional intelligence, and neither’s inherent biological solution will work well on its own.

        13. Jeremy

          Alex, I have been impressed with your comments on this thread and elsewhere, and certainly did not take any offense at anything you wrote.  Sorry if I triggered you with the chores thing – it was meant to be an example – I do lots of chores at home, and generally bend over backward to be respectful to my wife.

           

          Having said that, let’s talk about your statement: “but overall I would say individuals know what they want out of life.”

           

          Alex, the main reason I’m on this blog – this blog for WOMEN looking for happy relationships – this blog where the host is super-intelligent, has amazing advice for women (and men), this blog which is full of super-intelligent women who already have lots of relationship knowledge – is because there is one area of relationship advice which is missing – even here.  If you ignore everything else I’ve ever written, understand this – People, men and women, SUCK at understanding themselves.  We suck at understanding what we feel at any given moment, we suck at unravelling the thoughts behind our feelings.  We think our memories of the past are accurate but they aren’t.  We think our predictions of our future desires are good, but they aren’t.  There is a TON of research about this, but most people don’t apply it to their own lives.

           

          Ask a child what he wants to be when he grows up, and because he doesn’t know, he instead answers the question “what do you want to be right now?”  Adults do the same substitution.

        14. KK

          Alex said, “The chores thing is kind of a trigger for me. sorry if you were in the crossfires there:) Didn’t mean to imply you think that way”.

          The chores thing is a trigger for a lot of (dare I say most?) women.

          Jeremy said, “If she realizes that her husband needs down time, and does not see the socks on the floor as a problem, she should realize that getting on his back to clean them is creating a problem where none need exist, because she is prioritizing her clean house over her marital happiness”.

          The problem with this line of thinking (in my opinion) is twofold. Yes, she could certainly just leave the socks there or pick them up herself and stay quiet about how it makes her FEEL. But most women are going to feel that their husband is showing a lack of respect towards her, especially if she considers keeping the house clean her responsibility. That’s the first problem. The second problem is the dynamic this creates in the marriage. Most women expect to pick up after their toddlers, but not their husbands. Therefore, I would argue that if the husband doesn’t want to be viewed as a child that his wife has to pick up after, he should pick up after himself. If not, HE is responsible for creating a mother / child – type relationship with his wife and hurting his own marriage. Let’s face it. It’s hard to drum up sexual attraction for someone you view as a child.

        15. Gala

          @Jeremy

          I really just don’t see what your point here seems to be. That men are not wrong for not engaging in unpleasant conversations? That men should have some inherent right to spread their dirty laundry on the floor for somebody else to pick up rather than placing it in a hamper? Are you serious? The first reaction that comes to mind here is “grow up!”.  Oh, but another commenter has already said that this is why women end up viewing their husbands as children. I couldn’t agree more. As grown ups, we are expected to do things that are not necessarily pleasant to us but have to be done nonetheless. You wouldn’t blow off your boss at work if he was unhappy with your missing a deadline, you would have an unpleasant conversation with him/her. You wouldn’t leave trash on a lawn after a picnic (i hope. may be you would. i don’t know). It is not for your domestic partner to extend her the same courtesy as you do to others.

      2. 2.1.2
        Jeremy

        Gala, you asked what my point here is. Your last post to me here is my point. I would say it is exactly my point. I hope you can see that, but if not, I hope others can.

        1. Marika

          I think differing views on house cleaning & domestic priorities is missing the point. I can empathise with the men on this one, I don’t want to spend all weekend cleaning & making the house look good. I’m happy to let it go in order to enjoy activities or whatever. I don’t ‘notice’ mess etc in the same way other women I’ve lived with do.

          The point is how we respond to & resolve differences. Men and women often have different ways of responding to conflict. Fine. But the point is, after the cave time / withdrawing / BJ or whatever, men would be well served to come back & communicate in the more ‘female’ / prosocial way. Rightly or wrongly, it’s a more effective relationship strategy than withdrawing and doing your own thing.

          I’ve devoured Dr Gottman’s work. It got me through some horrible times in my marriage. Don’t discount his important research because you don’t like the way this article is phrased. Also, remember, he’s a man!

      3. 2.1.3
        Yet Another Guy

        @KK

        If you know she takes pride in keeping a clean house, why not acquiesce out of respect?

        If I found such a woman, I would marry her.  I am very clean for a guy.  My place is usually cleaner than that of the women I date.  I guess that this orientation is due to time the that I spent in the Navy (we always had to be ready for inspection). The home that I owned when I met my ex was usually spotless.   She used to refer to my home as my museum when we were dating.  It was a problem that only hiring a cleaning service rectified after we were married.

        1. Mrs Happy

          Dear YAG,

          why was your home spotless pre-marriage, but requiring a cleaning service after marriage? That is, why did you fail to keep it spotless after marriage, given your navy training?

        2. Yet Another Guy

          @Mrs Happy

          We moved into a much larger home that was difficult to keep clean with only one person cleaning.  The smaller single family home that I owned by myself before marrying was not difficult to keep clean because I never made a mess.  My ex was not that type of person.  I grew tired of cleaning up after her, and she would not agree to a cleaning schedule that was anywhere near regular, so a cleaning service was the only answer other than divorce.  Looking back, I should have chosen divorce. 🙂

      4. 2.1.4
        SG

        Well KK,

        If the wife does and is better at  doing, the majority of the household chores better than her spouse in the first-place.  Then why don’t she just completely take care of that task, instead of complaining about how that specific task wasn’t done up to her standards.  And, problem is solved.  I never quite understood this when it comes to two people staying in the same household, not being able to see this and logically divide tasks accordingly & make it work out.  It’s like they just want to fight, complain, & make a big-deal out of nothing, just because it’s not the same exact way as they would have done it. What’s the problem, and what is the big deal?

        1. KK

          SG,

          As I stated earlier it’s about mutual respect. Let’s apply your logic towards the primary breadwinner of the family. Let’s say in my imiganiry scenario, it’s the husband. He likes being the primary breadwinner. He takes pride in his ability to take care of his family. Wonderful. But wifey starts going on rather expensive shopping sprees every week, eventually racking up massive debt, essentially undermining everything he is working towards. Would you tell hubby, “Your job is to support your family. If that’s your job, just do it”?

    2. 2.2
      Nissa

      My rule of thumb for this was that whoever cared more about the perceived problem, won. I think expecting our spouse to share 100% of our beliefs or values leads to disappointment. This means they will mostly want something other than we want. I don’t think it’s as clear cut as ‘right and wrong’. But if it is important enough to that person to have an argument over it, it’s probably worth giving them what they want too. For example, it was important to my ex that we spend holidays with his extended family, so we did that. Every. Freaking. Holiday. My husband wanted the kitchen and bathroom floors mopped weekly (there were only two of us in the house). Since he didn’t want to do it, I hired a maid service twice monthly and told him he could mop on the other two weeks (he suddenly decided twice a month was enough). I wanted my husband to plan things for us to do together, so once a year on our anniversary, he would plan and execute an evening for us.

      My other rule of thumb is that if you want it, you have to ask for it. No assuming the other person “knows” and is just being a jerk. No telling another family member and hoping it will get back to your spouse. Just “I want this” in three sentences or less.

      My husband literally could not hear more than three sentences before shutting down, so I trained myself to only argue in a three sentence structure: I want X. I want X because of Y. I want you to fix this by doing Z in time frame A.  After which I was required to SHUT UP (which sometimes required I leave the room) so that he could process the information because sometimes my presence pressured him too much to be able to process what I had said. I had to know what he could and could not process before I could make that work. After the allotted time frame, I allowed myself to remind him ONCE. If he “forgot” again, I accepted that as his passive aggressive way of disagreeing or telling me he wasn’t going to do it. At that point, I just did what I wanted. My reasoning for this was if it was a dealbreaker, I needed to go, because he wasn’t going to change. If it wasn’t, talking about it wasn’t going to change anything.

      As lovely as it sounds to have a husband willing to have conversations about things and to listen, that was not my experience in ANY of my relationships. I learned that before I could de-escalate my partner, I needed to de-escalate myself by genuinely accepting everything that wasn’t a dealbreaker. I learned to ask my husband what he was willing to do, and recognize that he saw everything other than that as my job. Accepting that made MY life easier, because I no longer suffered from chronic disappointment. I just got on with the job and appreciated what I did get.

      1. 2.2.1
        SG

        Hi Nissa,

        Let, me ask you this.  Did you notice that your husband did some of these things, or acted in this manner while you both was in the dating phase of the relationship.  Or did this all start to occur, & take place after you got married?

        1. Nssa

          What I would say is that those traits were always there, but the intensity of them was less in the beginning. He initially made more effort to talk, to interact, to ask for things. Over time it became less and less. To be blunt, I blame myself for accepting someone who offered me so little, but it’s a lesson I learned from that relationship, so I did get that value from the experience.

          Like many people, I had a critical parent, so having a spouse that did not communicate, or only communicated in a negative way, was familiar to me. It took a lot of personal work to get me past my own poor boundaries, my lack of respect for myself and learning the skills of honoring my own wants and needs. I actually stayed longer in this relationship because I started to see that my having that kind of relationship was no accident, it had a great deal to do with what I was doing, thinking and believing. So I used that relationship to teach myself, if I could manage it with a really difficult person, then I’d know I really could manage it under any circumstance. It enabled me to walk away from that relationship with pride, able to say to myself, “I did everything possible, and it still didn’t work, so I don’t need to regret anything or have shame about that not working. I honored myself and I honored him, and now I’m ready to walk away and find something that is more of what’s right for me”.

  3. 3
    D_M

    Evan,

    That 65% number seems really high. Do you know which studies Gottman and his colleagues used to arrive at that conclusion? I tried googling John Gottman and Howard Markman, but I ended up down a rabbit hole of information that will take weeks to digest. The running theme seems to be, “happy wife, happy life”. In another article, they highlighted that the willingness of the husbands to give in to their wives were prevalent in successful marriages. So that got me thinking, are only 35% of men really emotionally intelligent, or do we simply lack a better understanding of ourselves. Maybe it’s just semantics and knowing yourself is tangential to emotional intelligence.

    From my cursory review, I inferred that men should choose a significant other with the capacity to lead them, but this seems problematic form the male, female energy dichotomy. They also talked about the exchange theory of social behavior:

    “Exchange theory proposes that social behavior is the result of an exchange process. The purpose of this exchange is to maximize benefits and minimize costs. According to this theory, people weigh the potential benefits and risks of social relationships. When the risks outweigh the rewards, people will terminate or abandon that relationship.”

    When the Missus is mad at me, do I lack emotional intelligence or is she doing a terrible job of articulating the risk vs rewards?

    1. 3.1
      Jeremy

      The clearer question – when the missus is mad at me, do I lack emotional intelligence or does she – or do we both?  Yet if, in the face of conflict, I will withdraw while she will seek to engage, is her behavior more mature than mine?  If her seeking to engage drives me further away, would she not be more emotionally intelligent to find better ways I WOULD respond to, just as I would be more emotionally intelligent to find ones she would?  And if the answer is that obviously both are true, why do we only advocate for men to engage on women’s terms?

      1. 3.1.1
        :osa

        Let me jump in on all this withdrawing stuff.  If a man needs to withdraw in that moment or needs sometime to process things, I can see that.  But he still has to come back later and talk about it.  You are asking who is right, but it is not right or wrong, it is not a competition.  It is about what is better for the relationship.   So under your theory, the couple would never discuss the problem.   If a man withdraws every time a woman tries to discuss something with him, how do you think that relationship is going to work?  Do you think the woman is just going to forget what she needed to discuss?  Absolutely not.  That is why you get men whose wives leave them and they say they have no clue why. If a woman is trying to talk out relationship issues  and you refuse that is bad for the relationship. So your behavior is bad for the relationship.    Tell me how this issue would be resolved otherwise?  People need to talk to each other about issues.  Just because men are not comfortable doing it does not mean it’s wrong or right. I guess I just don’t understand how you would propose that couples resolve problems, if the man won’t discuss the situation and withdraws?  How do you envision a resolution?

  4. 4
    Lana

    Oh my god. It all makes total sense now.

    Thank you Evan, for this quote.

  5. 5
    Laurie

    The older I get, the more convinced I am of the importance of emotional intelligence.  I definitely don’t think women have the market cornered.  Everyone who is serious about it could benefit from ongoing therapy and self-examination to figure out if the habits they have developed are, in fact, healthy or productive for their lives.

  6. 6
    Marika

    Jeremy 

    While you have some interesting points, and the title of this blog is no doubt annoying for men, is it really such an issue that men are told to do something different or change or become more accommodating in a relationship once in a while?

    Thr majority of relationship articles, books etc are the opposite, or aren’t read by men. Here we have a captive, intelligent, quite opinionated male audience. It won’t hurt to consider how you (as a gender), can contribute to making relationships calmer & happier.

    YAG has said a few times that men don’t have a ‘tend & befriend’ response. This is fine in many contexts, but definitely a negative in romantic relationships. Forgetting the title and stats, the advice itself is good.

    1. 6.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      To me, this is another example of a generalization. Men bristle when men are criticized. Women bristle when women are criticized.

      Doesn’t mean the criticism is invalid. Doesn’t mean the criticism applies to all people.

      1. 6.1.1
        Callie

        Indeed Evan.

        I hope some of the male posters here who are now responding feeling attacked or like your article was inaccurate because it was geared towards men suddenly understand better why some of the women who post here post as they do feeling attacked or like the article was inaccurate. So often I see men say something like, “Evan is just trying to help women, why are they fighting back so hard??” Well now the tables have turned and maybe they’ll have a bit more empathy.

        That being said, I do hope the feeling that some female posters have here, that easy agreement with the article, that sigh that comes when male posters want to argue the facts presented, I hope that that feeling is remembered the next time the post is once again geared towards women. That maybe we ourselves are too quick to get defensive, too quick to dismiss, and that we need to stop and take pause just the way some of the men right now here need to as well.

        And mostly what you said: “Doesn’t mean the criticism is invalid. Doesn’t mean the criticism applies to all people.”

        1. Jeremy

          The criticism is valid. It applies to men, and the message is good. My criticism was for the implied notion that it applied any less to women.

        2. Callie

          Which, Jeremy, generally ends up being what a lot of women here say in response to Evan’s advice geared to women: “Why don’t you say the same thing to guys?” or “Women aren’t the only ones who need to self improve?”. Your own advice is always framed with “This is Evan’s blog and it’s advice for women, of course men also need to do work but that’s not what this is about right now.” At least, you know, that’s what you’ve said to me before. 🙂

          I just think this is a really interesting thing to observe, and a really great lesson that both the male and female regular posters here can learn from in a kind of switching places situation thing 🙂 .

        3. Jeremy

          That is fair, Callie.

    2. 6.2
      Jeremy

      To directly answer your question, Marika – No, it’s not really such an issue for men to be told to change once in a while.  I have no problem with self-improvement, as you know.  I think that both genders can learn to be better partners, and should put in the effort – and I agree that men, in general, put in less work than women in this regard.

       

      But an observation – for whatever it may be worth:  In my opinion, the first step to emotional intelligence is in the understanding of our own past mistakes.  The admission that “I screwed up, I was an asshole.”  I’ve read many descriptions of failed relationships/marriages from men and women on this site (and elsewhere).  And I’ve read women admitting that they chose poorly, expressed themselves poorly, did not set boundaries, etc.  But how often do we hear – “my marriage failed at least in part because I was an asshole”?  For each time we read that someone was in a marriage where her partner was emotionally abusive, how often does that person admit to also BEING emotionally abusive?

       

      I have no problem with criticism, as long as self-reflection accompanies it.

      1. 6.2.1
        Marika

        Jeremy said

        For each time we read that someone was in a marriage where her partner was emotionally abusive, how often does that person admit to also BEING emotionally abusive?”

        Hopefully you’re using the ‘royal her’ 😀. I don’t see men taking a lot of responsibility on this blog! On this blog, as in life, people find it easy to see other’s flaws and not so easy to see their own. Never more the case than in romantic relationships. You and I included. Evan, I have to say, appears to be the exception to this.

        Understandably, really, as we’re here for support, guidance and of course, a little bit of a whinge. Not to admit how terrible we all are.

        It’s hard in my marriage, as my ex’s behaviour was so extreme, even illegal. But definitely in dating, I take a lot of responsibility for being a crappy date prior to coming here for advice. Too intense, not fun enough, focusing too much on caring about my appearance (over being present & good company), asking too many questions, reading too much into things, not being patient enough etc etc.

        1. Jeremy

          It was the royal we, not directed at you. But although  the questions you mentioned at the end of your post are good, and they are the ones most women ask. Most men don’t ask any at all. My point is not that men are emotionally intelligent, its that women are generally no better. Because for all their asking the questions you mentioned, they don’t ask the most important two of all. Do I understand myself and do I understand my partner?

           

          KK commented above about how, when men don’t clean up after themselves, women view them as children – she’s right, that’s how most do see it. They don’t ask themselves the question whether that perspective is valid, they just assume it is, even when challenged on it. If you see your partner as a child, consider whether it is because they are acting irresponsibility or because you don’t agree with their priorities. If the latter, consider whether both might be acting like children.

  7. 7
    D_M

    Gala,

    The disengagement is so that I may gather my thoughts. I am trying to void being callous with the issue that we are discussing. You know, the whole think before we speak thing. Things that are said in the heat of the moment have a way of resurfacing. Some partners find it difficult to let things go. I am assuming that Jeremy is referring to re-engagement after he has gathered his thoughts, not total avoidance of the issue.

  8. 8
    Satin

    *sigh* what a downer that statistic is though lol

  9. 9
    Androgynous/Just Saying/xxxxxx

    Funny how women commentors here wish men would be more understanding and accomomdative to women’s feelings and desires and yet have no wish to be more understanding and accommodative to men’s feelings and desires ? Is that emotional intelligence in women ? Hell, no.

  10. 10
    Marika

    Jeremy

    I get that you don’t like this and it doesn’t fit with your experience. But do you think Dr Gottman’s research is flawed or biased?

    1. 10.1
      Jeremy

      I think his research shows exactly what it shows – that marriages where the man allows the woman to influence him more and de-escalates conflict are happier, because they make the wife happier.  So far so good.  But consider the example in the article – Steve and Lauren.  Lauren gets angry at Steve and Steve withdraws.  Lauren then seeks to engage and Steve withdraws further.  The article then comments that Steve is the one whose behavior requires modification, because if only he could make Lauren feel heard, she would be more likely to respond well to him.  THIS is my problem, Marika, because this thinking shows a remarkable lack of understanding of behavior (and yes, I know full well I am talking about a man whose understanding of behavior is better than most).

       

      Steve would, indeed be well-advised to overcome his fight-or-flight instincts and engage with Lauren rather than withdraw.  But what could Lauren do?  She could wait.  She could realize that in the heat of the moment, her seeking to engage with Steve is the worst thing she could do.  Because at that moment, he will not be receptive to her.  What the article misses is the fact that although Lauren might be willing to share power with Steve and honour his wishes, her behavior shows that she has no idea how to do that with a MAN.  Because while the emotional games she played as a child might have prepared her for relationships with women, the author is wrong that they prepared her better for a marriage.  She should understand that there are times and circumstances in which men respond better to engagement.  And he should understand that engagement is necessary.

       

      The article only expounds on the latter principle.  That is its bias, that is my problem with it.

      1. 10.1.1
        Alex

        @Jeremy

        I think the problem here is that a lot of men never say “hey I see you’re angry, but I need to disengage for a minute to figure this out” and then on top of that, they don’t re-engage. If you really need a minute to decompress that’s fine, but you need to communicate that you need it and you can’t use it as an excuse to ignore the problem entirely. Nissa’s story is a perfect example of what drives women crazy. She made insane levels of effort to work with a guy and was never communicated to about what he needed. She had to figure it out for herself.

         

        I know now you’re going to say “but people don’t know what they need.” I think most women can articulate that they need to talk in this situation. Men need to learn what they need and then express it in words. We always tell women “men aren’t mind readers” but women do what Nissa did (basically mind reading) and we give them no credit for it at all.

        1. Tyrone

          I dont think men or women should have to mind read. I have been by a number of women on a number of occasions that “if you don’t know what’s wrong, I’m not going to tell you.”  Women have also told me they wanted something that they really didn’t. Nothing like a 5 minute listening to a 5 minute rant about how shitty you are because you didn’t call or text a woman for 24 hours after she told you she didn’t want to talk to/see you for a while.

          I sometimes felt like women forced me to be emotionally insensitive to a certain degree. I remember one rime when i was with my ex i got a raise. It was nice because i was the only one working at that time and it had been tight. She got super excited and came up with all of this unnecessary stuff to pitentially spend the money on – bigger place, vacation, purebred dog, etc. All I said was no. She said, but I didn’t finish telling you what all was on the list. I told her we weren’t going to spend the extra money on a dog because when might need it to fix one of the cars or some other unforseen event that a little extra cash could help with. She was angry for a day then got over it.

        2. Emily, the original

          Alex,

          I think the problem here is that a lot of men never say “hey I see you’re angry, but I need to disengage for a minute to figure this out” and then on top of that, they don’t re-engage. If you really need a minute to decompress that’s fine, but you need to communicate that you need it and you can’t use it as an excuse to ignore the problem entirely. 

          And I think that does happen. The problem is never discussed again. You can’t have a relationship with someone who won’t talk about anything, where there are all of these elephants in the room that need to be discussed and one party is acting as if he (or she) isn’t seeing them because that person prioritizes his/her personal comfort over real engagement.

