Men would rather walk on broken glass than face an upset woman.                                Pamela Hogan                                                                                                                                                                       

Given all the theories about men and their hard-hearts, I remember the exact moment my worldview flipped upside down. It was late afternoon, my male client was slumped down in a chair, staring at the floor. His wife leaned forward on the couch and demanded, “How is it that you can be so insensitive right now when you are the one who hurt my feelings?!”

Normally I’d launch into my SOP spiel, “Actually Brad, it doesn’t take much to sooth a woman’s hurt feelings. Sometimes all you have to do is reach out and quietly hold her.” But there was something in the look on his face that instead prompted me to ask, “What are you feeling when Jan is distressed?”

Still looking down, he softly answered, “It upsets me when I upset Jan. I never mean to hurt her on purpose, but it seems I just keep failing her.” “Have you told her this?” I asked. “No,” he blurted, “I just want her hurt to stop! Now. But when I try to talk her out of her feelings, I only make it worse. Damned if I do, and damned if I don’t.”

This was a perspective-shifting moment for me in my work with men. I’d always assumed men were stoic and somewhat impervious to a woman’s hurt feelings. So, in addition to uncovering the vulnerability men feel when facing an upset woman, there’s another ironic revelation regarding the hearts of men. Many men are so sensitive to the distress of a woman that they can’t bear to experience the shame -yes, shame- when they hurt a woman’s feelings.  

Men carry a deep primal commitment to keep their woman safe and happy. And if they’re not making her happy, they feel they’re failing in their duty. Here’s the rub. Historically, men haven’t felt permitted, let alone encouraged, to express their own hurt feelings or emotional wounds. Given this restriction, men are ill-equipped to sooth themselves, let alone hold the space while a woman falls apart and weeps. 

We women today insist upon and are accustomed to expressing distress in real time, not tape delay. Being more practiced and willing to feel our pain, we know that with comfort and support, it will subside. Men don’t believe anything will get better if they express their emotional pain. This is why, at this time in history, men are more sensitive to emotional pain than women. Guys, isn’t it time you get off the hot seat and get some credit for being sensitive caring? Look, you already know how to be systematic. Use it! Here are your tools:

Step #1: Get Your Bearings. The second your woman is upset with you, STOP & FOCUS. Get your bearings – identify your typical coping mode: 1) Defensive Mode                                                                                     2) Placation Mode                                                                                         3) MIA (retreat to computer, garage, or gym.)                                                         ~                                                                                                       Step #2: Report Your Position. Report your emotions candidly to your woman. When you’re upset:                                                                       1) I feel distressed. I care – your unhappiness is upsetting to me.               2) I feel helpless. I don’t know what to do or say to make this better.       3) I feel guilty; like I’m failing you.                                                            4) I feel misunderstood. I would never intentionally hurt you.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    


You underestimate yourself.
You’re shortchanging your relationship of your personal brand of       intelligence: emotionally, mentally, and spi
When we’re single we do pretty well, we’re in charge of our own choices. When we join another person in love, things shift. One tends to take charge. Facing the pressure of opposition, the other tends to flow. This is the Law of the Jungle. The confronter vs the peacemaker. I’m talking to you, the peacemaker. You’re the only one reading this article anyway, right?
I know. You’ve tried speaking up, but your vote is too often overridden. You get resentful, even angry inside, but hide it from your mate. So you bellyache to your friends. “She never listens to me. I knew the handyman was cutting corners.” Or, “I told him that kind of car wasn’t for a family.” But it all falls on deaf  ears. 
Believe it or not, you the peacemaker are in the wrong as much as the dominator. You’re faking it. And here’s the kicker. You have good instincts. But instead of standing firm for yourself, for your observations, and for your good ideas – you make nice, you defer. You miss the opportunity, nay the obligation, to enhance your relationship with your wisdom, your sensibility, and most of all, your unique contributions. Why?
Your God-given instinct says, “Speak up!” but you know you’ll get push-back. You hate that queasy feeling in your stomach when conflict rears its ugly head. Nope. You’re a nice guy or a good girl, and anyway, arguing never helps a situation. Stop! Take a closer look. Your passivity, resentment, and internalizing are damaging you and your relationship.
If you’re tired of being demeaned and dismissed, if you can’t see yourself doing this sad dance forever, here’s your opportunity for shifting the dynamic. Your new best friend? Brevity. No more justifying. No more explanations or making your case. Animals don’t argue or explain, they take swift action. You have this within you. Look, I get it. It’s distressing. But what’s the point of a relationship if it’s not benefitting from two people’s thoughts, preferences, and ways of being?
1) Go to a mirror. Take a deep breathe. Get calm, centered. Put your hands on your hips. Look into your eyes. Announce out loud: “You know what you know. You have the right and the obligation to make (or reject) this decision.” 
2) Go to your beloved. Calmly declare to him/her, eye to eye, “I’m not signing for the car,” or “I  cancelled that expensive hotel,” or “I’m firing the plumber,” or “We’re getting help for our relationship. The appointment is Monday at 7 PM.”
3) Do not argue, defend, justify, or explain. Cut to the chase. Do not get sucked into any backlash, bad mood. Leave the premise. Take a walk, go to a movie. Stand your ground.  


“He wants sex all the time, maybe three days a week!”
“She never wants sex, maybe only three days a week!”

When it comes to sex, I wouldn’t want to be a man. Men are designed to love sex, to have sex, and to keep wanting sex as often as possible. This is one of their primal job descriptions: “Spread your seed far and wide!” Even without this command, men just plain love how sex feels. And the research shows that men feel more emotionally connected during sex. Hmm, sounds good so far.                                                                                                            
But what if it seems your husband or boyfriend wants sex all the time? What if you’re feeling inundated and overwhelmed by his sexual appetite? Some women find themselves outright hating the penis. Other women, too many women, don’t and won’t appreciate a man’s penis. If you’re one of them, here’s what I want to say.

Gotta make peace with the penis. Gotta find a way to love the penis. Does this mean you give in every single time he wants sex? NO. Fair’s fair. God didn’t design masturbation for no good reason. This means a man’s got to be a good sport about being turned down. No where is it written that men are promised sex everyday. (Maybe some religion…?) But nowhere is it written men should surrender sex once they commit to one woman. What do I think is the minimum for both sexes? Sex 3x week. Plus perks…

But what if he’s a lazy lover? What if he’s a selfish lover, and it’s all about his own pleasure? You tell him straight what it’ll take for sex to be worth it to you. Sex is a fair value exchange item as sure as if it was a business agreement. No pleasure, no incentive – no trade.

If he makes it worth your while, do not make it a habit of denying your man sex. And I’ll finish this by enhancing your relationship with his penis. Give this some thought. Talk it over with a friend or two. If you love your man, you want to also love his penis. Ponder names for his penis until you find a few choices that feel positive and endearing. 

When you’re ready, sit your guy down, unzip his zipper, and gently pull out his penis. Don’t worry about startling him. Most men would never resist this gesture. Nor would they care about an explanation. Sit yourself down eye to eye with his penis. Introduce yourself. Share your idea and ask him which name he prefers. Once he agrees to a name, stroke his penis, and sweet talk it, saying it’s name. Be friendly. Your man’s penis is a key part of his pleasure source. Love what he loves.