Thoughts on Relating with Men

Relating with men feels like a mixed bag to me.  “Some of my best friends are men!”  In fact, a lot of them are!  I have two sons that I really enjoy relating to.  Of my colleagues at RRC, I feel most comfortable with the men in many ways.   On the other hand, I feel closer in some ways to my daughter-in-law than I do to my sons.  I do more things socially with my women friends.  And I experience a deeper level of intimacy in talking with my close women friends than I do with the men in my life. Our relationships just happen differently.

What is the difference?  I think that, when I’m with women, we talk more about our personal lives – from clothes, to relationships with others, to our feelings about ourselves and our lives.  It feels “juicy”. This certainly doesn’t happen with all women but, in relationships where this doesn’t seem to flow, I find myself moving away from the relationship.   With the men that I choose to spend time with, I find that we talk much more about ideas – from philosophy, to politics, to movies or books.  There’s something that feeds me about these conversations also.  AND, especially in mixed groups, I begin to get bored and feel disconnected when this goes on too long.

So, what does this say about men and women relating in general?  I’m not sure.  Does it mean that we are just very different and have to accept this?  When I say that I realize that, to me, this means that I have to be satisfied doing relationships with men their way!  I seem to believe that I have no right to expect, even ask, that they come in my direction!  I wonder if this position/belief is common in women.  It worries me that, even with all my experience with men who value me and want to be relational with me, I still feel that I must adapt!  Is this particular to me and my dynamic, or is it still part of the cultural norm and expectation?

Mary Simon, Psy.D.

2 Responses - click here to join the conversation to “Thoughts on Relating with Men”

  1. Judi Spendelow says:

    Thought provoking, Mary! For various reasons, I probably have most often in my lifetime felt more comfortable with men. Yet I too adapt. Evolution of the species appears very slow at times!

  2. I think you have the feeling you have to adapt because there seems to be a natural dynamic that men have in which they experience themselves as the center of the world. Women more easily go outside of themselves to relate to others, while men expect others to relate to them. Really the only issue is are you, or are you not being true to yourself in how you relate to either men or women. We are all living in relationship to ourselves and others. There is no right or wrong way to do it, as long as we are being true to ourselves.

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