        3. Emily, the original

          Tyrone

          Nothing like a 5 minute listening to a 5 minute rant about how shitty you are because you didn’t call or text a woman for 24 hours after she told you she didn’t want to talk to/see you for a while.

          Screaming and yelling aren’t effective ways to communicate. I think Alex is referring to a calm discussion once the heat of the moment has passed to address issues that need to be discussed

        4. Jeremy

          I agree with you, Alex. Men who will not re-engage make very bad relationship partners. But if you find yourself in a relationship with a man who is generally  good but is having trouble reengaging about a particular topic, you as a woman,  can do things to help him. They would not be the things you would think to do for other women, though.

           

          It’s  funny, every man learns at a fairly young age that the strategies he uses to overcome stress will not work with women.  If his girlfriend comes home stressed and pissy at him and he offers her a shot of scotch and slips a hand down her pants,  she generally won’t react well. Because when she feels pissy she doesn’t want his hands down her pants because she doesn’t feel close to him at that time. She wants to engage, to feel closer, before that happens.  Most women don’t learn that when men are pissy and don’t feel close to their partners, they don’t want to talk with them. They need to feel closer cost, and talking won’t make them feel closer. We are kind of opposite in that way.

        5. Emily, the original

          Hi Jeremy,

          In reading some of the comments on this post, I sometimes wonder if this is all too much work. I don’t mean that sarcastically. If a man or a woman doesn’t want children and doesn’t need to be supported financially, is the effort to try to bridge the gender gap worth it given all the differences that exist?

        6. Alex

          @Tyrone

          Im not saying that yelling is a good strategy. Neither is saying you want one thing and expecting another thing.

          But you (in the situation your presented) calmly stated your case. Since you’re the one making money, and consequently would be responsible for unexpected expenses, your opinions won out. This is exactly what we have all been saying regarding any argument. You didn’t get frustrated, stomp away, not tell her why you didn’t want to buy a dog and then refuse to give her money to buy things for several weeks until she gave up. This is the behavior that is totally ineffective, although many men may feel most comfortable doing this.

        7. Alex

          @Jeremy

          Thats interesting. I’ve never dated a man who would respond to what you’ve described after a bad day at work. Perhaps I’ve been lucky!

        8. Jeremy

          Hi Emily.  I think so, yes.  It might sound like work, but it’s not that hard once you get the hang of it.  I know my wife pretty well by now, and when she’s pissy I know that she wants me to listen to her, validate her feelings, and probably give her a back rub.  Those are not the things that would work for me, but I know what works for her.  How hard is it for me to do them?  Not very.  How hard was it for me to learn WHAT to do?  Harder…..that was what required emotional intelligence.  The learning that what works for me is not what works for her.  The result is an excellent relationship, which is very worth the effort.

        9. Jeremy

          @Alex, are you sure?  🙂

           

          Regardless, emotional intelligence is about learning what works for our partner, whatever that may be, and not relying on what works for us to be universal – even if we think it should be.

        10. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          I know that she wants me to listen to her, validate her feelings, and probably give her a back rub.  

          That reminds me of a former co-worker, whose girlfriend was a nurse and worked with mostly women. When she’d call to complain about her colleagues, he said his only job was to interject “What a bitch!”  every so often.

          Idk about the other stuff, though. Sometimes I think it just may be easier (and, frankly, more fun and potentially less painful) to spend most of my time with a female posse, or “cruising chicks,” as I call them, with an occasional sex partner thrown in the mix.

        11. Alex

          @Jeremy

          Quite;) I used to assume all men were the same.

          I agree with your definition of emotional intelligence, I just don’t know if it changes the claims made in the article.

        12. Jeremy

          Alex, I don’t think it changes the claims made in the article.  Frankly, I’m surprised they found 35% of men to be emotionally intelligent by this definition.  I’d think it was lower.  My quarrel was only with 2 parts of the article – 1) the assumption that most women are emotionally intelligent by this definition (I think the number is likely higher than for men, but lower than 50%), and 2) The notion that women, in general, take the opinions of men into account in their heated arguments without the tacit understanding that often times women don’t believe men’s perspective to be valid at all when arguing.  None of that absolves men from their responsibility to improve themselves, however.

        13. ljsrmissy

          Spot on Alex.

        14. ljsrmissy

          “And I think that does happen. The problem is never discussed again. You can’t have a relationship with someone who won’t talk about anything,”

          Emily, and therein lies the problem. The above is happening too often.

        15. ljsrmissy

           My quarrel was only with 2 parts of the article – 1) the assumption that most women are emotionally intelligent by this definition (I think the number is likely higher than for men, but lower than 50%), and 2) The notion that women, in general, take the opinions of men into account in their heated arguments without the tacit understanding that often times women don’t believe men’s perspective to be valid at all when arguing….

          This is the thing though… who is assuming that most women are emotionally intelligent in the article?  He said he found 35% of men to be emotionally intelligent….that statement infers things about men, not women.  #2. What are some examples of women not believing men’s perspectives to be valid at all when arguing?

        16. Emily, the original

          ljsrmissy,
          “And I think that does happen. The problem is never discussed again. You can’t have a relationship with someone who won’t talk about anything,” Emily, and therein lies the problem. The above is happening too often.

          My dad has done that all my life. A problem can be so bad and so obvious that the pink elephant isn’t just in the room but is shitting on the carpet, and he will greet any serious conversation with stony silence, ignorance that the problem exists or belligerence in that he get so loud, all you can do is walk away.

        17. ljsrmissy

          @ Emily,

          My dad has done that all my life. A problem can be so bad and so obvious that the pink elephant isn’t just in the room but is shitting on the carpet…”

          Girl I am dead on arrival after reading your pink elephant comment!! LOL!

        18. Emily, the original

          ljsrmissy

          Girl I am dead on arrival after reading your pink elephant comment!! LOL!

          🙂

      2. 10.1.2
        ljsrmissy

        I have been by a number of women on a number of occasions that “if you don’t know what’s wrong, I’m not going to tell you.”  Women have also told me they wanted something that they really didn’t. Nothing like a 5 minute listening to a 5 minute rant about how shitty you are because you didn’t call or ….

        Tyrone, this is an are where women can communicate better certainly and in general.

  11. 11
    John

    In general, the mainstream society in the West teaches that a woman’s brand of conflict resolution is better. Men should then learn to resolve conflict like women. We go to our caves to figure out our problems. That is what makes us masculine men. This is our natural response.

    1. 11.1
      Babbling Bee

      Very often the men choose not to come out of the cave. And society doesn’t sanction them for doing so. It’s all good. Just read up Nissa’s comment further up. It gave me chills in the back. I actually recognized some aspect of my own father, and him and my mother hate  one another but still remain married.

      I couldn’t imagine living like this, with constant disappointment and passive aggressiveness.

      This is why even as a woman who is highly emotionally intelligent, I follow Evan’s advice of the CEO-Interns dynamic. You manage them like colleagues on a project.

    2. 11.2
      ljsrmissy

      John the cave thing is fine if you are by single and trying to solve your own personal problems. But going into a cave by yourself to resolve a conflict that involves TWO people, TWO perspectives, TWO minds, hearts, voices and souls is not the right way.  A man cant get away with that at work or when playing a sport. Going away to cool off is one thing but going into ones cave to deal with something that involes a whole entire other human being is not the right way by definition.

      1. 11.2.1
        John

        ljrmissy

        It is perfectly legitimate for a man to go to his cave to work on his problem. I do not have to sit there with my woman and talk it out right when the problem arises. That is how a woman deals with it. Men, in general do not deal with it that way. I can come out of the cave when I have figured things out and discuss it then. The cave is not a place to stay forever. We also pee standing up. Of course it would be more convenient if we peed sitting down, but that is not what we do.

        Your comment said that the way men deal with problems by retreating to the cave for awhile is wrong. You proved my point that you and many others believe that men should deal with their problems like a women.

        You have to deal with men as they are or you can make them into women and hate them for acting like women.

        1. ljsrmissy

          “It is perfectly legitimate for a man to go to his cave to work on his problem.”

          Isn’t that what I said here:

          “John the cave thing is fine if you are by single and trying to solve your own personal problems.”

          ” I do not have to sit there with my woman and talk it out right when the problem arises. That is how a woman deals with it. ”        

           Who said a man had to? Overall I see women saying that the issue’s are not getting addressed at all enough of the time and therein lies the problem. 

          I also said nothing of ‘retreating to a cave for a while” you said that. Don’t put words in my mouth…. But I did say the following:

           But going into a cave by yourself to resolve a conflict that involves TWO people, TWO perspectives, TWO minds, hearts, voices and souls is not the right way.  A man cant get away with that at work or when playing a sport. Going away to cool off is one thing but going into ones cave to deal with something that involves a whole entire other human being is not the right way by definition.

           What you said in your reply to me is cool, If a man need to cool off for a minute instead of saying something he will regret, on a personal level, that’s cool. But that isn’t happening in practice. Hence one of the reasons why  most American marriages end in divorce and it is mostly women that are ending them. And it is in part because of what I stated above.

        2. ljsrmissy

          “You have to deal with men as they are or you can make them into women and hate them for acting like women.”

          Actually nobody has do deal with nobody as they are. I personally don’t care what or how a man is on his own. I am speaking in context of relationships in general and relationships with women in particular because.. you know.. we are on a relationship blog and discussing and article about men’s emotional intelligence in RELATIONSHIPS. Context is everything. And in RELATIONSHIPS (that means involving somebody other and outside of just the man (and women), both the men and the women have to consider the sensibilities  and mechanics of each other and that includes communicating and interacting with each other in a way in which does not come “naturally” as a woman and as a man.  That is the case in any type of ‘ship’.

    3. 11.3
      ljsrmissy

      In general, the mainstream society in the West teaches that a woman’s brand of conflict resolution is better.

      I will also agree with this sentiment because men are more likely to fight, kill, and injure as well.

      1. 11.3.1
        John

        ljsrmissy

        You said you that you didn’t say it was wrong for a man to retreat to his cave. Here are your words:

        “But going into a cave by yourself to resolve a conflict that involves TWO people, TWO perspectives, TWO minds, hearts, voices and souls is not the right way.”

        I get the fact men and women must grow and be uncomfortable at times to make a relationship succeed.

        What I do not agree with is that I must have a conversation about a problem “right now.” It’s better if I’m quiet for awhile, because my first response may be to get defensive. I’m am acutely aware of my weaknesses.

        I respect a woman’s need to talk, I just need time to collect myself sometimes. I think many marriages would work better if men and women respected each other’s communication styles instead of forcing each other to become something they are not.

        If a woman I am dating asks me to wait for sex, I respect that. I don’t whine and tell her that she should see it my way and change her opinion just because I want sex now. I expect the same respect for my cave time.

         

         

         

  12. 12
    Helene

    I have no issue with there being different styles of conflict resolution as long as they work. Refusing to engage, going off “into a cave” coming out eventually and never mentioning the issue again does not work. The conflict remains unresolved. My current husband is really bad for this. I had never come across this in any previous partner and I find it so overwhelmingly negative – a screaming match is infinately preferable.I have not yet found a way to get round it and to be honest, i can hardly be bothered to make that effort. You want to live a life of unresolved conflict? OK, lets do that then. At my age I refuse to take on the entire burden of maintaining the emotional health of the relationship and figuring out how to make that happen with someone whose “solution” is to refuse to talk and walk away.

    Sensible discussion around an issue until an agreement is reached does not seem to be in some men’s vocabulary – really, it is tiring and childish.

    I had a boyfriend once who was excellent at de-escalating a conflict – step one, put your arm round the woman and say something soothing – this is so easy, men should be taught it at nursery.

    1. 12.1
      D_M

      Helene,

      Have you tried engaging him when there isn’t a current conflict? If we are going with the numbers in this thread, then you have to wear the big boy pants. If 65% of us is ill-equipped to deal with emotional conflict, so the burden falls on the wives. Have you expressed to him how his lack of engagement makes you feel? Not during or in close proximity to a dust up, his guard will still be up. Maybe you go for a ice cream walk one night and you discuss how much you feel hurt by is lack of engagement. Try to avoid an accusatory tone if you can. I don’t know your hubby, but in some men’s mind, “the little lady got her yelling and screaming out, so now things are good once again”.

      So, he might not be living with unresolved conflict. Things are as right as rain. She was upset, I laid low until the storm blew over, things are good in the neighborhood. He might have no conceptual understanding of the lingering feelings caused by his inaction. Let him know that you won’t think less of him for expressing his vulnerabilities. Tell him how much stronger the bond between you and him becomes because of the willingness to engage in emotional conversation. He is probably viewing engagement as conflict avoidance and not the means to build a stronger relationship. One thing we do know, tit for tat, never works. It just ratchets up the tension.

      1. 12.1.1
        Callie

        Seriously?? That’s what you get out of this post? “If 65% of us is ill-equipped to deal with emotional conflict, so the burden falls on the wives.”?? Especially when the entire posts ends with “We can go on and on about how women need to be more patient, sensitive, understanding, easygoing, and supportive of their partners. It’s true. But if anybody needs to take this advice to heart TWICE as much, it’s men.”??

        My god, some of you men here are just so stubborn aren’t you?  This post was literally all about what MEN could do to improve themselves and their relationships with women by understanding the stats and therefore what they need to work on, but no, instead the stats are being used as an excuse for not even trying. For placing the entire onus on the shoulders of women because men are incapable of changing and growing evidently. Wow. I feel extra lucky now that I’m with a man who is part of the 35% and constantly works to improve our communication abilities (just as, I should add, I do).

        (that’s not to say your advice isn’t actually decent, but the notion that the burden is placed all on the woman’s shoulders while you do nothing . . . I’m stunned that that is the conclusion you drew here. Truly.)

        1. D_M

          Callie,

          I am sorry that my communication skills were not effective enough. Hopefully someone else will interpret my comments to mean: Help me, to help us. Callie darling, if I don’t have the skills to navigate the turbulent waters, how will I obtain them? If some woman doesn’t take the time to show me where I am deficient, I may never know. I might be walking around believing that she was the problem, when it’s me. We have talked about how much men rely on their significant others, rather than having an outside network. If men don’t discuss emotional intelligence with other men, then we are stuck if you are unwilling to embrace, “a woman’s work is never done”.

          We have continually discussed that some men don’t actively seek out self help books, so relationship introspection is lacking. Other than current moms raising their young sons to be more emotionally intelligent, I’m struggling to see how we expand the pool. If someone with the tools, isn’t willing to help me, where does that leave us? I suppose we are left with where we are now. One side says, “there are no good men”, the side shouts back, “there are no good women”.

        2. Callie

          Dearest D_M – well maybe start by reading the linked to articles Evan provided. Possibly doing your own research on the subject. Google terms used in this article. Do as Jeremy did, your own personal work – there’s so much information these days available at our fingertips, it’s truly wonderful. Part of solving a problem is knowing it exists in the first place. And then once we know a problem exists, investigating on our own how to resolve it.

          Many people lack skills in many things. They don’t just automatically sit back and assume others must teach them to them or else never grow.

          And I think you’re being a little disingenuous here. You said nothing about learning new skills. You basically gave a set of instructions to women on how they could be kinder to men who lack said skills. You offered no thoughts of your own on what men might do, not even a kindly worded, “So, I’ve noticed that I’m not as emotionally intelligent as I’d like to be, can we talk a bit about it together and see if I kind find ways to improve with your help?”  The fact that you conclude with no one to teach you you will therefore just be stuck shows me a lack of true motivation and honestly a lack of belief that you REALLY think this is a problem worth resolving within yourself. Quite frankly based on the other posts here more interested in dissecting numbers than your own behaviour . . . I don’t think I’m wrong. But I could be. It’s, gasp, happened before 😉 .

        3. ljsrmissy

          And I think you’re being a little disingenuous here. You said nothing about learning new skills. You basically gave a set of instructions to women on how they could be kinder to men who lack said skills. You offered no thoughts…

          Callie you took the words right out of my mouth.  Its the equivalent to men screwing up the laundry so the woman will do the laundry instead.

  13. 13
    Tron Swanson

    Wow, thanks for posting this, Evan. It really helps. I’ve been saying for the last two decades that women view the vast majority of men as being unworthy of them, and I was always shouted down for it…but now, in your own words, 65% of men are incapable of being good relationship partners.

    I have two groupings of three questions for you, Evan:

    1. Do you think that women’s standards are too high, in this area? If 100% of women are fighting for 35% of the men, I mean, is that really a strategy that has a realistic chance of success? What happens to the women who aren’t capable of landing these high-value men–do they just lose out and get stuck with inferior men?

    2. How do you think us 65%ers will react to this overt act of rejection? Not one-on-one rejection, but “You might as well give up forever, women don’t want you, you’re dysfunctional”-style rejection? Will we settle for being alone, or will we not go gentle into that good night? I have to believe that antagonizing such a large group of people would be very dangerous.

    Oh, one last question, Columbo style: if we’re “incapable” of being emotionally whatever-it-was, why should we bother trying to improve in the first place?

    1. 13.1
      Evan Marc Katz

      Great questions, thank you. I’m pleased to respond:

      1. Do you think that women’s standards are too high, in this area? If 100% of women are fighting for 35% of the men, I mean, is that really a strategy that has a realistic chance of success? What happens to the women who aren’t capable of landing these high-value men–do they just lose out and get stuck with inferior men?

      There’s a complex and nuanced answer to this question. I may not be able to do it justice, but I’ll try.

      a. Yes, women’s standards are too high – specifically around height, age, education, income. On the other hand, women’s standards are too LOW when it comes to kindness, consistency, communication, commitment; namely, the stuff that MATTERS. That’s pretty much the underlying theme of everything I write.

      b. Assuming that what I just wrote is true, it stands to reason that women would be better off compromising to date a good listener who is 5’7″ than to be with a selfish prick who is 6’1″. At the same time, no matter how much I push for this, it’s never totally going to come true. Thus…

      c. I don’t see it as 100% of women fighting for 35% of men. I think that perhaps 35% of women will ever be enlightened enough to start to value the 35% of men.

      d. Which is to say that I firmly believe that any woman who reads my stuff has the capacity for a happy marriage, while the other 65% may be doomed.

      e. BTW, it is said that only 1/3 of marriages are happy, so what I just wrote may be somewhat accurate.

      f. I can’t worry about the 65%, no more than a doctor can save every single person on the operating table. If women want to become more “effective” at understanding men, I offer plenty of free and paid material to do so. Men, on the other hand, only made up 20% of my readership when I was NOT a coach for women. The sad truth is that even if there are plenty of selfish, masculine, insecure women out there (the kind you complain about), men, on the whole, are even “worse.” Go to the MGTOW community if you want to see the embodiment of men who have stopped listening or trying to improve their partnership skills.

      g. This is essentially a political conversation. I’m a liberal, but temperamentally moderate. I can see and acknowledge both sides. Same when it comes to the battle of the sexes. It’s not that MGTOWs don’t have a point or that far-left feminists don’t have a point; it’s that they fail to acknowledge the validity of the other side. They choose to attack, blame and shut down instead of finding the middle ground. This is what the internet has allowed people to do – to self-segregate in their echo chambers.

      h. That’s why I keep this comments section open to anyone who doesn’t insult me or (for the most part) the other commenters. Angry, one-note, blaming types are not wanted here. People who can engage, listen, and maybe even learn are my favorite commenters.

      i. If I felt personally indicted that I wasn’t in the 35% of men considered emotionally intelligent, I would strive to do something about it to get into that 35%. Many other people would try to shoot down the study, attack the author, blame the other side (women) for something else. There are all things we see from our Commander in Chief, by the way.

      j. I do this work because I’m an optimizer, a lifelong learner, endlessly curious about how I can be a better husband, father, coach, and human being. My main flaw is primarily my liberal arrogance that comes from being an “expert.” arguing with thousands of non-experts, each of whose opinion, I’m told, is equally valid to mine. 🙂 It’s tiring defending myself, the way I’d imagine it’s tiring for Obama to defend the fact that he’s not a Kenyan Muslim. But like Obama, I’m going to continue to engage, listen, and stand up for a moderate position that let’s both women and men know that the answer to better relationships is twofold: a) choosing better partners (in the 35%) and b) being a better partner.

      Railing at what’s wrong with the opposite sex is like yelling at cancer. It may make you feel better, but it won’t heal a thing.

      1. 13.1.1
        Tron Swanson

        Thanks for your detailed response, Evan.

        For the record, I don’t think that I’ve ever complained about “masculine” women. I know that most MGTOWs complain about that, but I don’t. I personally reject gender roles–I’m hardly a traditionally-masculine guy, myself. In fact, I hate being around guys like that, but that’s another topic. I’ve seen rigid gender roles destroy many good men and women. So, I’ve complained about selfish and insecure women, yes, but not masculine ones.

        With all due respect, I think that “35% for 35%” is a bit of a cop-out. At some point, we have to address the fact that monogamy is a zero-sum game. There are going to be people who lose out in even the most egalitarian system. And we aren’t talking about a small percentage, either. Getting those same people to continue supporting that system, as opposed to rebelling against it and trying to burn it all down…yeah, that’s gonna be a challenge.

        You said that, on the whole, men are worse than women. I don’t think that either gender is worse, personally. But, since I’m heterosexual, women’s hang-ups affect me in a disproportionate way, so they’re the gender I tend to focus on. And, I don’t know whether I’ve stopped listening, but if I want to look at someone who’s given up on their partnership skills, all I need to do is look in a mirror. I like what I see.

        Finally, in my experience, your “yelling at cancer” analogy doesn’t really fit. Railing at what’s wrong with the opposite gender actually has helped me to heal. Before, I held it all in and tried to be a Nice Guy, and it made me absolutely miserable. Getting this stuff out of my system has enabled me to lead a much happier life.

