Fear Of The Female Unknown

A while back in the comments one of you said something about her husband being bold with men, so she doubted he was ever scared of her. (Paraphrasing)

The thing is, he understands men. Besides being one, he’s spent his life working and playing with men. He knows how they think and feel. He is able to read them well. He knows when pushing will get him what he wants and when it will backfire. No man is perfect at this, but most are good at it and leaders are very good at it.

Women, on the other hand, are the great unknown. She is the final frontier and he doesn’t have a starship! Aside from the fact he’s not a woman and has far less real-life experience with women than he has with men, women are a lot less homogeneous. I’m not saying all men are the same, but there are a few basic types with relatively few subtypes. For women, there are many types, each with seemingly endless subtypes. And subtypes of subtypes. Then there’s that whole funhouse ride called a menstrual cycle that means most women are not the same from one week to the next. (Or one day to the next, or one hour…)

The other part of this is women are naturally more intuitive and empathetic. Men tend to run more on learned patterns and signs and knowing how to deal with each. With the more limited range of male behaviour, this usually works well enough. With the wider range of female behaviour, it often ends badly.

None of this is meant as an attack on women. You’re what you are just as we men are what we are. If you understand the difference you have a better understanding of the challenges he faces in dealing with you. And that just might empower you to give him a hand or a hint.

~ Paul – I’m XY, and women confuse me!

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62 Comments on “Fear Of The Female Unknown

  1. Pretty sure I might’ve been the one that said that. My husband is so smart, and successfully runs several big jobs simultaneously, but cannot get the boldest hint from me? I get what you’re saying about men being different, but I don’t believe he misses my hints, I think he chooses to ignore them. I also strongly believe 100% that he cares far, far more about work than he does about me. You pay attention to what you care about.

    Here’s a perfect example. A new chain restaurant came to our area. Whenever we’d drive by I’d say something about it. “Oh look! I wonder if that place is any good.” “I’ve heard that restaurant is really good” “the Jones took their mother there for her birthday and they really enjoyed it.” “I think I’d enjoy trying that place someday” “My sister eats there often and her family enjoys it”

    After a couple years of never going to the restaurant, he has one of those work lecture meetings. Guess where it was?

    Me “where was your meeting?”
    Him “at that restaurant”
    Me “are you kidding me? I’ve wanted to go there forever. You won’t go there with me but you’ll go there with work?”
    Him “I didn’t pick the place. And I’ll take you anywhere you want to go. You’ve never said anything”
    Me – looking dumbfounded – “are you for real? I’ve said something every single time we’ve driven past it!”

    How did he miss that? I could not have been any clearer. He wants me to come right out and beg for special treatment like some kind of demanding woman who thinks she deserves whatever she wants. I’m not going to do that. If he PAID ATTENTION when I spoke, he’d know I wanted to try that restaurant.

    I’m trying. I’m trying to give him some slack and believe him when he says he loves me. But things like the example above make me feel like he’d much rather sound time at a special restaurant with a large group of men than with me. Then he acts like he feels badly that I feel that way. But if he actually cared, he would have paid attention and figured it out long before any of this happened.

    I’ve told him I’m learning to just accept my place and keep quiet about things, but then he gets really mad that I feel that way. I think MEN are way more confusing than women. To me, and yes I’m a woman, women say and do the obvious while men look at everything from a bizarre point of view. Must be that waffles/spaghetti thing.

    • B, “I get what you say about men being different”—I think you accept that Paul tells us men are different, but you do not accept that they actually are different. My husband & I have been married a very long time and I was exactly where you are on hints—surely if he cared, he would hear me and order that item I showed him, mentioned to him etc.—except his brain isn’t wired that way. It just isn’t! So now I send him links from Amazon and he can pick whichever so I’m “surprised” at which one and I get something I want. I honestly believe our men who run their own businesses or are managing business at a higher level are rarely capable of catching a hint. Not a slam on men at all—rather an acceptance of what business takes from them. Would you rather he bomb out at work, lose a big deal, etc because his mind is so divided or would it be better when you drive by that restaurant to say “honey, I would love to try that it on our next date, would you take me there”? I get his being frustrated at you not believing how much he loves you—you are discounting part of his essence—the part that is committed to you.
      I do (sometimes painfully) understand the work vs relationship battle, understanding that our men “do think differently” is part of winning the battle. They have their part as well, but Paul can address that another time…

    • From the comments you shared, you never told him clearly that you wanted to go there. You really only told him stories about other people having been there. I agree with Ann–why not try something like, “Hey, let’s go there Saturday night!”

    • I wouldn’t have picked up on that hint either, and would be completely baffled at why you are upset by it. I think you are being incredibly unfair to say “if he cared….” He can probably take you to task with that leading line as well. To him, if you want to go somewhere you say “Let’s go to this restaurant this weekend”, or when asked “where do you want to eat” instead of whatever, or you choose, say “Let’s try the new place”. Direct and to the point answer, do not hint at something.

    • Re: the restaurant — actually, B, you never once told him you wanted to go eat at that restaurant. You simply stated how good you heard it was, how so-in-so liked it, etc. Why not say, “Hey, let’s go eat there, I heard it was so good!”????
      I mean honestly, why not ask for what you want instead of hinting around and hoping he will just take you there. That’s where your disappointment comes from.
      And just because his company chose that place for their meeting doesn’t mean anything, your husband didn’t choose for the meeting to be held there, that’s just where they happened to go.

      Come on, B, give your husband a break. I mean the example you gave honestly only shows that you will not just come out and ask for what you want. You say it would come across as a demanding woman who thinks she deserves whatever she wants. Asking for what you want is not demanding unless you make it that way. Saying, “Hey hon, I’d love to go eat at that restaurant since I heard how good it was. Would you like to go?”, is not demanding, you’re speaking up and also giving your husband the chance to respond and actually have a dialog with you. I bet you anything, if you had worded it like that, instead of trying to give hints and let him make the decision, he would have be overjoyed and hopefully have said, “Yes, let’s go!”

      As long as you continue to hint around for what you want and hoping your husband will just magically do what you want and make you happy, you will continue to be let down. And your husband will continue to be confused too about why you are unhappy and yes, it probably will make him mad because you are continually unhappy and disappointed in him for not being able to make you happy.

      And as far as work, I guess we’d want our husbands to pay attention to their work, wouldn’t we? I mean there needs to be a balance of course, but their jobs are important and I don’t believe your husband’s job is more important to him, but honestly, if every time he comes home and his wife is so unhappy and disappointed with him, well…..

