He Shuts Down and You’re Shut Out

December 16, 2010 at 6:00 am

Women are from Earth. Men are from Earth. Planet of origin is not the problem, no matter what pop psycho-babble tells us. The issue is, both sexes pretty much suck at communicating, and that’s why you feel he’s shut down and you’re shut out. You can fix that. It’s about a shift in approach when “We need to talk.”

University of Missouri’s Extension Service has a helpful site about couples issues. They got it right on how each sex sees relationship conversations:

“Men are likely to avoid conflict and downplay strong emotions… When men close down and suppress their feelings, women often become more insistent that they discuss the issues. At this point, however, men only want to withdraw further.” Get more personalized advice, contact a psychic today!

Women raise concerns and problems more often than men do. We get into trouble when we want to talk it out, thoroughly, right now. Your guy is apt to chew on it, figuring it’s safer to plan his words and spit them out later, cleanly. No slips of the tongue.

However, my sisters, it’s unlikely he’ll make time to revisit the topic. If you do it his way, conversation gets shelved, issues go unresolved, and you feel shut out, thinking he shut down. Maybe he didn’t. He’s wired to avoid conflict.

Many of us females initiate conversation when concerns are boiling over. We talk in detail, restating things until we understand what we really feel. To us, it’s a process. To men? Fear is invoked.

Media relationship guru Steve Harvey says, “It’s not in (men’s) DNA to lounge around, sip coffee, and dab at our eyes with tissue as if we’re in an AA meeting or on some psychologist’s couch trying to get things off our chest.”

When you have to air a gripe with your man, try communication foreplay, all by yourself, and you may feel less shut out.

  • Before you take it to him, have a good cry, wipe your eyes, pull yourself together. Come on like a victim and his receptors will shut tighter than a virgin on her wedding night. Sobbing jerks a man into rescue mode, or he heads for the exit, thinking you’re manipulating. Nothing productive results.
  • Assess your need. Want him to offer solutions, or should he listen empathetically? Tell him what you need, up front.
  • Hone in on one idea, one issue. Machine-gunning a guy with a magazine of ammunition is scary! Keep focused on the present and a single issue.
  • You can’t read his mind. He’s probably not trying to hurt you. He isn’t being obtuse on purpose. You may not be expressing yourself clearly for him. While you’re focused on feelings, he may be wondering how that fly on the wall manages to take off and land without a runway.

Women bring emotional issues to the table more often than men do. We learned to read body language before he hit puberty. Describe your awful day at work to a woman. Include the he-saids and I-told-hims, ending with, “My boss is a jerk.” She’ll pat your shoulder, replying: “I know, right? Makes me so mad I want to scream. Have a chocolate?”

Make the same complaint to your guy. He’ll mute the remote, saying “Call in sick, or tell him to get stuffed.” Then he’ll clickthe remote, case closed, issue resolved. He has no idea you want him to know how tired and distressed you are.

You need him to commiserate. He wants to quickly dispose of any topic. You get your needs met by making your womanly approach more like a man’s so that he can hear you. Tell him when you don’t want a solution, just reflective listening. He learns to meet your needs without feeling  endangered, so that when tougher topics come up, you’re both practiced and comfortable with expectations.

Try this, “I need you to hear how I feel about your mother’s constant nagging, but I accept that you can’t fix her. Please, understand how hard she is for me to deal with.”

Now, he can be sensitive and empathetic, knowing that you aren’t berating him. He needn’t sever ties with mom, and there won’t be a long diatribe. You feel loved and cared for. He feels safe. When you’re seeking solutions, ask how you can come up with a plan together.

You can iron out wrinkles in man-woman communications. Be comfortable with your differences. He will never respond like your girlfriends or your sisters. You will never be as to-the-point as guys he hangs with. But if each of you shifts your style, he won’t want to shut down, and you won’t feel shut out. There will be peace on Earth for both sexes.

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5 Responses to “He Shuts Down and You’re Shut Out”

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  1. Cindy C July 1, 2013 at 5:31 pm

    Steve Harvey says, “It’s not in (men’s) DNA to lounge around, sip coffee, and dab at our eyes with tissue as if we’re in an AA meeting or on some psychologist’s couch trying to get things off our chest.”

    LOL as if that were in a woman’s DNA. Terrible quote.


  2. Jackie September 9, 2011 at 2:09 am

    I’m 54 and still single. I’m soft on the eyes, not over weight, educated but I’m alone, again. I don’t have high standards but I do desire a specific type of guy. I’ve had 5 failed relationships because I confused lust with love. I don’t think I’ve ever truly been in love. How sad that is.
    I thought if I just relaxed and put it out of my mind it would come to me. I’m still waiting! I don’t want to grow old by myself. I want companionship, love, friendship.
    I just hope when I do fall in love I’m still young enough to enjoy it.
    Love to you all
    Jackie


  3. Maureen Shepherd December 18, 2010 at 10:22 pm

    i guess i just dont understand men . full stop


  4. bobhoffele December 17, 2010 at 7:34 am

    Helio ladies
    I listen best in the morning over coffee.
    At the end of the day or after a meal I am tired.
    Keep to the subject. Be clear. To the point. Ask me to think about it, and ask to later and set up a time good for you both.

    If it is critical, try learning to deal with the problem sooner.

    Merry Christmas to all. Love reading all the articles.

    Bobby Ont. Canada

  5. Gina Rose ext.9500
    Gina Rose ext.9500 December 16, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Fantastic article and all true…..

    When a man shuts down…….immediately back off and give him his space. Period.
    (Think about this….if you love someone, then you should also respect their need for privacy and down time as well) .
    Then, later on, pick the right time, meaning when he is in a good mood and more open, to approach the subject. Emplo the tips given in this excellent article. This may take some work, self control, and patience on your part but it is well worth it.

    One of the top Psychiatrists in the USA taught me many years ago, that if a person wants to change a behavioral pattern in another…FIRST they must change their own pattern of behavior. Makes sense to me!!!!! ……and the ladies I have taught this to over the years and in my readings have seen a change for the better in their significant other as well.

    Blessed Be )O(
    Gina Rose ext.9500

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