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An online diary of someone who tends to forget easily.

Worst Relationship Mindsets..

Robert Leahy's article in huffpost.com

The 12 Worst Relationship Mindsets: Which Are YOU Guilty Of?

In cognitive therapy we focus on the way that you think about things. When we are distressed, we have automatic thoughts -- that is, thoughts that come to us spontaneously, seem true and generally go unexamined. Sometimes your thoughts are accurate; sometimes they are biased. But the first thing to do is to identify what you are thinking. Look at the list of typical thoughts that distressed couples have and ask yourself if any of these are true for you. You can also consider alternative ways to view what is going on -- as I suggest below. Sometimes we get stuck in the way we think and then withdraw, attack or give up. The first question to ask is, "Is there a different way to think about this?"

Labeling

You attribute a negative personality trait to your partner, leading you to believe that he or she can never change: "He's passive-aggressive"; "She's neurotic." As an alternative, rather than label your partner, you can look for "variability" in his behavior. "Sometimes he withdraws and sometimes he interacts with me. Let me ask him what might lead him to withdraw."

Fortune-telling

You forecast the future and predict that things will never get better, leaving you feeling helpless and hopeless: "He'll never change"; "I'll always be unhappy in my marriage." An alternative to this is to focus on specific things that you can say or do now -- such as the exercises described in this piece. Another good option is to look back at positive experiences that you have to challenge your idea that nothing will improve. You can also play a little game called "Catch Your Partner Being Good." Just list every positive every day and then share it with each other. You might be surprised what you are doing that is working already -- if you only noticed.

Mind-reading

You interpret your partner's motivations as hostile or selfish on the basis of very little evidence: "You don't care how I feel"; "You're saying that because you're trying to get back at me." Rather than engaging in mind-reading, you can ask your partner what he meant or how she is feeling. Sometimes it's beneficial to give your partner the benefit of the doubt: "She's simply taking a little time to unwind" is a better interpretation than "He doesn't find me interesting."

Catastrophic Thinking

You treat conflict or problems as if they indicate that the world has ended or that your marriage is a disaster: "I can't stand her nagging"; "It's awful that we haven't had sex recently." A better way of looking at this is that all couples face problems -- some of them quite upsetting. Rather than look at an obstacle or a problem as "terrible," you might validate that it is difficult for both of you but that it is also an opportunity to learn new skills in communicating and interacting. Problems can be learning experiences and can provide some new ways to grow.

Emotional Reasoning

You feel depressed and anxious, and you conclude that your emotions indicate that your marriage is a failure. "We must have a terrible marriage because I'm unhappy"; "I don't have the same feelings toward him that I used to; therefore, we're no longer in love." A better way of looking at your emotions is that your feelings may go up and down, depending on what you and your partner are doing. Emotions are changeable and don't always tell you about how good things can be. It's also important to ask yourself, "What are we doing when we feel better together?" Then do more of those positives.

Negative Filter

You focus on the few negative experiences in your relationship and fail to recognize or recall the positives. You probably bring up past history in a series of complaints that sounds like you're putting your partner on trial: "You were rude to me last week"; "You talked to that other person and ignored me entirely." This is where "Catch Your Partner Doing Good" is so helpful -- it allows you to look at things without the dark lens on. You can also keep a list of positives about your partner to remind you to put the "negatives" in perspective. We all do dumb things at times, but it's useful to take off the negative filter and remind ourselves of the positives.

All-or-Nothing Thinking

You describe your interactions as being all good or all bad without examining the possibility that some experiences with your partner are positive: "You're never kind toward me"; "You never show affection"; "You're always negative." Whenever you use the words "always" and "never," try assuming that you are wrong. For example, when Phyllis began looking for positives from Ralph, she realized that he was affectionate at times and that he was rewarding to her as well. The best way to test out your distorted and biased negative thinking is to look at the facts. Maybe the facts aren't as terrible as they seem to be.

Discounting the Positive

You may recognize the positive things in your relationship but disregard them: "That's what a wife or husband should do"; "Well, so what that he did that? It means nothing?"; "These are trivial things that you're talking about." Every positive should be counted -- it's the only way to build up good will. In fact, if you start counting the positives rather than discounting them, they will no longer seem trivial to both of you. Vinnie was happy to learn that the very little things that he was doing, like complimenting Cynthia, made a big difference to her. This in turn made him less critical. And Vinnie began keeping track of Cynthia's positives, which helped him recognize that an occasional negative -- which was probably due to depression -- was outweighed by the many good things in their relationship.

