Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby is the founder and clinical director of Growing Self Counseling and Coaching. She's the author of “Exaholics: Breaking Your Addiction to Your Ex Love,” and the host of The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast.
Newsflash: Men and Women Are Different
Understanding Men: As a therapist, marriage counselor and life coach, I have very intimate conversations with men (and women) on a daily basis. I've been in the room when a relationship is transformed from misunderstanding, suspicion and hurt to genuine understanding and empathy. I've learned through the years that, stereotypes aside, men and women do approach things differently, even when it comes to personal growth work and getting involved with therapy or life coaching. At the same time, are some really unfortunate myths about men in our culture that both men (and the women who love them) buy in to. Believing these unhealthy stereotypes about men holds everyone back, and creates unnecessary frustration in relationships.
False Myths About Men
For example, one unhelpful myth about men is that they are not as “relational” as women are. The truth is that men desire love and connection just as much as women do. Another myth is that men dislike talking about themselves or their feelings. In reality, men want to talk about their “inner reality” and be understood, just as much as anyone else. One extremely unhelpful stereotype about men is that they aren't interested in self-improvement. In fact, men care very much about learning and growing, and want opportunities to develop their relationships and develop themselves. But unfortunately, our culture does not make much space for men to create the kinds of connections they long for, to talk openly about their feelings, or to become self-actualized. On their journey of growth, men have to fight through misconceptions, stigma, and judgment — both external and self-imposed — that women never face.
“Help Me Understand My Man!”
These false myths about men can be damaging to men, but are also damaging to their partners and their relationships. Many women long for more connection with the men they love but feel like the more they try to reach out the further it pushes men away. Sometimes, women feel worried about the men in their lives and want their man to get help. They say, “My husband is depressed but won't go to therapy,” or “Our relationship is in trouble, but my husband won't go to couples counseling with me.” In these cases, women feel frustrated with their men, and may even come to the conclusion that their partners don't care. The reality is that women often don't fully understand what their men are going through, and as a result, approach them in a way that makes it harder for their men to get help instead of easier. They know, on some level, that their man loves them (and that he's hurting) but have no idea how to get through to them.
How to Understand Men
So on this episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast, our mission is to understand men and “the male experience,” especially when it comes to self-development. To this end, I've enlisted the support of my fellow couples counselors, therapists and life coaches — all of whom happen to be men.
Here are just some of the questions about men we're discussing:
- Why can it be so hard to get men to open up?
- Is it true that men are less likely to get involved in personal growth work, or want to pursue couples counseling?
- How can women help the men in their lives get help if they're worried about them?
- What are some things that men need to figure out, that women never even think about?
- What are some of the things that men really need their partners to know, but might not know how to say?
- What is the difference between a “guy” and a “man,” in terms of male identity development?
- And what are some of the unique situations that men may be struggling with, but that never even get discussed?
All here for you, on today's episode of the Love, Happiness and Success Podcast.
xoxo, Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby
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How to Understand Men
Music Credits: Tim Darcy, “St Germain”