Monthly Archives: October 2013

Newspaper Column Article 22: The Viralness of HIV/AIDs – Part IX: Caring Love for Her. Trusting Love for Him


As it appeared in the Botswana Sunday Standard July 28, 2013, edition, Systemic Thinking Column 

When a couple are in conflict, often times we are expecting that our partner to think, act and be like ourselves and meet our needs in the same way we think we should meet theirs.  That’s where we can get this wrong.

The column is currently exploring the link between the state of emotional fidelity that exists between couples and the state of HIV/AIDS prevalence that exists as a nation.  To do so, the article explores the ways how men and women think and feel emotions differently.

When we are aware of the differences, we “are freed from the tendency to change our partners at those times we are not getting what we want.  With a greater level of acceptance and understanding, love flourishes and we get what we want from our relationships,” says the author of “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”, Dr John Gray.

The freedom from the tendency to change partners or retain a “variety of them” now becomes a critical key to seeing the prevalence of HIV/AIDS decline.

This week we continue to explore more of the twelve kinds of emotional love that can exist between a man and woman in love.  Physically, we probably have rather similar needs, the need to appease hunger and thirst, the need to stay warm and for shelter, and so on.

But that’s where the similarities end for the “opposite” genders.  Emotionally, we are like from different planets, so says, Dr John Gray, “Men are from Mars” and “Women are from Venus” and then we met on earth without realizing how we come from two different planets!  Go figure!  And we did not come with a handbook to navigate us through this emotional maze.

Here’s one example of this difference.

A man wants his favourite woman to trust that he can handle whatever is bothering him.  That he can handle his problems is important for his honour, pride and self-esteem.  However for the woman, not worrying about him is difficult for her.  Worrying for others is one way women express their love and caring.  It is a way of showing love.  Go figure but it is true.

For a woman, being happy when the person you love is upset just doesn’t seem right.

Ironically, men show their love by not worrying.

He does not want her to be happy because he is upset, but he does want her to be happy.  It helps him to feel loved by her.  “How can you worry about someone whom you admire and trust?”, a man questions.

But for a woman, she wants him to worry for her when she was upset.  Sometimes, it takes years for a man to figure this distinction.   Without understanding this distinction and if a man minimizes the importance of her concerns, this would make the woman more upset.  Again something that does not make sense from a man’s perspective, but it is true.  Ask your man and woman friends (this can make very interesting conversation over a pint of beer!)

The best comes out in a man when his six primary (yes, there are six of them) love needs are fulfilled.  But when a woman doesn’t know what he primarily needs and give a caring love rather than a trusting love, she may unknowingly worsen their relationship.  Here is a story in point.

The knight in Shining Armour

(Extracted from “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”).

This is a powerful metaphor to help us remember a man’s primary needs.  Too much caring and assistance will lessen his confidence or turn him off.

Deep inside every man there is a hero or a knight in shining armour.  More than anything, he wants to succeed in serving and protecting the woman he loves.  When he feels trusted, he is able to tap into his noble part of himself.  He becomes more caring.  When he doesn’t feel trusted, he loses some of his aliveness and energy and after a while he can stop caring.

Imagine a knight in shining armour travelling through the countryside.  Suddenly he hears a woman crying out in distress,  In an instant, he comes alive.  Urging his horse to gallop, he races to her castle, where she trapped by a dragon.  The noble knight pulls out his sword and slays the dragon.  As a result, he is lovingly received the by the princess.

As the gate open he is welcomed and celebrated by the family of the princess and the townspeople.  He is invited to live in the town and is acknowledged as a hero.  He and the princess fall in love.

A month later as the noble knight returns from another trip, he hears his beloved princess crying out for help.  Another dragon has attacked the castle.  When the knight arrives he pulls out his sword to slay the dragon.  Before he swings, the princess cries, “Don’t use the sword, use this noose.  It will work better.”

She throws him the noose and motions to him instructions about how to use it.  He hesitantly follows her instructions.  He wraps it around the dragon’s neck and then pulls hard.  The dragon dies and everyone rejoices.

