In this week’s Love Essentially, published two days ago in Chicago Tribune Pioneer Press, I write about love and relationships, specifically how men and women differ in their views on the subject.
Men and Women – Polar Opposites When Talking Love and Relationships by Jackie Pilossoph
Last Friday night, I had the pleasure of sitting on the panel of experts for “The Great Love Debate,” a national touring show that had a Chicago stop at the Greenhouse Theater Center in Lincoln Park.
Facilitated by the show’s host and producer, Brian Howie, along with four other panelists, a crowd of men and women discussed and debated dating, relationships and love. To say there were a few noteworthy differences in the way men and women viewed things is putting it mildly.
After the show, I sat down with Howie, the Los Angeles-based producer of “The Great Love Debate” and author of his book, “How to Find Love in 60 Seconds,” to find out what drives such opposing gender opinions and perspectives.
Howie, who said he interviewed 2,000 women to prep for “The Great Debate,” which has made stops in 78 cities over the past two years, cited five major philosophies in which he finds guys and girls differ greatly.
1. Women want men to try harder, men want women to make it easier
“This is the crux of the disconnect between men and women,” Howie said. “Over the last 20 years, the biggest change in our society has been the ramping up of the female masculine energy, which is a good thing in every aspect of life except for dating. At the same time, men have become more sensitive, more introspective and more vulnerable, which is more valuable in society with the exception of the early stages of dating. That’s why we hide behind dating apps and Facebook.”
Howie claims technology isn’t the problem, but rather the reaction to the actual change, which is the blurring of the gender roles.
2. Women look for red flags, men look for green lights
According to 49-year-old Howie, who has never been married, men are fundamentally more optimistic and romantic when it comes to dating.
“When a guy asks a woman out, he believes he is going to like her,” he said. “Women are skeptical. They look for an out.”
3. Men are afraid of rejection, women are afraid of being hurt
Howie said that to men, rejection means “I won’t even get the opportunity of a date,” and that women are afraid that if they let a man into their life in a romantic way, he will eventually hurt them, whether it is in three days, three months or three years.
4. Men fall in love with who she is, women fall in love with the possibility of who he can become
“We are OK with who you are from day one,” said Howie, who calls himself “America’s No. 1 dating enthusiast.”
5. Processing heartbreak and pain
Men don’t process heartbreak or pain well, while women build up an immunity to heartbreak and bounce back quicker. According to Howie, men hold onto the pain of a breakup longer than women.
“A breakup can sometimes manifest itself into ‘I’m scared or angry with women,’ which can lead men into a bad dating pattern,” he said. “Women build up an immunity with each heartbreak and can therefore process the end of a relationship more easily.”
I don’t think anyone will argue that men and women can be as different as night and day when it comes to the way we think, not just about love and relationships, but about anything. And that’s OK. Having opposing views is healthy, and keeps a relationship challenging, exciting and lively.
But let’s face it. How many times have you been on a date or with your spouse and thought to yourself, “What planet is he or she on?” Probably too many to count. The key to staying amicable and happy (and sane) together is understanding and respecting your spouse’s feelings, no matter how silly or strange they might seem, and communicating with each other constructively to manage and resolve disagreements.
Like this article? Check out my blog post, “8 Places to Meet Single Men and Women in the Suburbs and None are Bars”