As a life coach, I’ve dealt with many disappointed women who could never understand why their partners couldn’t step up to the plate for just one night and give them a romantic evening. It wasn’t until I worked on my book “The Man-Thing” and interviewed one hundred men did I learn the answer — men were very romantic, they just expressed it differently than women.
1. Why do men have trouble expressing their emotions?
Men grow up being teased if they’re too emotional. When a little girl cries she gets a hug when a boy cries he’s told to “man up.” Men build compartments; it’s a part of their emotional survival.
If he’s a master craftsman, he moves in and out of emotional hazards with indifference and ease, that is until his emotional presence is demanded and a romantic evening is on the calendar.
To meet his partner’s expectations, he must enter a place of great discomfort and face his repressed emotional fears that he’s not enough.
Some men have fewer problems expressing their emotional side, but they are not in the majority.
2. What does a woman really want from a romantic evening?
Women are raised on fantasy. Their romantic evening is right out of a fairy tale. They want illusion, a moment away from reality.
They’ve been working, cleaning and feeling unappreciated. They’d love a little magic. A moment when they feel special and appreciated – they want the effort. That means say something on the card or a special evening that is based on what they enjoy. A romantic evening is more for a woman than for some men.
3. Why do men have trouble with emotional expectations?
Men are raised on expectations. What women don’t understand is that men have to prove they’re men every day of their life.
A heroic deed only lasts for a day and then they’re back on the treadmill of expectations: can they be strong, solve the problem, get the job, make money, be successful, etc. etc. etc.
These are all silent expectations, not outward demands and they may not be placed on them by their girlfriend or wife, but they exist nevertheless. Add one more expectation and for many, it’s just too much.
4. What is a romantic evening for men?
Men want to get away from pretense and the pressure to please, they want to be themselves. Ken a successful entrepreneur shared with me his thoughts on the subject. “My wife likes a restaurant with a piano in the background. It’s not memorable for me.
I like to sit on the dune in the Hamptons roasting marshmallows or go rollerblading. I remember shared experiences.”
Men can’t feel romantic if they’re pretending.
5. How can men and women bridge the romantic gap?
The first step is to understand what makes your partner happy and why? There are many ways to fulfill that need once you understand it.
In fact, if you could have a discussion, you could possibly find something that turned you both on.
If a man made his partner feel special all year she wouldn’t expect it in one night. Nicholas Sparks, the author of The Notebook, says he writes his wife a letter every year and expresses how important she is to him.
Once she is validated and feels loved, she does not seek further reassurance and he’s off the hook for the rest of the year! Have a discussion and find out what would make each of you happy. If you can’t combine your desires, take turns doing it your way.