      Sorry B, but those are my thoughts. Speak up, ask for what you want, and stop playing games with your husband, for goodness sake, girlfriend! LOL
      Amy recently posted…Speak the truthMy Profile

    • I think I might know where B is on this, because I have been the same. I grew up thinking that if you were worth it enough, someone who cared would catch the hint, or be a fairy godmother of sorts. Kind of like the child staring hopefully through the toy store window at the coveted teddy bear, wishing and hoping for it, and grandma comes along, notices, and quietly makes the surprise purchase.

      I was taught that asking for yourself was being selfish and putting upon other people. You should wait until it is offered. This lesson was reinforced through some negative experiences.

      Fast forward to marriage and so many needs, wants, desires, and expectations fell by the wayside. I spent a lot of energy studying my husband to discover what he likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. I expected him to do the same. He grew up with, “speak now, or forever hold your peace.” So, he just assumed I was ok, or I would speak plainly. I thought that if I had any worth in his eyes he would know and do without me saying anything beyond hints.

      The Bible says to let your yays be yays and your nays be nays. It also says that you have not because you ask not. Speaking plainly.

      I recognize this, now with our children. They do this thing where they wistfully sigh and say, “I wish I had blah,” or “I really, reeeaallly like that.” Or they do the toy store stare. Or they pout at me and scratch their stomachs when hungry. I know what’s going on. I am their mother. I have dealt with their cues since birth. But, I find it annoying, so I am teaching them to speak plainly.

      I recently wanted to go out. I told hubby plainly that I did. He followed up with me later, and I plainly replied to the affirmative, but in order to make that happen, I needed xyz done at home. He pitched in, we got to go, and we had a lovely time.

      If there is a restaurant I want to try that hubby doesn’t, I go alone, or I treat a child, or my sister. But, I had to unlearn my childhood lessons and realize I have worth enough to ask and to do.

      • @Libl “I grew up thinking that if you were worth it enough, someone who cared would catch the hint”

        I get that, and I understand why it makes us feel special when we hint and get what we want. But when it’s not working in a marriage it’s time to do something different.

        Thanks for the clarity.
        Paul Byerly recently posted…What Needs to be Done vs My Job/Her JobMy Profile

    • @B – Maybe he misses your hints. Or maybe he thinks hints are childish and chooses to ignore him. A guy would either say he wants to try it or ask “do you want to try it?”

      I don’t know what he’s doing or why, but clearly what you’re doing isn’t working for you. You can keep doing the same thing and get the same frustration or you can try a new approach.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…What Needs to be Done vs My Job/Her JobMy Profile

    • Hey B. I’ve been reading a lot of your posts in the past year from you, and man, my heart breaks for you. I think about you a lot, and pray for you often.
      I’m gonna tell you a little story. On thanksgiving, my husband and i hosted dinner. I needed to have the turkey in the oven at 8am to be done when i needed it to be done. I didn’t get it in until 9:20. This brought up all sorts of negative emotions that i realized i needed to deal with. I told my husband i feel like no one cares about me and i have to take care of everything. My mom has never been good at taking care of me. I can’t count on her for anything and i revert back to a little girl when i think about it. See, my parents had me very young, and i always knew i was a mistake. I’ve known since i was 7 years old that my father gave my mother abortion money and i didn’t see him again until i was 10. I have only spoken to him 5times in the past 4 years.

      So, my point is, I’ve always felt worthless. I’ve literally felt like i should never been born. My entire family is toxic on top of everything else. I’ve realized i need a detox of sorts from my family. I have taken a step back and surrounded myself with people who love me and appreciate me for who i am. I no longer allow people to make off handed comments about me.

      I’ve read your posts in the past where your mother and sisters have made fun of you for being tall and blond. I really suggest you take a step back from any one who makes you feel worthless. Start fresh if you have to. Meet new people. Take a class. Maybe get a part time job.

      But it’s ok to take care if yourself and part of that is thinking you are worthy. God thinks you’re beautiful. My friend suggested i take note cards and write “I AM” statements on them. They don’t even have to necessarily be true, just something you aspire to. One of mine was i am good with money lol.
      This post is already really long, so I’ll try to wrap up. My point is, every one deserves to be cared for, and sometimes we have to be the ones who make it happen.

      • Hi Molly, thank you so much for your helpful comment. I’m sorry for your pain. I guess I never think about how much the past effects us. My parents both had to work, and my school bus came last. So at six years old I had to get up on time, get dressed, lock the house and get to the bus on time. And look out if I made a mistake like missing the bus or forgetting to lock the door. I’d get in BIG trouble. It made me responsible, but it also made me incredibly worried about not being an inconvenience.

        My parents never told me I was a mistake, but my oldest sister sure did. Every day. She still does. At 40 I should be over it by now, but I guess those feelings of worthlessness are still there somewhere. I’m born near Christmas and EVERY year near my birthday my sister reminds me and anyone who will listen how I ruined Christmas forever by being born. It’s annoying. (This year she added Thanksgiving to the list of things I’ve ruined for her. Now that my niece is 20, she does it, too.)
        We don’t really celebrate my birthday, I think because my now family knows it was never a good experience. I wouldn’t be sad if maybe my husband and kids celebrated with me, but being as they are all male, they’re not going to figure that out. And really, that would be a very difficult thing to ask for. I mean, are you really any special if you have to ask people to treat you that way? It’s a hard thing for me, for sure. I just focus on the joy of my sons’ birthdays and I try to make my husband’s birthday special. I like seeing them happy, so that makes it a little better. But yes I’d be lying if I said I’ve never wished for a cake or a gift – without asking. 😊 When my oldest son was six years old, he insisted my husband help him bake a cake for me. I cling to that memory. It was the best birthday I’ve ever had. No one has ever thought of me in such a special way before or since.

        I also have a vivid memory of the one time I asked my grandmother if I could sleep over her house. She said yes and was happy to have me. But I got in heaps of trouble. I guess I was about eight. My dad was so angry. He couldn’t believe how bold I had been and how I imposed myself upon my grandmother. I was yelled at quite a bit for that one and told repeatedly that you NEVER ask for things, you wait, and if people want you they will ask you. You also never ask for gifts, you just accept what you are given and never, ever expect anything.

        I like your idea of writing “I am…” things. I have a REALLY hard time with saying or thinking things like that because it feels so wrong, so self centered. But your example of “I am good with money” – I could try starting small with something like that, since it’s not really boasting.

        Thanks again for the conversation. It helps!