    2. 13.2
      D_M

      Tron,

      I am still trying to wrap my mind around that number. Of the 35%, some men are gay, already married, culturally inappropriate, past LTR age, not of LTR age, etc…….That’s why I’m so interested in how the boundaries of the various studies were determined. When you add in all those additional factors, the number has to be much lower than 35% that’s available for an LTR, which isn’t a rosy outlook. Is it like the ring thing, where it is, what it is?

  14. 14
    Marika

    Jeremy

    Regardless, emotional intelligence is about learning what works for our partner, whatever that may be, and not relying on what works for us to be universal”

    The guy I’m currently seeing has again withdrawn because he’s stressed. It’s emotionally intelligent of me to recognize that this is his way of dealing with stress and not push him to engage. Okay. But is it making our relationship better? Do we feel closer to each other? The answer to both of those questions for me, is no. Maybe he’s feeling really close to me and it’s making the relationship better for him to withdraw, but if this keeps up, there won’t be a relationship for much longer.

    In your example, if we lived together, I could give him a BJ then leave him alone. But if he doesn’t re-engage at some point and accept my influence (as per the article), then that’s not a relationship. Forget emotional intelligence, this is Gottman’s point. For all women’s flaws, we are taught from a young age to move towards each other in a way many boys aren’t. That is a more prosocial behaviour than withdrawing, regardless of primal needs.

    Also read what Helene wrote. That was my marriage too. It’s a pretty lonely existence. It’s hard to argue that a man withdrawing without any follow up or later engagement & coming together is a good relationship strategy.

    1. 14.1
      Jeremy

      I agree with you Marika.  100%.

    2. 14.2
      Mrs Happy

      Marika,

      he has withdrawn again? You’re dating; this is as close as he gets, he is on his best behaviour now. His isolative behaviour will worsen over the long haul.

      My close friend is in just such a marriage. Husband not emotionally present for her when they are either of them under stress.   He shuts down after a heavy day at work, when the kids are unwell, when money is tight, when… anything other than easy,occurs.  She’ll leave when the kids are old enough to not be too traumatised by divorce.

      If I were you I’d leave now, before marrying.

      1. 14.2.1
        SS

         

         

        Marika, you seem like a good gal, listen to Ms. Happy

    3. 14.3
      Emily, the original

      Hi Marika,

      The guy I’m currently seeing has again withdrawn because he’s stressed.

      When you say withdrawn, what do you mean? Do you call him up one day and he doesn’t pick up the phone and then maybe texts you and says he had a bad day and will contact you tomorrow? That sounds reasonable to me in terms of giving someone some space.

      I mean, does this go on for a couple of days where he lets you know he needs some downtime or does he go radio silent and disappear for days or weeks at at time, only to return as if nothing happened? I could understand that the latter scenario would be hard to deal with.

      1. 14.3.1
        Marika

        Thank you, Emily and Mrs Happy 🙂

        There are three things at play here. Firstly, I’m not good with knowing what is/isn’t okay in a relationship, so I value your input.

        Secondly, though, he hasn’t specifically done anything wrong like cancel plans at the last minute or not turn up to something or whatever. He responds to my messages and calls – often prompted by me as he’s not that into calling – but his messages are short, delayed and I feel at times I’m almost chasing him. He never goes more than a day without a message, though, so maybe I’m being needy.

        Thirdly, in the last month they’ve reduced his hours at work (stressful, our city’s uber expensive), he moved house and his car was totalled. His reactions to these things  (IMHO) have been extreme, but I get these things are stressful.

        To quote George Constanza, I think my main problem really is that I don’t have enough hand!! 😉

        1. Emily, the original

          Marika,

          but his messages are short, delayed and I feel at times I’m almost chasing him. He never goes more than a day without a message, though, so maybe I’m being needy.

          Oh, ok. That’s not so bad then. I would maybe just give him a bit of space if you feel you are chasing him. (I mean for a day or two.) And I can attest to financial worries being very stressful. It sounds like he has a lot going on.

    4. 14.4
      Yet Another Guy

      @Marika

      Do we feel closer to each other?

      Herein lies a huge difference between men and women.   The closeness that a woman feels after having a discussion with an empathetic listener is due to the “tend and befriend” hormonal response.  Women get a hit of the hormone oxytocin when they engage in this behavior.  The male hormonal response is completely different.  A man sees a spike in cortisol and a drop in testosterone, which is the male “flight” hormonal response.  I can usually tell when a man is with a woman who is difficult when it comes to this issue by the amount of weight that he gains while with her and how rapidly he loses it when it comes to his senses and leaves.  Elevated cortisol and reduced testosterone lead to rapid weight gain and a host of other health problems.

      Men need to time to decompress in order to allow their hormone levels return to normal.  Pushing a man to communicate when this behavior occurs is not a wise move on a woman’s part.  It has nothing to do with emotional intelligence.  It has everything to do with a huge difference in stress response.

      1. 14.4.1
        Yet Another Guy

        *when he comes to his senses

        *Men need time to decompress in order to allow their hormone levels to return to normal.

  15. 15
    D_M

    Callie,

    I am assuming that not having emotional intelligence means that I am unaware of my problem and don’t know how to fix it. I am theorizing, that if I had the skill set, I would not be part of the 65%. I believe that your prescription works for men that are aware of their problem. In my mind, a 65%er, doesn’t have the introspection to utter, “So, I’ve noticed that I’m not as emotionally intelligent as I’d like to be, can we talk a bit about it together and see if I kind find ways to improve with your help?”. If we are starting with this premise, how do we help the ladies that aren’t blessed in the 35% lottery? Should they just give up? Should we not discuss ways to try and reach the other 65%? Should I not be inquisitive about the study?

    I am taking the view of a 65%er who is ignorant to his condition, along with all the other shortcomings that we have discussed about men. Saying what the other 65% should do, doesn’t help them because they are unaware. When they become aware, they move to the 35% group. Some of the 65%ers get married, so I assume that they must have other good qualities. As women, you’ll have a unique ability to emotionally connect with men. Some of you don’t know you have it, but it’s there. You can’t save all of us, but try not to shoot the messengers that are suggesting alternative ways to infiltrate the hard exterior

    1. 15.1
      Emily, the original

      D_M,

      Some of the 65%ers get married, so I assume that they must have other good qualities.

      Well, if a woman is not able to get one of the 35% percent and she wants to get married, what other option does she have? Either take on the responsibility of working with the husband to get more emotionally intelligent (assuming she is herself and wants him to be) or move emotional intelligence a lot lower on her list of what’s important. I’l agree with Callie, though. We all have “stuff,” what I call personal bullshit, that we bring to relationships. It’s not a woman’s job to fix hers and the husband’s. This is similar to a previous post where some posters felt it was the job of the woman to provide the man a social life.

    2. 15.2
      Callie

      So you claim ignorance of the condition even when diagnosed with it? Also I’m not shooting the messenger either, merely suggesting you take some responsibility for yourself and instead of engaging in rhetorical debates online, actually, you know, do some work on yourself. The way you are looking at it is only 35% of men CAN do this thing, whereas it’s pretty clear from the articles linked to that the study has more to do with 35% of men DOING the thing. Aptitude is not part of the equation in these percentage points no matter how much you want it to be so you can foist all the effort and work onto someone else.

      You seem to be aware you are NOT of the 35%. So surely that must mean you know where you are lacking. Start there. Click on some links. Be active in your own life. Responsible for yourself. Stop playing around with rhetoric and, you know, actually DO something.

      1. 15.2.1
        ljsrmissy

        Callie, Every. single. thing. you. just said. here!

      2. 15.2.2
        D_M

        Callie,

        My use of the pronoun I, was an attempt to foster an empathetic transactional conversation about the 65%ers in the study.  Whether I am personally in either category, was not the perspective from which I was writing. I think my jumbled writing style and my fondness for brevity, tend to send mix signals. I agree with you, everyone should work on themselves. Taking that sole position on a blog doesn’t foster a lot of interaction.

        How can you study human behavior and interaction in the absence of aptitude? Whether inherent or acquired, becoming a better version of yourself cannot exist without aptitude. Let’s not go off in the weeds. I was just trying to see the various perspectives on a 65%er. My grouping of phrases fell short in articulating this view. The interaction nonetheless, still highlighted where some posters stand on this particular topic.

         

        1. Callie

          I think one can do many things without platitudes and in fact think it’s important to examine nuance and complexity and eschew quick turns of phrases and rhetorical devices when analysing such things. You’ve just admitted your communication skill was wanting and caused great confusion by writing how you did, thus creating a conversation that should never have been since the issues were actually never one.

          I’m glad you got something out of the interaction however. I, however, got called harsh and full of contempt, was condescended to, and in general spent a fair bit of time trying to explain something which you are claiming only in post 3 to me you already knew. Basically I wasted my time due to your poor communication skills. So yes you got something out of this, but in doing so others wasted their time and did not.

          Maybe you might not be part of the 65%, but your lack of taking time to properly communicate your actual meaning caused others here time and effort that wasn’t evidently required. That might be something you may wish to investigate within yourself further. Is this something you do within relationships to? Speak in platitudes and use rhetorical devices instead of just saying what you personally feel and mean and thus making conversations/debates (possibly arguments) last longer than they need to? It seems to me your desire for brevity results in anything but.

          Anyway, appreciate your response, I’ll go now. I’ve spent far too much time responding to you about all this already.

    3. 15.3
      GoWiththeFlow

      D_M, Callie, and Emily,

      First off Callie and Emily, your words are harsh and full of contempt.  Someone asked your for help and your responses read “Ef you! figure your own sh*t out!” Someone speaks Russian and knows they don’t understand Mandarin but wants to know how to learn.  You speak both and tell the Russian speaker not only will you not offer some guidance on learning and understanding Mandarin, but they are selfish dolts who shouldn’t be asking you about it in the first place, because they should “just know” how to learn Mandarin.

      D_M, you are right that a lot of the men in the 65% group who are not emotionally intelligent are good men who do wind up getting married.  There are a lot of women who are the daughters of such fathers.  So when these women date and eventually marry, a man who behaves like dad did is familiar.  Even if they don’t like the pulling away behavior, they are familiar with it and may not know constructive ways to help guide their husbands because they watched their mothers, aunts, and grandmothers deal with it their whole lives.  Maybe it get filed under “one of those things men do” or they may turn to women relatives and friends for the emotional support they don’t get from their husbands in such instances.

      My parents rarely fought.  They matched up well in regards to the way they wanted to live so there were few areas of disagreement.  So the times my dad went man-cave were were few and far between.  I imagine that if a couple has a lot of disagreements and trips to the man cave are frequent, that would affect the relationship much more than if it only happens once in a blue moon.

      Another factor is that people might not like how something felt, but they can have a very hard time really knowing specifically what is wrong and what they specifically want instead. As Jeremy has said repeatedly, people don’t know who they really are, what they really want, and how that will affect their relationships.

      As far as for what it’s like as a woman to be in a relationship with a man with a low level of EI, it can be frustrating and exhausting.  Nissa, Marika, and Helene  posted some good examples of this in comments above.  As Marika illustrated when a woman is with a man long enough to see this “fight or flight” behavior enough times, the real question is can I accept this or not.

      1. 15.3.1
        Emily, the original

        GoWiththeFlow,

        Someone speaks Russian and knows they don’t understand Mandarin but wants to know how to learn.  You speak both and tell the Russian speaker not only will you not offer some guidance on learning and understanding Mandarin, 

        A completely bizarre analogy. How about … you work on your stuff and I’ll work on mine, and then we’ll get together as two relatively healthy people … It’s not someone’s job to fix anyone.

        1. ljsrmissy

          Emily, I read that and I was like huh? In the 2017 2018 there is no excuse for men not to do their homework. For those who lack EI. If this was a post about women harnessing our emotions, I would say the same to us women.  Imho they dont want to. Its that simple. They have no problem doing what they need to for a job, a hobby, or a sport…Its the same thing for a relationship. Im just not going for the “Im just a poor unsophisticated simple man” thing. I think its game because we as adults figure out how to obtain and be successful in what we want to obtain and be successful in.  Its going on 2018 and there is no real reason.

        2. Sylvana

          Emily,

          you fail to take into account that each woman is different also. Just because you like to resolve things in a certain way doesn’t mean the next woman does. So no matter how many books or online articles a man reads doesn’t mean he’ll actually find the perfect way to communicate/resolve issues with his particular partner.

          I found the teaching analogy dead on.

          By your idea, why tell a man what you like in bed? He should just read some self-help book and figure it all out himself.

          Why tell him what kind of little gestures mean a lot to you? He should just go online and figure it out himself.

          True, the study showed that men are obviously at a disadvantage when it comes to this. But, unless a man saw this study or reads this blog, how would he even be aware of it? You cannot fix something (or yourself) if you’re not aware it is broken.

          You’re operating under the assumption that every man should just know that he might be lacking emotional intelligence.

          I, personally don’t think a woman should instantly count out men in the 65%. Out of those, who knows, maybe another 20/30/40% would actually be willing to improve. You might just end up finding a diamond in the rough.

           

           

        3. Emily, the original

          Sylvana,

          you fail to take into account that each woman is different also. Just because you like to resolve things in a certain way doesn’t mean the next woman does

          Very true.

          You’re operating under the assumption that every man should just know that he might be lacking emotional intelligence.

          No, I’m operating under the assumption that people learn and grow and mature as they go through life. And that, at some point, they develop a certain level of self-awareness.
          By your idea, why tell a man what you like in bed? He should just read some self-help book and figure it all out himself.
          Why tell him what kind of little gestures mean a lot to you? He should just go online and figure it out himself.
          Telling someone what you like in bed or that you appreciate a chocolate cake is totally different than being expected to teach someone emotional intelligence.

      2. 15.3.2
        ljsrmissy

        Go with the flow,

        Can you point out what Emily and Callie said that was harsh and full of contempt?  What they actually said, not what you interpreted in your mind?

        1. Callie

          Indeed, I’m rather curious about that myself.

        2. Sylvana

          It sounded absolutely harsh to me, too.

          Like: Men should just know they’re lacking in emotional intelligence (even if no one tells them – after all, not all saw the study, and to them, their behavior is normal).

          And it’s not our job to teach them, even if they ask for help from the (according to this study) expert.

          And neither took into account that each woman deals with conflict/stress/issues that arise the same. So even if a man is aware, has tried to improve himself, doesn’t mean the way he learned to accommodate a woman is the correct way for his partner.

      3. 15.3.3
        Callie

        Yeah no, that’s not what I said in the least. Never once said go fuck yourself. I asked that a man take some responsibility for his own behaviour and be proactive, not expect his partner to do all the work for him while he puts in no effort. To remind you, this is what D_M said: “If 65% of us is ill-equipped to deal with emotional conflict, so the burden falls on the wives.” He literally said since he can’t do it someone else has to.

        And what the heck is with your analogy?? Why on earth am I obligated to teach someone how to speak a language just because I speak it?? I’m not a teacher of that language, am I being paid for my time and effort? Why on earth would I just offer to teach someone something taking up my free time and a lot of work on my part? If someone wants to learn how to speak another language and I speak it and they ask for my help, I could maybe point them in the direction of language schools and would possibly sometimes agree to practice speaking that language with them. But no I’m not just going to teach someone a language because I know something they do not. And anyone assuming I ought to is highly entitled quite frankly.

        (also I never once said they should “just know”. I literally offered advice to read the articles linked to here, to google terms used in this post. I never ever said that the 65% of people should just know. Talk about reading into something. . . wow)

      4. 15.3.4
        GoWiththeFlow

        Emily,

        It’s an entirely appropriate example  Men and women speak in different languages.  One person in a relationship thinks they’ve gotten their point across in a sensitive manner, but that’s not what the other person heard.

        As far a “you work on your stuff, I’ll work on mine” the whole issue here is communication between men and women which by definition they need to work on it together.  How does going off in a corner to work on oneself help you understand your partner and for them to understand you?  This isn’t dieting or physical fitness where a couple can do it at the same time, but ultimately their individual success is determined only by themselves as individuals.  You can go work on yourself all you want and your relationship will still have the same damn problem because it’s the dynamic between the two people that needs the work.  Evan didn’t call Dr. Gottman the Godfather of Couples Counseling for nothing–it’s about the entity that is the couple, not two individuals.

        ljsrmissy,

        “Can you point out what Emily and Callie said that was harsh and full of contempt”

        How about this statement from you:  “In the 2017 2018 there is no excuse for men not to do their homework. For those who lack EI. If this was a post about women harnessing our emotions, I would say the same to us women.  Imho they dont want to. Its that simple. They have no problem doing what they need to for a job, a hobby, or a sport…Its the same thing for a relationship. Im just not going for the ‘Im just a poor unsophisticated simple man’ thing.”

        You are making assumptions that men don’t try (don’t do their homework) and worse, they just don’t want to because they don’t value their relationships.  If a man made this kind of blanket negative statement about women, you would be all over it.

        And you fall right into the same individual effort trap that Emily and Callie do.  All a guy has to do is “homework” and things will be hunky-dory, because how his girlfriend or wife approaches him, interacts, and reacts has nothing to do with whether they communicate in a dysfunctional manner.

        Callie:

        “If 65% of us is ill-equipped to deal with emotional conflict, so the burden falls on the wives.” He literally said since he can’t do it someone else has to.”

        “And what the heck is with your analogy?? Why on earth am I obligated to teach someone how to speak a language just because I speak it??”

        D_M was pointing out the reality of life for many women is that they are married to men who are lacking in EI.  And if these wives want their relationship to be better then the reality is they will have to take the initiative to improve things because they are the ones with the emotional intelligence to do just that–to be the translator between the two.  This is similar to what the authors of the book Attached say about about secures who are in relationships with anxious types.  The secure person helps the anxious partner to be more secure, and both are better for it because what helps the anxious partner, helps the relationship, and that benefits the secure partner as well.  Saying “I shouldn’t have to do that, he should do his homework!” isn’t going to help anybody.

        1. Callie

          I disagree. Obviously. I think if there are two people in a relationship BOTH people need to work on it. Since this particular post was about what MEN could do that was what I was focusing on (just as when most of the other posts here are about what WOMEN can do, that’s what people focus on). This decision so many male posters made here to turn the conversation around to women was very interesting for me to watch quite frankly.

          Also I am talking about men reading this post, not men who are utterly oblivious to the lack of emotional work they put into their relationships. If a man reads this post, reads the links in the post, and then goes: “I obviously can’t be responsible for myself teach me” that is kind of a problem. And, quite frankly, is lazy.

          However obviously if you are unaware you are doing something wrong, you haven’t read this post etc, you need someone to point it out to you. But even so, one would hope once it was pointed out the man would then put in all the possible effort he can, not just whine to his wife, “Well I don’t know what to do just tell me!” I’m not saying wives should not help, it’s very nice if they do of course, I am saying a man demonstrating actively that he is wanting to work on something and taking initiative once realising that he needs to improve is an important demonstration of emotional intelligence in and of itself. And if he can’t figure out that being proactive and not just burdening his wife with the role of teacher and he as reticent student is part of the lesson, then there is a lot more wrong with this relationship than a woman alone can fix.

          But honestly, ultimately, I’m probably the wrong person to talk about any of this because I wouldn’t be in a relationship with such a person in the first place. I seek out men who are emotionally intelligent and have done quite well in finding them. Mostly because as you say there are certain men who do expect women to be their teachers and do all the emotional work for them and I don’t have the time for that. I want a teammate, not a student. I want us to learn from each other yes, but I don’t want to spend my life putting in all the effort while my partner puts in none of his own. So yeah. If other people are happy to teach people a language because they know it, or make someone less anxious because they are secure, or take on the burden of emotional intelligence for the both of them, I give them serious props. That definitely is something that takes skill and patience. And is highly commendable. But I don’t think it ought to be a given expectation in all relationships. I have higher expectations of men that way. And I’m happy to say they’re most usually met. Because I know some truly fantastic proactive awesome men.

           

        2. Emily, the original

          GOwiththeFlow,
          As far a “you work on your stuff, I’ll work on mine” the whole issue here is communication between men and women which by definition they need to work on it together.
          Actually, the topic is emotional intelligence. It’s something that’s best to have BEFORE the relationship starts. Don’t you think two people who are relatively healthy can work through communication issues a hell of a lot better than two people who aren’t? Or are better able to change whatever bad dynamic they have?
          Evan didn’t call Dr. Gottman the Godfather of Couples Counseling for nothing–it’s about the entity that is the couple, not two individuals.
          Yeah, but two screwed up people aren’t going to be able to make much progress, are there? You have to get your shit together on your own. No one is going to do that for you.

        3. Jeremy

          Callie, in any long-term relationship, each individual will be both student and teacher.  Student of what the other person needs, teacher of what the individual needs.  The toxicity of the student/teacher dynamic is not, IMHO, in the fact that one partner needs to be a teacher, but in that teacher’s lack of understanding that he/she also must be a student.

        4. Callie

          If you read what I actually said Jeremy, I said the ideal  relationship in my mind (and the one I’m currently in) is one  where we learn from each other. Which pretty much therefore agrees with your statement of both people need to be both teacher and student, which means I’m not sure why you addressed that comment to me in the first place.

          What I’m taking issue with is the expressed notion (now debunked by D_M as not what they meant actually, just a rhetorical flourish – so at this point I’m just engaging with people who have responded since to me on the subject, not to D_M) that the balance be unequal. That the woman is EXPECTED to be the teacher and the man is EXPECTED to be the student, and that if the woman does not teach then man then what can she expect, it’s her fault that her partner doesn’t know how to be emotionally intelligent. Essentially I don’t like the notion that the woman is to blame for the man’s failings. You and I have had many a discussion about this and you have said that of course men need to do the work too but since the post was about women and advising women you felt it didn’t need to be said. Yet here we are discussing a post about men and advising men and yet somehow we are still putting more attention on what the woman can do.

