This is a question I have heard time and time again from women, and is something I have questioned myself. What we often don’t realize is the load of expectation in this complaint, and that sometimes… we’re setting our men up to fail.
I know the feeling of just wishing he would get what I feel without me having to explain it. Wishing he knew and understood me in those moments when I feel uncomfortable or when I want something different, when I want him to touch me differently or I want him to love me differently. And in those moments, I want him to get it without me telling him.
This becomes a trap for men; there is an underlying, unspoken expectation for them to be mind readers.
As women, we innately feel and sense our loved ones’ needs. It’s part of our biological wiring as mothers. Mothers need to be able to respond to the needs of their children, sometimes without communication. Even women, who are not physical mothers, still have this as part of our biology.
And so we then set up an expectation for our beloved to offer us the same.
Don’t get me wrong – men have intuition too! And will often use it to sense what their partner needs and wants.
However, men also have the tendency to be single focused and can often miss the cues and signals coming from their partner. Whilst women might see this as a problem, man’s ability to be single focused is a gift. It means that when his attention is with his partner, it’s fully there. When he is working, he is fully there. Whereas for women, the ability to feel and sense many things at a single time, means she will need to rein her attention in from other competing areas to give attention to her partner.
A man might be offering his love to a woman in a way that he feels inspired to offer it in that moment, not recognising that she has something else going on right then that is competing for her attention. He might be supporting her to open to sexual pleasure in a way that normally works for her, without recognising that she has discomfort in her body in that moment.
This is not the man doing something wrong; he is simply unaware of the subtleties at play for her in that particular moment.
But being seething and resentful that he is not giving you what you need, will not activate his capacity to be present, loving and tuned into you. Holding back on expressing your feelings and needs will have the opposite effect on him. It may even have a man pull away, as he starts to sense some discomfort.
Expressing feelings, needs, wants and desires require vulnerability. Sadly we live in times where women are afraid of being vulnerable. We have been conditioned to believe that vulnerability is weakness.
In reality, vulnerability is powerful. Vulnerability is letting what we feel be seen and felt by another. It cultivates intimacy and closeness. It opens up softness in the person expressing vulnerability and often in the one who is receiving the communication as well.
Women are naturals at being vulnerable when we give ourselves permission. This current society where we have learnt to hold back our feelings and not be fully expressing our true selves hurts womankind and hurts mankind.
How can a man fully see us? Fully appreciate us? Fully meet us? When we are not expressing our true selves.
I know I have censored and filtered my feelings and needs and desires and wants WAY too much in my lifetime. It’s a deep commitment I have made to myself to express myself in the moment. To share what I am feeling, to let others in on what is going on for me.
Expressing myself cleanly serves my partner so that he knows where I am and what is alive for me. It also helps to cultivate the depth of intimacy and relationship that we both desire.
Expressing ourselves cleanly is something that requires practice and commitment. This is one of the topics that we focus on in all our women’s work. How can we best support ourselves and other women to reclaim their voice, their power and their vulnerability? How can the expression of our feelings serve others around us?
It’s an essential part of the journey to maturity. To grow from expectant girl into a mature woman who knows who she is and how to express her feelings and to express what she wants in life.
There are too many women in our society that communicate through passive aggressive commentary, leaky comments, feeling as though the world is against them or other unhealthy communication. To truly be a woman, that is to mature on the inside as well as on the outside requires us to own our ability to communicate ourselves in healthy ways.
Blossoming Woman level 1 covers the first steps to healthy communication and it’s coming up in Melb on 17 & 18 March.
For any woman who has journeyed with me previously, join us for Embodied Woman 9 month women’s circle, where we will focus more intently on the journey of maturing the woman inside of you.
And next time, you find yourself saying why he doesn’t know what you need, take a moment to ask yourself why or what you haven’t vulnerably communicated to him.