Shoulds

You have a list of "commandments" about your relationship and condemn yourself (when you're depressed) or your partner (when you're angry) for not living up to your "should." There is no end to these nagging negative thoughts. Here are a few typical examples.

"My partner should always know what I want without my asking."

"If my partner doesn't do what I want her to do, I should punish her."

"I shouldn't ever be unhappy (bored, angry, etc.) with my partner."

"I shouldn't have to work at a relationship; it should come naturally."

"I shouldn't have to wait for change; it should come immediately."

"My partner should change first."

"It's all his fault, so why should I change?"

"If I don't get my way, I should complain (pout, withdraw, give up, etc.)."

"Our sex life should always be fantastic."

"If I'm attracted to other people, it means that I shouldn't stay in this marriage."

"I should try to win in all our conflicts."

"My partner should accept me just the way I am."

"If we're having problems it means we have an awful relationship."

Now, be honest with yourself. Are these "shoulds" helping or hurting you and your relationship? I guarantee that if you have a lot of them, you are pretty unhappy. Rather than talk about the way things "should" be, you might consider how you can make things better. Replace your shoulds with "how to" and "let's try." Rather than "We should have a better sex life," you might try action statements such as "We can give each other a massage" or "We can set up a time to be affectionate." You won't make progress by "shoulding" on each other. But you can make progress by acting differently and communicating in a caring way.

Personalizing

You attribute your partner's moods and behavior to something about yourself, or you take all the blame for the problems: "He's in a bad mood because of me"; "If it weren't for me, we wouldn't have any of these problems." It's almost never all about one person; it takes two to tango and two to be miserable. Phyllis was doing a lot of personalizing, thinking that Ralph wanted to be alone because he found her boring. But really Ralph was so burned out at the end of the day that he needed a little while to cool down. It wasn't about Phyllis; it was about Ralph's day.

Perfectionism

You hold up a standard for a relationship that is unrealistically high and then measure your relationship by this standard. "It's not like it was in the first year, so it's not worth it"; "We have problems, so our relationship can't work out." The problem with perfectionism is that it is bound to make you miserable. You may think that you are holding up your ideals, but you are really putting you and your partner down. No relationship is perfect -- and no relationship needs to be perfect. Once Vinnie and Cynthia recognized how futile and depressing perfectionism was, they were able to work constructively on their relationship. "I realized that we would never have exactly what we wanted from each other, but we could still get a lot our needs met," Vinnie finally said. It was a breakthrough to give up on having to be perfect and demanding the same from Cynthia.

Blaming

You believe that all the problems in the relationship are caused by your partner: "If it weren't for her, we wouldn't have these problems"; "He argues with me; that's why we can't get along." Again, there is a grain of truth in almost any negative thought, but blaming your partner will make you feel helpless and trapped. A better way of approaching this is to take a "Let's fix it together" approach. You can validate each other, share responsibility for the problems, plan to catch each other being good, reward each other, plan positives together, and accept some differences. It sure beats blaming each other and becoming victims.


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What you should avoid when he/she is upset..

Another article worth reading by Robert Leahy, Ph.D.
Director, American Institute for Cognitive Therapy in New York City

What Not to Say When Your Loved One Is Upset

Imagine that the person that you love is upset about something -- her job, his health, her feelings about the relationship. Let's say she is worried about her health, worried that she might have some terrible illness -- and that even if you think she is going to be OK, you want to comfort her, make her feel better. What are the worst ways and best ways of talking? What should you say, and what should you avoid saying?

Let me give you a hint. The most important thing in talking to someone who is upset is to communicate that 1) you understand they are upset, 2) you care about how they feel, and 3) you respect their right to have their feelings.

What Not To Say

Let's start with the biggest mistakes in talking with your partner. For convenience, I've broken them down into six problematic styles:

Minimizing. This is the style where you treat your partner's concerns as trivial: "It's nothing. Why are you making a big deal out of it?" You are trying to tell them that their feelings are not related to anything real or important. So, the message they get is, "My feelings don't matter to you."

Rationalizing. You treat your partner's concerns as evidence of their irrational and distorted thinking. You try to argue away their concerns. This is a specific kind of minimization, and it sends the same negative message: "Your feelings are based on nothing real. Get over it."