          I have a relationship where we work together, teach and learn from each other. That to me is the ideal and I’m glad I’m living it. What I’m seeing here is a lot of guys saying, “But it’s hard! So someone else has to do it for me.” I don’t even see them saying, “I’ll work on it totally, but any support and guidance my partner could give me would be wonderful and truly appreciated.” I’ve instead seen warnings that if women don’t do this job then it’s pretty much their fault if men never learn.

          Quite frankly I find that rather insulting towards men. I think they are smarter than that and more capable than that.

        5. GoWiththeFlow

          Callie,

          “I think if there are two people in a relationship BOTH people need to work on it. Since this particular post was about what MEN could do that was what I was focusing on (just as when most of the other posts here are about what WOMEN can do, that’s what people focus on). This decision so many male posters made here to turn the conversation around to women was very interesting for me to watch quite frankly.”

          So if  a student has homework to do and doesn’t understand it, if they asked for help would you, Emily and ljsrmissy not help them with it?  What if you learned the teacher just told this student to “just do your homework and come back to me when it’s done” but gave no guidance on what the homework subject was (for example math), what specific task (fractions), and what areas the teacher noticed the student needed to be careful of (decimal placement).

          As far as your contention that this is being turned around on women.  I read the same posts from the same male commenters and disagree.  They are pointing out that women have a stake in this and asking them to discuss solutions, because understanding is a two way street.

          OTOH, you Emily, and others immediately went into a defensive posture, stating that men, by asking women for help, are trying to make women responsible, not taking responsibility for themselves, and are being lazy.  Why?  And what better example is there that men adwomen sometimes speak different languages than this?

          Emily,

          Not being on the high end of the Emotional Intelligence continuum is not a globally maladaptive trait.  Low EI does not necessarily equal “screwed up.” Many of the men who are on the lower end of the continuum are intelligent, good looking, have a strong moral code, and love their families.  Some are 7s, 8s, and 10s and have/had multiple women vying for their attention and affection.  Some are in marriages where both they and their wives are content and happy.  Maybe because what they have meets their expectations and/or they have adapted or have accepted what is.

          You seem to be operating under the idea that an adult can change their emotional intelligence.  Is this true?  Or is it something that can only be moved a few notches on the continuum with a great deal of effort?  As a parent of a child who has difficulty reading social cues, (facial expressions, body language, voice inflection and tone) I can tell you, that’s something that is either there or not.  You can work with them on it and get a little improvement, but it’s very hard.  And this is in a child with neuroplasticity, not an adult who’s neurons have been firing the same way for decades.

          In summary, what you are saying to people with low EI is “You have to get your shit together on your own. No one is going to do that for you.” And they have no idea what you even mean.

        6. Emily, the original

          GoWiththeFlow,
          You seem to be operating under the idea that an adult can change their emotional intelligence.  Is this true?  Or is it something that can only be moved a few notches on the continuum with a great deal of effort? 
          Yes, you can acquire emotional intelligence, just as you can learn to be less selfish, to listen to people in the moment and have a dialogue instead of a monologue, to see people as autonomous from you and not just there to serve your needs, etc.
          In summary, what you are saying to people with low EI is “You have to get your shit together on your own. No one is going to do that for you.” And they have no idea what you even mean
          Emotional intelligence is like any other quality a person may have. I’m assuming that people with high degrees of it value it in a mate and thus would avoid a partner who had done little to no work on themselves.

        7. Jeremy

          Callie, my comment to you wasn’t an attack – sorry if it came off that way.  I respect you, and think your comments show a lot of intelligence, and if I sometimes argue with you it’s because I think we can both learn from each other.

           

          I agree with most of your comment.  But here’s a slight nuance where I disagree, which forms the basis of my bitch-session about Evan’s original post:  “Emotional intelligence” is such a vague term.  If we define it as being like a woman, then of course most men won’t qualify.  If we define it as being like a man, most women won’t qualify.  It isn’t a catch-all, and means different things to different people.  So instead of using the term “emotional intelligence”, let’s call a spade a spade – “Men who know how to give women what they want are happier in relationships, and only 35% of men do.”  And how can men know what women want?  Women have to teach them.  Women should EXPECT to have to teach them – how to communicate with a woman in the language she uses, both love language and communication language.

          My quarrel was with the lack of balance – the lack of mention that women also need men to teach them – and with the assumption made by the article that most women naturally know the way to respect a man’s opinion in a way that speaks to him.  I’m claiming they do not.  They need to learn it.

        8. Callie

          I come from a long line of teachers and even I will say I do not have any obligation to help anyone with their homework if I am not the teacher in the situation, why would I? Sorry. Out of the kindness of my heart and if I had the time, maybe I would, but that is my decision to make and it certainly does not make me a bad person for not doing it if I choose otherwise. And if the student told me “Since I don’t know the answers you have to find them for me!” and just sat there and did nothing while I googled all their research and did all the work for them, I would very quickly stop helping and find them a terribly entitled person. I’m not doing the work for anyone else. I can guide them if they ask nicely and show that they are actively interested in learning, but ultimately THEY have to do the work or else they aren’t going to learn.

          And okay, agree to disagree. I saw yet again the men here foist responsibility on women on the ONE post that was about what responsibility MEN could take on board. I was foolish, I thought maybe the men here might actually post some thoughts about what men could do, carry on the conversation Evan started in his post, give each other suggestions. But nope. Essentially it was: okay yeah men need to work on this but let’s dive deeper into what women can do to help them. Heck the very first post here was “what percentage of women are emotionally intelligent?” And that was a disappointment for me. A missed opportunity.

        9. GoWiththeFlow

          Callie & Emily,

          You both seem to be under the impression that great improvements in a person’s EI can be had if they sit in a corner and read a relationship book.  Then they will magically interact with their partner in a way that meets all of their hopes and dreams.  Not so.

          https://hbr.org/2013/05/can-you-really-improve-your-em

          “Our ability to identify and manage our own and others’ emotions is fairly stable over time, influenced by our early childhood experiences and even genetics. That does not mean we cannot change it, but, realistically, long-term improvements will require a great deal of dedication and guidance.

          And as the article goes on to explain, you can only improve with accurate feedback.

          Like Jeremy said men won’t know what women want and how they want it unless the women teach them.

          Callie, my mom, dad, aunt, niece, and son are all teachers.  They would all strive help any student who asks.  That’s too bad that you read it as whether it’s an obligation or not.

          ““Since I don’t know the answers you have to find them for me!”

          That’s an exaggeration and not what the male commenters were saying.

          “Essentially it was: okay yeah men need to work on this but let’s dive deeper into what women can do to help them”

          Palm hitting forehead.  WHY is this a bad thing?  You bet I would help any man who wants to work to better his understanding of women.  Why wouldn’t I?  It will benefit me, my female relatives and friends, and all women in the long run.  I’m just not seeing how you’re getting a negative out of this.

           

        10. Evan Marc Katz

          GoWithTheFlow is a Love U graduate. Emily and Callie?

        11. GoWiththeFlow

          Emily.

          “I’m assuming that people with high degrees of it value it in a mate and thus would avoid a partner who had done little to no work on themselves.”

          You’re assuming that people with high EI do a lot of work to get that way.  That’s not necessarily true.  Ask someone who has a keen ability to read and manage their own and others’ emotions how they got that way and they are likely to say they’ve always been that way.  it’s part genetic and part early childhood experiences.  For example, Jeremy has said he questioned his feelings and actions, and those of others back when he was a kid.  Later he did a lot of reading and and research, but he had strong EI before that.  He improved upon what was already good.

        12. Callie

          Jeremy – I didn’t feel attacked, have no fear, I just felt disappointed that once again somehow the advice being given in the comments boils down to it’s up to women to do all the work. That’s all. I thought on a post like this some of the guys would look inward, but that didn’t happen. As for intelligent debate, believe you me if I didn’t think you respected me, if I didn’t respect you, I would not continue to do this myself (you’ve seen me end conversations with certain individuals in the past I’m sure). I do learn a lot from you. One of the biggest things was to accept an implied “men need to work on stuff too” when posts were geared towards women working on themselves 🙂 . Hence, you know, my confusion this time.

          As for your two conclusions-

          1. Emotional intelligence actually has a definition in the world of psychology.  Just as IQ has a definition. EQ had one too. So I don’t call a spade a spade, I don’t think that your definition is correct. At all. I don’t think just giving in to whatever a woman wants, or happy wife happy life, is the correct definition. I also find it infantalizing, assuming a woman can’t own up to mistakes, can’t acknowledge when their partner is right etc. Just because you might have found that giving in during arguments in your relationship works does not mean that that is the best solution for everyone. It might be the best solution for your particular situation, but that doesn’t make it a spade.

          2. The idea that the only way men will know what women want is for women to teach them. I don’t actually disagree with this per se, but I disagree with what woman is doing the teaching. After all women come here to seek out the male perspective by working with Evan. They are not demanding that their male partner teach them how to understand men, they are doing the work FIRST by finding a man who teaches women in general without putting the onus on their romantic partner to do so. Thus I feel men should do the same. Seek out women offering advice on how women think and what men might consider doing (there are also men who offer advice to men as well, I suppose you could say they are in the 35% and thus have a similar insight as a woman might have).

          Men have a choice and that choice is to be proactive and seek out answers and solutions. You did so yourself. To demand that your partner does all that work for you I think isn’t what a partnership is about. To ask for help while also helping yourself? That sounds lovely to me. But that’s not what I’ve been reading men suggesting here.

          As for balance, you and I have already discussed my issue that for once we have a post about men, and where in all other posts the men rightfully say “Hey sure men need advice too, but this is advice for women which is why we are focusing on that”, I assumed that when the post was geared at men the men who said such things would see the reversal and therefore understand the implied “Of course women also have to work on things”.

        13. GoWiththeFlow

          Evan,

          Love U was worth every penny!

          It improved not just romantic relationships with men, but my relationships with my brother, adult son, and men friends.

        14. Callie

          Evan – I’m in a four year relationship with a man I adore and respect and who likewise adores and respects me. Who has great emotional intelligence, and who I learn from everyday (and who, yes, because he puts in the effort to self improve constantly, I have no qualms helping and teaching when the situation requires it). 🙂

           

        15. Evan Marc Katz

          That’s great, Callie. Objectively, your arguing style sometimes belies your claims.

          -An objective observer.

        16. Emily, the original

          GowiththeFlow,
          You both seem to be under the impression that great improvements in a person’s EI can be had if they sit in a corner and read a relationship book.
          Ah, no, I never wrote that. When I wrote “work on yourself,” I meant individual or group therapy.

          And as the article goes on to explain, you can only improve with accurate feedback.Like Jeremy said men won’t know what women want and how they want it unless the women teach them.
          You can gain self-awareness on your own. You have have an anger issue and no one wants to be around you? At some point the lightbulb should go off. We learn about ourselves when we become more self-aware and start noticing how people interact with us. Don’t most people have something they’d like to change about themselves because they aren’t getting the results they want in some area of their lives?

        17. Callie

          GWTF – You said it, your family members are teachers. I am not. I come from a long line of teachers and you’d better believe they’d help any student who asked them. I’m not a teacher, so who are these people asking me randomly for help on their homework exactly and why do I owe them help?

          I haven’t said anything about just sitting down and reading a book, I said show some effort. This all began with D_M saying that since men couldn’t be EI that it was up to women to teach them. There was nothing there that said “help” “guide” “work with”. The work was placed solely on the woman’s shoulders. That’s what I take umbrage with. I have literally said in almost every post that I would be willing to help anyone who demonstrated they too were helping themselves. Including the kid with the homework (I just said it was not something I was OBLIGATED to do).

          As to your last point – I was speaking to a greater issue that I found a little disappointing. That when women here at Evan’s blog comment about “why aren’t you giving advice to men” to both Evan and commenters the response reasonably is “because this is advice geared towards women”. Well this one post was actually geared towards men and one would have thought that the same people would have then understood that this time it was time for men to think and work on things and read this advice with an open mind. Not so. The men responded EXACTLY as the women tend to respond with “why aren’t you giving advice to women”.  And I found that disappointing. That’s all. Generally the advice here is geared towards women right? I certainly therefore can have no issue with advice for how women can improve if I visit frequently and very often defend what Evan has to say right? I just took issue this one time that somehow we still managed to make it all about what women can do to improve, thus missing an excellent opportunity for men to think what THEY could do.

        18. Evan Marc Katz

          The male response is as predictable as the female response. The truth is, it’s always easier to point fingers than to look in the mirror. AND there’s often validity in finger-pointing as well. I don’t doubt for a second that everything Jeremy said is true and that his wife (along with most women) could also stand to walk a mile in their partners’ shoes. If there’s any common thread here, that’s it. So if you don’t like the male response to criticism, the best thing you can do is not react viscerally when something I write makes you feel personally indicted. There’s probably a reason for it – and it’s not because the advice is bad…

        19. Alex

          I just have to say, I see Callie’s frustration. The original post (to me) read as though the poster was saying it was entirely up to women to teach men how to be emotionally intelligent and hope that their lessons “take” in the guy otherwise they are stuck with a crappy boyfriend. And I agree with her. Why would we expend so much energy when we can go find someone who already has emotional intelligence? It turns out the poster was not saying it was all up to women, so this argument is moot now.

          Jeremy, I agree, we need a much more specific and gender neutral idea of what emotional intelligence is. It shouldn’t just be defined as “thinking the way most women do.”

          GWTF I think you and Callie are just talking past each other. She’s arguing something totally different than what you are. I’m curious though, do you really think it’s impossible to increase anyone’s emotional intelligence more than a little bit? I would never ever make that claim, but you seem to think otherwise for the majority of the population? Maybe you’re right, but I’m only in week 3 of Love U 😉

        20. ljsrmissy

          @ Gowiththeflow

          “You are making assumptions that men don’t try (don’t do their homework) and worse, they just don’t want to because they don’t value their relationships”

          Please show me where I said that. Put it in quotations please. You can’t tell me what I ‘assumed’, but you can repeat back to me what I said.  What you typed above are your thoughts about what I said. I don’t have anything to do with that.

          I said there is no reason in 2017 to 2018 for men not to do their homework because that is what I meant and its true for the reasons I already stated in that original comment.

        21. ljsrmissy

          @ Gowiththe flow

           

          Also Can you point out what Emily and Callie said that was” harsh and full of contempt”

        22. Callie

          Evan – come on you’re hardly objective, we as humans all have biases no matter how hard we try to ignore them, yes, even me 😉 .

          You regularly accuse or at the least imply that I am not the person I claim to be, or that I want something I don’t. And I regularly point out that my posting doesn’t necessarily directly reflect my own beliefs (though, and this makes it more complicated, sometimes it does). I suspected when I responded to your hint that maybe my points were invalid because I hadn’t gone through your course and wasn’t lucky in love with evidence that despite not having taken your course I had found a wonderful man, you’d respond to me with some kind of suggestion I was lying, and you did, but it’s okay.  I do actually get it. As someone who gives advice and thinks his is the best method (as well you should since your method does work for many many people and I think on more than one occasion I have demonstrated my support of many of you ideas), the thought that others have different methods that have worked for them and resulted in a long term satisfying relationship might not mesh with what you have learned over the course of your career. Consider me if you will an exception to your rules. But not a liar. 🙂

           

          Alex – thank you, I appreciate your support. That’s it exactly. And yes, I do think GWTF and I are talking across each other at this point. Generally I agree with them, which is why I find this particular debate frustrating. I think I’ll bow out though because I’m realising that my discussion of the concept of this entire post and thread is not what everyone else wants to discuss, which is practical application. And that’s fair, I think I’ve side tracked us all long enough. Also, I have a ton of work I need to get done and this is not helping me. Bad procrastinating Callie, bad!

        23. Callie

          Oh shoot! Just saw Evan’s second reply to me . . . one more thing Columbo style . . .

          Evan: yes sometimes people react to the things you say negatively and viscerally because it speaks to an uncomfortable truth. But it is hubris indeed to assume only and ever that. Sometimes some people react negatively and viscerally to you because they don’t agree and have experiences contrary to what you’ve said.

          Anyway, this is all deeply strange as I was agreeing with you and defending your points to others who did not. I had not an issue with what you wrote here at all, and honestly haven’t had anything contrary to say about your advice in ages. So yeah. I disagreed with Jeremy, who engaged thoughtfully with me, and with D_M who was a bit more condescending but eventually came to explain better their meaning. You, I agreed with. But there you go.

          NOW I go to work 🙂 .

        24. Evan Marc Katz

          It’s very hard to see the validity of both sides as they talk past each other, particularly as it pertains to a gender split. I agree with the original post about men being weaker than women, in general, when it comes to communication and sensitivity, and I agree with Jeremy that there are many instances where a woman thinks she’s more mature but is actually NOT. In many (if not most) incidents, both sides have a claim on truth. It’s just tiring to have to moderate and acknowledge both sides. The only reason I weighed in is because I felt Jeremy was being ganged up on, yet nothing he wrote rang false to me. Now go on with your bad self and enjoy the rest of your night.

        25. GoWiththeFlow

          ljsrmissy,

          Your original statement:

          “In the 2017 2018 there is no excuse for men not to do their homework. For those who lack EI. If this was a post about women harnessing our emotions, I would say the same to us women.  Imho they dont want to. Its that simple. They have no problem doing what they need to for a job, a hobby, or a sport…Its the same thing for a relationship. Im just not going for the ‘Im just a poor unsophisticated simple man’ thing.”

          My response:

          “You are making assumptions that men don’t try (don’t do their homework) and worse, they just don’t want to because they don’t value their relationships”

          You seriously don’t see it?

          You made a blanket statement that there is no excuse for men to not do their homework and that “IMHO”–in your honest opinion–men don’t want to.  Uh, hello that is you assuming men don’t try and don’t want to.

          This is a perfect example of a lack of emotional intelligence.  You have no idea that your written statement is going to be viewed negatively, and don’t see why it is viewed that way when it’s pointed out to you.

        26. Jeremy

          Callie, in terms of acknowledging the validity of the criticisms against men, I’ve written many times on this thread that I agree.  In terms of turning inward and considering how to offer advice for men as to how to improve, I did so in my comment to Marika below.  And I have no problem with your statement that for once when valid criticism is levelled against men, that men should accept it and not redirect toward women.  Here’s me saying – I TOTALLY AGREE with that.  The issues I had had nothing to do with that.

           

          On a slightly separate topic, interesting that you brought up IQ.  Because I think that is an excellent analogy.  Many psychologists who use IQ and do IQ tests actually believe it to be a very flawed concept, and certainly not one that accurately measures “intelligence.”  IQ does not equal intelligence.  What does “intelligence” mean?  That is a much more nebulous question that what does IQ mean.  I think the same is true of people think of as emotional intelligence vs the defined EQ.

        27. Emily, the original

          GoWiththeFlow,

          For example, Jeremy has said he questioned his feelings and actions, and those of others back when he was a kid.  Later he did a lot of reading and and research, but he had strong EI before that. 

          If I remember correctly, at least one reason he began to do at least some of the reading is that he wanted to improve his relationship with his wife. Thus, he went out to change it, which is what any reasonable person does when he’d like to improve on something. It’s what anyone can do. It ain’t rocket science.

        28. GoWiththeFlow

          Emily,

          Jeremy was starting from the point of having a high ability to recognize and manage his own emotions, and a good sense as to how what he does and says affects the emotions of others.  People with a low enough EQ won’t have the metacognitive ability to know what they don’t know.  And that doesn’t make them bad people.

          If a man goes into his cave because an argument puts him in fight or flight mode, he may not see this as something that stresses his wife.  To him he prevented the argument from escalating, and that’s a good thing.  Additionally some wives may not be bothered by a man retreating to his cave.  Higher EQ is hardly a universal phenomenon in women.  Or the wife may not be bothered by the cave hiding BECAUSE her EQ is high, and she decides to give him his time and emotional space and instead brings up the issue that caused the argument at a later time when he they are both calm and relaxed.

        29. Emily, the original

           

          GowiththeFlow,
          You’re bringing up arguments I never made.
          People with a low enough EQ won’t have the metacognitive ability to know what they don’t know.  And that doesn’t make them bad people.
          I never said they were bad people.
          Or the wife may not be bothered by the cave hiding BECAUSE her EQ is high, and she decides to give him his time and emotional space and instead brings up the issue that caused the argument at a later time when he they are both calm and relaxed.
          I never said going into a cave is bad. Just emerging from the cave and acting like nothing ever happened. But people can resolve arguments any way they want to.

          D_M made this statement earlier in a post: From my cursory review, I inferred that men should choose a significant other with the capacity to lead them,

          This is what I balked at.

        30. ljsrmissy

          @ Go with the flow

           

          You are making assumptions that men don’t try (don’t do their homework) and worse, they just don’t want to because they don’t value their relationships”

          I am going to ask you again to quote back to me when I said the above. Not your own words that you are trying to make me own, not what you have actually ASSUMED about what I typed, but where I word for word stated the above.  Thank you. Also can you answer my original question to you about what was so harsh and full of contempt about Emilys and Callies response?  Also how do you know what I assumed? Please answer that. I am more than happy to answer to what O actually wrote….and I and only I can answer to the intent and mind frame I was in when I wrote it. I fully stand on what I wrote. You need to own YOUR ASSUMPTIONS and interpretations of what I wrote. You dont get to tell me what I assumed about anything because im not an extension of you…and thats narcissistic on your part.  I wrote what I wrote because I meant it… Hence the IMHO (in my humble opinion). I personally am not going to qualify every statement with “some, sometimes, not all” and all that jazz because its common sense that me or anyone else dont mean every single person as no one has met or dated ever single person. Its called nuance and not being obtuse.  I am responsible for what I actually type not for how you ar anyone elses comprehension or hearing skills.

