Ever wondered why you seem to care more than he does? A new study claims that women immerse themselves in their romantic relationships, while men place their romantic partners and best friends on an equal but distant footing. This study shows that generally women appear to be more invested in their relationships than men and that their happiness and well-being is more dependent upon how things are going in their intimate relationship.
Who is usually the one who recognizes when things in the relationship aren't working too well? The woman. Who is it that typically seeks professional help with the relationship? The woman. Who is it that spends time on YourTango, reading self-help books and going to seminars about relationships? Women. Why is it this way?
Women are biologically wired to be the nurturers. They are the ones with the skills to anticipate the needs of their partner, take care of nurturing the relationship and doing the problem solving when things have gone awry. Men are more biologically wired to be the providers and protectors. It's not that the relationship isn't important to them, it's just that they show it in different ways — by working hard, establishing a career, and maintaining an emotional distance.
Questions will naturally arise, such as: "How can I change him? How can I make him more involved in this relationship?" Well, you shouldn't, you can't and don't even try.
We have basic needs. We all have them; the strength of each is unique to each individual, and they appear to be genetically programmed. That's not to say that circumstances, culture, stage of development and other factors don't impact the experience of these needs, but basically we are wired with a genetic need strength profile that stays fairly stable throughout our lives.
A relationship destroyer is looking at your partner, deciding he/she is deficient in some way and then attempting to "make" them different. It's not that people can't change; they can, but typically they don't do it because you want them to!
There is a lot of focus in the business world today about diversity appreciation — recognizing that every individual brings something of value to the table. Instead of becoming frustrated and judgmental about difference, we are being asked to learn to accept and appreciate difference. If we are doing this in the business world, when will we begin to use these same skills in our personal lives with those we love?
Men and women are different. They tend to have different benefits in relationship but they are both interested in intimacy. Young adult women tend to be most focused on their need for connection. This manifests in having children, creating homes and nurturing their intimate relationships. That's not to say women don't have careers. They do, but most prioritize the connecting activities.
Most young adult males are focused on their need for significance. They are interested in making their way in the world and on having an impact. This is not to say they don't have relationships, start families and create homes. They do, but their priority is typically focused on work.
This tends to shift in middle age as children leave home. Women believe they have invested and sacrificed for their family, and now it's their turn. They go back to school, change careers or develop their own businesses. Men, in mid-life, tend to realize their children are gone and they missed a lot. They tire of the rat race and are primed for connection.
These differences make relationships interesting. Imagine if both of you were focused on connection at the same time. You'd be blissfully happy with each other but nothing would get done. Similarly, if you are both primarily focused on significance, then you may be financially successful but have little in the way of intimacy.
Recognize the differences. Embrace the differences. And appreciate what you both bring to your relationship (and don't forget to tell each other of your appreciation). Allowing each person to be who they are and celebrating that will do the best job to increase the intimacy in your relationships.