        • My sister had this crazy idea that if her kids ask her for something, she doesn’t want to get it for them just because.they asked for it. Like, my niece asked her other aunt if she could go to a concert with her, and my sister doesn’t think she should go. My sister feels like my niece is being too forward, and also presumptuous in asking her aunt. She also thinks it ruins the surprise. I think it’s fine if she asks because she’s letting people know what would make her happy.

          I had a talk with my sister about it because i feel like this is a throw back to our family.

          I think you should tell your husband about your birthday memory. He probably doesn’t want to upset you by celebrating your birthday. Honestly, i would take it so far as to not celebrate Christmas with your extended family.

          I’m sorry, but your family is wrong. It’s ok to ask for presents. Its ok to expect a birthday cake on your birthday. Did you have a birthday cake last year? I think you need to Take a break from your family. They are toxic, from what i hear.

          My husband is very sweet, but he is very bad at planning anything. He didn’t even help plan our wedding. I planned my own 30th birthday party. For real. I mostly planned my baby shower. My family is just not into celebrating anything. We have parties for all my kids and they help plan because i want them to be able to plan a party when they’re grown.

          I think you can tell your husband you want something with out being a nag. Its ok to be forward. Maybe this year, stay home for Christmas and take your husband and kids out to your favorite restaurant for your own birthday. I’m sure your boys would love to celebrate with you. And But yourself something for your own birthday that you’ve always wanted.

          Your sons are going to grow up and get married. It would be good for them to have a good model of how a husband buys presents for his wife and celebrates her birthday.

        • B, I’m so sorry you grew up in such a destructive household like you did and are still dealing with it. Honestly, it was and is abusive. The way your sister and niece treat you now is abusive behavior and I think it’s definitely time to change things. And only you can do that. As hard as it is, you may need to cut off ties with your family or at least try setting boundaries, which it doesn’t sound like they would respect.

          I like Molly’s ideas too, get out meet new people, bring healthy people into your life, volunteer somewhere maybe helping others or doing a story time for young kids, just get out and start taking care of you, take care of B. It is okay to do that and it is not selfish. And you are worth it.

          Unfortunately, your family has beat you down ever since you were a child and still do it now that you are an adult, but now you have the choice to step away from them, say no more, set your boundaries (“when you talk to me that way, I will leave the room” or “If you talk rudely to me in my home, I will ask you to leave”) and stop seeing them if needed.

          And then you carried over those feelings of worthless into your marriage and when you don’t feel your husband is recognizing what you want or doesn’t make you a birthday cake, you of course, internalize it and come to the conclusion that you are not special to him either, just like you didn’t feel special to your parents and sister.

          I’m remarried after being in an abusive marriage for 20 years where I was not special in any way. The first couple years after I married my current husband I would make sure to get him something special for our anniversary, Christmas and Valentine’s day, and go overboard on making his birthday special, all just because I love the man so much and loved doing those things. BUT, my current is not much of a gift giver, although he is getting better after 6 years together, and he never really did much for my birthdays the first couple years. I just swallowed my hurt and tried to make my day special by myself by going out to lunch with a friend and maybe buying myself a birthday gift I wanted. Then the year came when I turned 50, and nothing. No party, although at the last minute my hubby said, why don’t we go out and eat and we did take my two sons. I felt ignored that year and honestly it hurt.
          That same year a few months later my husband turned 60 and I threw him a surprise party and we also had a BBQ the next day with family and friends, it was a hit and was so exciting to see him having the time of his life. But when it was all over, I felt sad and hurt again thinking of how what should have been a milestone birthday for me was barely celebrated.
          Somewhere down the road before my next birthday, we talked and I shared how hurtful it is that I put all this effort into gift buying and throwing parties, yet I never feel anyone does that stuff for me, and you know what happened the next year for birthday? He threw me a surprise party, just our kids, but it was really fun and I felt really special! Now I admit at first, I wanted to pout and feel like, yeah he’s only doing this because I TOLD him, but then I realized that maybe it’s still okay because of the fact that he listened to me and then chose to act upon it knowing that’s what I wanted. And truthfully, my husband isn’t all into planning parties and buying gifts, even just last Christmas I finally made up a huge list of items for Christmas so he had something to choose from and he really appreciated it. Just me speaking up took stress off of him and it allowed him to buy me something I truly wanted, and I was happy getting something I liked. But see my Mom feels you don’t tell people what you want, they should just know or buy whatever they want to get you, so it took me a long, long time to come to the conclusion that I’d rather help my husband out whose strong suit is NOT gift giving and it keeps me from internalizing all these untrue feelings that he just doesn’t care or if he did, he would know what to get me.

          My abusive ex was actually great at gift giving and at Christmas showered me with way too many gifts. But this was also his way of trying to look like a caring, loving husband when rest of the year he was a mean, evil man. So I brought that too into my current marriage, thinking my husband would be great at buying gifts. But you see, him not throwing me a birthday party or buying me just the right gift is not a reflection of his love for me and I’d far rather tell my husband what I desire and want, because he’s a good man who loves me dearly, and why make things so hard for him??

          B, stop overthinking everything your husband does. I’m not saying he won’t disappoint you or hurt you in not doing things you think he should to make you feel special, but if he truly loves you and is not abusive, then maybe you can help him to help you. When your birthday rolls around, come out and say how’d you love to go out for dinner or have a small party at home, and you’d love a birthday cake too! Is it less special because you have to ask for it? Well, it feels that way for sure, but maybe look at it differently and see it through your husband’s eyes — you are helping him learn how to make your day special, and I bet, he would appreciate you just speaking plainly and telling him what you want.

          I think of you often, B, and pray this coming new year will be one of true change in your marriage and healing from your past. And as I’ve said before, dive into the Psalms and find your worth in God’s Word. You are worthy. <3
          Amy recently posted…Speak the truthMy Profile

          • Amy, you and Molly have given such good insight to dear B, along with reminders that we should all be praying for her as she grows in the situation.
            Oh the gift giving—I waitied years for my husband to surprise me with just the “right” gift. He is a wonderful, loving man but this is totally beyond him! So I either send him links to what I want (I’d mentioned that) or more often and the best solution is that I say “Let’s go shopping for my birthday”. He takes me shopping where I want to go, whether it’s something for the house or something for me personally, my choice and I get what I want. I am not disappointed and he doesn’t feel like he has failed me. Win-win. It was an expectation adjustment for me but this is so much better.