        31. Callie

          Jeremy – the funny thing is that I get that. I got that pretty quick. We had a conversation way at the top of all of this that made sense to me. So I get you, and I feel good about our back and forth, I think we’re on the same page now. It’s just that others then took up either your mantle or mine and I feel like now mostly I’m talking to others, repeating myself over and over, and possibly in so doing getting less precise and less clear (because it seems like I have been consistently misinterpreted in this thread and I have to take some responsibility for that).

          So yeah, you really don’t need to continue to explain to me because I do get it, I really do. 🙂

          As for the IQ thing, yes I actually did know that, that people find it a flawed barometer, a bit like how BMI is now considered likewise. My point was less “this is wholly accurate” and more in response to you saying there is no actual definition of EI. There is one. It is flawed and imperfect, but it isn’t “Women know best, give in to them”. And I thought it was incorrect of you to conclude it was.

        32. Jeremy

          Fair enough Callie, I think we agree.  Now I’ll stop procrastinating and get back to work too 🙂

        33. ljsrmissy

          @ Go with the flow

           

          “IMHO”–in your honest opinion–men don’t want to”

          Now this I own because I said it because I believe it. I don’t feel the need to qualify all of my general statements. I am not here to try to make the non nuanced and obtuse feel good about what I type. I believe that this is a part of the reason why most American marriages end in divorce and  why it is majority women ending these marriage. Now I own all that I have just typed..what you take away from, and anything other that what I TYPED, I have nothing to do with.

    4. 15.4
      Sylvana

      I fully stand behind D_M on this. Basically, he is asking to learn, and asking a woman to teach. I find that a rather emotionally intelligent response.

      Considering teaching a man, especially one who is willing to learn, just another thing on your plate, or another nuisance, is a rather poor response.

      I train horses and teach riders for a living. I would hardly get very far if I stomped my feet, complaining about them not already knowing everything. If I expect a certain response, I need to teach it first.

      So getting mad at D_M for wanting to learn, or asking women to at least try to teach might just prove that those particular women are not the ones in the emotional intelligent range.

  16. 16
    Erin

    I am lucky that my boyfriend, I believe is one of the 35%. It’s very important to him that we talk things out and really listen to one another when we have disagreements, arguments, or one of us is upset or unhappy over something

    Like anyone, we will occasionally forget ourselves (no one is perfect!). If I feel that I am not being heard or that my feelings are being dismissed, I will say, “Stop invalidating my feelings!” This is our signal for a hard stop to the argument, and a reminder that we need to take a step back and really listen to one another. This has worked really well for us–it’s not the phrase itself that works, but that we have agreed to respect one another’s need to be heard and validated, and that is more important than being right.

     

     

  17. 17
    Jeremy

    I wanted to use an example to illustrate what I was talking about in my comments above.

     

    My wife and I recently had an argument.  I had invited my sister and her family for dinner later in the week, and my wife had invited some friends the following day for lunch.  When I told her that I invited my sister, she became angry and told me that she was under a lot of stress and that I shouldn’t have invited anyone without asking her first.  I retorted that she did not ask me before inviting our lunch guests.  The argument spiralled from there, with fault on both of our parts – such is generally the way of domestic squabbles.  Nothing new or interesting there.  What is interesting, what I hope to get across to the ladies on this forum, is my perspective on how this issue got resolved.

     

    As the argument progressed, I could see that my wife had no intention of taking my perspective.  Was convinced I was in the wrong.  And when she failed to convince me of the legitimacy of her arguments, she went on to argue about how this whole situation made her feel, with tears and recriminations and all that.  And as all this was happening, I was sorely tempted to check out.  The thought that flashed through my brain was one that I was familiar with, had experienced many times before – “this argument is ridiculous, because facts don’t matter here, all that matters is emotions, and frankly just HER emotions, not mine.”  Yet I knew, from past experience, that the longer I let this go on, the more it would fester.  And that I had to end it myself, because if I did not capitulate, no one would.  If I did not apologize, she would not.  If I did not hug her, she would not hug me.  So I did what husbands have been doing from time immemorial:  I apologized, let her have her way, and we returned to the usual domestic bliss – because even though I didn’t get my way, my life is better than when we were arguing.

     

    Domestic bliss.  Happy wife, happy life.  Is a marriage happy just because the wife is?  Or does it look that way because the husband is silent and prefers the situation to when his wife is angry at him?  Is it that men would be advised to give in more to their wives because doing so makes them emotionally intelligent, or is it because their wives lack the emotional intelligence to be satisfied with a compromise?  My disagreement with Gottman’s article was not in his statistic of men’s emotional intelligence, it was in his assertion that women generally value their husband’s opinion in an argument.  Not sure where he got that from….perhaps by asking the women?  Find 10 happily married men and ask them how often they “win” an argument with their wife.

    1. 17.1
      Callie

      Jeremy – I think the thing is, you like to use your own relationship as a model and see yourself as the great mollifier. Arguments only end because you end them. You are the one in charge of calming down every situation. And that might be true. But there are many wives who play the same role in their relationship. Maybe not in the same way, but in the way of giving up their own wants to support their husband without him realising it (just as your wife didn’t realise you weren’t actually sorry just faking it to end the argument). I had a friend explain to me that while yes she was sad to have had to give up her career and move cities for her husband’s career, she knew of the two of them she was the one better able to emotionally cope with that disappointment. Had she asked that he give up his career so she could have hers, she knew he would do it, but that he didn’t have the coping skills she has to deal with giving up something like that. Then she said, “Of course I’d never tell him that.”

      I can’t tell you how many women I know who talk about the things they don’t tell their partners because they know they can’t handle it. I mean there’s also just the very classic 1950s – “Let’s not bother your father tonight, he’s had a long day” kind of thing where the wife and children tip toe around the newly returned husband so that he isn’t too stressed.

      Basically I think men and women do the sort of thing you describe in your example to each other all the time. And I think because one person is keeping a secret from another, the other person doesn’t necessarily realise that it is being done. I think it’s very likely your wife is mollifying you in ways you haven’t actually realised because, like you, she doesn’t let you know.

      My issue with a lot of your contentions here is that since you live a certain way, and since it took you a long time to figure out how to be how you are in a relationship, that you assume a lot of other people are similar: Men are giving in to their wives all the time, wives aren’t giving back, and it takes a great deal of work and effort to come to the light as you did as it were.

      But the fact is you are you. You aren’t everyone else. For some the things you came to learn about the nature of relationships come much more easily. For some they are living in the reverse situation where the man is the more emotional irrational one. Where the woman is the one who needs validation not the man. You say you have no idea where Gottman got his info, well he did actual studies. He didn’t just theorize based on personal experience like you do. Maybe just because you experience something, and heck even see it reflected in your social circle, doesn’t actually speak to a greater truth. Maybe what’s true for you isn’t universally true. And maybe you might want to instead of dismissing what Gottman has to say because you’ve never personally experienced it, take a step back and think, “Okay so let’s say this is true. How does that impact everything I’ve learned, how might that change my perspective?”

    2. 17.2
      Emily, the original

      Jeremy,

      My disagreement with Gottman’s article was not in his statistic of men’s emotional intelligence, it was in his assertion that women generally value their husband’s opinion in an argument.  Not sure where he got that from….perhaps by asking the women?  Find 10 happily married men and ask them how often they “win” an argument with their wife.

      You’re doing what many of us — assuming your experience is universal. Now I’m sure the 3 male commenters who regularly post here will say they can relate to your story and had similar issues with their spouses in terms of argument resolution, but the situation you described sounds, frankly, manipulative … particularly with the tears. I don’t think all women act like that. But on a different note, isn’t most conflict in marriage unresolvable? I mean, you have two people who sometimes have vastly different perspectives. What do you do in those situations? I don’t know.

      1. 17.2.1
        ljsrmissy

        @Jeremy,

        “What does it matter if a woman believes she is honoring the man when he doesn’t see it that way?”

        And this is why I said I would be more inclined to ask your friends wives if they feel their husbands accept their influence.

    3. 17.3
      Selena

      @ Jeremy

      Why are you and your wife inviting guests over without running the idea by each other first?

      It’s a better way to avoid arguments  as well as an intelligent thing to do – emotionally and otherwise.  It’s couple-hood 101.

      So why after x years of marriage and 4 kids,  you and your wife don’t bother?

      Might look at the emotional reason behind why neither of you want to consider the other in these situations.

      1. 17.3.1
        Jeremy

        Selena, normally we both do.  Mistakes happen.  That is marriage 101 – took that class a while back 😉

         

        To all the others who replied, I think you may have missed what my point was – which is fair, it was a long post.  My point was not to dismiss Gottman’s study, but rather to point out that I think he missed something.  That doesn’t invalidate his study – it just adds to it.  The example I used from my marriage was not to say “men good, women bad.”  Or “Me good, wife bad.”  Because for every time I’m right, I can think of a time she’s been right and I’ve been wrong.  I am not a paragon of sweet reason all the time.  It is not about being the great mollifyer (as per Callie), or manipulative (as per Emily), or placating an unreasonable person (as per KK).  It is simply this:

         

        Sometimes men withdraw because the men are childish/lack emotional intelligence, in which case the men should improve themselves.  Other times, men withdraw because they feel that they just can’t win in the situation – that they are not being heard by a person who demands to be heard herself.  And in that situation, the woman involved should check herself that this is not the case, before assuming the former is true.

        1. Callie

          And my point is that I find it fascinating that you have decided you know more based on your own personal experience and have determined that Gottman has made mistakes instead of possibly considering where YOU might have made some mistakes.

          And of course the last paragraph you write is true. But I just don’t see where anyone, including Gottman has said otherwise.

      2. 17.3.2
        Jeremy

        You peaked my curiosity, Callie, so I clicked all the links in the article to view the study. It wasn’t there, though. So I googled it. Nowhere to be found. Just lots of links to Gottman’s book.  I’d love to see his methodology.

         

        Because, taking your mental exercise into account, if he is right that most women take men’s opinions into account when arguing, then I and every married male in my circle of acquaintance are atypical.  Which is possible, but unlikely.

        1. Marika

          Jeremy

          We don’t know what it’s like to be you or your emotionally available friends in a marriage. Equally, you don’t know what it’s like to be with one of the x number of men who do stonewall, cave without returning etc & don’t accept their wives influence.

          This particular article is directed to the type of man you aren’t but many of us have dealt with. It’s not about you. Maybe you don’t need to be so passionately involved in this discussion?

        2. Callie

          Is it possible that you and the men in your circle don’t understand the way in which women take your opinions into account? That maybe it doesn’t manifest the same way as it does when you take your wife’s? That maybe it might be possible that the women in your social circle have almost the exact same conversations with each other about the men?

          As for if you and your social circle are atypical, I can’t speak to that. I do know that I am often quite shocked by some of the things men say here vs my personal experience with the men in my life and the relationships/people in my social circle. Who knows though, maybe I’m the atypical one. That at least I’m willing to consider a possibility. Not sure why it’s such a crazy notion for you . . .

          As to Gottman’s methodology, I can’t help you there I’m sorry 🙁 . I’m sure there are ways to find out, but might take a bit more digging than you’ve done, or really might have time to do (one does have a life after all 🙂 ).

        3. ljsrmissy

          Jeremy,

          Here is the link to mentioned findings and studies on his page.

          Marriage & Couples

        4. ljsrmissy

          In regards to the married friends in your circle, I would be more inclined to actually ask the actual wives if they feel their husbands accept their influence. I wouldn’t take it from the men themselves for obvious reasons.

        5. Jeremy

          Ljsrmissy, I saw that link. The study methodology isn’t there. There is one 22 page study available on the link (not the one that supports this days set), and it is completely opaque. He does mention that much of his data comes from questionnaires, but not which comes from what.

        6. Jeremy

          ljrmissy, you wrote, “In regards to the married friends in your circle, I would be more inclined to actually ask the actual wives if they feel their husbands accept their influence. I wouldn’t take it from the men themselves for obvious reasons.”

           

          Forgive me, but this is the most bizarre comment I’ve read in a long time.  You wouldn’t take it from the men, but you would from the women?  And if your intention was to say that the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle of what the men and women say (and I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt that that’s what you meant), it doesn’t change the fact that the men and the women see it differently.  What does it matter if a woman believes she is honoring the man when he doesn’t see it that way?  She might as well be speaking Greek to an English speaker.

           

          I have no doubt that most women BELIEVE they are honoring their husband’s opinions when arguing (hence the study).

        7. ljsrmissy

          Jeremy,

           

          No it’s totally okay. Especially since I am going to have to ask you to forgive me since IMHO your take on whether you  think your friends accept the influence of THEIR wives don’t hold much weight.  And its nothing against your opinion (I don’t know you) but that its third had opinion and your friends are in a marriage with their wives, not you.

      3. 17.3.3
        ljsrmissy

        Jeremy,

         

        What difference would knowing the methodology make? Do you think he got to his finding by making the couples use gum and popsicle sticks? What diffence do it make. Most marriages end in divorce..fact. It is women initiating marriages..fact. The reason why women leave their marriage corroborate Dr. Gottmans finds through countless other Drs counselors social workers and articles/books. I wouldnt spend time trying to find out whether an established marital phd therapist used a questionarre or flash cards to reach his findings, I would be finding some actual actions that I can take.

    4. 17.5
      KK

      “My disagreement with Gottman’s article was not in his statistic of men’s emotional intelligence, it was in his assertion that women generally value their husband’s opinion in an argument”.

      Jeremy,

      Not only do I agree with Gottman that women value their husband’s opinion in an argument, I’ll add to it… Women also want their opinion valued in an argument; to be understood.

      What you described reminds me of the relationship I have with my mother. It wasn’t always the way it is now. She was always highly intelligent, caring, and open minded (among many other positive qualities). Interestingly enough, as she’s gotten older, she’s become very rigid in her beliefs. Her way is the only way and any other way besides hers is wrong. Doesn’t matter how insignificant the topic is. The only way for me to maintain a relationship with her (a peaceful one) is to placate her. I’ve accepted that. But what is the cost? My respect for her. This is not the type of relationship I would want with a spouse; to placate or be placated.

       

      1. 17.5.1
        Emily, the original

        KK,

        What you described reminds me of the relationship I have with my mother.

        I thought that, too, in reading Jeremy’s story. I was raised by a legal guardian and if she was mad at me, she wouldn’t speak to me for days. I had to apologize … or I wouldn’t be allowed to do anything or go anywhere. I really grew to resent it.

        1. KK

          Hi Emily,

          The thought of manipulation by tears hadn’t crossed my mind until I read your response to Jeremy. While that might be the case, it might not be. She very well could’ve been genuinely upset; unlike my manipulative mom or your manipulative guardian.

          I guess that’s what bothers me about Jeremy’s story. Does he view his wife as childish and incapable or unwilling to see things from his point of view, therefore putting him in the “adult role” of “appeaser” in the relationship? If so, is it for good reason? Does she have any clue this is what’s happening? Is she under the impression that when he hugs her, he actually understands and respects her point of view?

          In my own marriage, whenever we had company, the burdensome part fell on me. To be fair, I was the one who set the standard, so I readily accept that I was the one burdening myself. : )  My ex didn’t care if the house was clean or not or if we had hot dogs and burgers or filet mignon and lobster. Neither of us was wrong, BUT… I can easily understand how someone (especially a wife) might feel stressed finding out they’re having extra company an extra day of the week that she hadn’t planned for.

        2. Jeremy

          KK, you are misunderstanding me.  I DID understand my wife’s perspective.  I WAS sorry that I invited my sister without asking her, and admitted as much to her.  I was not “just” mollifying her by telling her what she wanted to hear.  There was room for apology from both of us, legitimately.  And the tears were not manipulative, she was upset because instead of hearing what I was saying to her, she was hearing the anger in my voice.  Men and women tend to argue differently (and before I am again accused of extrapolating my own situation, this comes from Deborah Tannen’s research) – men are more likely to express anger, women are more likely to express sadness – and both genders misunderstand the emotions of the other.  Men’s frustration is taken by women to indicate a lack of love, women’s sadness is taken by men as irrationality.  Some of us may “know” better, but it is hard to get past our perceptions in the heat of the moment.

           

          Not all of our arguments go this way.  I am not always right, nor was I in the right here either.  But by my (very typically male) perception, I had 2 choices – withdraw or apologize.  Continuing sweet discussion was not an option, because it was circling nowhere.  This is a very common male perception when arguing with women, whether or not it is correct.

        3. Emily, the original

          Jeremy, 

          Continuing sweet discussion was not an option, because it was circling nowhere. But by my (very typically male) perception, I had 2 choices – withdraw or apologize. 

          Or not. You could have said that you would do the cooking/house preparation for the people you invited over and she would do the same for the people she invited over. I don’t know how the division of labor falls in your house but (and perhaps I misread your tone) you sounded a bit irritated that you had to acquiesce and apologize to keep the peace. I don’t know how often that happens, but if you are the one doing most of the apologizing, do you start to resent it? (I’m asking. I don’t know.)

        4. Emily, the original

          KK,

          BUT… I can easily understand how someone (especially a wife) might feel stressed finding out they’re having extra company an extra day of the week that she hadn’t planned for.

          I thought of that once I posted my comment, and, yes, that would be stressful, especially given the fact they have 4 children. As I wrote in my post to Jeremy, I don’t know how the division of cooking/cleaning is done at his house.

          Tears can be manipulative, though. It’s like a woman who shows up at the company picnic wearing a string bikini. The competition is over once she does that!   🙂

        5. Marika

          That must’ve been really tough. So sorry, Emily.

        6. KK

          Hi Jeremy,

          “KK, you are misunderstanding me”.

          That’s possible, but it’s not for lack of trying.   : )

          My first semester of college, I took PSYC 101 as an elective. The first day of class, I sat at my desk and noticed there was an algebra equation (and solution) written on the board. When class started, the professor asked us to solve the equation and show how we came up with the same solution he did. Thinking this was a weird request from a psychology professor, I went ahead and solved the equation but I came up with a different solution. I was certain my answer was correct. What was interesting though, was that the majority of the class came up with the same answer he did. After much discussion and debate about the different answers, he admitted that he intentionally wrote down the wrong solution; but it was the solution one would get if they didn’t follow the correct order of operations.

          His point in this exercise was to show how one mistake (or one piece of missing information or one misperception or bias) can cause you to come to the wrong conclusion (or answer). His goal for us was to become critical thinkers and to question everything, including well known psychological theories.

          I understand where you’re coming from. I just disagree with your conclusion: “My disagreement with Gottman’s article was not in his statistic of men’s emotional intelligence, it was in his assertion that women generally value their husband’s opinion in an argument”

          And the reason you came to this conclusion is that (I believe) you’re starting with a faulty premise.

           

           

        7. Jeremy

          Emily, of course I offered to do the cooking and prep for the people I invited. It would be quite the a-hole thing to invite people and expect her to do it if I didn’t consult first.  How often do I apologize? Ask most happily married men and they’ll answer most of the time. Ask their wives and you may hear a different story.  The truth is probably in the middle. Which is not what  the article implies.

        8. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          Emily, of course I offered to do the cooking and prep for the people I invited.

          Then I’m not quite sure why she was so upset. Granted, both of you should have consulted the other before inviting guests over, but if you’re not dumping all the work on her for your guests, what’s the issue?

          So in addition to helping the lovelorn, voraciously reading psych books, working full time and raising for kids, you also cook?  🙂      I like chocolate cake.

        9. KK

          “Then I’m not quite sure why she was so upset. Granted, both of you should have consulted the other before inviting guests over, but if you’re not dumping all the work on her for your guests, what’s the issue?”

          Same here, Emily.

        10. Jeremy

          Emily, chocolate cake is good, but I like pie.  First thing i learned to bake 🙂

        11. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          Emily, chocolate cake is good, but I like pie.  

          Chocolate pie?   🙂   Anything with fruit is a health food.   🙂

      2. 17.5.2
        Mrs Happy

        KK,

        my parents are also rigid and not open to new ways of thinking. I suspect this is part of the brain-aging process for many people. Higher order thinking and flexibiltiy of thinking just goes. It’s a shame, because these parents do not get to really know their adult children’s ideas and true position on issues.  When I’m with my parents I think it’s such a shame that they don’t actually know me.

        A spouse who isn’t old but has to be continually placated – yuck. That’s just really selfish.

        1. KK

          Mrs Happy,

          You’re probably right about older people’s thinking processes, but I hope you’re wrong. ☺ I really enjoy the relationship I have with my teenagers and I look forward to one day having more of a friendship / less of a parental role when they’re older.

  18. 18
    Marika

    For what it’s worth, Jeremy, I’ve never experienced this with a man:

    “So I did what husbands have been doing from time immemorial:  I apologized, let her have her way, and we returned to the usual domestic bliss – because even though I didn’t get my way, my life is better than when we were arguing”

    I think the first line got you into hot water. Traditionally, women have very often had to placate men, hookwink men to get them to do things etc. I think this ‘happy wife, happy life’ thing (which I personally have never seen play out), is a relatively new concept. That being said, if you were on a blog filled with happily married women married to emotionally available (a safer term than emotionally intelligent) men, you’d get a different reaction:). If husbands were all like this, I don’t think Evan would be so successful!

