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Science Advice Goddess: Death Meddle

Amy Alkon on

You did not marry Oprah. At best, you married Stedman.

Men are generally not as emotionally fluent as women, meaning not as able to identify and express their emotions. Say a woman puts her husband on the spot: "Well, come on...how do you feel about this?!" Assuming he loves her, he wants to tell her, but what comes out is "I...um...uhh...um..." (He figures he must have a feeling, but he's not sure what it is, where it is, or how to find it.)

This isn't to say men are broken or deficient. They're just different from women. Psychologist Simon Baron-Cohen explains that women tend to be feelings-focused "empathizers." From toddlerhood on, women specialize in identifying others' emotions and responding "with an appropriate emotion." This comes in handy for narrowing down why the baby's howling -- instead of going with a wild guess: "I dunno...maybe he wants a beer?"

Men, in contrast, tend to be engineering-focused "systemizers," driven to figure out the workings of predictable, rules-driven "systems," like an AM/FM radio. "Predictable" because -- for example -- a radio remains a thing that receives and transmits electromagnetic waves; it doesn't announce in a teary huff, "It's that time of the month!" and spend six days acting like a repeating saw.

What's actually making you unhappy is not your husband but your expectation that he be both your husband and Carrie Bradshaw. Unfortunately, that's unlikely to happen. Bummer, yes, but consider how you describe your husband: a "great guy," an "excellent father and provider," dedicated to your relationship. So...you could continue going around resentful that, well, your man isn't much of a woman -- or decide to shake your head and laugh at this wonderful man's lame efforts to "speak chick."

 

You might also consider that men's native language (when among men) is often grunting or just silently coexisting -- which makes evolutionary sense. A guy gabbing it up on the hunt would've scared off the wild boar -- and then pissed off the wife when he brought home the tree bark and tried to pass it off as bacon.

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Got a problem? Write Amy Alkon, 171 Pier Ave., #280, Santa Monica, CA 90405, or email AdviceAmy@aol.com (www.advicegoddess.com). Follow her on Twitter @amyalkon. Order her latest "science-help" book, "Unf*ckology: A Field Guide to Living with Guts and Confidence."

 

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