How to be more emotionally supportive

Discussion in 'Sex and Relationships' started by Sexy Scholar, May 9, 2007.

  1. Sexy Scholar

    Sexy Scholar New Member

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    This issue came up last night when I was talking to my partner on the phone, and she was telling me how stressed out she is about a number of things. She has been really, really exhausted, and I want to be there for her to help her out. My brand of help, however, was not welcome, and I have a hard time not being able to help out in this way.

    My way of helping is to hear the problem, and try to find a way to fix it, and if that isn't possible or isn't worth the effort, then to suggest a way to approach the problem mentally so that it won't be so burdensome. She did not like this kind of help, and said that she wasn't asking me to fix anything. I told her that I don't know what else I am supposed to do. I asked if my job is to hear her say every night "I'm exhausted and miserable," and to only reply to her, "I'm sorry. That's too bad. It was too bad yesterday, and the day before, and tomorrow it will be just too bad and I will be sorry for you again."

    She says that this is the other extreme, and that I should try to meet her half way in how she is dealing with a situation. I absolutely think it I should try and empathize with her more if she feels that I'm not on the same page with her. She deserves to have a confidant that will listen to her words with understanding and embrace. I think she also deserves someone who respects her enough to offer good advice when good advice is available. I am worried that she is shutting me out of this role, one that seems like the appropriate role of a life partner. I am starting to feel like nothing more than a crying shoulder for her, and I don't even think I can do that well if I can't say what I feel like needs to be said when it is appropriate.

    Are my concerns justified? If I am not viewing this properly, what can I do to be more emotionally supportive, and feel like I am actually helping?

    Many thanks in advance.
     
  2. Joe

    Joe
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    It's been my experience that most women who complain about their day want nothing more than a shoulder on which to cry and affirmation that they're okay. I think it's in men's nature to be problem solvers and try to fix things, be it a toaster or a bad situation at work. That's not what women usually want when they tell you of their problems, however. They just want to unload and be listened to -- emotional support, yes; a how-to-fix-it tutorial, no. Advice often comes across as, "Do this," and that's usually the last thing they want to hear.
     
  3. Rose

    Rose Resident Sexy Grandma
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    As a woman, my personal experience with this is that in the 'heat of the moment', I would simply appreciate a listening ear. Tenderness, compassion, hugs, kisses...diamonds are nice as well.. :lol
    ... now a REALLY good partner will take all the info in (while sympathizing, etc.), and at an appropriate time - later, might suggest some helpful insight to work at the problem.
     
  4. Dreama

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    Yeah, when I'm kicking myself for something I did wrong, the last thing I want is Mr. Fixit coming to the rescue. I mean, forgive me, but we just don't want to hear things like, "You should have handled that differently." about something that we know we handled inappropriately.
     
  5. crayola

    crayola New Member

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    As with any emotional issue regarding women, there is no quick-fix. Women are too complicated.

    Here is how you want to handle these situations; however, keep in mind that if they occur often, you girlfriend may be experiencing anxiety, or some other psychological problems.

    When my girlfriend is upset, stresses or anxious about something, my approach to cheering her up is two-fold. First, listen to her problems and vindicate them, constantly re-assuring her and taking her side. Second, after you have calmed her down, start talking about the solutions to her problem. Don't jump in a try to handle her problems yourself; rather, give her suggestions to solve them. Assure her that she is a strong and capable woman, and that the problems will be fixed. You want to make her feel strong. She's like a racecar, and you are a pit stop. She comes in for some repairs, but doesn't want you to finish the race for her.

    Remind her that she is strong, the problems are surmountable, and that you will be with her no matter what. It's about her, always about her. Don't let it be about you.

    Hope this made some sense.
     
  6. miss mary

    miss mary New Member

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    the most important part is listening. there is nothing wrong with being a shoulder to cry on. instead of trying to give your opinion on what she should do, try to help her work it out for herself. if she is struggling with making a decision for example, ask questions like well, what do you think? if you did this what do you think will happen? if you did that what would happen?

    the problem with always giving advice is that it becomes about you, and about what you think is right. it is not about you, it is about her. i think you are already halfway there since she has expressed what she needs and you are trying to work on it. just keep the communication open and tell her to let you know when something you do or say helps
     
  7. SexyScorp

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    Men find it hard to connect with women
    emotionally and that is why women have
    women friends...

    Men feel the need to "fix" things whereas
    women are designed to nurture, empathise
    and relate....we have to in order to fulfill
    the role of motherhood...

    I have never met a man that could fully
    be there for me emotionally.....not because
    they are bad people, but because they are
    not designed to do so...

    Make sure she has at least one female friend
    who will be supportive to her...

    Men often go into their 'cave" when a woman
    becomes emotionally demanding and this
    pushes the women to become even more so..

    If you can understand this without feeling
    threatened or offended, your relationshp will
    become easier....

    Good luck :)
     
  8. loveit247

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    She doesn't want help, she wants a sympathetic ear.
     
  9. SexyScorp

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    Exactly!!!

    Men are the fixers

    Women are the listeners!!!
     
  10. Nettle

    Nettle Member

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    WOW, how do people get so wise?

    There is some really good advice here... I ony wish my husband could be half as understanding. If I complain about anything his usual response is to a) leave the job, b) don't have anything to do with that person any more or other generally negative comments, none of which are helpfull.
     
  11. SexyScorp

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    Hahaha...

    Wisdom comes from experience

    It took me YEARS to learn that men do
    not connect on an emotional level that
    women need.....

    Female friends and therapy are the
    best options to gain some healing and
    comfort...


    Sorry guys.....its true.......

    I wished I had realised this before I
    uttered "for better or worse" thrice!!

    That is why I wouldnt live with another
    guy again...
     
  12. BigDPhilly

    BigDPhilly New Member

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    I've had to learn how to just listen when my wife is telling me about a problem. I have had to learn how to restrain the natural male impulse to "fix things" and just be silent and supportive. I'm not perfect at it yet but I'm getting there. Usually I will ask my wife if she wants my advice and if she says Yes then I offer it...otherwise I think many women really just want and need for their partners to listen, be supportive, and let them vent freely.

    I don't think you should worry.
     
  13. BigDPhilly

    BigDPhilly New Member

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    I think it all depends on the man. I was raised in a family dominated by females and learned how to connect on a emotional level very early. In truth, I find it hard to connect to other men sometimes but very easy to connect with women. I have more female friends than males and all of them have always told me that they value my empathy and compassion. On the flipside, I've met women who, for one reason or another, have trouble connecting emotionally. So it works both ways sometimes.

    Maybe I am an oddity but I doubt it.