Problem Solving

Men keep problems to themselves; they see no point in sharing or discussing personal issues.

Women go to their girlfriends to solve problems and make decisions; they love to talk about personal issues.

There is a little bit of science and chemistry at play for this one. As it turns out, men produce more testosterone when they are stressed or rising to meet a challenge.

The Man

When a man’s testosterone level is raised, he will tend to want to withdraw. His body chemistry is just not allowing him to want to reach out to you, or anyone else for that matter, and talk about it, so your efforts to do so are going against his own body chemistry.

A man views problem solving as a way to flex his muscle – to show his competence. A man does not care how a problem is solved, he only cares that it is solved.

He looks at a problem solving activity as a chance to show his commitment to a relationship – his commitment and his resolve.

When a man is in problem solving mode, he becomes less emotional and often focuses all of his energy on the problem. Any relationship that exists is secondary to being effective and efficient in coming to a solution.

The Woman

Women, on the other hand, produce more oxytocin when they are problem solving. It’s often called the “we” hormone, or the “love and trust” hormone. It’s what makes a woman want to reach out to friends to help solve a problem, and also what boosts their trust to do so.

Women approach problem solving by giving as much importance to the process of solving the problem as to the ultimate solution itself. Solving a problem is seen as a way to grow closer to someone, or drawing farther away from them – but it’s the process, not the solution that makes a woman feel that way. In fact, the solution is often of little consequence, compared to the process. For a woman, this process either strengthens or weakens a relationship.

The Bridge

It is important to understand that you’re not likely going to come together on this one immediately. He needs to be left alone and you need your girlfriends.

Go off, then, and hang with your girlfriends. Avoid getting emotional with him. Don’t create a scene before you go – just pause and say “Hon, I think I’ll go hang out with my friends for a couple of hours – I’ll see you later.”

Don’t whine, don’t yell, don’t slam the front door or hang up the phone abruptly. Be calm, courteous and go.

This accomplishes a couple of things – you are doing what is natural to you, and you are allowing him to do what is natural to him.

You are also, however, surprising him a bit, which will intrigue him. By not getting emotional with him, and by wandering off, you’re doing what he’s doing, and this isn’t what he expects – at all. He’s intrigued, and he will probably want to talk to you when you return.

Once you have both satisifed your individual needs for communal or separate space, it is still important that you both understand how the other ticks – your man wants to solve this problem for you – it is how he shows you he loves you. He needs to take control of the situation and just git’r done, if you will.

He feels this is his job in the relationship. Since you probably feel more interested in building the relationship than the ultimate solution anyway, offer help if help can be given and otherwise, allow him to take care of the problem for you.

In the end, he will feel that he has competently and efficiently solved the problem. He feels he has shown you he loves you by doing so. Your job is to recognize that this is how he is saying “I love you” and to stay calm.

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