    1. 18.1
      Jeremy

      Never said all husbands are like this. I said to ask happily married men. I agree with the rest of your post, though.

      1. 18.1.1
        Marika

        Sure, Jeremy. But you’ve said ‘happy wife, happy life’ or something similar at least three times on this thread. It’s doing you no favours amongst a group of women who’ve consistently experienced the opposite.

      2. 18.1.2
        K

        I’m curious if Evan feels this same way about his interactions with his wife?  Jeremy’s wife’s behavior in this story from his point of view reminds me of my behavior in my relationship in my 20s.  It’s why that bf eventually broke up with me.  I realized that the kind of guys I wanted to be with didn’t put up with it and the guys who did I didn’t want. Was this dynamic apparent when you dated your wife or did thus develop post marriage?  I’m curious.

        1. Evan Marc Katz

          K,

          My wife is a bit of a unicorn in terms of emotional maturity; that’s why she’s my wife. She’s not typical ANYTHING. What Jeremy describes is more than accurate – most relationships consist of at least one, and often, two, shortsighted, insecure, selfish people who have no idea how to successfully manage conflict. The fact that this article is about men doesn’t let women off the hook at ALL.

          E

        2. Jeremy

          I’ve discussed my occasional marital problems on this blog as an example for concepts that I hoped would help others.  But seeing the terms bandied around here, I wanted to make one thing clear: In spite of any arguments we’ve had I have always thought my marriage was worth saving because my wife is a wonderful person.  She is giving, generous, intelligent, beautiful, and has so many qualities that make me feel very lucky to be with her.  The situations where we argue are, thankfully, rare.  I am not a paragon of virtue, and if she were to post here, I’m sure she would not lack for stories of my foibles.  That is marriage.  That is a good marriage.  It’s not one where no conflict arises, but where people have the skills to manage it when it does.  And yes, there have been times when I’ve been the childish one and she the more mature one.  I could have told such a story, but what would the women here have learned from that?  They’ve already had their fill of immature men…

  19. 19
    Jeremy

    KK, I liked your example from your university days.  It seems that you and most of the others here disagree with me and believe my opinion to be based on confirmation bias.  I’m open to that possibility.  Truthfully, it doesn’t matter much whether “most” men or women are a certain way.  It matters how each of us is, and how each of our partners are.  And we should be vigilant to BE people of emotional intelligence, and should strive to find partners WITH emotional intelligence (and I am blessed to have a partner who has it most of the time, as I’d like to think I do most of the time, with exceptions).

     

    One final idea.  Much of our difference of opinion here might be due to different perceptions.  On the “my boyfriend expressed doubt” post, I had a conversation with Emily and told the story of my sister’s friend whose husband cheated on him.  I won’t retell it here (do check it out), but basically she stopped prioritizing him, he confronted her about it, and she told him (respectfully) that she would try to do better, but that he needed to realize that things change and that people grow up, and he should too.  She thought she WAS being sensitive to his perspective in the way she broached the subject and in her manner.  Her girlfriends agreed.  He thought she was blowing him off based on her unwillingness to change in any fundamental way, despite her flower language and internal feelings of guilt.  I agree with him.

     

    I think it is possible that we each look at this issue and see a different picture.  It behooves us to be cognizant that the picture can be seen both ways.

    1. 19.1
      KK

      Jeremy,

      I remember the ‘my boyfriend expressed doubt’ post. This might shock you, but I agree with your wife’s girlfriend. ☺ Her husband did the right thing by expressing his needs to his wife. His wife did the right thing by expressing her feelings to him. But then instead of having a follow up conversation with his wife (which he should have done), he made a very selfish, unilateral decision which hurt everyone involved. Big mistake, in my opinion. Not to mention, childish. He could’ve handled it like an adult. Even if he had said, look, I’m not happy. I’m done with this marriage, it would have put the ball back in her court, so to speak, so that she could have either said, okay OR more likely taken his needs seriously and gotten back on the same page.

      “I think it is possible that we each look at this issue and see a different picture.  It behooves us to be cognizant that the picture can be seen both ways”.

      Agreed! ☺

       

      1. 19.1.1
        KK

        Sorry Jeremy,

        I meant to say that I agree with your sister’s girlfriends.

      2. 19.1.2
        Jeremy

        Of course I agree that his cheating on her was not the right response.  He took a bad situation and made it worse, no doubt of that.  But here’s the thing – it absolutely DOESN’T shock me that you agree with the girlfriends, being a woman yourself.  That’s kind of my point.  If you (and they) see my sister’s friend’s way of reacting to her husband’s complaint as “mature”, as “honouring his opinion” then that explains why men and women don’t agree on this topic.  All the flowery language in the world won’t change the fact that your wife prioritizes you less than her Facebook account.  Content and context…..if you are dealing with women who tend to prize context more, the language matters.  If you’re dealing with men who tend to prize content, what matters is what you say (or more importantly what you do), not how you say it.

    2. 19.2
      Nissa

      Thank you Jeremy for this explanation. I found it insightful. I think that happened in my relationship as well, where I thought I was fully expressing what I was willing to do, respectfully but it was processed by my ex as a ‘blow off’ because I couldn’t do it his way.  That helps me make better sense of his reactions to things.

      Although it also makes me sad to think that, it also seems to mean that I can only do what my spouse wants me to do, as anything other than that is ‘wrong’. I’m not saying you do that, Jeremy, or that ALL men do, but it seems that if that dynamic is present, it severely limits options that other than ‘do it my way’.

      1. 19.2.1
        Jeremy

        Nissa, I just came across this post and wanted to respond to you, even though I know you posted a while ago.  You wrote, “it also seems to mean that I can only do what my spouse wants me to do, as anything other than that is ‘wrong’.”

         

        I don’t agree with this.  I think that most men will believe that compromise is necessary when opinions differ – at least, good men will.  The question is, what does it mean to compromise?  Sometimes it will mean that neither person gets what they want, but the two will meet somewhere in the middle.  Sometimes it will mean that one person will give in this time and the other will return the favour next time.  Both of those types of compromise will work from the male perspective, I believe.  What won’t work, what isn’t compromise, is the notion that one person insists on doing things their way, but is really open to talking about it and hearing how the other person feels.  That isn’t compromise.  It isn’t honoring the opinion of your spouse.  It’s just fluff.

         

        I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again – boundaries don’t work well in established relationships.  If a woman needs boundaries for her own self-esteem, that is one thing.  But you’ve got to be careful about where you place those boundaries because if they go up in an area where your partner needs you to compromise, maintaining them will not be helpful to your relationship.  So the question then will be – do you want to compromise or do you want to end the relationship.  But don’t be under any illusions of what compromise does or does not mean.  That’s all I’m saying.

  20. 20
    Theodora

    A lot of people talk about “emotional intelligence”, but I’ve rarely seen a definition of what it actually means. For me, EI is the ability to master, control and channel your emotions in productive ways, as well as the ability to understand the emotions of the people around you, where they come from and how to manage to navigate through them with minimum possible conflict (the best possible outcome being to make them see and accept your side of the argument).

    One thing I can say is that I met few people who had a high degree of emotional intelligence according to this definition. Another thing is that these people were rarely, if ever,  kind, generous or selfless in their social and personal interactions. They were usually brilliant manipulators, pretty cynical about humanity and human nature and ruthless in achieving their goals (because understanding and mastering the messiness of human emotions is a rare skill  that leads to great social advantages, but also to world-weariness and cynicism).

    The definition of EI used in statements like “only 35% of men have emotional intelligence” is usually venting, emoting, talking endlessly for the sake of “communicating” and whining to inspire pity and to make people to “validate your emotions”. Far from being emotional intelligence, I would call it emotional stupidity and immaturity. Emoting is emotional stupidity at its highest. The truly emotional intelligent are the stoics and the resolute, not the hypersensitive and the whiners. Because mastering and controling your emotions takes effort, self-awareness and intelligence, while venting and emoting is the easiest way – any moron can do it.

     

    1. 20.1
      Sylvana

      I’d have to agree with you, Theodora.

  21. 21
    Jeremy

    Marika, you wrote, “This particular article is directed to the type of man you aren’t but many of us have dealt with. It’s not about you. Maybe you don’t need to be so passionately involved in this discussion?”

     

    That’s fair, so this will be my last post on this topic.  A while back on another post, YAG made the assertion that men don’t come to love women until women have sex with them.  I responded at that time that of course men can love women before they have sex with them.  And the reason I was so passionate about making that claim was because if women come to believe that men arrive at love through sex, their logical course of action would be to try to have sex with a man to get him to love her.  And this will lead to heartbreak.  It isn’t that some men aren’t like YAG, but rather the actions resulting from this assumption will be harmful.

     

    Back to this topic – I KNOW that you and others here have had terrible experiences with men who lack EI.  I’m not minimizing that for an instant.  But if we assume that marital conflict is most often due to the man’s lack of compromise, it will lead (via availability bias) to the notion that each time an argument occurs, it is the man’s fault for not giving in.  It will also lead to the bias that because the woman believes she is honoring the man’s opinions, she is expressing it in a way that is meaningful to him.  That would not be good advice for women seeking relationship improvements.  Better advice would be:  Before engaging, consider whether the time and circumstances are optimal.  Consider whether you are actually taking his opinion into consideration, or are just standing on your prerogatives politely.  And the advice for men would be: check your ego, realize that withdrawal will not help you (so if you need to do it, explain it to her and set a time limit), and write down what your opinion is and how you feel, and then do an exercise in perspective taking by writing down what you think her opinion is and why she believes it.

    1. 21.1
      Adrian

      Hi Jeremy,

      You stated, “…this will be my last post on this topic.

      I just want you to know that I have followed this post all the way through and only because of my No debate rule did I not come to openly support you.

      I am not saying that you were 100% correct; I think many of the women here made some excellent points and the few men who did post (including/especially Evan) did nothing to help or just plainly sabotaged your points completely.

      BUT

      Though I agree with you tapping out of this debate logically-emotionally it saddens me.

      I will not say anything else on the matter because it is already taking extraordinary amount so self-control not to comment on Gottman’s statements, Evan’s statements, and some of the female commenters statements.

      So instead I would like to ask you something…

      …   …   …

      From reading your various post about your childhood, your relationship with your parents as a child, your adult life, and your romantic relationships I can kind of see you as an older (though smarter) version of myself; though you chose the field of academia and I chose to double major in science and business (Ha! Emily I bet you didn’t know that you’re not the only one with two bachelor’s degrees… and now with soon getting my masters I’ll be catching up with you (^_^).

      Anyway Jeremy I kind of see myself as a watered down version of you in many aspects especially when it comes to wanting to learn as much as I can about everything I can to better myself as well as simply for the love of understanding why everyone and thing do what they do. However, another of our most common shared traits is being a validation type personality and that is the subject of my question.

      In this debate I noticed (at least it seemed to me) that because of your desire to be liked you pulled a lot of punches and acquiesced or gave up a lot of hard won ground in this debate in the guise seeking peace or the middle ground but I think it was just so that you would not alienate the female commenters or lose their respe… admiration.

      Common Jeremy many of the female readers see you as a paragon of wisdom and understanding.

      I’m not saying I’m right I could be completely wrong that’s just how it looked to me. Nevertheless, I to have that problem as a validation person; I need to be liked. I want to say that in your position that I would not have backed down (and to be fair you single handedly debated every female commenter and a few males including the owner of the website alone) but I sadly realize that if it meant losing the level of praise, status, trust, and even somewhat reverent awe that you receive from many of the female commenters that I too would pull back.

      So taking yourself out of the equation (in case you disagree with everything I’ve said or and I apologize if you feel like I am insulting you…) what advice do you have for a validation person who has to tell someone things about themselves that are not good, knowing that it could lead to them not liking you as much or at all anymore?

      An additional sub question would be: As a man I find myself (I can’t speak for other) often in quandary when it comes to “balancing” my level of “action” in response to my emotional intelligence with women.

      What I mean is too little action in response to emotional intelligence for the feelings of a woman and you are seen as uncaring, unsupportive, selfish, etc. Too much action in response to emotional intelligence and you are seen as beta, soft, metro-sexual, more feminine, not masculine, etc.

      A good example of this is the post where I asked the men who felt that courting hurt men and benefited women to explain the reason they felt it hurt men. A few comments before my question I stated that I only had one long term partner and therefore I have only been sexually intimate with one person in my life, and I stated that I don’t have sex with, kiss, hold hands, etc with women that I don’t have a desire to date especially when I know that my doing any of those will result in her becoming emotionally attached to me because I don’t like playing with anyone’s heart.

      Anyway the following comments somehow degenerated into how I am afraid to kiss women and that is a turn off, that I just tell every new woman I date that I have only had sex with one woman and that is a turn off while YAG’s stoic sexual attitude is what I should follow because women find it sex. Heck! Even the very observant Tom10 asked me about my fingers size and if it was short because I probably lacked testosterone.

      My point and question is how do you as a man find that balance where you can still be perceived as masculine in the eyes of a woman while at the same time showing that you do have the emotional intelligence to understand how she feels and even show empathy through your actions for her feelings?

      1. 21.1.1
        Jeremy

        Thoughtful questions on a Monday morning, my friend.  I’ll give you my answer for whatever it might be worth to you:

         

        Years ago, when I was a university student, I got into a debate with another student about the nature of free will.  I was pretty enthusiastic about the debate, and eager to “win” my point, and so I threw everything I had at the other guy.  And when we were done and I had thoroughly trounced him, he looked up at me miserably and said, “you know, I’m not stupid.”  I was taken aback.  “Of course I know you’re not stupid,” I replied, “We were just having a debate.”  “It didn’t seem like that to me,” he replied, “It seemed like you were telling me I was wrong and dumb.”

         

        I realized at that point that although I had won the debate, I had lost it in a more meaningful way.  I proved a point and lost a friend.  I convinced myself I was right, and convinced another person that he was stupid or that I was conceited.  He forgot what we were arguing about almost immediately, but remembered how I made him feel for years later.

         

        What is our goal in communication?  Do we seek to win, or do we seek to reach accord?  Do we seek to demonstrate our prowess or demonstrate our empathy?  Sometimes you gotta let someone else win in order for your own victories to mean anything – otherwise instead of being smart, you’ll just be a smart ass.  That’s not just how others will see you, it’s what you’ll be – because you lost sight of what your point should have been – communication.

         

        I give not a single fuck about being seen as Beta, womanish, or metrosexual.  And ultimately, someone’s gonna accuse me of being selfish/conceited/biased too.  The minute I start caring too much about how others see me is the minute I let myself be controlled by their opinion.  I should be controlled primarily by MY opinion.  But that doesn’t mean that the opinions of others shouldn’t temper my actions, in light of my goals.  And it shouldn’t close me to the possibility that I might be wrong.

         

        I realize this response is abstract, but it should serve your purposes.

        1. Adrian

          Sight (-_-)… Hi Jeremy,

          Or course you are right; the goal should be winning the war not every single battle and as Abraham Lincoln is quoted saying “turning an enemy into a friend is how you defeat an enemy.”

          And again you are right; my goal here is to learn to communicate with women better, learn to understand them, and to ultimately better myself… attacking, alienating, or shoving it in the face of women that they are wrong about something would not accomplish any of that.

          …   …   …

          I think what really set me off in this post was when Evan stated,

          “You ever wonder why I tell women to be the CEO and treat men like interns? That’s why. 65% of guys are incapable of being good partners.”

          I have read almost everything Evan’s printed and most of his television, radio, and podcast interviews and I have NEVER heard him refer to any percentage of women as being “incapable” of being a good partner, nor have I ever heard him tell men to treat women as a inferior or subordinate; and he definitely never said almost 3/4th of all women would just be bad to date.

          Yet when he does tell women they need to change something he always has the caveat of “and if a man isn’t doing the same or making you feel valued dump him!” But how does a man come back from “You need to change; she is the CEO because you are incapable of being a good partner… because it’s backed by science!”

          That just goes deep on so many levels of prejudice and sexism; it would take up an entire page just writing about the consequences of such a statement that is read by millions of women and that is supposedly backed by science! Lana’s comment # 4 litterally made me cringe!

           

          Jeremy you are in Academia so you know about the history of eugenics; how it was a very highly held belief here in the States and it was even in textbooks; it was literally taught in schools here in America and promoted as being scientifically proven-the number of forced sterilizations here in America (as well as the tuskegee experiments and the eventual justification for the Nazi internment camps) are all a result of that so called science is staggering. All the great mind of the time believed in it and promoted it as scientific fact.

          Okay that is an extreme and deep dark rabbit hole but the point is that whenever we say that science proves that one race or gender is inferior to another I personally think it is dangerous thinking and an evil thing.

           

          So of course when you said in the comments that “Hey! Both sexes lack emotional intelligence, one sex doesn’t own the monopoly when it comes to being a good partner in the relationship; there are just as many women who value their feelings over the feelings of their men JUST as there are men who do it to their women…”

          Or when you said that “many women think they are showing emotional intelligence toward their men but they are not, though of course they think they are right and the men are wrong BUT there is NO right or wrong just DIFFERENT ways of handling emotional issues and they both need to understand how the other sex handles emotional conflict”

          The push back you received from such benign reasoning just stunned me.

          As individuals we men can be exceedingly selfish emotionally and be very bad partners of course! But to see that women truly believe that almost three-fourth of all men are wired to be bad partners naturally and it is supposedly backed by Gottman’s scientific research and promoted by Evan is saddening.

        2. Jeremy

          Adrian, in my profession there is a concept called “over-correction.”  This is the idea that once you correct something, that something will tend to regress back to the mean.  So if you hope for any stability, you have to over-do it a bit, so that when things start to regress you don’t lose all your correction.  I think that’s what Evan is trying to do with the CEO thing.

           

          You basically have a group of women who tend to be overly empathetic.  Once they decide they like a guy, they’ll give him almost any benefit of the doubt no matter how heinous his actions, in the hope of a relationship.  If all Evan said was to be more careful, the regression to the mean would still bring women to the point of insufficient boundaries for their own emotional health.  Hence the CEO analogy which, if taken totally literally, I’d agree was not a good thing.  The eugenics thing is a total exaggeration, and I’m sure Evan would be both horrified and frustrated if someone understood his advice in that light.  You see it that way because you fear it might be applied that way…

           

          Guys like you and me, who ALSO tend to be overly empathetic, have a hard time with this because we already feel judged by women.  Most guys don’t, though, especially not the ones who are in high demand by women.  Guys like us should also follow the advice to be the CEO of our own love life.

           

          BTW, I am a practicing clinician, not an academic, though I am affiliated with my local university and teach there half a day per week at the post-graduate level.  One of the many things I teach is research analysis.  Which is why I get frustrated when I hear the question, “what difference does the methodology make?”

        3. Alex

          @Adrian

          I understand you’re fears here, but I second Jeremy’s response. Also, we have to remember, this blog is not for men and the vast majority of readers are women. If Evan were addressing men, I don’t think he would say a majority of them just suck no matter what they do.

          In fact, I don’t think he’s saying 65% of men are constitutionally incapable of being good partners, simply that 65% of men will probably never put in the effort to learn how to be a good one. A lot of women are probably in this boat as well, we just happen to be talking about men here. This fits in nicely with his “pick better partners” advice. Men can choose better partners as well, but they aren’t reading this blog.

          As Jeremy said, over-correction is important. It’s so easy as a woman in dating to feel terribly for breaking up with crappy partners, because it seems that’s all there is out there. The pressure to find someone and settle down is enormous sometimes. It’s very encouraging to hear that, at least some of the time, there’s nothing to learn from a bad relationships. There are lots of bad partners out there and it’s not your fault (as a woman) for not toughing out a bad relationship for the sake of having a relationship.

          Please don’t take this post as an indictment of men as a whole. The point is only that, in the context of dating, a high proportion will be bad at connecting with women. I don’t think this is your problem.

      2. 21.1.2
        Marika

        Adrian

        I know the post you’re referring to and I felt for you. The guys who weighed in were nasty as were the women who said your sexual history was a turn off. I hope you also recall, I said the opposite, so please know we don’t all think that way.

        In regard to Jeremy , there was no similar person attack. Some people said less than pleasant things about his wife, but honestly, that was prompted by him making her out to be an illogical and emotive in arguments, and from him saying he typically has to be the one to apologize and acquiesce. Which I’m sure is only half the story.

        Jeremy, if you debate points so that we don’t take articles and people’s words  (like YAGs) as gospel, then run off and act on them, don’t worry, we don’t. In fact, this article balances out the majority of Evan’s advice telling us ladies what we could do better in relationships.

        Adrian if you felt you were holding back on this post, imagine being a woman, reading most posts and all the negative comments written on here by men about us! This is nuthin, kids!!

        1. Jeremy

          My worry is not about women taking YAG’s posts as gospel, Marika.  My worry is about confirmation and availability biases.  That worry is justified.

          How many women found it easy to believe that women take men’s opinions into account when arguing and do so naturally?  Might that be due, in part, to hearing over and over about women’s emotional intelligence and men’s lack thereof?  Every woman who, when arguing with her man, tells him to “grow up” because he doesn’t agree with her is making this mistake.  Men who withdraw are sabotaging their relationships.  Women who assume the moral superiority of their positions do the same.  No one talks about the latter.  So no one assumes it’s a problem.

        2. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          Every woman who, when arguing with her man, tells him to “grow up” because he doesn’t agree with her is making this mistake.  Men who withdraw are sabotaging their relationships.  Women who assume the moral superiority of their positions do the same.  No one talks about the latter.  So no one assumes it’s a problem.

