Why Don’t Men Talk Like Women Do?

By David Zinczenko From his book, “Men, Love & Sex: The Complete User’s

Guide for Women” Updated: Jul 11, 2007

David Zinczenko

Here’s a great irony: Men, in general, are happy in their relationships.

And yet women — the very people responsible for making guys so happy —

spend a great deal of time fretting over whether their men want to stay in

the relationship or are waiting to catch the next bus out of it. Indeed,

women spend so much time fretting that they often ask men to talk more

about … gasp! … their feelings. And the one thing that can make a

contented guy discontented is being asked to talk about his feelings. It’s

like cooking up a great souffle, and then opening the oven to check on it

— and presto, the souffle goes flat.

It’s not that you should never ask a man about his feelings. But it’s all

about technique: you need to coax him to that place where he can share;

pushing him just makes him stubborn.

Don’t use the f-word

The problem for a lot of guys is that talking feelings with a woman is

like talking French with a native Parisian. No matter how hard we study,

we’ll never master the language with quite the same fluency. So you need

to make things a little simpler for us.

From our end, we’d prefer that you don’t directly ask about the “f-word”

— feelings.

“Say the word feelings to a man and it’s like clipping your toenails

during a striptease”

Say the word feelings to a man and it’s like clipping your toenails during

a striptease — total turn-off. The reason? We have feelings, but we don’t

have the access to them that you do. So every conversation that’s

pointedly about our feelings seems to us like the last 15 minutes of “Law

& Order,” where we’re the perp and you’re the clever detective, poking a

finger in our face and hinting that you know just a little more than we

do. And you do know a little more than we do. You know how you feel. And

we don’t know how we feel. So if you want us to talk, then help us speak

your language — by speaking a little of ours.

The point: If you want us to answer questions about what we’re feeling,

then stop asking about how we’re feeling. Instead, watch how we behave,

and where our interests lie. And be open about your feelings. The more you

show comfort in expressing yourself, the more he’ll do the same.

How do I know where the relationship is going?

I feel like I’ve hit a snag in a relationship with my boyfriend. We’ve

been seeing each other for a few months. Everything was really great in

the beginning. Now, it seems like we’ve fallen into that typical

relationship routine. We see each other during the week, rent a movie on

Fridays, and usually have sex twice a week (once after the movie). He’s

nice to me and treats me well, but I’d like to get things back to where

they were. He tells me everything’s fine, assures me he cares about me,

and tells me not to worry about it. But I still do because what he says is

one thing but what happens week to week is another. Any idea what he’s


Yeah. He’s thinking exactly what he’s saying, which is that everything’s

fine. “

“Women think that not talking about the relationship means there are

problems, but it’s the opposite for men”

Women think that not talking about the relationship means there are

problems, but it’s the opposite for men. If we’re not talking about it, it

means we’re happy,” says Conner, 32. So the real question is not “What’s

he thinking?” It’s “What are you thinking?” If you’re content with the

relationship you’ve got, then relax and enjoy it. And if you want more,

say so. “If a man loves a woman, he’ll prove it with daily action not just

words,” says Jimmy, 27. Either he’ll step up to the plate, or what he’s

giving now is all he’s got — and maybe you need to move on.

Why don’t guys answer emotional questions?

I’ve got a good friend who recently left her husband. They have one child

who’s eight, and my friend and her ex are now in this bitter disagreement

about custody, about money, about who gets to see the daughter when. When

I told my husband about it, I asked him how he felt about it, because

these are really serious issues, and I figured he’d have really serious

thoughts on them. Instead, he just sat there, shrugged his shoulders, and

said, “That sucks.” Does the man have no feelings?

Of course he has feelings, and he told you what they were: He feels the

situation sucks. Oh, but wait … you were looking for something more.

Here’s the problem: You wanted him to tune into your concerns, but the

signal you were sending was fuzzier than a pirate radio station. It’s the

old “feelings” conundrum again. If you want to ask him how he’d handle a

custody issue, then ask him how he’d handle a custody issue. If you want

to know if he thinks it’s wrong for one partner to give up on a marriage,

then ask him about that. But don’t ask him about his feelings and expect

him to surmise that your telling him a story about the neighbors is some

Aesop’s fable for your relationship. “We’re simple. Please, no hints or

assumptions,” says D.J., 26. “Say what you mean, mean what you say. Don’t

make us guess as if we know what you are trying to say or feel.”