            • I agree, Ann! Why sit and be upset over them not knowing how to shop for us or being good at gift giving when we can just help them out. Does it feel as special as if he surprised me with something really great that I love? Maybe not, but it’s about letting go of self I guess and looking at what is most important — having a loving husband.
              Amy recently posted…Speak the truthMy Profile

  2. The other day, I saw an empty cereal box on the counter with the rest of the recycling. It was still intact (not flattened/broken down). I went in the living room and said to my husband, “Do you realize that every time you put cardboard on the counter, and I have to come in behind you and fix it?” He knows that it needs to be flattened–we together put the recycling from the truck into the appropriate dumpsters–but I take it downstairs to its holding place. He said, “I was going to stomp on it.” I said, “But you didn’t. It’s still here, and it won’t fit in the pile downstairs unflattened.” What he said then reminded me how different we really are: “I just wanted to eat my cereal.” He’d poured it into the milk and was hungry, and that was what was on his mind. I saw something undone on the counter and couldn’t figure out why he wouldn’t have taken the extra 10 seconds to flatten it. I get it now, but that doesn’t mean I get it! (He did say he’d try to remember to flatten stuff.)

  3. As a guy I absolutely hate people who hint at what they want, then get mad when I miss, or ignore the hints. In my marriage, I am blessed with a woman who is not only easy to please, but doesn’t hint around about things. If she wants to go or do or get something she asks directly. The one exception to this is in the bedroom, but that’s a whole ‘nother story…..
    I don’t understand the whole point in hinting at something. “You don’t have because you do not ask,” What is so wrong with directly asking for what you want, without demanding?

  4. Paul, I was with you until the last word of this post. As you’ve said before, spelling it out can be much better than giving hints. I think B’s comment is an example of this.

    B, for what it’s worth, I believe your husband. I suspect your verbal processing is much faster than his. For him to pay attention to everything you say and understand all the implications might be similar to you trying to do that listening to a fast-talking native speaker of a new language in which you are not fluent. It’s especially hard if his concentration is divided with other things like driving / radio / thinking about a situation at work, etc.

    A suggestion that might help is to announce when you have something really important to say that requires his undivided attention. Then try to state it clearly and succinctly.

    You might find the following post helpful too.

      • When my father died, my mother’s most-often said statement was “things don’t matter, people do”—especially when something got broken or left out of place, the little things that we can all find irritating if we allow. I’ll admit I don’t always put that in place, but this is a good reminder.

  5. My husband & I spent some time discussing this post and the “differences” issues this morning. Our bottom conclusion came to this: we accept, even embrace, the physical differences between us as men and women but we tend to dismiss the rest of our differences with a “women (or men) are so hard to understand”. Yes, it is difficult to understand the opposite sex because it’s, well…opposite! If we could just somehow embrace our differences in how we think, communicate, and much more, we would be the richer for it.
    B, I think All of us have gotten hurt over miscommunication with our spouse. It is a learning process! One thing that has helped me is to realize that if I talk to my husband like I would a girlfriend, I will most likely be disappointed when he responds like a man—but wait..he isn’t my girlfriend and it’s unfair to expect him to respond as such.
    Give grace to your love and to yourself in the process of learning.

    • @Ann “Our bottom conclusion came to this: we accept, even embrace, the physical differences between us as men and women but we tend to dismiss the rest of our differences with a “women (or men) are so hard to understand”.”

      Thanks, that’s profound indeed.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…What Needs to be Done vs My Job/Her JobMy Profile

  6. Growing up with brothers and then in an all male branch of the Army, women are often a complete mystery. Men tend to speak more directly about what they want or expect, there is almost never a hidden meaning or something you have to decipher.

    • I am the youngest of an all girl family, there were five of us. Once my Dad was asked if he agreed that girls were easier to raise. His reply was No! He went on to explain that boys get upset they will tell you right out front, if you have a good relationship with your sons. But girls hide their griefs, but act out leaving the parent to guess at the source of trouble. With girls, he said, you spend a lot of time hunting up the trouble.

      My father was from an all boy family. He had a wonderful relationship with his mother. Unfortunately his father was a drunk for most of his childhood.

      I have been married 30 years and have one son. I’m still learning to understand my men. Their goal oriented drive is not second nature to me.

      • I have a son and a daughter. My son will stand defiantly and challenge me when he is mad at me about something. He’ll tell me exactly what the problem is looking me in the eyes. My daughter will just stop talking to me, and tell me nothing is wrong, or “you should know”. She will pout for days about something that I have no idea what she’s mad about.

        My brothers were so much easier to deal with. You are mad, you fight it out, then you get over it and move on.

      • Girls will tell you what’s bothering them too, of you have a good relationship with them. I have no problem telling some one when they’ve really upset me. I’m teaching my girls to be the same way.

        Problem is, girls are oftentimes taught not to stand up for themselves. Girls need to be taught how to communicate their needs effectively.

        • true, we probably do socialize them differently. As a boy, the rule with my father was spit it out or shut up. There was no mumbling or pouting tolerated. I don’t know too many females who were dealt with that way, my wife definitely wasn’t.

          • Yes, i would say a lot off women were taught to just shut up, no spitting out allowed. There is more than one woman on this thread alpine who were taught they couldn’t even ask for something they wanted.

  7. Yikes! Based on the amount of pushback here, I guess it’s all me. Except for @Libl who understands that some of us were raised that you do NOT ask for things because that is selfish and unkind. I was raised that if someone wants to do something for you or give you something, they will. Asking is very impolite.

    I realize my comments often sound worse than things are. I do not berate my husband, or even complain that much. The only time I said anything about the restaurant was when he went there with work – knowing the whole time (at least in my eyes) – that I had really, really wanted to go there. I guess I can see where you all are saying I didn’t ask, but to me, I could not have been more clear.

    I don’t like the idea of begging for what I want. Be it time, attention, or things. My MIL is a very demanding woman who demands everything she wants and how she wants things to be and all of her children and grandchildren do her bidding, to avoid her wrath. (Except for my eldest son, and she is currently upset with him because he doesn’t do what she says) That behavior is a very ugly thing. I do not want to be that kind of woman. I feel that saying “I want to go to this restaurant” is equivalent to saying “I think I am queen of the world and you should bend over backwards to do exactly what I want.” I do not want to be that kind of woman.

    Like @Libl mentioned, I – and I could be wrong – but I have the mindset that if he thinks I am worth it, or deserving of something, then he will do it because he wants to. Not because I begged.

    The direct thing has backfired for me anyway. Last year I REALLY swallowed my pride, and instead of being quiet and just accepting the socks he seems to think I deserve for Christmas, I asked for what I really wanted as well as texted him a picture of it. It was a certain charm for a bracelet. Not only did he not get the correct charm, he got a different one that had nothing to do with anything. He said they didn’t have the one I wanted so he just got another one. What was hurtful about that was that it was a family charm that had nothing to do with our family. He said he didn’t notice. I tried, I really tried, to act like I liked it, but he said he could tell I didn’t love it.