At the celebration dinner, the knight feels he didn’t really do anything.  Somehow, because he used her noose and didn’t use his sword, he doesn’t feel worthy of the town’s trust and admiration.  And the even he is slightly depressed and forgets to shine his armor.

A month later he goes on yet another trip.  As he leaves with his sord, the princess reminds him to be careful and tells him to take the noose.  On his way home, he sees yet another dragon attacking the castle.  This time he rushes forward with his sword but hesitates, thinking maybe he should use the noose.  In that moment of hesitation, the dragon breathes fire and burns his right arm.  In confusion, he looks and sees his princess waving from the castle window.

“Use the poison,” she yells.  “The noose doesn’t work.”

She throws him the poison, which he pours into the dragon’s mouth and the dragon dies.  Everyone rejoices and celebrates, but the knight feels ashamed.

A month later, he goes on another trip.  As he leaves with his sword, the princess reminds him to be careful, and to bring the noose and the poison.  He is annoyed by her suggestions but brings them just in case.

This time on his journey he hears another woman in distress.  As he rushes to her call, his depression is lifted and he feels confident and alive.  But as he draws his sword to slay the dragon, he again hesitates.  He wonders, should I use my sword, the noose or the poison?  What would the princess say?

For a moment, he is confused.  But then he remembers how he had felt before he knew the princess, back in the days when he only carried a sword.  With a burst of renewed confidence, he throws off the noose and poison and charges the dragon with his trusted sword.  He slays the dragon and the townspeople rejoice.

The knight in shining armour never returned to his princess.  He stayed in this new village, married the princess and lived happily ever after.

As the couple learns to meet these differences it prepares the couple to move to the next deeper level of emotional intimacy between them.   Respect.  And Appreciation.  This will be the subject of next week’s column.

In what way does not knowing these differences that exist between a couple have an impact on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS as a nation?

Would this series of causality be different for countries beyond Botswana in instances where the epidemic has become resistant to our effort to intervene it?   Strange as this question may sound, whose mandate is it to understand and “manage” these distinctions?  The medical sector?  The United Nations?  The government?  Who would that be?  What do you think?  What do your friends think?

 

Ms Sheila Damodaran works as a Systemic Strategy Development consultant currently developing her practice with national planning commissions in southern Africa.  She welcomes comments and queries for her programmes at https://www.facebook.com/SystemicThinkingColumnist or call DID: 3931518 or email sheila@loatwork.com.

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Newspaper Column Article 21: The Viralness of HIV/AIDs – Part VIII: To de-stress, “Men Go to Their Cave, Women Talk”


As it appeared in the Botswana Sunday Standard July 21, 2013, edition, Systemic Thinking Column 

When women talk, it means it is a good sign!  They are actually de-stressing.

Some of the male readers of the column shared they were surprised from the previous week’s column that the act of making social contact (such as talking and seeking to be heard or nurturing activities) for a woman is to a woman what withdrawing or becoming aggressive does to relieve stress for the man.

They had no idea!!!

When a man is stressed, he goes to his cave!  He will withdraw into the cave of his mind and focus on solving a problem.   He generally picks the most urgent problem or the most difficult.  He becomes so focussed on solving this one problem that he for a while loses awareness of everything else.  Other problems and responsibilities fade into the background.  If he can find a solution, instantly he will feel much better and come out of his cave and suddenly he is available for being in a relationship again.

Women handle stress very differently.

She does not know how to go to the cave of her mind.  She talks.  Or she finds activities in which she is taking care of or connecting emotionally with others.  This also stimulates the production of oxytocin for her.

 “An understanding of oxytocin-producing behaviours can completely change the way a man interprets a woman’s behaviour.  For example, when a woman complains she is not getting enough support or feels the need to talk about the problems in her life, it does not mean she does not appreciate what her partner does.   Instead, her behaviour is an indication that she is attempting to cope with stress by increasing her oxytocin levels”

— John Gray, Author of Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus

Generating oxytocin in the work world outside the home does not happen easily as it can be disrupted by the demands of having to make decisions, and set priorities based on bottom line instead of the need of others, and behaving in a professional manner.  These are testosterone producing situations.  Though there is nothing wrong with stimulating testosterone, it does nothing to lower a woman’s stress levels.’

