For women, trust and hurt are intertwined. I speak with a lot of women who hold tightly onto their hurt towards their husbands and boyfriends. This creates a “freezing out” effect, where guys become pretty confused, reactive and angry, and often do things to aggravate the situation. Our reactive patterns get us into more trouble, and for women, their hurt grows and gets compounded. Many guys don’t really know what the hell to do.
Simply put, women need their feelings heard and acknowledged. They often need to feel understood by their guy, that he “gets” it and that he understands my hurting and how it is related to something that you – my guy – might have done. Women don’t want or need the following: reactivity, problem solving, fixing, sarcasm, belittling, superiority, avoidance, laughter at their expense, or any combination of those things.
The problem is that guys do exactly those things, often in some combination, and unknowingly create more of what they don’t want in the first place. It’s a vicious cycle that doesn’t really stop, and manifests itself in the “little things” that trigger fighting and conflicts, the everyday types of issues that come up between couples.
Trust is very much related to all of this. Trust is earned, as she starts to feel comfortable, safe and received. Women need reception, and need to feel that you will respect her words, feelings and the trust that she is giving to you. She needs to know that that trust – while earned – will be safe kept, and won’t be compromised by the things you say and do in your relationship with her.
Obviously, great communication is a vehicle for real change here, but personal awareness is more important. Becoming aware of how you – as the guy – interact with her, how what you do triggers that hurt (which often comes out as anger) and how you can change your behavior and the way you listen to her will help you in the long run. Understanding that you may not be the original cause, or that you are not responsible for her hurt, is helpful. What’s different is, although you may not be responsible for it, you may be triggering it with those words, actions and behaviors that you’re not in the know about.