    I also decided to help him out with the date thing. I’d read about a date box you fill with ideas of things you’d like to do and give it to your spouse. I did one for each month. He acted all thrilled like he loved it. He took me on the January date and then that was it. We haven’t done any of the rest. So as you can see, he wasn’t all that interested, and me sharing what I’d like to do was a very bad idea. He says he still wants to do them, but let’s be honest, anyone can SAY anything – if he really wanted to do those things with me I think he would’ve done at least one more.

    So I’ve learned from experience that even when I am direct, it just backfires.

    • Oh I was raised that way too, that we shouldn’t have to ask or it was rude or impolite, but I’ve learned through the years that type of mindset is not true. Unless of course someone acts like your MIL who you described as a very demanding woman.

      The truth is, asking for something we want does not equal being demanding. It’s simply us, as a person who has wants and desires, to express those. Telling your husband you’d like to go to a certain restaurant is in no way demanding or pushy, it’s simply speaking what is on your mind and in your heart so your husband can hear it…he cannot read your mind or know your heart. And as much as I would love for husband to just know what I’m feeling or thinking or what I wish he would do around the house, he just isn’t going to know those things unless I speak up. I will say thought, that I am somewhat surprised he didn’t at least ask you if you wanted to go there, as Paul mentioned. That’s what my husband would have done, but just because your husband didn’t offer to take you there still doesn’t mean he’s ignoring you or doesn’t care.

      I guarantee Libl is not the only one who gets it. My mother is still not the kind of speak up and for a long time discouraged me from truly sharing my feelings or saying what I wanted. Just the other day her and I had a conversation about Christmas coming up and she made the comment about how you shouldn’t have to tell someone what you want, they should just buy whatever they want to for you. But the truth is, there are no rules on gift giving and there is nothing wrong with speaking up and sharing what we’d like. I learned several years ago to do this for my husband because, well honestly, he’s not the best at gift giving. So I started making him a list with lots of items on it for him to choose from and that way I could hopefully be somewhat surprised. LOL

      I’m sorry that it backfired for you to specifically tell and show your husband what you wanted, and he still miss the mark. But even then if he knew you were not happy with it, perhaps he would have been okay with you exchanging it for something you did like? My husband has done this with me and at first I felt terrible and didn’t think it was proper to exchange his gift, but then I realized it was far better to do that then to sit and pout over not having something I truly wanted. And we would go make a trip to the mall together to do it, which made it fun.

      I’m sorry your husband is not as attentive or receptive to you as you wish he were, it hurts, I get it. But as Paul said, if doing the same thing is not working and only continues to cause you frustration, maybe it’s time for a new tactic. ;)
      Amy recently posted…Speak the truthMy Profile

      • Ugh. Maybe I’m just not good at being a wife. Everyone else seems to have it all figured out.

        I guess I screwed up again, because he did say “we can exchange the charm if you want”. But that was on a Christmas morning so obviously we couldn’t go that day. I waited and waited and waited for him to ask if I wanted to go to wherever he bought it from, but he never did. And the exchange period ran out. So it’s still in the box.

        And he is a sweet guy who does try to make me happy, but it’s almost always only after he makes me sad. A friend gave him gift cards to that restaurant, and he was so excited and he said “look what D gave me. He asked where I’d like to go and so I told him this restaurant so I could take you.” I think he wanted me to be happy. But I felt so, so bad and incredibly crummy – because I know he only chose that restaurant because I had complained that he went there with his coworkers instead of me. If he were choosing a restaurant he liked it would have been a steak house. So he’s punishing himself because he thinks I’m demanding. So I don’t want to go because I hate pity and I don’t feel I should be rewarded for being hurt and I certainly shouldn’t have whined about it. But if I don’t go then THAT will hurt his feelings. See how much more complicated men are? So I have to go eventually, I guess, but I know my meal will feel like a lump in my belly because I’ll feel so badly about ever even telling him I wanted to go there. I wish we could just forget the whole ordeal.

        Ugh. I really would be better off keeping my thoughts to myself and working on my fake smile. At least I’m learning to believe he loves me. Sorta.

        • “I think he wanted me to be happy. But I felt so, so bad and incredibly crummy – because I know he only chose that restaurant because I had complained that he went there with his coworkers instead of me. If he were choosing a restaurant he liked it would have been a steak house. So he’s punishing himself because he thinks I’m demanding. So I don’t want to go because I hate pity and I don’t feel I should be rewarded for being hurt and I certainly shouldn’t have whined about it. But if I don’t go then THAT will hurt his feelings. See how much more complicated men are?”

          Uh, honestly B — it ain’t your husband who is so complicated! My head was spinning reading what you wrote!

          Your husband actually asked for gift cards to THAT particular restaurant just so he could take you! Wow, that’s really sweet! BUT let me get this straight, now you feel guilty over ever bringing it up and basically don’t feel you deserve to go, so now you don’t want to go??

          Girlfriend, you need to step into your husband’s shoes for a day, listen to yourself from his point of view. He isn’t perfect, he isn’t going to pick up on your hints, he isn’t going to read your mind, he isn’t going to know what’s in your heart — he’s going to fail you and hurt you, but it doesn’t sound like he does it on purpose.

          Let him know you’re excited about trying out that restaurant with him and thank him for thinking of you when he got the gift cards. Go and enjoy yourself, because you do deserve to go out with your husband and have a good time.

          Allow yourself to be happy, it’s so much better than wallowing around living with disappointment and frustration because your expectations of what you think should be don’t get met because you don’t speak up and ask. :)

          And as far as the charm, he was probably waiting for you to say something about when you wanted to go since he had already said you could exchange it. The ball was in your court so to speak and perhaps you never speaking up about it meant to him you weren’t going to exchange it.

          I wish I had it all figured out, but I just roll with it and don’t let my expectations cloud the reality that we are two imperfect people trying to do the best we can and love each other in the best way we know how. ;)
          Amy recently posted…Speak the truthMy Profile

          • Hi Amy, thank you for the conversation. I have a hard time understanding why – and I guess these are because they are my thoughts – things that seem so super, super obvious to me – seem so perplexing to other people. I guess I need to learn to stop thinking the way I think and try to understand better the way other people think. At least certainly the way my husband thinks. Even though, honestly, the way he thinks is hard to believe it’s true, because it is so not the way I would think.

