GUEST POST from Don: Feeling Understood

Recently I was listening to a discussion about how people think on “Hidden Brain,” a radio program.  What I heard amazed and perplexed.

According to one researcher, for couples there exists a gap between being understood and FEELING understood.  That part I get.  I often do feel misunderstood.  It could be there are reasons for that???

That aside, there are many times my spouse seems to totally mis-read what I am trying to say.  I believe it is because she listens for emotion (and I do grouse about things passionately).  Meanwhile, what I am actually trying to communicate are ideas (very factual and, to me, logical).

The researcher went on to discuss the types of situations in which couples MOST OFTEN feel they have not been heard.  

I tried to guess the two top irritating topics…

I know, for instance, that the highest stated cause for breakups is how money is spent.  Thus, I would think finances would be one of the top two areas where couples report they feel they are not heard.   NOPE, not about shoes or tools.

In my experience, raising children is difficult…everything from the division of parental duties, to buying clothes and toys, to discipline and education…all very difficult areas for couples.  Two year olds teethe and teens refuse to do anything they are told.  Is this one of the top two arenas of feeling misunderstood?  NOPE, not about “snips and snails” boys or “sugar and spice” girls.

So many couples experience troubles dealing with relatives and friends.  The Mother-in-Law is pushy.  His parents want Christmas at their house.  Her friends always call at inconvenient times or create problems for the couple.  So, is the issue of extended family and friends one of the top two areas where couples feel they are not understood?  NOPE, not about irresponsible or irritating people you can’t dump.

Well!  Humph!!  How about chores, how he throws his clothes on the floor and not in the hamper, or how the toilet tissue roll is hung…is that one of the problems?  NOPE!

Vacation planning?  NOPE AGAIN.  (I gave up.)

TOP ISSUE:  HUMOR.  OK.  Well, I kinda get that.  We all like to think “my humor is top-notch.”  We expect our significant other to think our jokes are the funniest they have ever heard.  Our partner MUST “get” our humor, even if they are exhausted, sick with COVID, and have laundry & dishes to finish.  It is irritating when you feel your partner doesn’t understand your humor.  Yet, this seems WAAAY down the list of important stuff partners NEED to clearly communicate, don’t you think?  I don’t even find this topic in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, of which the most basic level is “Toilet Paper.”

SECOND HIGHEST ISSUE: SEX.  (Um-mm!  Now I’m puzzled.)

I honestly was not aware that monkeys are more advanced than humans.  They have almost no problems getting this area right.  In fact, snails and beetles have us beat, too.  She signals “I’m ready,” and he jumps on.  That’s the extent of the communication issue for animals.  In the animal kingdom, he doesn’t even make coffee for her in the morning.

Truly, this CAN NOT be one of the top two issues where human couples feel unheard.

I may have missed something, but there doesn’t seem to be a great deal to discuss.  (Please Note: BOTH Partners listed this as the second highest area of concern.)  This activity represents a very small fraction of the time and energy spend by “average” couples.  After all, the AVERAGE* yearly number of special events is somewhere between 70-120.  At 50 minutes per episode (and I am probably over crediting men here) the top of that range comes to just about 1/10th of 1% of their time.  They spend about the same amount of time brushing their teeth.  [*Based upon one 10-year study of couples…the researchers said there was a wide healthy range.]

He wants MORE (not teeth brushing…the other thing).  She wants LESS.  They meet in the middle and have SOME. (Sometimes it is the other way around).  

He likes it GENTLE.  She wants it ROUGH.  Again, they meet in the middle.  
He wants NOW.  She wants AFTER.  

What is so difficult about this that they do not FEEL understood?  Monkeys have this mastered.  

Now, I suppose if she wants it KINKY with another guy (or monkey) there watching while he is wearing a cheer-leading outfit and singing “All we need is Love,” by the Beetles…maybe there would be something that should be “understood.”  Honestly, this should have been discussed BEFORE they became a couple…

If he can only get excited if they first bathe with honey mustard, light scented candles, and set the room temperature to just above freezing…maybe there would be something that should be “understood.”  Again, this should have been important enough to have been discussed prior to becoming a couple…

Otherwise…monkeys can do this!!!  Are you going to over-think this and allow animals to out-perform you?  What’s the issue?  Talk to your partner, develop an understanding, and get some.

I have an idea:
1) Write down what you want the other to “understand.”
2) Post it on the bedroom wall above the bed.
3) Enjoy your animal nature.
4) Then, go to sleep (you need that every day).

Copyright 2023 Donald Whelpley


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