Finding relief through talking.

When women talk about problems, men usually resist.  A man assumes she is talking to him about her problems, because she is holding him responsible.  The more problems, the more he feels blamed.  He does not realize that she is talking to feel better.

She would usually not open up to a man, if she had not felt “safe to do so” with him.  It is a sign of intimacy she is extending to him on her part.  So, if a woman does talk to you, it is a good sign for the relationship.  He will also eventually learn that that she will appreciate him if he just listens.

Men talk about problems for only two reasons: they are blaming someone or they are seeking advice.  Therefore when a woman is really upset, a man assumes she is blaming him.  Then he draws his sword to protect himself from attack.  If he offers solutions to her problems, she just continues talking about more problems.  He finds his solutions have been rejected and he feels unappreciated.  In both cases, he soon finds it difficult to listen.

He does not realize that explanations are not what she needs.  She needs him to understand her feelings and let her move on to talk about more problems.  If he is wise and just listens, then a few moments after she is complaining about him, she will change the subject and talk about other problems as well.

The degree to which a man does not understand a woman is the degree to which he will resist her when she is talking about problems.  As a man learns more how to fulfil a woman and provide her emotional support he discovers that listening is not so difficult.

Men and women learn to live together in peace because they were able to respect their emotional differences.  The men learned to respect that women need to talk to feel better.  Even if he didn’t have much to say, he learned that by listening he could be very supportive of her.

The women learned to respect that unlike themselves, men when they are stressed, needed to withdraw to cope with stress.  The place where he retires to distress was no longer a great mystery or cause for alarm.

Emotionally, the needs of the two genders are opposite.  Yet, that’s exactly what it takes a couple to come together.  As opposite genders, we do not meet in our similarities.  But in our differences.

When a couple are in conflict, often times it happens because we are attempting to meet the needs for them from our respective perspectives.  We think they are the same as ours.  That’s where we get this wrong.

As the couple learns to meet these differences it prepares the couple to move to the next deeper level of emotional intimacy between them.   Respect.  And Appreciation.  This will be the subject of next week’s column.

In what ways does not knowing these differences that exist between a couple have an impact on the prevalence of HIV/AIDS as a nation?  Would this series of causality be different beyond Botswana particularly in instances where the epidemic has become resistant to our effort to intervene it?   What do you think?  What do your friends think?  What do you agree on?  What do you disagree on?

 

Ms Sheila Damodaran works as a Systemic Strategy Development consultant currently developing her practice with national planning commissions in southern Africa.  She welcomes comments and queries for her programmes at https://www.facebook.com/SystemicThinkingColumnist or call DID: 3931518 or email sheila@loatwork.com.

Newspaper Column Article #19: The Viralness of HIV/AIDs – Part VI: The Twelve Kinds of Love


As it appeared in the Botswana Sunday Standard on June 30, 2013, Systemic Thinking Column

The column is currently exploring the link between the states of level of emotional fidelity that exists between couples and HIV/AIDS prevalence rates that exists as a nation.

It is difficult to imagine that something that prevails by as much as at a personal level can have an impact at a national level.  Yet, when we observe the phenomena of emotional (rather than of sexual) fidelity that exists from person to person, family to family, district to district, region to region, it is really not all that difficult to imagine or ignore the significance of the influence on the level of the epidemic as a nation.  Viruses are not transmitted in the open.  Just because I do not see they are happening openly, it does not mean the transmissions are not happening.

Source:  Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Dr John Gray

Yet, what is emotional fidelity and what influences it?

In the past weeks we saw that this begins when the couple works at meeting and fulfilling the emotional needs of one’s partner.

And then we discovered that the emotional needs of one’s partner (of the opposite gender) are typically different from that of one’s own.

In fact there are twelve kinds of emotional needs or as we say twelve kinds of love that can exist between a couple.