            Sometimes I exhaust myself! 😜

            • Perhaps that’s the solution, B — stop thinking about it so much! Actually, stop OVER thinking everything that happens. LOL Then you won’t be so exhausted and frustrated. :)
              Amy recently posted…Please don’t say that…My Profile

            • You can’t hack into his brain, B. All you have is face value and assumptions. Take him at face value, don’t over think, enjoy the moment especially in its imperfection, and give yourself slack.

              You don’t need to have a well-researched novel of your husband written out so you can completely understand every thought, action, and nuance. You can’t have it! One thing I am learning is to love my husband as he is, who he is, warts and all.

        • The charm: he said you,could exchange it. He put the ball in your court to speak up some day and soon after and say, “let’s go exchange that charm.” Heck, you could have made an enjoyable day out of it, strolling and window shopping.

          The gift cards: just be happy a door opens and go through it and enjoy it! The amount of self-sabotage you do hurts to even read.

          The only thing complicated about your husband that I don’t understand is how he navigates your complications. My head is spinning, too!

          I had a mentor friend who would help me untwist my mind when similar issues came up in my marriage. I am sure, next time you start another trail like these, you could ask for help here and we’d be happy to help you untwist and see things much more simply.

          Being a good wife is a choice, not a talent. Thinking otherwise is a choice. Don’t waste a minute beating yourself up when you can be proactive.

    • The thing is now that I know that my upbringing was wrong in this way, I can’t use it as an excuse, and I learn to speak up.

      I don’t like that I may want to go out to eat, but hubby refuses, and then goes out with the guys from work. It feels like I don’t matter, when in fact his feelings are different. Going out to eat with the guys from work is safe. He works with worldly guys who like to get drunk at bars or hit up strip clubs. Settling for a gastro pub, or chain sports restaurant is a safe way for hubby to have some guy time. He prefers to stay home with me because he loves my cooking and the comfort of me in our home.

      He recently told me that he didn’t understand why I would want to go out to eat crappy restaurant food when I cook so well at home. I told him when I want to go out to eat it isn’t for the food. It is for the ability to enjoy a meal without having to cook it or clean it up afterwards. He understood and is more open to taking me out if I ask.

      So, see, none of his intentions were dishonorable.

      • Libel, you are WAY more mature than me. I absolutely would have thought my husband much preferred hanging out with the guys, or thought I didn’t deserve to go out, or didn’t want to be seen with me in public. (But I’m also not as good of a cook as you, I’m sure.) 😊

        Being able to see your husbands intentions as good is a very mature thing. I admire you for your ability to believe good things.

    • @B “I was raised that if someone wants to do something for you or give you something, they will.”
      That might work if both spouses were raised that way, AND IF they were both good at figuring out what the other wanted without it ever being said.

      “Asking is very impolite.”
      That’s kind of at odds with the Bible, which says we have not because we ask not.

      The whole “if he thinks I am worth it, or deserving of something, then he will do it because he wants to” is a rigged game. You get hurt and frustrated when he fails to do something even if he had no idea.
      Paul Byerly recently posted…What Needs to be Done vs My Job/Her JobMy Profile

      • Hi Paul. I’m not so sure the “you have not because you ask not” thing applies here, because I’m pretty sure that refers to asking God, not your spouse. I could be wrong, but that’s how I read that passage.

        And when you said “The whole “if he thinks I am worth it, or deserving of something, then he will do it because he wants to” is a rigged game. You get hurt and frustrated when he fails to do something even if he had no idea.” – I’m honestly not the least bit sure what you mean by that.

        • Hi B,

          Read Matthew 7:7-12 and see if you see anything about asking for things from family members.

          In James 4:2, I would agree that it’s primarily referring to asking God. But look at 3:13 – 4:12 and notice how many references there are to human relationships. Why wouldn’t the same principle apply to other people?

        • @B – If it’s okay to ask God, I would think it’s okay to ask your spouse!

          If you want something and your husband doesn’t know that, you assume he doesn’t love you enough to give it to you. You have negative feelings about him for something that is all in your mind. He can’t win, so why would he play?
          Paul Byerly recently posted…Sitting On The Couch While I CleanMy Profile

          • Hey Paul, I hear you. Sorta. But it makes me sad that I’m seen as such an awful shrew. I honestly don’t sit around thinking up ways to be disappointed. And I don’t get mad at him for things I know he doesn’t know. I don’t actually even get mad at all. More like, sad. But accepting of the fact that some people matter, some people don’t. I think everyone should matter, and I know we all matter to God and that has to be enough. But seeing wives around you matter so much to their husbands, yes, it can make you feel a little sad. Happy for them, but selfishly sad.

            If you asked him, he’d of course say I matter to him, and maybe I do. He just has weird ways of showing it, or more importantly, not showing it.

            I don’t expect him to be able to read my mind. But I do think if he was interested in me and if he really cared about me feeling loved, the way he said he does, he’d pay a bit more attention to the things I say and the things I think are super obvious. I get that there are some things that seem more obvious to women, but some things are really super, super obvious to anyone who cares enough to notice. Plus, my husband is a really, really smart guy who reads people very well. But I seem to confuse him, and that’s weird. I think it’s gotta be because he just doesn’t have the time or desire to think about it. He knows I love him and I’ll always be here for him, so why should he waste his time trying to understand me if the only benefit to that would be my feeling loved. People tend to focus on what is important to them. I understand that, it just makes me sad sometimes, that’s all.

            • Here’s the thing though:

              YOU decided in your brain that XYZBAFEGWED means I matter and TUILPKMN means I don’t matter. But, lack of XYZBAFEGWED means I don’t matter too. And I can’t do QVC because, if I do and results in RES, then it means I don’t matter, even if it’s exactly what I want, because QVS preceded it. Actually, the base rule in your mind (from observing your comments) seem to be “I don’t matter”. And most of the rules seems to be an unconscious attempt to confirm that base rule. Which you probably got from your childhood abuse.

              That’s what Paul means by you playing a rigged game. YOU have all these rules and conditions about what means you do and don’t matter and what means you deserve love and what doesn’t.
              These are your rules; not your husbands.

              IT IS NOT OBVIOUS. Ok? Let’s repeat this one more time. IT IS NOT OBVIOUS. All these things you think are obvious; they are totally not obvious. Especially not to an INTJ. They’re all part of your rules. You confuse the heck out of me too. And I’m a woman. Your rules make literally zero sense to me.

              I think your husband doesn’t really get angry. He’s frustrated. Because you do things that seemingly make no sense. Like getting upset about the work guys picking a restaurant and making seemingly absurd assertions like “why can you go there with them and not me when I’ve been dying to go?” (extreme paraphrase). Like, what?? If you wanted to go, you would obviously have told him. You didn’t tell him (hinting is not telling), so your comment makes no sense -> hence frustration. He wants to succeed. But the one place it’s most important to succeed pleasing the wife he keeps messing up. Because he doesn’t have the secret rule book.

