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post #1 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 01:40 PM Thread Starter
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Solving problems, or talking about problems?

Ladies of TAM, please help me understand how typical the following situation is, in your marriage or dating relationship. Here goes...

You face some vexing problem at home or at work or wherever, it's bothering you, and you need to share your thoughts and feelings about this problem with your husband/significant other. And so, you do, except 5 minutes into the discussion (maybe less), your man is more interested in helping you solve the problem vs. hearing you talk about it further.

Does this happen often? If so, how does it make you feel? Do you wish the man in your life listened more, and attempted problem-solving less?


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post #2 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 01:46 PM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

I actually think I would appreciate it if he did try to solve more of my problems.

One of the deepest feminine pleasures is when a man stands full, present, and unreactive in the midst of his woman's emotional storms. When he stays present with her, and loves her through the layers of wildness and closure, then she feels his trustability, and she can relax. -- David Deida, The Way of the Superior Man
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post #3 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 01:53 PM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

I'm not a lady, but my wife has explained this phenomenon pretty clearly.

Talking about it helps her solve it. I am not there to solve anything, just to listen. Somehow, my listening helps her process things to the point she can better deal with them.

It used to be my instinct (still is actually) to jump in, take over, and fix things. I'm very action oriented and I don't like to see her struggle. I also have a bit of cave-man protect my woman complex. Put all that together and my initial responses were far too "helpful" and not at all what she was looking for.

It doesn't make logical sense and I still don't get it, but I can now recognize it and know when to keep my mouth shut and just listen, and when she's actually looking for intervention. Usually it's just the former.

After she works through it, if there was not input required on my part, she finishes with "Thank you for listening"," sometimes accompanied by a peck on the cheek. It's sweet.
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post #4 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 10:34 PM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

I think of that sort of venting as puking. You have an upset stomach, and you feel a lot better after the contents come up.

The problem-solver (usually the husband) is all about what did you eat, are you sick, eat some saltines, what do you need to do to avoid a reoccurence, etc.

The emotional spewer (usually the wife) is all about whew, glad that's out, now I feel better and I'm going to lie down.
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post #5 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 10:43 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _anonymous_ View Post
Ladies of TAM, please help me understand how typical the following situation is, in your marriage or dating relationship. Here goes...

You face some vexing problem at home or at work or wherever, it's bothering you, and you need to share your thoughts and feelings about this problem with your husband/significant other. And so, you do, except 5 minutes into the discussion (maybe less), your man is more interested in helping you solve the problem vs. hearing you talk about it further.

Does this happen often? If so, how does it make you feel? Do you wish the man in your life listened more, and attempted problem-solving less?
I always assumed my STBXW was asking me to for help versus just listening, still does not seem natural to me but I do see most times she just wanted me to listen or hold her and I never did, she told me I have never given her what she wanted emotionally and we are currently getting divorced
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post #6 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-09-2017, 11:19 PM
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This is exactly what my husband does and it drives me crazy! I've told him I don't want you to tell me what to do, I'd just like to be able to get it off my mind and talk about it. He doesn't get it at all and I'm usually left feeling like I have no one to vent to and there's no point in being it up if I don't want him to try and solve it because he really doesn't understand why I'm telling him if I don't want his help. It's actually very frustrating.
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post #7 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 12:41 AM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

I guess I've been with guys who have figured this out along the way...they will listen, offer supportive/constructive words (some might be in the form of a suggestion, but mostly they are just engaged with me and supportive of my side of the story, whatever it is). My job is interesting and the types of issues that come up are typically interesting to my partner to hear about, at least on some level. Same is true for issues that may come up with their jobs. I'm interested in what they do, I have a feel for the players at their work and want to know the scoop. There are sometimes big drama-fests, sometimes complicated business or personnel issues, complicated technical issues, etc. We are interested in each other's work and are supportive of the news that each other shares about it.

I do know that if I ever want suggestions or advice or help with a "problem", I address it that way first. I don't just start talking about my day, I would say "can you help me with this?" and then lay the problem out there. Though I can't think of any problem I've had at work that I wanted or needed help with, other than support and encouragement, but I wouldn't hesitate to ask if one came up.

I don't encounter a lot of unsolicited/unwanted help or advice from men in my life. Just support.

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post #8 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 01:04 AM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

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Originally Posted by _anonymous_ View Post
Ladies of TAM, please help me understand how typical the following situation is, in your marriage or dating relationship. Here goes...

You face some vexing problem at home or at work or wherever, it's bothering you, and you need to share your thoughts and feelings about this problem with your husband/significant other. And so, you do, except 5 minutes into the discussion (maybe less), your man is more interested in helping you solve the problem vs. hearing you talk about it further.