D.J.’s a bit of a wishful thinker. Just as men like direct, problem

A/solution B equations, women seem to take a more poetic and metaphorical

approach to communication. That’s why communication between the sexes is

so much work. To men, dealing with hypotheticals is fun when we’re talking

about pennant races and the stock market, not when you’re asking us to

project how we’d feel about anything really serious, like a breakup or

infidelity or pizza toppings. In that case, direct questions will get you

the answers you want: let’s stay together, I’ll be faithful forever, and

no anchovies, please.

Why can’t a guy just plan out our future?

My husband and I have two kids, a boy and a girl, ages three and six. I’m

tired of taking the pill, so I’ve tried talking to my husband about other

options. Specifically, I asked him if he wanted more kids. (I could go

either way.) And if he didn’t, then we should talk about a vasectomy. But

he can’t decide whether he wants more children, and he doesn’t seem too

thrilled with the idea of getting the vasectomy. Why doesn’t he just tell

me what he wants so then we can come up with some kind of game plan?

Your question contains this interesting phrase: “I could go either way.”

It sounds like you and your husband are both comfortable in a pair of

flip-flops. In our polls and surveys, we’ve asked men about the vasectomy

issue. John, 41, has been talking about a vasectomy with his wife, but

they’re having trouble getting at the root of who really wants to do what.

“Neither of us will come right out and say we’re done having kids. She

thinks me not signing right up for the operation somehow means that I have

this evil master plan: that if I dump her, I’ll be able to have kids with

some 22-year-old bimbo. But I just don’t want to get one, because neither

of us have closed the door on having kids, and if she’s up for it, I’m up

for it.”

The fact is that men hate admitting that they don’t have a plan, and with

complex issues like this, it’s hard for a guy to decide, unilaterally, the

rest of both your lives. He’s going to flip and flop like a beached sea

bass until he knows for certain. And then, one day, he’s just going to

announce his decision.I know, it’s hard living with us. Just don’t try

living without us.

Masculinity mastered: what you now know about men

* “Feelings” is our f-word. Bleep it out of your conversational

repertoire. Try pointed questions like “What do you think about….”

* We feel everything’s okay when we’re not talking about feelings.

When we’re talking about feelings, we feel everything’s on the rocks.

* Backed into a corner, we won’t let you into our heads. Give us some

space and we’ll let you in.

Say this tonight!

* The sexiest thing a woman ever said to Dale, 32: “What would you

like for breakfast?”

* The sexiest thing Tricia, 28, ever said to a man: “I wish I could

have you.”

Say this, not that!

* Say this: “What do you think about that?”

* Not: “How do you feel about that?”

* Because: He knows how to answer the first question, but the second

one makes him nervous.

* Say this: “I wish I could say this in a way that makes more sense to


* Not: “You don’t understand me.”

* Because: Miscommunication is a two-way street.

* Say this: “Let’s go for a drive.”

* Not: “Let’s sit down and talk.”

* Because: Men are less tense when they’re doing something physical.

* Say anything: Once

* Not: Ten times

* Because: To a guy, repetition makes a statement meaningless.

What it means when….

* He says, “I love you” for the first time (not during sex).

* He does. And he thought it long before he ever said it.

* He says, “Fine,” in response to a question about how his day was.

* Fine. If something significant happened, he’ll tell you — in a few


* He says, “Five,” when you ask him how many women he’s slept with.

* Twelve.

Wondering woman

Why is it so hard for guys to write a personal message in a birthday card?

Every year all I get is “Love, Jim.” Five minutes on the way back from

the drugstore doesn’t give a whole lot of time to come up with something

clever. Plus, he’d rather let a nice dinner and a show do the talking for


Male mysteries

* 27: Percentage of men who say they primarily fight with their wives

or girlfriends about the fact that they don’t share or talk about

their feelings.

* 65: Percentage of men who don’t want their partners to ask more

questions about them.

Excerpted by permission from “Men, Love & Sex, The Complete User’s Guide

for Women” by David Zinczenko with Ted Spiker; Rodale, 2006

Categories: accessdenied!, Blogroll, life, love, relationships | Tags: , , , , , | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Why Don’t Men Talk Like Women Do?

  1. that is one question which will never satisfy both men and women… never… LOL

  2. hehehe… bakit nga ba?

    so does dat mean, we dont have to question it? gnun ba yun ifoundme?

  3. malou

    Hay naku, mamamatay ka naman sa kakahula ng iniisip nila ano. Minsan-minsan naman siguro they need to assure us of their feelings.

  4. hala tama ka ms malou… pero cguro nga ganun n tlg mga lalaki…

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