              You are asking your husband to do the impossible. What you want is just not possible for his gender and his personality. He can’t do these things just by trying harder. Or observing more. Or paying closer attention. Or caring more. The fact that he still tries means he cares very much.
              He is fundamentally different from you. He’s not going to one day just get it, because he can’t change his personality. He can LEARN. but that means YOU HAVE TO TEACH. Clearly. With words. Clear, plain words. Not hints and beating around the bush. You have to teach him the rules.

              Libl, Amy and Molly are right. You need to get some distance from your family, you need to unlearn nonsense like “asking for what you want it selfish”.

              You do need a counselor just for you. So you can get rid of the base rule from your childhood and replace it with the real base rule “I am a child of the Living GOD. I am a Princess. The Bride of Christ. I deserve love, respect and consideration” – I suspect once you have the true rule in place of the Demonic LIE (I don’t matter), a lot this stuff will cease to be an issue.

              • You’re right. I feel awful. I never realized just what a witch I must be. What I’ve seen as feelings, emotions, and longings are really just nasty, witchy behaviors.

                I’m surprised he has put up with me this long. He’s a very good man and he’d be much better off without me.

                • That’s not it at all. Did you read my last paragraph?

                  I also can’t tell if you are sarcastic or serious.

                  You’re NOT nasty. Or witchy. And no-one is blaming you for having emotions. Or needs. Or longings and desires. I am trying to get you to see that you are interpreting your husband’s actions incorrectly. Being wrong is not bad. It’s simply being mistaken about facts.

                  Remember Paul’s article about wound-induced distortions?

                  I am trying to get you to see that your husband loves you very much and that it will make both of your lives a lot easier if you could learn to communicate in a way that he understands. Speaking to someone in a language they don’t understand and getting angry or sad because they don’t understand you makes no sense. Shouting the same language louder doesn’t work either. Learning how to communicate so that you’re message actually comes across is much more sensible.

                  You find his behavior perplexing. Well, I am trying to explain to you that he finds yours perplexing. So you can either each keep making assumptions and keep trying to interpret each other’s behaviour through your own lense, OR you can stop making assumption. Because you are making yourself unhappy and your assumptions are almost certainly wrong. Not because you are a bad wife. But because you are a different person than he is.
                  If you must assume anything, assume love and goodwill.

                  Please get a counselor. All this junk your family told you and that you keep telling yourself is lies from the pit of hell.

                  You’ll both be so much happier when you stop listening to Satan’s accusing voice and start believing THE TRUTH that you are God’s beloved daughter.

                • Come on, B, you know that is not what Alchemist was saying at all, or any of us. We are responding to what you write, and alchemist is right in saying that you already have things figured out in your head how they will play our and you really don’t believe you matter, otherwise you would ask for what you want and you would believe your husband when he tells you he loves you.

                  I know you’re hurting, that’s obvious, but nothing is changing and I agree with alchemist that your husband likely is not angry, he is frustrated for always missing the mark with you.
                  He doesn’t pick up your hints to try out that restaurant, you’re hurt.
                  He ends up going there for a company meeting, you’re hurt.
                  He gets a gift a card for that particular restaurant because he tells you he knew you wanted to go there, and you’re sure he doesn’t really want to take you so now you don’t really want to go.

                  See the dynamics at play?

                  Give the guy a break. Listen to what he says and believe him; tell him what you want instead of hinting; and be happy when he does try to do something you want to do.

                  Still praying for you, B.

                  And I agree — a counselor just for you would probably be a great idea.
                  Amy recently posted…Please don’t say that…My Profile

            • I’d like to tell you a story.

              Once, long ago, the devil made a magical mirror. This mirror distorted everything that was good and beautiful in the world and made it bad and ugly. No when it was finished, the lesser demons took it out and flew over the world delighting in the way that is spoiled God’s creation. However, in their excitement, they dropped it. It fell to the ground and shattered and the shards scattered all over the earth.

              There was a little girl and a little boy who lived opposite each other. They loved one another dearly and played together every day. They were especially fond of flowers and kept a beautiful flower garden together. One day, when they were out in the garden the little boy cried out “Ouch! There is something in my eye!” Now, one of the shards from the demon mirror had fallen into his eye and got stuck there. Being a magic mirror, the girl could not see it to get it out. But soon, it’s effect became apparent. The boy’s behaviour changed, because everything that was beautiful now appeared to him to be ugly and everything that was good seemed bad. He stopped playing with the girl and went out by himself more and more. While he was out, the Snow Queen kidnapped him and took him away to her frozen domains.

              The little girl was distraught over what had happened to her friend. First his change in behaviour, and then his disappearance. She decided to set out and look for him. She travelled many miles and had many adventures in her quest to find her friend, but eventually she found him (with the help of a crow, a princess, a robber girl, some reindeer and the Lapp and Finn women). He was in the Snow Queen’s palace. (She was holding him captive until he could spell the word “Eternity” with the ice. Because of the demon mirror shard he couldn’t manage it). When she saw him, she was overwhelmed with joy, embraced him and cried. Her tears washed out the shard of the demon mirror and thawed out his heart. Together they left the palace of the Snow Queen and went home. — paraphrase of The Snow Queen by Anderson

              Now the devil in this story is still the devil. Your family is like the demons who dropped the mirror. Although, unfortunately, in your case it seemed like they held you down and forced the demon mirror shards into your eyes, ears and heart. The demon mirror shards is the lie “I’m not worthy of love/ I’m unimportant/ I’m ugly and unlovable”. Because you have these shard of demon mirror, people’s actions and words get distorted into “I’m not worthy of love” in your brain. This is why you misinterpret people’s words and actions. The analogy breaks down because unlike in the fairy tale, your husband can’t just cry on you to wash the demon mirror shards out. Only you and Jesus can do that. Your heart needs thawed so that you can accept love, and the shards need taken out so that you can see clearly.

              Notice how the boy is not the villain in this story. He is the victim. No-one blames him for not being able to see clearly. But he can’t go home and be happy until the shards come out.

              Your family seems to still throw some shards at you whenever they can. So you need to get away from them and seek a Christian counselor so that the shards can come out and you can have a happy and healthy live and marriage that is no longer being poisoned by the demon mirror.

              • So, a couple things…

                First of all, thank you for taking the time to write all of that.