          Telling someone to grow up is bitchy, but do you think maybe that sometimes women take a more authoritarian role because … somebody has to. I watched this with a friend of mine and her husband. She would literally list out all the options for him (and I mean with something as simple as where they would go for dinner) and he would just sit there blankly. She was trying to get his input. And years from now he may complain that she made all the decisions but part of it was she had to because he couldn’t.

        3. Adrian

          Hi Marika,

          Of course I remember you were different on that post! (^_^)

          Lately I have been commenting on this site less and less partly because of my busy schedule (school: going after my masters degree and work: very big promotion and position in the company, plus trying to make new friends and create a social life in a new city: moved here to take the new position in the company) but also to keep myself from succumbing to blog jadedness.

          So I have been reading all the comments from the past various post when they come to my email. Through reading and not commenting I have really really learned a lot about many of the regular commenters (was so shocked when Emily admitted that she is introverted); and I have especially come to love your personality (I can finally tell the difference between you and Malika (>’-‘)>…).

          As much as I love most of the other female commenters I never feel I could have a deep connection with them because they are so much more experienced and wiser when it comes to life, dating, relationships, and knowing what they want; I would feel like a kid around them even though I am 31 years old.

          … Though I must admit I am sooo in LOVE with GoWithTheFlow! She is my EMK blog crush! Her brain is just so juicy!… If I were a zombie her brain would be my big mac amoung happy meals!… though lately Jeremy’s brain has been looking pretty tasty (^_^)…

           

          But seriously with you I feel that we would be equals (I hope that you don’t find that insulting); you know that someone you could just talk to for hours about any and everything, be completely open about yourself without fear of judgment or rejection-a soul like yourself who doesn’t have it all figured out. Our dating backgrounds, beliefs, goals, and values when it comes to relationships are just so similar-Heck! Even how we interact on this blog and with other commenters is similar.

          This is also why it was/is so hard for me to remain silent when you spoke/speak about your new boyfriend, because I can see his red flags all the way over here in the U.S.

          So unfortunately I think you are like me in the bad ways also; being too nice, too understanding, and too forgiving when you should just cut the person loose (I’ve been getting lectured all week from various people about how I need to stop hurting myself to help others who don’t want to help themselves).

          Either way I’m still coming to Australia in December so tell that guy he had better find his rhythm quick or I’ll ask you to dance with me next! (^_^)

           

          Marika I say all this to show that you are one of the few commenters whose word I would take without question so when you say that a lot of what Evan says to women is painful to swallow I will believe that without doubt and try even harder to understand women’s’ viewpoints in the future.

          Because honestly in the past I always considered 99% of the things Evan said women had to do to be a good partner to men as something that a good man had to do naturally as well to be a good partner to women but from your statement I am obviously missing something or at the very least only looking at things from a male centric point of view.

          As far as the nasty, mean, or negative comments by many of the men on this blog just know that many men did not like or agree with those statements as well. But I honestly believe that most of the commenters (male and female) don’t come here to learn but to teach, vent, or just because they are bored so challenging most of the asinine statements would be telling a fish that he is wet… useless.

        4. Adrian

          Oh and Marika your explanation of how foreigners view Americans, how Americans view Americans, and the whole accent thing was so beautiful.

          I haven’t had an “Ah Ha’ moment like that in a long time; it just help explain so many things the European women use to say to me that I never could see when I lived in Europe briefly when I was younger.

      3. 21.1.3
        Theodora

        Evan’s point (if I understand it correctly, but I might be wrong) is not that 65% of men are horrible partners. The point is that some (many?) of the 35% of men who can fully meet women’s emotional needs are not necessarily the best on paper partners when it comes to meeting other women’s standards. Many of them are not tall, good-looking, high earners, confident, smooth talkers, socially skilled, alpha men. On the contrary.

        Well, it’s possible to meet a man with all these qualities who is also 100% emotionally available. That’s like the manosphere’s dream of the 18 yo hot virgin with the wisdom and sexual skills of a 40 yo. Possible on abstract, but unlikely.

        Evan also says that he has no illusions about what most women would choose between a good-on-paper partner and an emotionally pleasing man.

        Also, teaching good-on-paper men to be more emotionally pleasing is an exercise in futility. Why would they change their ways when they can get what they want the way they are?

         

      4. 21.1.4
        Nissa

        Adrian, I can only respond for myself, but perhaps this will help. When I was married, I never actually expected my husband to be my equal in emotional intelligence.  He was his own person – superior to me in some aspects and inferior in others. As I was more articulate and able to process my emotions, I took the lead in that aspect. What I often asked my husband was, “What do you need? What do you want? What, in your opinion, is the best way to make this better”.  I promise you, all I really needed was for him to answer those questions. It would have ok for him to say, “I don’t know right now, and I need X amount of time to think about it, but I’ll get back to you”. And then do it. My ex could sometimes get to the point where he could say “I’ll think about it” or “I’ll get back to you” but could not give a time frame, and mostly failed to bring up the point again.  When I asked, “What do you want?” he mostly answered, “I don’t know”.

        And that just killed it for me. I had no idea what to do with that. How was I supposed to honor his wants and needs if he wouldn’t tell me what they were….or even knew himself?  When he finally did come up with something, it was along the lines of “You need to change X so that I can be comfortable”. But once I had something to work with, I was able to assess whether or not I was willing to do it. Is it possible that he wouldn’t make his request because he knew it was unreasonable? Possibly. But I would argue that in order to have appropriate boundaries, both parties need to have a regular practice of asking for what they want in explicit terms. That kind of self awareness and confidence is sexy in both genders.

  22. 22
    Marika

    Jeremy said:

    Women who assume the moral superiority of their positions do the same.  No one talks about the latter.  So no one assumes it’s a problem.

    I’m not sure you’re following Evan’s work closely enough. Evan definitely tells women not to be morally superior. He definitely doesn’t tell women we are perfect and we have to change nothing about our communication styles.

    That is what is so perplexing about your passionate arguments on this topic. Firstly, this is not directed at men like you, and secondly, this is one rare post of Evan’s where the responsibility for change is placed on the man. Why does that offend you so very much in the context of a blog where most of the posts are about how women can be doing things better in relationships?

  23. 23
    Marika

    Jeremy & Adrian

    Let’s start with what we can agree on?

    A certain percentage of men (not saying I know the stats specifically) are what we could call ’emotionally unavailable’, hopefully a less offensive term that emotionally intelligent.

    You two are not in that percentage of men.

    Many of us ladies know the pain of dealing with an emotionally unavailable man, something neither of you can fully appreciate. It’s tough. Hopefully you can sympathise with that.

    So when we come upon such men, we can either a. avoid them, b. try to teach them, or c. (and this would be our preferred option) hope they are open to reading advice about how they may be able to be better partners. My MO has usually been b. and I’m open to doing that, but it hasn’t worked out well for me in the past.

    This post is for unavailable men and is gratifying to read for women who have dealt with them, been hurt by them, and have wasted years of time trying to communicate with them. I understand the wording is controversial, but if you can see it in that light, perhaps that will help.

    1. 23.1
      Theodora

      Emotionally unavailable men are a completely different breed from emotionally not so intelligent/unskilled men. Emotionally unavailable men never care about being taught or learning to please a particular woman because they don’t care too much about her anyway. Besides, the paradox is that emotionally unavailable men rarely have a shortage of willing partners, so they don’t see the necessity to learn how to be emotionally pleasing, because women line up for them anyway.

      Men like D_M above, who said that men should  be taught by women how to be “emotionally intelligent”, is the ideal beta partner, a man probably emotionally awkward, but esentially kind and with good intentions. Ironically but predictable, he was bashed by a couple of women for his honesty, when he was already placating women more than is necessary, in my opinion. He looked like a sinner confessing his sins (“I am an emotionally unintelligent man, so lead me to the right path, ye emotionally superior, flawless womenfolk!”), but the morally and emotionally superior priests decided that he has the original sin anyway, so redemption is not possible until he is born-again by embracing the faith (do your homework yourself!).

      If I was a man, I would certainly choose to be emotionally unavailable. Better results with minimum effort.

       

      1. 23.1.1
        Tron Swanson

        I feel like I’m emotionally unavailable and emotionally unintelligent (though I’d phrase the latter as “not having/caring about social skills”). That said, many women have accused me of being emotionally unavailable, but none have accused me of being emotionally unintelligent. That’s a lesser-known term, though.

        1. Alex

          @Tron Swanson

          Forgive me, but….aren’t you emotionally unavailable on purpose? I thought that was the point of MGTOW: to never engage in relationships?

           

          BTW, what are you hoping to get from this blog?

        2. Tron Swanson

          I was emotionally unavailable long before I gave up on relationships. To me, it’s a personality type, not a decision. I know a few “emotionally available” MGTOWs, so I don’t know if your definition really fits.

          As for what I’m getting from this blog: I read this site, and many others, in order to increase my understanding of humanity, and thus have a better chance of getting what I want.

        3. Alex

          @Tron Swanson

          “To me, it’s a personality type, not a decision.” – that’s interesting. I know I have been both emotionally available and unavailable in my life (also not by decision) but I don’t feel that either of these is part of my personality.

           

          So, what is it that you want?

    2. 23.2
      Tom10

      @ Marika #23
      “A certain percentage of men (not saying I know the stats specifically) are what we could call ’emotionally unavailable’, hopefully a less offensive term that emotionally intelligent.”
       
      I agree with Theodora #23 that emotionally unavailable men are totally different animals to low-emotional intelligence men.
       
      “So when we come upon such men, we can either a. avoid them, b. try to teach them, or c. (and this would be our preferred option) hope they are open to reading advice about how they may be able to be better partners. My MO has usually been b. and I’m open to doing that, but it hasn’t worked out well for me in the past.”
       
      Out of curiosity, when you come upon emotionally unavailable men why is c. [“hope they are open to reading advice about how they may be able to better partners”] your preferred option? Indeed, why is b [“try to teach them”] an option either.
       
       
      Surely when you come upon emotionally unavailable men your only real options (assuming a conventional emotionally committed relationship is your dating objective) are; a) avoid them, b) avoid them or c) avoid them? Lol.

      1. 23.2.1
        Theodora

        Because these non-commital emotionally unavailable men (usually men out of her league who are not that into her) are the most attractive and desirable partners.

        That’s why there is an abyss between what Evan said and some women understood.

        Evan: if you want men ready to completely fulfill your emotional needs, only 35% of them are willing to do so. Pay attention, in other aspects, they might not be the men with the alpha traits that you want

        What some women understood: Cool! So we can teach men with alpha traits about emotional intelligence or hope they would read advice about how to be better partners! Hooray!

        1. Callie

          It’s strange, you seem to disagree with what I said to D_M in another post and yet in this post support precisely my message: women seek out the 35%, which might mean they aren’t the typical alpha types indeed, and don’t waste precious time trying to teach men how to be better partners, especially not the kind of men who want you to do all the work to teach them and put in no proactive work to learn themselves.

        2. Theodora

          Or in other words, Tom10: if you ever read this guy John Gottman, would you read him for dating advice, or just with amused curiosity? Did he convince you to be more “emitionally intelligent” in your dating adventures?

        3. Marika

          Don’t answer for me, Theodora. You’ve got this wrong : “usually men out of her league who are not that into her”.

          You know nothing about me. Saying women are sometimes drawn to such men because of their ‘league’ is Pop Psychology 101. Humans are far more complex than that.

          I’m also using emotionally unavailable in order to lessen the offence taken to EI, so that a less debatey conversation can be had.

        4. Tom10

          @ Theodora
          “Or in other words, Tom10: if you ever read this guy John Gottman, would you read him for dating advice, or just with amused curiosity? Did he convince you to be more “emitionally intelligent” in your dating adventures?”
           
          I’d be unlikely to consider Gottman for dating advice as his perspective and viewpoints don’t really suit my personality-type.
           
          I think Gottman’s overall central premise is fundamentally flawed as, in my opinion, he’s incorrectly equated natural biological imperatives with emotional intelligence. My opinion is that women, on balance, are more naturally drawn to relationships, compromise and resolving conflict than men, on balance, are (although many men get there eventually, in time).
           
          He bizarrely seems to equate a man “allowing his wife to influence him” with “emotionally intelligent” (the corollary being that men who don’t allow their wives to influence them are not emotionally intelligent).
           
          What Gottman considers are the 35% “emotionally intelligent” men I’d consider are the 35% “more naturally drawn to monogamous relationships” men. But he’s not gonna classify himself as anything other than “emotionally intelligent” is he?
           
          I know a few guys whose marriages are effectively a shambles, however, I’d still consider them emotionally intelligent guys as I’ve witnessed them in enough other environments (work, social, sporting) to see how they interact with and play people exactly how they want. In fact I’d consider their emotional intellect as razor-sharp – when it suits them. It’s just they’re not really naturally-monogamously-marriage-material, and when they do enter into ltrs it’s often with a struggle (Mr. Clinton springs to mind; razor-sharp when it comes to politics, managing people, human-interactions etc., but perhaps lacking when it comes to his marriage).
           
          A quick anecdote; I was recently consoling a female college-mate who is broken-hearted once again; strung-along by a guy for a few months who “couldn’t commit” or “didn’t know what he wanted” etc. Now, I’ve no doubt that she would possibly classify him as having low emotional intelligence because he was wishy-washy, commitment-phobic and couldn’t articulate what it was he was looking for before unceremoniously dumping her rather than try communicate the issues and work things out. However, the way I interpreted the situation was that he knew exactly what he wanted (a few months of sex with little investment), and got it, from her, with no cost to him. I.e. his emotional intelligence was razor-sharp, and it was hers that was lacking.
           
           
          Therefore, I think Gottman’s advice is better suited toward women to find relationships with the 35% of men, and/or for men in the 65% want to become more like then 35% (apologies for such a simple binary classification but it’s the way his premise was set-up).

        5. Evan Marc Katz

          That was a long dissertation about the semantics and definition of emotionally intelligent. For our purposes, all that matters is whether men are emotionally intelligent enough to be good partners. Donald Trump may be a genius at connecting with certain people; I would venture to guess he’s pretty miserable as a husband. You intentionally miss the point of Gottman…although I’m not sure what for.

        6. Tom10

          @ Evan
          “For our purposes, all that matters is whether men are emotionally intelligent enough to be good partners.”
           
          Good point. Noted.

        7. Sylvana

          That was very well put, Theodora. That seems to be exactly the problem.

      2. 23.2.2
        Jeremy

        Agree with Tom.  My brother is emotionally unintelligent – a result of genetics, temperament, and being spoiled his whole life.  Whenever a problem arises in life, it’s always someone else’s fault.  Give him a self-improvement book and he’ll either chuck it or peruse it and claim that the person “causing” the problem should read it.  I think that options b and c are only options if the man in question can admit that he might be wrong and be willing to perspective-take.  I often wonder whether, if I had grown up getting what I wanted most of the time I’d have ever developed the ability to perspective-take.  What would the impetus have been?

        1. Marika

          Jeremy, so your brother doesn’t deserve love?

        2. Jeremy

          What does it mean to “deserve love?”  The intention of my statement was that he makes a bad relationship partner.  What each of us deserves is hardly relevant.

        3. Jeremy

          Having said that, I do know what you mean.  Despite the fact that I know my brother is a terrible partner to his wife, I worry about him.  I try to nudge him in various ways to improve….and I can be pretty crafty.  Got him into therapy (only took 5 years and several failed attempts until I found the right psychological lever for that job).  Brokered some level of peace between him and his wife.  May not last.  Because, deep down, whether or not he “deserves” love, I’d like him to have it – to love and be loved, to experience what it can be like to let the anger go.  Sometimes helping a person like that can be very rewarding as well as frustrating, as I know that you know.

      3. 23.2.3
        Emily, the original

        Tom10,

        Surely when you come upon emotionally unavailable men your only real options (assuming a conventional emotionally committed relationship is your dating objective) are; a) avoid them, b) avoid them or c) avoid them? Lol.

        Unless they’re a 9, right Mr. Tom?   🙂

        Theodora sums it up well:
        The point is that some (many?) of the 35% of men who can fully meet women’s emotional needs are not necessarily the best on paper partners when it comes to meeting other women’s standards. Many of them are not tall, good-looking, high earners, confident, smooth talkers, socially skilled, alpha men. On the contrary.
        Well, it’s possible to meet a man with all these qualities who is also 100% emotionally available. Possible on abstract, but unlikely.
        You can’t have everything.

        1. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original # 23.2.3
          “Unless they’re a 9, right Mr. Tom?  🙂 “
           
          Hahaha, touché Emily.
           
          Yes, if Mr Emotionally Unavailable meets a 9 or 10 then odds are, yes, surprise surprise, he’ll suddenly become Mr. Emotional Available.
           
          Well…for a while at least 😉

        2. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          Yes, if Mr Emotionally Unavailable meets a 9 or 10 then odds are, yes, surprise surprise, he’ll suddenly become Mr. Emotional Available.

          In your world, my friend. In your world   🙂

          Do you ever look at the engagement/wedding announcements in the New York Times? I do, and from what I’ve seen (and these couples are usually educated professionals), most people end up marrying someone with a comparable SMV.    Sometimes the couples even look alike. We marry ourselves!

        3. Tom10

          @ Emily, the original
          “In your world, my friend. In your world”
           
          Lol. 😉
           
          “Do you ever look at the engagement/wedding announcements in the New York Times?” 
           
          Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, Emily, I don’t.
           
          “most people end up marrying someone with a comparable SMV” 
           
          But I agree that, objectively, people generally marry those similar to themselves. You’d wonder why then, we make this dating game so difficult…

        4. Emily, the original

          Tom10,

          But I agree that, objectively, people generally marry those similar to themselves. You’d wonder why then, we make this dating game so difficult…

          All you have to do is want the people who want you. If people did that, every dating coach would be out of business. No more chasing the elusive unicorn.

      4. 23.2.4
        Marika

        Because I don’t think like a man, Tom 10 😉

        I’ve noticed you’re very black and white in these things. I envy that. It would make life easier.

        Also, you grew up in a Catholic family and don’t feel the need to put everyone else’s needs before yours??..

        1. Tom10

          @ Marika #23.2.4
          “Because I don’t think like a man”
           
          Ah.
           
          “Also, you grew up in a Catholic family and don’t feel the need to put everyone else’s needs before yours?”
           
          Well I was raised with two competing and, in my opinion, mutually exclusive value systems: reason-based education and faith-based religion. The former won out so I dropped all belief in the latter. Perhaps I threw the baby out with the bathwater though? 😉
           
          But point taken, perhaps there is value is seeing the good in people a bit more and giving the benefit of the doubt to emotionally-unavailable men.
           
          On balance, however, I thinking prioritizing your own needs, or being the CEO of your love-life, is a more effective dating technique.

  24. 24
    Marika

    Adrian

    Well, I’m very flattered, I have to say! Thanks for your kind words 🙂 To better explain, Evan’s advice sometimes irks some of us women who don’t find it easy to relate to men, or to be the easygoing, happy, relaxed, flexible people they want us to be. Sometimes dates feel as hard as job interviews trying to remember everything we are/aren’t supposed to talk about and focus on! As inappropriate as Stacy2 often was, I sometimes felt her pain. It’s like being told, everything you’ve achieved to date won’t help at all in the dating world, as far as men are concerned, you’d have been better off leaving school in year 10 and working on your social skills, easygoing-ness, cooking, etc etc., as that’s what’s most important to men. Of course, I exaggerate.

    He doesn’t say anything offensive, at all, it just sometimes all feels so hard…

    And then we read in pretty much every thread some comment about how our looks have a shelf life, Western women are emasculating she-beasts, men only want sex etc. etc. I sort of felt like men get it relatively easy on this blog, but to be fair, I can see how the intern thing would be frustrating. I’m sure if Evan were a coach for men, he’d make a similar comment to men about women? Everyone, IMO, should be the CEO of their own love life.

    Please don’t hold back about the red flags, though, I need that stuff pointed out to me. I married a guy who was pretty much painted in red and running a red flag shop, so honestly, give it to me straight. Well, straight-ish, I’m not the least sensitive person on earth 🙂

    I hear you on the blog jadedness. My rule is I don’t look at the blog (or any social media or similar) on Sundays. Clearly, though, I make up for it on Mondays. Hehe.

    In terms of Australia, I very much hope you enjoy your time here. It will be a hot one, the weekend before last it got to 30 (not sure what that is in Fahrenheit), and it was September! (Spring). So bring your sunnies (sunglasses), cossies (swimming costume), thongs (not those – the feet ones!!) and of course the zinc (thick sunscreen). December is a great time here, kids are on school holidays and there is that lightness and relaxed-ness in the air as it’s the end of the year, hot and a lot of people take leave and either get outside to enjoy some summer fun, or go away. I guess maybe like August in America? But with the added bonus of Christmas.

  25. 25
    Sylvana

    Adrian,

    I’ve read a few of your posts now, and feel like you are a very gentle, caring person with a heart of gold. I can also imagine that you are in a very hard spot, being a validation person, how you call it.

    No matter which way you swing, there will always be people who agree with you and people who don’t. In the end, all that matters is that you are a good person. If you are, always keep in mind that for all those who might not validate your stand on something, there are plenty more who would. Do not lose sight of who you are and what is important to you just to please others.

    Opinions vary so much from person to person that it is near impossible for you to find guidelines to your own behavior/course of action through validation from others. At some point, you’ll have to decide what is most important to you, yourself, then seek the validation of only those who will keep you on course.  Or, at least, weigh their opinion/validation/approval more heavily than that of those who disagree.

    I know … easier said than done.

