A day doesn’t go by without someone asking us how they can get their spouse to talk about their emotional or physical affair, or open up about their feelings on why it happened, etc.
Typically, these questions come from females. Obviously, one reason I think this is so is because statistically men are more likely to have affairs than women, but also I think that for the most part, getting a woman to talk about her affair and her feelings with respect to that affair, would be a much easier task. You see, us men, just don’t like to talk—at least not about our feelings and such.
I guess it’s the old Mars and Venus thing, and I firmly believe that each gender does indeed communicate and interpret the spoken word in vastly different ways. Men clearly seem to have a much harder time expressing themselves as compared to women, and women tend to dissect the emotional reasons behind everything that is said.
When it comes to talking about feelings, scientists point out that the reason behind the difference is the Corpus Callosum, the part of the brain which connects the left and right brain hemisphere. Not to be scientific or anything, but apparently this part of the brain is larger in women than men.
The result is that women can think and feel at the same time – while men naturally separate their feelings from what they are thinking. I’m sure there are exceptions to this, but generally speaking, this is what is behind a man’s reluctance to talk about their feelings, whereas women can do so freely.
Author John Gray, who wrote “Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus,” says that when men feel stress, they cope by becoming increasingly withdrawn and focused, while women become increasingly overwhelmed and emotionally involved. A man feels better by solving problems, while a woman feels better by talking about them.
I know that if something is bothering me, or something is stressing me out (like my emotional affair), I become introspective and try to work my issues out in my own mind. This is counterintuitive to Linda’s way of talking through her stressful situations.
In the weeks that followed the discovery of my emotional affair (stress), I didn’t want to talk about it for a variety of reasons, namely shame, confusion and guilt. The fact that I didn’t want to talk about it, left Linda’s mind free to interpret my unspoken inner thoughts. And I can tell you that her interpretation was not always accurate and was often damaging to the household peace at the time.
She made many assumptions that caused her much inner turmoil, made me frustrated, and were the root of many of our arguments.
As I write this and think about the situation back then, her misinterpreted assumptions are probably one of the main factors that actually caused me to open up and talk more about my feelings and about my emotional affair.
Like a Martian, I wanted to set her straight. I wanted to solve a problem. I wanted to “fix” her interpretations by telling her how I was really feeling, and by answering her most pressing questions about the affair.
Naturally, since I’m a man, I didn’t do this all in one sitting, because I can’t think and feel at the same time for too long without become all confused, but the gist of it was that gradually I was able to open up more and more about my feelings and about the emotional affair.
By doing so, I’ve learned that opening up and talking about my feelings is not only therapeutic for me, but also makes Linda feel better, she’s more accepting and she’s more appreciative.