Should you talk about your shortcomings with your woman?

Men and women communicate differently. Men are in particular strong, silent types who do not express feelings easily. Women chat endlessly with girlfriends but men clamp up even with their girlfriends. Men are never found crying over anyone’s shoulders or discussing their problems in too much length. Women love expressing their feelings at great length and depth.

These differences are stereotypes that are ingrained in us since birth and reinforced in the socialization process as we grow into adults. We cannot shake away these gender stereotypes mostly and carry it to the grave. In the case of men, when they are confronted with a problem - they may be going through emotional or physical turmoil - should they keep it under wraps or share the hurt with the woman they love.

It is a situation in which the instincts struggle with the emotions. How to give up the strong, macho image and appear like a mushy loser. So most men have been found to hide their problems, even health problems like depression, cancer or a tumor, and wait till the last stage before they seek the professional help they need. Some even turn to consuming drugs or alcohol to deal with their problems.

If a man has to open up, he needs to trust the girl. Trust takes time and effort. It is easily broken and hard to restore. But it is worth all the hard work. Trust means that you can be completely true and free with each other. It is far ahead of the initial stage when the two of you were trying to impress each other. With time, a certain level of intimacy and trust is formed between the two of you. And you can be yourself with your girlfriend at this point, revealing both your strengths and your weaknesses.

As for women, if you want your partner to be honest and true to you, you must prove that you are a safe place to repose that trust. You have to be true to him also. Be honest with him and make sure you are giving true and authentic responses, like saying yes when you feel it is yes. Don’t expect your guy to read your mind. If you expect your partner to understand you, stop playing games. Let him/her know what you really want out of your relationship.

The woman must let her partner talk. She must hear him out completely without interrupting. She must always remember that talking does not come easily for men.

After all, men and women both enjoy being completely listened to. A man will open up if he has a girlfriend who listens faithfully to what he has to say.

A man needs reassurance from his girl that discussing his problems and revealing his weaknesses will not backfire. It is his greatest fear that she will lose her respect for him. He also needs to feel that she is trustworthy. For example, she must not be the type who says in the face of some problem of his, with unfeeling words, "I told you so." She must assure him that she is on his side under any circumstances.

It is also important for the man to feel that his secrets and revelations will remain safe with his lady and will not be the topic of discussion at the next girl’s-night-out or party. Such trust does not happen overnight. It is difficult, especially if there is a history of hurt in the past. Very often, putting God as the third and important party in your relationship helps build this valuable trust.

The seriousness of the problem which men have in confiding their fears, is revealed by some statistics. A survey has revealed that more than half of London's men perceive illness as a character flaw. Only one in five men would talk to other men about their health concerns, while 86 percent of women would share their worries. Only 33% of men turned to women for advice. The reaction to adverse circumstances also varies. While women may cry, lose or gain weight, become withdrawn, men are likely to abuse alcohol and drugs, work and eat excessively and turn violent.

Because men are brought up to believe that expressing emotions is largely a feminine trait, half as many men as women seek psychotherapy or are diagnosed with depression. Men who are at the risk of depression or suicide are the ones who feel they are not up to the mark any more, feel physically weaker, cannot have outlets for pleasure or have experienced a personal loss. Their therapy is to verbalize their emotions and talk about their problems, which women usually do with female friends.

Women are befuddled by this lack of communication. For example, men don’t like discussing work at the end of the day, at home. They want to forget the dreary experience of the day and escape to a relaxing world at home. Women, on the other hand, are relationship-oriented and want to discuss the day. For women, sharing and discussing a problem presents an opportunity to explore, deepen, or strengthen the relationship with the person with whom they are talking to. Men feel closer and validated through shared activities like sports or competitions.

When a man understands what makes a female mind tick, he will come to a better understanding of their relationship and learn how to share himself with his loved one. He needs to know that there is someone trustworthy out there, with whom he can be truly himself without worrying too much about anything.