                Last night I was being quite serious, not sarcastic at all. My husband IS a good man, you’re right about that. There are so many better women everywhere I turn – he really deserves a much better wife. Not just in appearance, but in attitude, talents, personality, etc…

                Funny you say “your family still throws shards…” because about a month ago I got a series of nasty texts from my oldest sister telling me how I ruined Thanksgiving last year, and for the future. (We had gone to a large rented house – I guess my mom thought neutral ground would be good – and my sisters 20 year old daughter started on me and my sons almost as soon as she got there. In her defense she’s been programmed that all Christmases past, present and future have been ruined by me being born. Anyhow, after two days of shards, my husband decided it would be best if we left early. He was right, but because of his actions, their list of my wrongdoings has juSt grown a little more.) I know I sound like I have all kinds of issues, but I actually handle things pretty well considering. I don’t run around in my day to day life saying “oh poor me, oh poor me.” It just is what it is. It’s always been that way. And for whatever reason, my mother has always defended my sister, and now my niece. What’s infuriating is, if I confront my mom, she’ll say she agrees with me. But she will not confront my sister, she never has. She coddles her. And at 40 years old that doesn’t really matter, but it would have been nice if anyone had stuck up for me as a child. But no one ever did. That’s probably when I first learned that some people matter, some people don’t.

                Anyhow, on a brighter note, we visited a friends church today. It was a last minute thing. Actually, I think it was a God thing. The regular Pastor was under the weather, so they had a guest preacher. He preached a lot about truth, and that what we see as truth isn’t always truth, and we need to focus on God’s truth. Anyhow, it was a lot more eloquent and sound than my brief description. But it’s something I think I needed to hear. It has given me a lot to think about.

                And yes, I have trouble accepting love. I don’t know why. I’ve even googled “how do I accept love” – but there’s nothing that makes any sense.

                I’m not sure about counseling. We tried it once. As far as just me, I’m not sure I’d trust anyone. I have two friends that had really bad counseling experiences. The last thing I need is for someone to patronize me, or worse, give me bad advice. I’ll think about it.

                I’ve got a lot to think on.

    • Hi B,

      As one of the voices contributing to the pushback, I want to say that it’s not all you – it’s both you and your husband. You are God’s precious daughter and worthy of all His riches in Christ. He gives us all things richly to enjoy and wants you to have joy and delight in your life.

      I believe it is right and important for you to share your heart with your husband and let him know what you need and desire. I hope you can share as much and more of your heart with him as you do with us as strangers online. And also be a safe place for him to share his heart and tell you his hurts (it’s probably emotional pain that underlies his anger).

      I know you’ve faced a lot of criticism in your life, and I don’t want you to feel like we are all just piling on too. When I posted my initial comment I was a little chagrined to see that three other people had posted similar things while I was writing it. You are not a bad person for having desires and hurts in your marriage, we all do. I’m sure both you and your husband can make changes to improve your communication and relationship. Most of the suggestions here have been to your side since you are the one posting but there are many that could be given to him too.

      God bless,

      • Thank you, Kevin, for your kind words.

        I used to comment way too much, and I’ve slowed down, because I hate making everyone so angry. But sometimes I need to just get my thoughts out. I appreciate the conversations here.

        I have shared with my husband, but it’s hard, because I think he finds me a nuisance. He responds to almost every one of my feelings (other than happiness) with anger. He’s never really understood me or felt and kind of empathy – he just gets angry – or frustrated. That tends to make me feel even less like asking for anything. I really have no desire to bother him. But then he gets upset that I don’t feel all worthy of stuff, and that’s really confusing.

        We counseled with a mentor couple, and that was helpful. We got better at communicating and my husband gets less angry and not angry as quickly. But what made me sad there was, we only talked about him. After a few weeks the counselor was like “well I think you are doing a lot better, so I think we’re done.” I was kind of shocked and hurt because I never even got to share any of the issues I struggle with. I felt like the counselers felt like I wasn’t even worth their time. I didnt want to impose upon them, so no, I didn’t say anything.

        So that’s why I sometimes share here. Jus to get things out. And although most people are quick to tell me what I’m doing wrong, well, maybe I need to hear it.

        • My hubby gets angry, too. I learned to express myself simply and straightforward with little “feminine emotion.” I also learned to seek solutions for myself rather than expecting hubby to fix it for me.

          Sure, I would love the romance and understanding, and even the pampering. Now, he is more apt to do so for me. For one thing, his patience with me has increased exponentially. It isn’t my ideal, but it is a reality that works.

          • Libl, “a reality that works”. That is a goal that makes sense! Thanks for all you share.

  8. I have heard it said that there is more physical variation in men than women (e.g. much more range of body type, height, autism hits more boys than girls, more male geniuses and more male psychopaths, etc.); in part due to women have XX (a spare chromosome in case one is screwy), whereas men get to the be the chromosomal guinea pigs. Given that, it is an interesting assertion that females have less homogeneity and more variation in behaviors.

    • You are correct, statistically the averages for men and women on things like intelligence are the same, but the male bell curve is flatter. Basically meaning that there are more men at the high and the low end as a proportion of the overall population.

      I don’t know that I agree with Paul on this either that there is more variation among women than men. I would say that women have more emotional complexity than men do on average, which leads to a perception of greater variability, because there are just more variables at play than there are with men.

    • @Wynd – I’ve heard it called the fragile Y syndrome. That backup copy is a good deal for women!

      As for mental things, I don’t know how much is genetic and how much is learned/cultural. Men and women do have significant brain differences. Even when they do something just as well they may use different parts of the brain to do it.
      I wonder if women’s brains are more flexible, and that lends itself to more variety?
      Paul Byerly recently posted…Sitting On The Couch While I CleanMy Profile

  9. This gift-giving thing is so fascinating to me. I love buying presents for people. It’s one of the ways i express love to others. Thankfully, it’s not necessary for me to receive presents to feel loved, because a lot of people around me Are not good at it. My husband is amazing, and sometimes he tries to get good presents. But he just does not plan.my sister tries, but everyone else just does not care.

    One thing I’m doing is teaching my kids how to buy presents. Instead of Santa, we each get the other 5 members in our family a present. It kind of cuts down on costs, and its so sweet to see what each person picks. Then they automatically remember to get me something. And i refuse to feel selfish for being excited about 5 whole presents on Christmas morning.

    • My wife and I decide on a mutual gift to one another for Xmas. We also discuss what we want for our anniversaries. My inlaws asked my wife what I wanted for Xmas, I sent them a list of five races with the registration link and my USAT code they could choose one and sign me up for it. We don’t really want “stuff” anymore.

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