the men and women lived together in peace because they were able to respect their differences. men learned to respect that women needed to talk to feel better. even if he didn't have much to say, he learned that by listening he could be more supportive. the women learned to respect that men needed to withdraw to cope with stress. the cave was no longer a great mystery or cause for alarm.
"What the Men Learned"
the men realized that even when they felt they were being attacked, blamed, or criticized by the women it was only temporary; soon the women would suddenly feel better and be very appreciative and accepting. by learning to listen, the men discovered how much the women really thrived on talking about problems.
each men found peace of mind when he finally understood that a woman's need to talk about her problems was not because he was failing her in some way. in addition he learned that once woman feels heard she stops dwelling on her problems and becomes very positive. with this awareness, a man was able to listen without feeling responsible for solving all her problems.
many men and even women are very judgemental of the need to talk about problems because they never experienced how healing it can be. they have not seen how a woman who feels heard suddenly can change, feel better, and sustain a positive attitude. generally they have not seen how a woman (probably their mother) who did not feel heard continued to dwell on her problems. this happens to women when they do not feel loved or heard over an extended period of time. the real problem, however, is that she feels unloved, not that she is talking about problems.
after the men learned how to listen they made a most amazing discovery. they began to realize that listening to a woman talk about problems could actually help them come out of their caves in the same way as watching the news on TV or reading a newspaper.
similarly, as men learn to listen without feeling blamed or responsible, listening becomes much easier. as a man gets good at listening, he realizes that listening can be an excellent way to forget the problems of his day as well as bring a lot of fulfillment to his partner. but on days when he is really stressed he may need to be in his cave and slowly come out by some other distraction, like the news or a competitive sport.
"What the Women Learned"
the women also found peace of mind when they are finally understood that a man going into his cave was not a sign that he didn't love her as much. they learned accepting of him at these times because he was experiencing a lot of stress.
the women were not offended when men were easily distracted. when a woman talked and a man became distracted, she would very politely stop talking, stand there, and wait for him to notice. then she would begin talking again. she understood that sometimes it was hard for him to give his full attention. the women discovered that by asking for the men's attention in a relaxed and accepting manner the women were happy to redirect their attention.
when the men were completely preoccupied and in their caves, the women also did not take it personally. they learned that this was not the time to have intimate conversation but a time to talk about problems with their friends or have fun or go shopping. when the men thereby felt loved and accepted, the women discovered that the men would more quickly come out of their caves.
[adapted from Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus by John Gray, Ph.D]
love is not complicated actually...