    Also realize that a mind looking for validation/approval tends to consider everything as either right or wrong (If I do this, is that the right thing to do or the wrong thing to do). In a lot of cases, however, this does not apply. Let’s say you don’t like eating fish. You’re sitting at a restaurant with two other people. One loves eating fish, the other hates eating fish. Does that make either of them right or wrong? No, of course not. And the validation/approval brain is ready to implode. If you agree that you don’t like fish either, you obviously won’t get validation from the fish eater. If you let your own opinion matter less than that of others, you can lie and agree with the one who likes fish. But then you won’t get the validation of the person who also doesn’t like fish. Either way you swing, you lose. Although neither party is right or wrong. But if both people you are there with are good people, you would likely still gain both of their approval/validation by not lying.  So honesty (the moral/value) weighs much more heavily than your taste buds (opinion). In this case, what is  right or wrong is not whether you like the fish, but whether you lie about liking the fish. And whether you can accept the person who does like it.

    So my advice to you in order to feel a little more confidence is to seek validation/approval for being a good person, rather than less important things, such as opinions, experience, etc.

    Here are some examples from what you have said:

    As much as I love most of the other female commenters I never feel I could have a deep connection with them because they are so much more experienced and wiser when it comes to life, dating, relationships, and knowing what they want; I would feel like a kid around them even though I am 31 years old.

    You are selling yourself way short. Let’s say there’s a woman who is absolutely passionate about history, wants to see the world and all its wonders, visit archeological sites. Yet she never had the chance to do so (for whatever reasons). She meets a man who shares the same passion, but has already travelled the world, seen all those places, maybe even works in archeology. One is highly experienced, the other has only dreamed of it. Do you honestly think those two couldn’t feel a deep connection with each other?

    And you’re looking at your experience from only one view. You feel like you’re lacking. I’d say you have way less baggage than others. That can have quite a few advantages. The other thing you need to remember is that the only way we gained experience is by making a LOT of mistakes. So we’re not perfect by any means. Some learn by doing, others by observing. Just by reading this blog you’re gaining a lot of experience. Give yourself some credit. And, once more, you are putting too much emphasis on experience versus what kind of person you are. If you are kind, loyal, supportive, that makes you much better than a man with plenty of experience who is selfish and inconsiderate.

    what advice do you have for a validation person who has to tell someone things about themselves that are not good, knowing that it could lead to them not liking you as much or at all anymore?

    What did you do? Murder, rape, cheat, steal? Torture some small animal or child?

    Keep in mind, nobody is perfect. And definitely not as perfect as you think they are. So let me ask you something — Does this thing about you that you consider not good make you a bad person? If somebody told you the same thing about themselves, would you (without the influence of others) consider what they told you to make them an overall bad person? Not a flawed person (because we all have flaws), but a BAD person (abusers, rapists, people with no conscience, etc.)?

    If yes, you better be ready to prove you are no longer that person. If no, refer to the above.

    A person’s character (and resulting actions/opinions) is truly the only thing that can be judged as good or bad.

    I know you received a lot of negative responses when you admitted you’ve only had one sexual partner in life. I fail to see why that would make you any less of a great potential partner at all.

    Let me put it to you straight and honestly: A man can have had sex with a thousand women, and still not know how to pleasure one. No offense to any men here, but some men end up sleeping around a lot because no woman wants to have sex with them twice.

    Truth is, most women are not easy to please. So, once more, a man’s character is way more important than his experience. If he wants to learn how to please his partner, he will make a great partner in bed. If he’s selfish (or easily fooled), all the experience in the world isn’t going to save him. And every time a couple comes together, they both have to learn what the other likes.

    While there are some men who truly know what they’re doing, they are very, very far and few in between. And the only reason they are good is because they were willing to learn from a woman who was actually willing to teach. Not to mention that each woman is different. One might like one thing another one hates or isn’t comfortable with. Styles and preferences come in an endless variety. So no matter how much experience you have, you’ll still have to learn how to please each new partner.

    I honestly do not see how not sleeping around should be considered a flaw. Some woman who puts great value in that is going to love you for it. Just like I don’t consider the opposite a flaw (depending on the character of the person). And there are plenty of experienced women who wouldn’t mind either (we’ll have to teach most men how to please us personally anyway, just like we’ll have to learn what our partner prefers).

    Overall, find a way to focus more on receiving validation for what kind of person you are. That is what makes you good or bad. Nothing else.

     

  26. 27
    Marika

    Tom 10

    “On balance, however, I thinking prioritizing your own needs, or being the CEO of your love-life, is a more effective dating technique”

    Undoubtedly. That’s why I’m here.

    Tell you what, you teach me to be more cut & dried in dumping men who don’t step up and I’ll teach you to be less superficial 😊

    You talk about ‘leagues’ more so than anyone I’ve met. Have you really not yet experienced in your long & illustrous dating life that not all good looking people are confident daters who know their worth? Ireland must be less like Australia than I thought!

    1. 27.1
      Jeremy

      If a person craves validation from their relationship partner (as you know we both do), it is hard to be “confident” at dating.  Because we put our emotional eggs in the basket of the observer.  And we both know that we “shouldn’t,” but we do anyway.  So which is the better strategy – to tell ourselves not to do something we know we’ll do anyway, or to choose better onlookers who will be more willing to love us in the way we need to feel loved?  The strategy (IMHO) is not to tell ourselves not to need validation, but to have the ability to receive validation without feeling that we have to EARN it from someone who might otherwise be unwilling.

      Remember my daughter’s story.  BTW, a few weeks ago she approached me and instead of scratching my back and hoping for the best, she looked me in the eye and asked, “daddy, can you scratch my back?”  I was so proud of her.  And so ashamed of myself that a 5 year-old could do what I’ve not managed in all the many years of my life.

      1. 27.1.1
        Marika

        Yes, all very true, Jeremy.

        I’m exceedingly proud of your little girl!!

        I’m very close with my 6 year old nephew. He’s adorable and funny and good company. But I think the main reason I’m so besotted with him is how much I learn from him. For all his anxiety and insecurities, he never, ever has a problem telling me what he wants or needs. “I’m so angry at you!”, “Stop cuddling me”. That’s enough. No, I don’t want to do that. Etc etc And I love him all the more for it 😊

  27. 28
    Marika

    Tom 10

    This isn’t emotional intelligence: “see how they interact with and play people exactly how they want”

    Some of these guys you’re lauding as ’emotionally intelligent’ sound borderline sociopathic, using people (or at least women) as a means to an end.

    Also, you can’t fully appreciate John Gottman’s work from reading one brief article about one of the many concepts he discusses. Read his books then criticize him.

    I think in some respects you have thrown the baby out with the bathwater, drilling down complex concepts into black & white categories.

  28. 29
    Tom10

    @ Marika #28
    “This isn’t emotional intelligence…Some of these guys you’re lauding as ’emotionally intelligent’ sound borderline sociopathic”
     
    Hmm, actually on second thoughts it does a bit sociopathic; I just disagreed somewhat with Gottman’s explanation of why so many men are, admittedly, incapable of being good partners (I don’t think it’s related to emotional intelligence per se rather innately different biological programming). One thing I forgot though is that a key part of emotional intelligence is empathy with others rather than unilaterally manipulating emotions to achieve our own goals with no concern for others.
     
    And ultimately, as Evan pointed out, what actually matters here on this blog is learning to become more emotionally intelligent with the goal of becoming good partners.
     
    (I actually think I’m struggling a bit with some blog-jadedness at the moment Marika so I’m gonna take a break for a while, catch ya again 😉 ). 

    1. 29.1
      Marika

      Fair enough, Tom 10 and I hear you. I’m glad ScottH invented that term for us. It’s a good one to describe this first world problem of ours 🙂

      I’m a fan of John Gottman. I get how this particular article comes across, but he has some real gems. Not just for men, for all of us to relate better to each other in romantic relationships. When others were talking about ‘fair fighting’ and other things that only work in movies, he had some groundbreaking stuff about it doesn’t matter how you argue, how often you argue or even what you argue about, as long as you stay away from the 4 horseman of the apocalypse (contempt, criticism, defensiveness & stonewalling). Also that even in very happy marriages a lot of ‘issues’ never get resolved (e.g. Jeremy, his wife and the clean house thing) and that’s not relationship ending. Also having an ’emotional bank account’, 5 x (or some number, can’t remember) positive interactions for every negative interaction.

      Simple, helpful, realistic strategies to follow in romantic relationships, IMO. So it pains me that he’s copping so much flack when his stuff is really useful.

      Anyway, enough said. Enjoy the break.

      Evan, you’re creating a worldwide group of blog junkies, hope you realise. You better get that blog-jadedness support group off the ground 😉

      1. 29.1.1
        Jeremy

        Clean house thing got resolved long ago.  Hired a housekeeper.  80% of marital conflict resolved 🙂  I also like Gottman’s work, Marika.  His introduction of the notion of love languages gave couples an important tool to understand each other, and his work on predictors of divorce is also helpful.  His books were among the first I read when first researching the psychology of attraction/love, and while they were not the deepest or most comprehensive, they were very useful indeed, I agree.

         

        I hope things work out well for you, whether it works with this new guy or not.  It is hard for someone who is very emotionally aware to be with someone who is not – you feel like you’re doing all the heavy lifting yourself.  Sometimes that can be worth it, but only if everything else is really good.  Many years ago I was in a relationship with a woman I was crazy about, but we had so many compatibility issues that we argued all the time.  But when we weren’t low, we were very high indeed – and the highs were very addictive.  My mother gave me the following advice at that time – she said, “Jeremy, new relationships shouldn’t require a couples’ counsellor, that is for marriages.  A new relationship should be fun and easy.  If it’s not, things will only get worse.”

         

        She was right.

        1. Marika

          Thanks Jeremy. Your Mum’s a wise lady😊 Quick question, to clarify, though, that was pre-marriage, in your 20s she said that, correct? If you were to get divorced (as both my guy and I are) then get back out there, do you think any new relationship would be as easy as it was back then when you were younger with no baggage? I agree it shouldn’t be hard, but how realistic is it to expect people with money worries, ex-wives, job pressures etc etc to be light, fun, easy? Genuinely curious, as I would say the very small minority of guys I’ve met post divorce have the lightness & fun-ness of those I met in my 20s.

        2. Jeremy

          I think we might be talking about different types of “easiness.”  Sure, a man with a job, a mortgage, an ex-wife and kids, etc. has responsibilities and won’t have the lightness and flexibility of a 20-something university student.  But that isn’t what I’m talking about.  I’m talking about the relationship – the relationship should be easy.  It’s funny, I didn’t know what that meant until I met my wife.  With my previous girlfriends, there were always issues that came up – things that made compatibility difficult and arguments happen.  I just thought that was natural.

           

          I even remember after a huge fight with a previous girlfriend, when she was angry and wanted to break up, I told her this ridiculous rationalization (that I believed):  “When I was a child, the toy I wanted most in the world was a rock polisher.  It was basically a machine that you put rocks into with a bit of sandy grit, and the machine shakes the rocks for hours/days.  Rocks of low quality fall apart in the machine, but rocks of high quality become polished and turn into beautiful gemstones.  Our relationship is like a high-quality rock, and our argument is the polisher, and when we survive it we will be more beautiful still.”

           

          That story sounded good to me, and I believed it (she liked it too).  But it was bullshit.  Because if your relationship feels like it is shaking you around like a rock polisher, it is a shitty relationship.  When I first met my wife, we had smooth, easy conversation.  It wasn’t fiery sparks, it was mellow and comfortable.  I thought she was pretty and our conversation flowed.  We had similar values and lifestyle goals.  We simply did not have the compatibility issues that I had with my other girlfriends.  The relationship evolved naturally, like a growing tree which grows upward into more strength and beauty because that’s the natural way it grows.  Sure we occasionally argued and had some issues, but those issues (which I describe on this site, so you might think they are common) are RARE.

           

          We have 4 kids, a mortgage, full-time jobs, life stresses….and our relationship is EASY.  Not a rock polisher.

      2. 29.1.2
        ScottH

        I’m pretty sure that ScottH did not invent that term but he sure knows the meaning of it.

        1. Marika

          Really? Have been incorrectly crediting that to you for months!

  29. 30
    Marika

    Jeremy

    Thank you and I really want to understand this. I’m a deep person who’s been over a 100 first dates (actually probably closer to 200) in 3  1/2 years since my divorce. I want a relationship, not just to continually meet people & have shallow conversations. Yes, it’s wrong to push a relationship that’s not working and I do have a history of putting up with crap I shouldn’t, but where do you draw the line?

    Hopefully by prefacing it this way you’ll forgive me for what I’m about to say. Your comments, particularly on this post, as well as the issue that lead you to develop meta goals (for which I’m grateful, btw, as that’s really helped me understand myself and my relationships), do not to me paint a picture of a man happily enjoying an easy marriage, like, for instance, Evan. Unless I’ve missed something. Petty disagreements aside (fact of life), having to apologise for everything? Your partner withdrawing from sex? You having to do research to get her to re-prioritise you? None of that sounds easy to me. And why do you get so fired up about these things if your relationship is so easy? I’m confused…

    I’m honestly not trying to be judgemental, please know that. I don’t know you, your wife or your marriage. I’m just not wanting to keep going on more and more dates and never settling on a relationship, because a person is, for instance having a rough stint in their life, or needs cave time, or is a bit scarred from their ex-wife, or is struggling with child support, or whatever other very real thing I have and will continue to come across dating men between 35-45 (my preferred age range). My current guy is not ‘easy’ because of him, not because of us (or me). It may well not work out, but I can see that the next guy I date could very well have some similar stuff going on. Do I dump everyone who’s not easygoing? Or run as soon as things get tricky?

    I’ve now developed to a place where I’m a good date & a good partner, but, honestly, almost too good. M ost men don’t read Evan’s blog and haven’t done any kind of relationship work. In Sydney, most of them are rocking up to dates in t-shirts running 10 minutes late and being a bit distracted. What kind of standard can I realistically hold them up to? My current guy at the beginning was great, the most attentive date I’ve had in a long time, the most planned, generous and gentlemanly (opening doors, picking me up from my house, the whole lot). So I want to be really, really sure before breaking this off and getting back on the t-shirt bandwagon 🙂

    1. 30.1
      Mrs Happy

      Dear Marika @ 30,

      I’m answering Jeremy’s question too.

      1. Jeremy describes a normal, good, relatively easy marriage. Almost every married couple has disappointments about sexual frequency, and general fights, and a pattern where one person usually mostly apologises. Most women after 4 children (no TV available at night in your area Jeremy?) don’t prioritise their husbands at all.  Jeremy researched (therefore showing he is above 99%) and solved the problem most couples find no satisfactory solution to.

      2. When you meet someone you will click with, and have a good long-term relationship with, it’s just easy. I never knew easy during my 30’s until I met my now-husband, who in the midst of a whole lot of other suboptimal dates, was easy to be with, played no games, didn’t over-react including withdraw from life’s stressors, and was enjoyable to be with.

      3. Marika I have dated most of my life in Sydney, with a few stints elsewhere in Australia, New Zealand and the USA. Seriously unless we were meeting for the 1st time at Balmoral Beach in December, no date has shown up in a crumpled T-shirt. Either initially cull men better, or meet evenings at bars at Circular Quay or in the city – you work in the city, right?

      4. Holding the door open doesn’t matter anywhere near as much as being able to be present through the bad times.

      1. 30.1.1
        Marika

        Good points and well taken, Mrs Happy. Thank you.

        You’re right, I have no idea what easy is, so hopefully I know when I find it (and clearly, this isn’t it!).

        I’m exaggerating about the t-shirt thing, those guys are just the ones who stand out. But it is very common (IME), that they aren’t putting a particular amount of effort into their dress, organising a good date, coming up with interesting topics of conversation etc. Maybe my culling does need to be better. At one point there I was going on at least a date a week and only culling the guys who were clearly creepy/inappropriate on the phone.

        Were you online dating? How long ago? I honestly think the standards and effort have declined in the age of Tinder. Why be a thoughtful date when you can swipe right and have sex?

        I will take your points on board, though, and be on the lookout for easy (with an ironed shirt 🙂 )

      2. 30.1.2
        Stacy

        @Mrs Happy,

         

        Very good points.  I thank the good Lord that I have an emotionally intelligent, excellent communicator of a man in my life. And yes, it is EASY. I did not think easy was possible in a relationship but NOW I get it.  The media feeds us high energy, high stressed, high drama relationships that are dysfunctional to the core. So when that is all you see, that is sometimes all you expect.

        With my ex husband, there was always high anxiety because he was unpredictable. I thought it was love because there were so many highs and lows and it was like being on a rollercoaster…so very exciting and so very painful.  I did not know at the time that this is not normal. When I met my current, I almost didn’t know what to make of it.  And while there are sometimes disagreements etc., (very rare), I never feel anxious, never wonder where he is or who he has been with, never have to wait anxiously by the phone for his call, never have to guess about his infidelity, and he even cleans and cooks for me way more than I do for him.  What a treasure – to experience this divinity.

        I read somewhere where someone asked if it is worth it…when you’ve found it, it is SOOOOO worth it.  Trust me on this.

    2. 30.2
      Nissa

      My solution to that was to change the attire in all my online pictures. Since I’m not interested in T-shirt guys, all my pics are of me in Ralph Lauren / Calvin Klein dresses, or tops from Alfani, Anne Klein or Eliza J. It’s a visual representation that deliberately leaves out any T-shirt like clothing.

    3. 30.3
      Jeremy

      It’s what I wrote about at the end of the “My boyfriend expressed doubts” post – the “happily ever after fallacy.”  Conflict will arise in any relationship, and you can’t always predict whether it will happen or when.  But a relationship will never be as conflict-free as it is in the dating stage.  If a couple is constantly bickering in the dating stage, or if significant compatibility issues arise then, the couple should realize that things will only get worse.  The dating stage should be easy in terms of compatibility.

       

      Now marriage and kids, that’s another story.  No one ever said that was supposed to be easy.  But it can be made easier by minimizing the number of arguments by maximizing compatibility, and helping to resolve the arguments by being aware of common negative trends.  Men tend to go into their caves.  Women tend to believe their perspective is the mature one.  I’m not suggesting you dump a man because he needs to go into his cave, but rather observe how long he spends in there and what he’s like once he comes out.

       

      In terms of my own marriage, we did not experience the difficulties I’ve described until years into marriage with kids.  Our dating and early married lives were very easy indeed, compatibility-wise.  The problems we had were very typical – as Mrs. Happy writes – which does not make them any less serious.  Knowing then what I know now, I would not have chosen a different spouse (I chose very well, thankfully), but I would have known which problems to expect based on personality trends and how to resolve them with a knowledge of psychology and meta-goals.  It is the knowledge I hope to pass on here.

      1. 30.3.1
        Jeremy

        I was also thinking about what you wrote, Marika, about my being triggered by certain points of discussion.  I think you’re right that, in spite of my being happy in my marriage now, certain topics bring me back to my unhappy years and drudge up the old feelings of anger and frustration.  In particular, the notion of women’s opinion being more mature than men’s, or women being better at handling conflict.

         

        I think that if you ask most women they will tell you that they don’t believe their opinions to be more mature.  They will tell you that they value the opinion of their men and try to reach a compromise.  They will say it and believe it, yet many will not live it in practice.  When sex was an issue in my marriage, the most frustrating part wasn’t the lack of affection – it was the fact that my wife could/would not admit that there was a problem, in spite of my telling her over and over that there was.  I would explain how I felt, and her response was a combination of recrimination of all the things she does that I don’t appreciate and accusations of a lack of maturity that I couldn’t accept that this is just how things are for now.  The notion that I was miserable and she was happy, and that if only I could see things as she does, I should be happy too.  It is gaslighting in the most classic sense – yet in her mind I was the immature one, and she was the one trying to ‘compromise.” Years later, she was able to see the problem in a new light with a combination of my psych tactics and changes in our own circumstances, but that problem persisted for years.

         

        So that is why this particular topic triggers me so much.  Whether the women here agree with me or not, whether they can look into their own past and identify this behavior or not, I would advise them to be vigilant against it.  Because honouring the perspective of one’s partner does not mean being polite as you stand on your own prerogatives, nor does reaching a fair compromise mean that you get your way 9 times out of 10.  Sounds obvious, I know.

        1. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          When sex was an issue in my marriage, the most frustrating part wasn’t the lack of affection

          I hope you don’t mind me asking, but how does a man define a “sex issue”? I’m not being sarcastic; I’m just curious how a man defines it. It’s happening once a week? Or once a month? Or once every few months? Or when it does happen, the woman seems half-interested?

          I ask because I was talking with two girlfriends this weekend. One had just broken up with a man she’d been dating because he lived 90 minutes away and could only get together with her once a week due to his job. (For my friend, this was not a sex issue but a relationship issue, although if you’re only seeing each other once a week, you’re only having sex once a week.) However, my other friend and I both said we would have been ok with that arrangement.

        2. Jeremy

          Hi Emily.  The answer will vary from man to man, as you know.  The main thing to note is that a “sex issue” IS a relationship issue.  If sex is a person’s love language, then having a poor quality or quantity of sex is no different than having a lack of conversation for the person whose love language is words of affirmation.

          The ONLY difference is that while most people, men and women, will agree that a person who restricts conversation because he doesn’t want to talk is probably a selfish relationship partner, most people don’t feel that way about someone who declines sex.  A man who doesn’t want to talk because he’s busy in his man-cave is emotionally unintelligent.  But a woman who doesn’t want to have sex because she’s busy in her woman-cave (which is a different sort of cave, but functionally the same as far as her partner is concerned) is someone who needs her partner to compromise, to show his emotional intelligence.

        3. Emily, the original

          Jeremy,

          Thanks for answering.

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