The figure here illustrates what these look like.  We will start from the top.

When a woman meets and fulfils a man’s need to see his woman trust him, it allows him to grow his sense of belief in himself (when a woman believes in her man, it makes it easier for a man to believe in himself).  This act grows feelings of masculinity that fosters a need within him to provide, protect and care for his woman.

As he cares for his woman in each step of the way; the act releases oxytocin in her body, a powerful hormone that plays a huge role in pair bonding for the woman. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up for the person.  This allows her to grow her feelings of feminity that allow her to behave truer to her gender as a woman for her man.  This then allows her to grow feelings of trust in her man.

The more that a man cares for his woman, the more she trusts him!

While the couple helps to meet and build the emotional needs of their partner, the cycle behaves in a self-seeking way that reinforces their ability to receive and meet their partners’ needs.  The couple bonds in this way.

This type of relationship does not require moral, physical or monetary obligations to tie it together so as to make it work.

Couples, who learn this subtle shift in difference in the way they see their partner early on in their relationship, are often on their way to realizing greater levels of fulfilment between them.  Making relationships work becomes ‘cheap’.

As the man and the woman enjoy the first of these levels of emotional intimacy between them, they become ready to move on to the next steps in the bonding process.

This is the capacity of the man to understand the woman by listening to the views she expresses from her side of the world.

For the woman, this also means her ability to accept the man for who he is rather than who she wants to be.

Whenever a man changes his ways, be they his views or his actions, it would be on his own terms.  This is not an act of defiance.  It is what defines a man and separates him from the feelings of being a boy or a child.

It is important for a man that he sees his woman accepts him for who he is and not who he needs to be for her.  The more the man feels he is allowed to change on his terms, and sees the woman trusts him to change on his own accord, the more he feels that his woman meets his need to accept him.

So rather, than say, “Why don’t you take the trashcan out?  It is your trash too!” she instead requests of him to “Would you take the trash out?  It would really make a difference to how the house would feel.”  And when he does take the trash out, she then makes a big deal of his action.  Whenever a man does something for his woman, he assumes there is a risk involved as he is not sure if his actions would be wholly accepted by his woman.

When he sees that she accepts whatever he has given to her, it makes him happy.  This happiness is key to him becoming open to requests on her part in the future for things she would like to see happen for herself.

And this is now his capacity to listen to and understand his woman.

It is not an uncommon remark by men amongst men how “women do not stop talking”.  It is really not all that difficult to see this at checkout counters or at restaurants or at government service counters to see service delivery is delayed, because the women staffs are choosing to chat up to a point that it becomes incessant for each other.  It is now placing a dent on the economy.

Women fulfil that need for each other quite easily.  They are programmed to know how to ‘listen to another woman that fulfils this need for her.  Men however are not programmed to listen for the sake of listening.  He is designed to listen so as to take an action.  He is Mr Fix It.  So how would a woman “programme” her man, so that he becomes ready to offer the listening ear she needs to feel she has been understood by her man?

Think about it and we will explore it here in our next column and the impact of meeting these emotional needs on each other as well as for the economy.  We will explore this and more of the remaining twelve kinds of love then.

How true have these experiences been for you?  As a man?  And as a woman?  How would you tell these distinctions exist for each other?  Happy discussing these with your spouse or your girlfriend and discovering from each other!

Ms Sheila Damodaran works as a Systemic Strategy Development consultant currently developing her practice with national planning commissions in southern Africa.  She welcomes comments and queries for her programmes at https://www.facebook.com/SystemicThinkingColumnist or call DID: 3931518.

 

Newspaper Column Article #20: The Viralness of HIV/AIDs – Part VII: Men and women in love meet in our differences – not similarities


As it appeared in the Botswana Sunday Standard on June 9, 2013, Systemic Thinking Column

“She’s not my type” or “He is not my type”

Yet, that’s exactly what it takes a couple to come together.  As opposite genders, we do not meet in our similarities.  But in our differences.  Emotionally.

When a couple are in conflict, often times it happens because we are attempting to meet the needs for them from our respective perspectives.  We think they are the same as ours.  That’s where we can get this wrong.