Competitive complaining. In this little game you don't want your partner to "win" by being the one with the biggest complaints. So you start bringing up your own: "You think that's bad? I think I might lose my job!" Again, your partner feels there is no room for her feelings. You matter more.

Fixing. If your partner has unpleasant feelings, you jump in to try to solve all the problems. Laying out your well-thought-out plan, you get frustrated when she doesn't buy into your solutions. This makes her feel less understood and she thinks, at times, that you are patronizing.

Defending. In this scenario you treat your partner's emotions as a personal attack on you. If he is upset, you feel that you are to blame, so you turn it into a trial and start defending yourself. This goes nowhere; you get more angry and dismiss his feelings.

Stonewalling. In this case, you just withdraw. Feeling frustrated listening to her feelings, you withdraw, become silent and sullen and may leave the room. Now she is all alone, feeling abandoned.

What To Say

So, what should you say?

Hint: Your partner wants to feel that 1) you understand that they are upset, 2) you care about how they feel, and 3) you respect their right to have their feelings.

Consider some of the following. Would you like to hear any of this when you are upset?

"I know it must be hard for you feeling this way."

"I can see that it makes sense that you would feel down, given the way that you are seeing things."

"A lot of times you may feel that people don't understand how hard it is for you."

"You must be thinking that this really down feeling is going to last a long time. It must be hard to feel that way."

"I want you to know that I am always here for you."

"I don't want to sound like I don't want to hear about your feelings. I do. But if there is anything that I can do to help you feel better, please let me know. Your feelings are really important to me."

Here are some simple guidelines (from my recent book, "Beat the Blues Before They Beat You: How to Overcome Depression"):

Help make sense of feelings. Tell your partner how you understand that her emotions make sense given what has happened and how she is thinking. "Others have these feelings." "Your feelings make sense given the way you are looking at things." "You are not alone."

Expand the range of feelings. Help your partner understand that there are many feelings -- not just the current one. Feelings come and go, there are mixed feelings, and feelings vary in intensity. "You have so many different emotions -- some feel positive and some seem negative." "I know you are feeling sad, but are there other feelings that you are having as well?" "Are you having mixed feelings?"

Reduce shame and guilt. Help your partner understand that feelings are not a sign of being weak, but rather a sign of being human. "We all have difficult feelings at times. Your emotions are a sign that you feel things intensely, because things matter to you. You are most human when you have your feelings."

Accept your partner's pain. When you love someone, it's natural that you want to jump in and make that person feel better. Sometimes that can be helpful, but at other times it may convey the message that your partner's pain is too much for you to hear. You can communicate acceptance by saying, "I know that you are having a hard time, and I accept that you will not always feel upbeat." Acceptance and validation go hand and hand.

Link emotions to higher values. Sometimes your emotions can reflect the things you value -- competence, love, belonging or responsibility. You can support your partner emotionally by saying, "I know that these things bother you because you truly value them. Things matter to you."

Your partner needs your love -- but your love is an active verb -- to love her or him in a way that they understand that you care, that you get it and that you are there for them. No one wants to feel that their emotions are a burden, or based on some irrational idea, or that every problem has to be fixed by you. Maybe solving the problem might be helpful -- if they want it solved. But showing you care involves making time for listening, being there to hear, respecting the right to feel bad at times.

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Communication in relationships...

Relationship Communication: How to Talk So That Your Partner Will Listen

Robert Leahy, Ph.D. 02/08/11 08:51 AM ET

Well, my recent post ("Why Men Don't Listen to Women") on HuffPost drew a lot of comments. The article was a follow-up to an earlier posting on "What Not to Say to a Loved One Who is Upset." In the earlier article I suggested some simple guidelines for being supportive -- like not jumping in with problem-solving too quickly, not demanding rationality all the time, validating and respecting feelings, exploring a range of feelings and giving time for your partner to express himself or herself. For some reason, many men jumped all over this and thought that this would make them less manly, "wusses," weaker, doormats, it would reinforce whining and would sacrifice any opportunities to deal with things rationally. My thoughts about "what not to say" apply to both men and women, but some men thought it was going to take away something that the male role holds dear.

