Are Men and Women Wired Differently?

“Sometimes I wonder if men and women really suit each other.  Perhaps they should live next door and just visit now and then.”

– Katherine Hepburn


I just had the most delicious conversation with my dear friend Tam.  She and I have been friends for over 30 years.  When we talk, we go straight to heart level, which I value so much and crave so deeply.  As a woman, this need for deep heart connection is so important to me. And this brings me to the essence of this post,  yet another layer of stuff my husband and I are working through. 

I won’t go into the full background of the latest turmoil, it’s more than a argument or disagreement – it feels like a deep mis-understanding of the sexes.  Our communication feels like he’s trying to connect from the head and me from the heart, and I end up feeling like a bleeding mess in a puddle in the corner and he is trying to analize why and how it happened and what exactly was said to get there and what words can deal with it. 

After talking to Tam and to my sister and a couple of other friends, I noticed once again, not surprisingly that men and women really communicate differently. So I decided to do some research, and I found that it’s not surprising that we communicate so differently because research shows that men’s brains don’t work the same way that women’s brains work.   There is so much new research out there showing us beyond a shadow of a doubt that men and women are wired differently.

According to psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen, the female brain is wired to empathize and the male brain is characterized by its tendency to systemize. The male brain seeks to develop a set of logical rules that guide another person’s behavior. When a man can’t understand someone else’s behavior through logic, he tends to become confused about how to proceed.  Women, on the other hand, may be more empathetic because their brains’ mirror neurons are more sensitive than men’s. Mirror neurons cause us to imitate emotions and actions that we’re exposed to. One theory is that women’s mirror neurons allow them to more easily hone in on another person’s emotional cues.

This quote just made so much sense to me!  I get so frustrated because it feels like my husband is trying to understand me “logically” – and does not understand emotional cues.  But if he’s not wired to do so, can I hold this against him?  Ah there’s the rub.  So I guess we just keep trying to find the common ground, and to work through this morass called relationship.

This video clip is a long one, well over an hour, but if you are interested in this subject, please do take the time to watch it, it offers some fascinating information on the brain differences between men and women.

 

 

I’d love to hear what helps you communicate better and how you make your relationships work. And as always thanks for stopping by, I appreciate it.

 

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18 thoughts on “Are Men and Women Wired Differently?

  1. I absolutely believe that the main thing that helps my relationship with my husband best is HUMOR! When his communication is horrible (as it so often is) – all I can do is find the humor.

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  5. I agree with the “wired differently” perspective, in my relationship, I tend to know how I feel about something before I can talk about it logically, or at all. He is the opposite-he offers a rational/logic based action before he has had a chance to understand how he feels about it (or how I do!)

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    • I totally agree. I defintely tend to know how I feel about something before I can logically talk about it. Whereas my husband goes to logic first. Learning about how we are wired differently really helped me move to a more compasionate place in my own relationship.

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  6. Modern teaching has tried to make men more like women and women more like men and the result has been a great decrease in relationship skills and knowledge about how to educate the new generation of offspring. Family life is breaking down dramatically and few educators know how to fix it. Utilizing male and female strengths was more standardized historically and there are few useful concrete suggestions for healthy family relationships today. Based on biological differences in the brains of men and women maybe there is hope that someday again both men and women will once again be skilled in raising responsible independent offspring and have happy depression and relatively stress free family relationships. My evergreen books LOVEALL and MODERN PARENTING should help improve relationships between men and women and offspring.

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  8. I think it is possible for the MINDSSDNIM (“Meeting of the Minds”)…I think each gender offers something unique to the relationship. Relationships take work…compromise…and true love…and, YES, a sense of humor!

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    • Thank you for taking the time to comment Johann. I totally agree with you, relationships take work, compromise and love. And we all agree it definitely takes a sense of humor!

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  9. I think realising these differences makes me understand and communicate better with my husband, we are still in a learning process to communicate better with each other (sort of newlyweds). But try to take things lightly and humour does help a great deal.

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  10. Patti:
    Good post. We are wired differently and knowing that can help couples. (I do a presentation about this called “I Love You With All My Brain” where I go into these ideas.) One example: When we perceive a threat (a family argument might qualify), we go into what John Gottman calls “Diffuse Physiological Arousal” (fight or flight response). Once this happens, it makes no sense to continue talking because we’re not listening — we’re defending.

    Here’s the deal. It takes men twice as long to come down from this as women. So, when a woman and her partner take that time out to cool down, she’s ready to talk again in, maybe, an hour. He needs two hours.

    I think this stuff is really useful to couples that want to communicate better.

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    • Thanks David. I will definitely make time to read a post by a man entitled “Are Men Brain-Damaged!” Looking forward to it. And thanks for taking the time to comment, I appreciate it.

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