In the past few weeks, we explored while a woman accords trust and accepts her man for who he is, her need is met for her when she sees the man care for her.

The column is currently exploring the link between the state of emotional fidelity that exists between couples and the state of HIV/AIDS prevalence that exists as a nation.

This week we continue to explore more of the twelve kinds of love that can exist between a man and woman in love.

First however, a sharing of interesting reactions by readers of the column.  In the course of the week, I received reactions particularly by women readers who share the extent to which they had placed trust on the man they love and how they accepted him for who is, yet, did not see their relationship last.

In many such instances, we also see the couple enter into sexual relationships very early on in their relationship.  Each story is heartfelt yet interestingly the story line repeats in much the same way across relationships.  In most instances sexual intimacy acted as a substitute for the emotional intimacy that can happen between a couple.  We thought the two types of intimacies are the same.  They are not.

There is a however a trick to helping build emotional intimacies between a couple.  Interestingly however, it is found in the first of the ABCs as advocated by government in their efforts to prevent  HIV/AIDs transmission.  And that is abstinence.  This “tool” serves a double-edged sword.  It could prevent transmissions of the virus.  It also becomes key to building the emotional intimacies between couples.

When the couple is sexually intimate very early on in the relationship, and yet emotional fidelity has not built up between the two, the latter is less likely to happen for the couple.  It can also mean it does not happen for life afterwards for the individual even with other partners.

So it is harder to say ‘we trust or accept someone’ because we have become sexually intimate with that person or for reasons other than for reasons attributed for that individual.  Building a level of emotional intimacy can take months to happen.  It does not survive short spans (over night or weeks) of time.

For emotional fidelity to grow, it needs to happen in a space where the couple have not become sexually intimate as yet.  In instances where the couple are successful in doing so, one would usually find they have taken the time to instead to build emotional intimacy between them.

This would seem harder than it is.  It is more so when reflected against a backdrop of seeming need  African men have to be engaged sexually and women’s fear that should they not give in, one would “lose the man” to the next person.

There is an emotional distinction in the sexual activity intended to build an intimacy with one’s partner and one that helps a man regain his sense of manhood or masculinity.  Can you tell the difference?  In one instance it would feel that the man regained or received his sense of masculinity while the other is where the woman feels she received affection rather than having given in to the man.

The man received and the woman gave.  There is a misfit here.

Women sense of joy comes foremost when they “receive” from their man.  A woman who finds herself giving or giving in to others, will usually find herself falling into depression.  The need to give is now running against her inherent nature as a feminine woman.

A man’s deepest sense of joy comes from giving.  When a man is at the receiving end (as when a woman pays for him financially), he may be happy in receiving the money, but not at the expense of he questioning his sense of manhood even so privately.  He may not present this emotional discomfort in front of the lady.  But it could lead him having the need to seek out more sexual conquests with other women as a means to compensate for declining notions of his manhood.

On the other hand, where women learn to build her partner’s emotional sense of masculinity by meeting his emotional needs (trust and acceptance), she would find that over time , this leads to his need for sustained sexual conquests to decline.  This now allows him to open up to build relationships with his partner emotionally.

And this includes now his capacity to listen to and fulfil a need for his woman that her man “understands” her.  This need is ultimately defined by her when it is met for her.

It is not an uncommon remark amongst men to share with each other how much “women do not stop talking”.  It is really not all that difficult to see this evident at checkout counters or at government service counters or to see service delivery delayed because of the women staffs’ need to talk with each other so as to be heard.  This can sometimes come across as incessant chatting.

It is now beginning to place a dent on the economy.  It is a sign that the man in their lives have not yet fulfilled this need for his woman.

Women easily fulfil this need for each other amongst themselves.  They are programmed to know how to ‘listen to another woman”.  Notice the ways when women talk to each other, how they would listen to the woman and respond by taking what they have heard and relating it to their personal experiences and sharing their reactions to the woman or just showing interest in hearing more of what’s been said.