Many men thought I was doing a "hit job" on men and blaming men for every problem in a relationship. Actually, I specifically indicated that neither men nor women are to blame -- but sometimes some men may have certain attitudes about communication and emotion that may get in the way. It was interesting to me that a lot of the men who responded did express the very beliefs that I was targeting -- views that women are "too emotional," they just go on and on forever, they can't think rationally, and that they are largely a burden. These misogynist beliefs must make it difficult to have an equal and meaningful relationship with mutual respect -- but, hopefully, some readers will think about things differently. Others will not and will continue to defend their position with sarcasm, name calling and high-fiving each other. Sounds like a lot of fun. Won't get you very far. Certainly, won't appeal to women, guys!!!

The guidelines for being a good listener are not just for men. These guidelines for listening and communication apply to both men and women, straight and gay, and for friendships as well. Good communication and good listening are also part of negotiating in business, as well. And, of course, rationality and problem-solving are also important. (It's ironic that some people might think that I don't care about rationality and problem-solving. After all, I am a "cognitive therapist"!) If you want to get a sense of the irrational way that we can think about our relationships, check out my post, "The 12 Worst Relationship Mindsets." I try to describe a number of common negative patterns of thinking that are ultimately self-defeating and I suggest a few different ways to think about your relationship. You can be more rational about your irrational thinking.

Having made these observations, though, it's also important that when you are communicating to your partner -- and you want him or her to listen -- and respect you, then you should consider how you say what you say. Communication and listening is a two-way street. So how can you communicate better?

10 Secrets to Getting Heard:

Pick the Right Time

Sometimes you think you need to be heard the minute you have a thought or feeling. But your partner might be wrapped up in something else at the moment -- the game, fixing dinner, trying to go to sleep, working on something, or just not in the right mood right now. Use your experience to tell you what is definitely not the right time -- for example, "big process discussions" are seldom helpful right before bed -- or the minute your partner walks in the door. If you start talking -- and he or she isn't listening -- then ask, "Is there a better time to talk?" And, if you are the listener, play fair -- give your partner a reasonable alternative. Don't use sarcasm or stonewalling.

Edit it Down

Many times you start talking and you just get carried away. Your partner is losing interest, drifting off, his third eyeball is rolling into his cortex. Nothing is getting through. OK. Maybe you need to edit what you say. Try to limit your comments to relatively clear and short sentences. Pause, ask for feedback, wait for your partner. Don't get on a soap-box and hold the floor. Make it more give and take. Think about what is essential and try to focus on that. One way of editing it down is to agree with your partner that there might be a reasonable period to spend on the topic -- for example, "Can we spend about 10 minutes talking about this?" That helps you focus on the essentials and gives your listener a reasonable time-frame.

Pause and Ask for Feedback

Sometimes as a speaker you will go on and on, without pausing. Perhaps you think that you need to stay on your topic so that everything is heard -- or you fear that your partner will jump in and take the floor and you won't ever get a chance to speak again. Slow it down, edit it down, and stop and ask for feedback. Make the communication two-way. If you feel your partner hasn't really heard what you are saying, then try asking, "Can you rephrase what I said?" Or, if you want your partner to help you think of things differently, you might say, "I wonder if I'm seeing things the right way here." Or, if you want problem-solving, you might say, "I wonder what I can do to make it work." Pause, reflect, ask for feedback.

Don't Catastrophize

Sometimes we think that the only way to get heard is to make everything sound awful. Sometimes that's a legitimate point of view, but if you make too many things sound awful you will lose your credibility. Try to keep things in perspective, try to stay with the facts, and try to keep things from unraveling. Keep your voice in a calm tone, don't get carried away. Slow it down, quiet it down. You will be heard more clearly with a softer tone. In fact, if you stand back and think it through, some of the things that you are talking about may be unpleasant, inconvenient, or simply a matter of opinion. But "awful" might be a bit extreme. Think it through and decide if it is really as awful as you think and feel it to be.

Don't Attack

Your listener is not likely to be a good audience if your discussion is a series of attacks and criticisms. Labeling your partner ("Idiot," "Moron," "Big Baby") or over-generalizing ("You always do that") is going to be a turn-off. This doesn't mean you can't get your point across and assert yourself. It simply means that you need to communicate in a way that is not as hostile. Making suggestions for change ("It would be helpful if you cleaned up a bit more"), while giving credit for some positives ("I do appreciate your help with the shopping") can get you more attention and cooperation than out-right attacks ("You are the most selfish person I have ever known").

