She's Crazy; He's Closed

You often hear men complain, "My ex is crazy." And you often hear women complain, "He refuses to talk about his emotions. He's so aloof."

Why do we write off all men or all women based on some bad experiences? Because we keep having similarly bad relationships and we don't understand why.

Hot and Cold
Why do women act all affectionate and interested one minute and then rage out on men the next? Confusion about how he wants to get close but not too close. Confusion about his lack of communication. Confusion about why she's starting to fall for him when he won't even commit to an exclusive relationship. Confusion about why she wants someone who can't express that he wants her.

So when she gets fed up and lets all those emotions out in frustration, he responds: "She's crazy!"

Not Ready
Why do men pull back when a woman shows intense interest? Why do they keep contacting a woman and telling her how great she is but then say they're not ready for a relationship? Fear of getting too emotional. Fear of expectations they can't meet. Fear of responsibility. Fear that they'll lose their freedom. Fear of getting criticized for being a man.

So when he stops talking to avoid negative feedback, she responds: "He's closed and doesn't know how to express emotions. He's messed up!"

Break the Cycle
How do women and men move beyond these patterns? Are all men afraid of commitment? Are all women crazed with emotional frustration? Of course not.

So what's happening here? We're contributing to a vicious cycle.

The man shuts the woman out emotionally because he's afraid she'll rage out on him for not being what she wants. The woman blows up at her man because he's not communicating about his feelings and yet he keeps coming back to her. She's so confused about where she stands and frustrated about how to reach him. Her emotions and expectations scare him, so he pulls back.

She rages. He shuts down. The cycle worsens. The labeling continues.

Talk First
Are we doomed to keep misunderstanding each other? Or are both sides not trying enough to communicate?

Perhaps the expectations are getting farther apart with less communication and more sex.

A woman thinks sex will bring them closer and allow for better communication. A guy thinks sex means he doesn't need to try so hard to communicate anymore. He's reached his goal with her, and she's agreed to connect with him on that level.

How do men and women avoid this mismatch? Communicate first. Share expectations. If you have a mismatch at that point...go your separate ways. Don't hook up. Hang it up. And label it done.

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