Men however are not programmed to listen for the sake of listening.  He is designed to listen so as to take an action.  He is Mr Fix It.

So how then would a woman “programme” her man, so that he becomes ready to offer the listening ear she needs to feel she has been understood?

All she would need to start with is a request to her man: “Sweetheart, will you offer me a listening ear?  I do not need you to fix anything.  I had a difficult day at work, and it will mean a lot to me if you’d do just listen.”

A woman would not need to say such to another woman.  But she needs to remember to say that to her man.  We forget this subtle point with the opposite gender.  Now he knows exactly what to DO.  The “fix “for him is to listen.  He relaxes, downs his tools and prepares to listen to his woman.

Most men hesitate to take this step because when he sees that his woman is unhappy he believes the reason for her unhappiness has something to do with him.   And he is not sure what is causing it.  It is a risk for him.

But if she prepares him to listen, and he listens, he will soon discover that all she needed was a sounding board.

When a woman is allowed to express what she hopes her man would hear, two things happen for her.  She begins to calm down as when she sees someone listening to her, it allows her to complete her trains of thoughts that lead her to become clearer of what she needs to do next.  This de-stresses her immediately.  This becomes key to ready her to meet another need for her man.  And that is to appreciate him for what he does for her.  Her attention now turns away from herself (and therefore she stops talking) to her partner.

Don’t forget to appreciate the man for listening to you.  The gesture prepares him to better listen to his woman the next time.

The best gift a man can give to his woman is to offer a listening ear to her.

And the couple learns to meet these differences it prepares the couple to move to the next deeper level of emotional intimacy between them.

Are these how you see these or do you see these differently?

Ms Sheila Damodaran works as a Systemic Strategy Development consultant currently developing her practice with national planning commissions in southern Africa.  She welcomes comments and queries for her programmes at https://www.facebook.com/SystemicThinkingColumnist or call DID: 3931518 or email sheila@loatwork.com.

 

The Viralness of HIV/AIDs – Part VI: The Twelve Kinds of Love


As it appeared in the Botswana Sunday Standard on June 30, 2013, Systemic Thinking Column

The column is currently exploring the link between the states of level of emotional fidelity that exists between couples and HIV/AIDS prevalence rates that exists as a nation.

It is difficult to imagine that something that prevails by as much as at a personal level can have an impact at a national level.  Yet, when we observe the phenomena of emotional (rather than of sexual) fidelity that exists from person to person, family to family, district to district, region to region, it is really not all that difficult to imagine or ignore the significance of the influence on the level of the epidemic as a nation.  Viruses are not transmitted in the open.  Just because I do not see they are happening openly, it does not mean the transmissions are not happening.

Source:  Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, Dr John Gray

Yet, what is emotional fidelity and what influences it?

In the past weeks we saw that this begins when the couple works at meeting and fulfilling the emotional needs of one’s partner.

And then we discovered that the emotional needs of one’s partner (of the opposite gender) are typically different from that of one’s own.

In fact there are twelve kinds of emotional needs or as we say twelve kinds of love that can exist between a couple.

The figure here illustrates what these look like.  We will start from the top.

When a woman meets and fulfils a man’s need to see his woman trust him, it allows him to grow his sense of belief in himself (when a woman believes in her man, it makes it easier for a man to believe in himself).  This act grows feelings of masculinity that fosters a need within him to provide, protect and care for his woman.

As he cares for his woman in each step of the way; the act releases oxytocin in her body, a powerful hormone that plays a huge role in pair bonding for the woman. When we hug or kiss a loved one, oxytocin levels drive up for the person.  This allows her to grow her feelings of feminity that allow her to behave truer to her gender as a woman for her man.  This then allows her to grow feelings of trust in her man.

The more that a man cares for his woman, the more she trusts him!

While the couple helps to meet and build the emotional needs of their partner, the cycle behaves in a self-seeking way that reinforces their ability to receive and meet their partners’ needs.  The couple bonds in this way.

This type of relationship does not require moral, physical or monetary obligations to tie it together so as to make it work.