Tell Your Partner if You Want to Solve Problems or If You Want to Share Feelings

My experience is that sometimes we just want to vent our feelings, have a sympathetic ear from our partner. That's OK, but your partner needs to know where you are going with it. For example, it may be that you might want to divide it up -- a few minutes of venting and sharing and then either drop the topic or go on to problem-solving. I've found that a lot of people just want to be heard and cared for. Ironically, I used to jump in with rationality and problem-solving very quickly until I realized that some of my patients (and friends) didn't want that. They just wanted to explore feelings and feel supported. So, like a lot of "men" (or people overly-committed to rationality and problem-solving) I had to learn to give time and space for feelings. I have to confess that I was like a lot of the guys who have commented on previous posts -- thinking that this was a waste of time. I was task-oriented, committed to rationality, and focused on problem-solving. So it required a lot of discipline for me to step back. As I spent a bit more time validating and listening and supporting, I found that the people I was helping were more willing to hear my rationality and problem-solving when we got around to it. And, much to my surprise, some didn't need a problem to be solved. They needed someone to care about the fact they had a problem.

Listening Is Not Agreeing

Sometimes we have the belief that the listener should agree with everything we say and be just as upset as we are. That's the only way to show that he or she is really listening. Wrong. Listening is hearing, understanding, reflecting, and processing information. I can listen to your thoughts and feelings without agreeing with your point of view. You and I are different people. It doesn't mean I don't care for you if I don't agree with you. It means I am hearing you. But sometimes the speaker can attack the listener for not agreeing 100 percent. That seems unrealistic and unfair. We all need to accept the differences that make us unique. In fact, the differences can be opportunities for growth. When you talk to someone who understands you and cares about your feelings -- but doesn't agree with your interpretation of events -- it opens your mind to the fact that there is more than one way to think about things.

Respect Advice

If you are turning to your partner for support and advice you are likely to get feedback -- probably some advice. Now, you might be unfortunate and get sarcasm and contempt -- the predictors of divorce. But let's assume that your partner is trying to do what he or she can to be supportive -- but it's not exactly what you want. Maybe the advice is not helpful, maybe it's irrational. But if you want to be heard, you have to be willing to respect the advice-giver. You don't have to take the advice or like the advice. But if you are playing to an audience that you then attack you won't have an audience the next time around. Think of advice or feedback as information -- take it or leave it. But don't hit the other person over the head with it.

If You Describe a Problem, Describe a Solution

This may not be what you are ready for. As I said, you might just want to vent, share feelings, explore your thoughts. But I think it also makes sense -- some of the time -- to describe potential solutions if you describe potential problems. I actually love to jump to problem-solving (as I "admitted" earlier) but it may be premature with some people. But if you are a speaker you might consider this as an option -- describe a solution if you describe a problem. Your solution doesn't have to be an order to do something. It can be tentative, reasonable, one of several possibilities. In fact, if you begin thinking of the problem as something to solve, you might begin feeling more empowered. But it's your call if you want to go there now -- later -- or never.

Validate the Validator

One of the most helpful things that you can do as a speaker is to support the person who is supporting you. You don't want to be a downer and you don't want to act entitled to every minute of the other person's time. Think about it from their point of view. They are listening to you go on about something that is bothering you. Well, it may not be the most fun for them. But they are with you on this. Why not turn around and thank them for spending the time? Thank them for caring enough to listen and support you. Validate the validator.

A caveat: I'd like you to keep in mind that good advice is gender-neutral. But if sex-typed thinking gets in the way, if sarcasm, contempt, stone-walling, attacking, and ridiculing are your games, you may be playing alone. And, for a long time.

You decide what will work.

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Why men don't listen to women (Reblogged)

An article from HUFFPOST.COM

Why Men Don't Listen to Women

Robert Leahy, Ph.D. 01/27/11

In a recent posting I identified a list of the wrong things to say to someone who is upset. Interestingly, this led to a lot of comments on The Huffington Post, which got me thinking. The first thought I had was, "Why do men find it so hard to validate women?"