Does this happen often? If so, how does it make you feel? Do you wish the man in your life listened more, and attempted problem-solving less?
Happens all the time. My H is an engineer by profession so to him everything is about solutions and steps to achieve that. It is frustrating because like most women I just want to let out my frustrations, anxiety etc I don't need a solution.
If I say so, my H gets upset that I am not taking his advice. He has got much better now and is learning to just listen and agree and make a few comments. I think this arises as a result of the men from Mars women from Venus thing. Women connect through conversation, when we have a problem we converse, we connect, we share. Men don't seem to. They connect through action(s) not words.
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post #9 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 02:10 AM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

It is fairly simple here and we are both quite similar. If we need just to talk then we say so, if we need help then we ask. If we are unsure of what the other wants/needs then we ask them "do you want my advice, support, shoulder to cry on etc."
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post #10 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 04:18 AM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

Odo and I are both problem solvers, so when we just want to vent, we usually prefix the conversation with, "I just need to vent," or, "I'm not looking for a solution."


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post #11 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 07:34 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

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Originally Posted by MovingForward View Post
I always assumed my STBXW was asking me... for help versus just listening... but I do see most times she just wanted me to listen or hold her and I never did... she told me I have never given her what she wanted emotionally and we are currently getting divorced
When talking about problems, my wife has many times told me, "Help me how I need to be helped, not how you want to help me."

If we got divorced tomorrow, I'm pretty sure that when I reflect on what happened, our conversations about problems would come to mind (among many other things) and how well I was meeting my wife's emotional needs during those times.

It almost makes the point that "helping can be hurting".

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post #12 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 07:54 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

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Happens all the time. My H is an engineer by profession so to him everything is about solutions and steps to achieve that. It is frustrating because like most women I just want to let out my frustrations, anxiety etc I don't need a solution. If I say so, my H gets upset that I am not taking his advice.
This is interesting. I think men tend to automatically focus on the problem, and how to solve it. I think women, when presenting a problem, are often more focused on things attached to the problem, such as emotional impacts, troubled social settings, etc.

Like your husband, I would often find myself upset. Either my wife needed a recommendation and she thought my ideas were unhelpful, or she just needed someone to talk to and I was too busy spewing out legitimately helpful ideas. To me, both things felt like rejection, hence my reaction. My wife would get upset too, because I wasn't supporting her as needed. It was lose-lose.

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He has got much better now and is learning to just listen and agree and make a few comments.
Situations will vary, but mine is that my wife frequently has already formulated her solution to the problem, in advance of our discussion; she may or may not be looking for outside perspective or alternative solutions. The safest place for me (or even others she confides in, such as her mom) is one of listening, asking few questions to ensure a correct understanding of the situation and show engagement, and ultimately, validating her way of thinking.

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post #13 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-10-2017, 09:43 AM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

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When talking about problems, my wife has many times told me, "Help me how I need to be helped, not how you want to help me."

If we got divorced tomorrow, I'm pretty sure that when I reflect on what happened, our conversations about problems would come to mind (among many other things) and how well I was meeting my wife's emotional needs during those times.

It almost makes the point that "helping can be hurting".
I wish my W had been clearer on what she had wanted mostly I just heard a problem that needed fixing or nagging, I wanted to help in the way she needed just did not get the correct message or know how at the time.

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post #14 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 05:57 AM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

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Do you wish the man in your life listened more, and attempted problem-solving less?
The simple answer is no.

The reality is he both listens and supports. Sometimes I find him frustrating (as I'm sure I can be to him) but above all, I appreciate my man being straight with me.

He has an admittedly low tolerance for venting for the sake of it. He comes from a perspective of taking responsibility / doing something about it. Knowing this about him is also why I share with him, because that's the kind of perspective I appreciate. That's something I've learned about myself.

In saying that, I had a tough day this week. Recently I've not had the need to share about my day however this time it was, 'It's been a hard day...' and he listened. I came to a certain conclusion / my own solution and he suggested a different way of looking at it that felt really supportive. It's rare that I'd vent for the sake of it. Just as it'd be rare for him to accept being talked at. I appreciate hashing things out with him... whether it's my stuff or his.

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Last edited by heartsbeating; 05-12-2017 at 06:01 AM.
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post #15 of 31 (permalink) Old 05-12-2017, 06:19 AM
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Re: Solving problems, or talking about problems?

I have a colleague who has said to me 'I just need to vent..' I've turned around and said, 'Okay, go for it..' She vents. I listen. We move on with our day. The expectation is set, nothing but listening is required of me.

The only way you'll learn what your wife needs (if she doesn't tell you) is to ask and listen.

And the only way she'll learn what you're good with (if you don't tell her), is to ask and listen.

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