Couples, who learn this subtle shift in difference in the way they see their partner early on in their relationship, are often on their way to realizing greater levels of fulfilment between them.  Making relationships work becomes ‘cheap’.

As the man and the woman enjoy the first of these levels of emotional intimacy between them, they become ready to move on to the next steps in the bonding process.

This is the capacity of the man to understand the woman by listening to the views she expresses from her side of the world.

For the woman, this also means her ability to accept the man for who he is rather than who she wants to be.

Whenever a man changes his ways, be they his views or his actions, it would be on his own terms.  This is not an act of defiance.  It is what defines a man and separates him from the feelings of being a boy or a child.

It is important for a man that he sees his woman accepts him for who he is and not who he needs to be for her.  The more the man feels he is allowed to change on his terms, and sees the woman trusts him to change on his own accord, the more he feels that his woman meets his need to accept him.

So rather, than say, “Why don’t you take the trashcan out?  It is your trash too!” she instead requests of him to “Would you take the trash out?  It would really make a difference to how the house would feel.”  And when he does take the trash out, she then makes a big deal of his action.  Whenever a man does something for his woman, he assumes there is a risk involved as he is not sure if his actions would be wholly accepted by his woman.

When he sees that she accepts whatever he has given to her, it makes him happy.  This happiness is key to him becoming open to requests on her part in the future for things she would like to see happen for herself.

And this is now his capacity to listen to and understand his woman.

It is not an uncommon remark by men amongst men how “women do not stop talking”.  It is really not all that difficult to see this at checkout counters or at restaurants or at government service counters to see service delivery is delayed, because the women staffs are choosing to chat up to a point that it becomes incessant for each other.  It is now placing a dent on the economy.

Women fulfil that need for each other quite easily.  They are programmed to know how to ‘listen to another woman that fulfils this need for her.  Men however are not programmed to listen for the sake of listening.  He is designed to listen so as to take an action.  He is Mr Fix It.  So how would a woman “programme” her man, so that he becomes ready to offer the listening ear she needs to feel she has been understood by her man?

Think about it and we will explore it here in our next column and the impact of meeting these emotional needs on each other as well as for the economy.  We will explore this and more of the remaining twelve kinds of love then.

How true have these experiences been for you?  As a man?  And as a woman?  How would you tell these distinctions exist for each other?  Happy discussing these with your spouse or your girlfriend and discovering from each other!

Ms Sheila Damodaran works as a Systemic Strategy Development consultant currently developing her practice with national planning commissions in southern Africa.  She welcomes comments and queries for her programmes at https://www.facebook.com/SystemicThinkingColumnist or call DID: 3931518.

 

Newspaper Column Article #18: The Viralness of HIV/AIDs – Part V: His emotional needs. Her emotional needs.


As it appeared in the Botswana Sunday Standard on June 9, 2013, Systemic Thinking Column

In the previous segment of this column, we concluded it was not as easy for someone to be sexually fidel till one learns to build and enjoy “emotional fidelity” with one’s partner.

It can be easy to miss this point.

Yet it becomes significant when we explore the link between the state of emotional fidelity between couples and the state of HIV/AIDS prevalence as a nation.

How are they inter-related, you ask?

It can be difficult to imagine that something that exists at a personal level can have an impact on a national level.  Yet, when we see the phenomena happen across families, communities, districts to the region, it is not difficult to see that they can and do have a significant and growing influence on the level of the epidemic as a nation.

Our medical caregivers then give their all to fight it for the nation.  It is really admirable how they do so, even when we know we have not made it easy for them.

Last week, we explored that developing emotional fidelity is the exclusive work of the couple.  No one can do that for them.  The parents and the community around a couple may encourage marriage and the ability to stay in one.  But, not much more.  And certainly not foster emotional fidelity.

This aspect therefore, is now beyond “the control” of SADC, or as the national planning commissions or the government or the Ministry of Health, the caregivers, or even as an NGO.  We control what we can.  But till we as couples learn to reach this, leaving the work of beating the epidemic to an outside organization, will not assure us of success in this issue as a nation!