Before I get into this, I'd like you to think about the research by psychologist John Gottman. Gottman has been able to predict with 91 percent accuracy which couples will end up getting divorced. He calls these "The Four Horsemen of Apocalypse" -- along with other problematic styles of communication. The Four Horsemen are Criticism ("You are always whining"), Contempt ("You're a basket case"), Defensiveness ("I'm not the problem, you are!") and Stonewalling (withdrawing or becoming silent). Other problematic styles include starting the conversation in a hostile or intense style, giving off body-language that is defensive or cold, flooding your partner with negativity, and bringing up past memories, complaints and injuries. When you can predict divorce with 91 percent accuracy you know you are on to something.

Now I don't want to claim that men are always the problem -- or that they are even more likely to be the problem than women are. No group is innocent, no group is perfect. But I can see that a lot of times men have a great deal of difficulty validating and emotionally supporting the women in their lives. Here are some reasons.

The Seven Reasons Men Don't Listen

It's a Power Struggle. Some men view intimate relationships as a win-lose game. If the woman is venting her feelings, then she is winning and the man is losing. As a result these men may try to dominate and control the woman, telling her that she is illogical, out of control or just a pain to deal with. One man says, "You want us to be doormats."

Sarcasm Many men describe their interactions in terms of "sarcastic" comments -- put-downs, contempt, criticism and condescension. For example, some men respond with, "It must be that time of the month" or "Get me a beer" or other problematic and self-defeating comments. They think that sarcasm will get the woman to either shut up or help her see that she is being ridiculous. She gets the message that he not only doesn't care -- but that he is the last person to ask for support. He thinks he's clever and funny -- and she thinks he just doesn't get it.

Macho Thinking A number of men comment that to validate or to use emotional language to support the woman is unmanly. "You are trying to make us into wusses," a number of men say. They believe that the role of the man is to be strong, above it, domineering. Validating and allowing emotional ventilation is for feminized men, men who have lost their dignity as "real men." The women may think that some of the macho confidence is appealing, until it leads them to feel that the only emotion they can get from him is his anger.

Emotional Dysregulation Some men find it so upsetting, so emotionally arousing to listen to their partners that they feel they have to ventilate their anger or withdraw. In fact, this is supported by the research that shows that their pulse-rates escalate during conflict and they find this unbearable. As a result of their own escalating emotion -- which they can't tolerate -- they either try to get her to shut up -- or they leave the room. She feels controlled, marginalized and abandoned.

Not Wanting to Reinforce Whining This is another reason that men give for not supporting or encouraging expression. They believe that validating and making time and space for their partner's expression will reinforce complaining which, in turn, will go on indefinitely. So they want to stop it immediately by using sarcasm, control or stonewalling. She feels that he won't let her talk, that he is cold, aloof, hostile. So she goes somewhere else to get that support -- another woman friend -- or another man.

Demand for Rationality Some men believe that their partner should always be rational and that irrationality cannot be tolerated. Their response to their partner's apparent irrationality is to point out every error in her thinking, dismiss her, become sarcastic or withdraw. This demand for rationality or "the facts" might sound "mature" but I have yet to hear someone say that they have a great sex life because they have the facts on their side. Communication is often more about soothing, grooming, connecting -- less about simply giving you the information and being logical.

Problems Have to Be Solved These men think that the main reason for communication is to share facts that then can be used for problem-solving. They think that venting and sharing feelings gets you nowhere and that if their partner is not willing to initiate problem-solving then she is being self-indulgent and wasting everyone's time and energy. When he jumps in with problem-solving, she either escalates the emotion which she believes is not heard, or she withdraws.

Well, ask yourself, "Have these responses really worked?" Why is this kind of behavior and thinking so predictive of divorce? If it's not working -- and you and your partner both know it's not -- then maybe it's time to think about making a change. You can change your partner -- break up, get divorced. Or, perhaps it would be easier to change your response to your partner. In a previous posting I listed some possible responses.

Let me go back to a fundamental part of intimate relationships. We want to feel that our partner cares about and respects our feelings. We want to believe that they have time to listen. We want to feel supported, soothed and that we are not a burden. The seven beliefs and styles above -- which many men use -- only alienate the women that they claim they love. If it's not working, why would you continue to act this way?

The answer may be that some men view relationships in terms of power and control. They believe that being real men means never giving up your power. They think that women need to be kept in their place, not "indulged," taught how to think rationally and solve real problems. Of course, rationality and problem-solving are important, but if your partner wants to be heard and respected you better find out first before you jump in and take control. Real men share power, real men are partners, real men know that real women need real respect.

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