Yet, what is emotional fidelity and what influences it?

We saw that this state begins when the couple works at meeting and fulfilling the emotional needs of one’s partner.

And then we discovered that the emotional needs of one’s partner (of the opposite gender) are typically different from that of one’s own.

For example, when a man sees his woman trust him, it meets an emotional need for the male partner.  And seeing the man give care to his woman meets an emotional need for the female partner.

Both genders need both emotions.  Just not to the same extent.  To feel fulfilled as their gender in the relationship each as a unique emotional need.

When a woman meets and fulfils a man’s need to see his woman trusts him, it allows him to feel more so like a man.  Even when we think, he is not worthy of the trust, the more the man sees the woman learns to see ‘the good side’ of him and trusts him, the more he moves to a state of feeling fulfilled.  This stage is important for his feelings of masculinity to grow for him which in turn fosters a need within him to provide, protect and care for his woman.

While a man can trust his woman, it matters even more so to her, when she sees he cares for her.  The more he cares for his woman; it allows her to feel true to her gender as a woman.  And the more that allows her to grow feminine feelings as a woman; it allows her to grow and give trust to her man.

Wait!

Did we see a cycle of causality that exists between the two genders, in meeting their respective emotional needs?

The more that a man cares for his woman, the more she trusts him!

Period.  This is where the trick lies in bringing a couple together.  It is growing the cycle of meeting their respective but different emotional needs.

The bottom-line is they are not meant to be self-fulfilling nor meant to fulfil in ways that one thinks it should be for the partner from one’s point of view.  But from the view of one’s partner.  No other relationship quite teaches us to learn this point.

We often say relationships are not straightforward.  That statement is truer than we believe.

It is not meant to be.  Otherwise separation and divorces become the only ways out back to our straightforward lives.

The relationships between couples are meant to be cyclical.

The more the woman trusts her man, the more he cares for her.  The more the man cares for his woman, the more she trusts him.

Couples, who learn this subtle shift in difference in their relationship in the way they relate to their partner, often realize greater levels of fulfilment between them.

I then left you with two further questions.

How would we know that these indeed are the respective needs of the two genders?  And who should start first?

Notice when a man or a woman is in a heated discussion with each other, what would the man or woman typically say to the other?  Would the man usually say “just trust me” or would he say, “you do not care for me!”?  Whose voice do you typically hear say these words?  What did you hear in your own relationship?

It is more common for us to hear a woman say, “you do not care for me”, while a man often asks of the woman ‘to just trust him’.  We do leave clues in our relationships about our needs for our partners.  We just need to find them.  When a woman tries to reach her man, it is not because she does not trust him by as much as for her to feel the experience of his assurance of care for her.  This is not a formula.  It is a natural emotional need that exists separately for the two genders.

Who should start first?  Do I wait for my partner to fulfil my emotional needs first before I try to meet his?  Of course, that becomes self-defeating since, by doing so, we have already come from a place of the self rather than for the other.

However, this depends on the extent such needs have been met for the individual from their past relationships.  The less it has been met, the more it becomes important for the partner to meet those needs for his or her partner first.

For example, the first man a woman learned to trust was her father.  However, if she did not enjoy a trusting relationship with her father, it now becomes important that her boyfriend or husband learns to fulfil and meet that need for his woman before he may expect her to learn to trust him.  In time, she will.  One would have to learn to be patient till one reaches that stage.

And then there are five other types of emotional needs that are different for men and women.  Have you found out what they are?

Here, I will leave you with two more each for each gender and they will become the subject of the column’s discussion for next week while you continue to figure what the other remaining three emotional needs are for the respective genders (there are twelve types of love or emotional needs in total …. no one said it was going to be that easy, did they?).

How true are they for you?  How would you tell these distinctions?

Happy discussing these with your spouse and discovering these needs from each other!

Ms Sheila Damodaran works as a Systemic Strategy Development consultant currently developing her practice with national planning commissions in southern Africa.  She welcomes comments and queries for her programmes at https://www.facebook.com/SystemicThinkingColumnist or call DID: 3931518.