HE SAID: The drama of discussing feelings in relationships

Justin Marinelli

Staff Writer

While I don’t know if I can speak for every male when it comes to handling relationships and the drama that comes with them, I do have a fairly solid idea of how I (mis)manage them.

The question posed to me is: “Do you need to talk and discuss feelings?” Well, as always, the answer depends. If the issue is something out of the control of both you and your partner and it would only hurt the other person when brought up, then it’s probably not necessary. For example, if your partner has a really annoying laugh, don’t talk about it. Just try not to be too funny.

The usual reason given in favor of always discussing feelings is avoiding the building up of any resentment from suppressed negative feelings about your partner. While this is solid advice, you also have to take your own personality into account. Are you a chill person who doesn’t worry too much about little things? Then you can perhaps avoid having these discussions over trivial quirks, like said annoying laughter. For larger matters (say, your partner’s parents hate you), discussion might be necessary.

Sadly, these discussions don’t always go as planned and fights can break out. Within these fights, there is usually a similar pattern. The female-identified person will usually end up linking this fight to other similar ones. The male-identified person will usually assume he is being blamed and react defensively. From there, the fight will either burn itself out or nothing will be resolved and feelings will simmer.

There seems to be a bit of a gender divide here when it comes to how to handle these simmering feelings of resentment. People who identify as female tend to want to talk to their friends and be reminded that there are people who love and appreciate them. People who identify as male tend to go off to be alone and play video games or punch things, and want to be reminded that they have power over the things in their personal space.

We all obviously want to avoid these situations. While I can’t give advice for all situations, in my experience, this is what tends to be the case. Males still like to have their independence and sense of self in relationships and want their partner to respect them and support them in that end. Females tend to want to feel loved and appreciated and know that their partner is thinking of them.

I’m not a relationship counselor, nor do you have any reason to take my advice whatsoever. But I’ve been in a fair number of relationships, and I understand pretty well how people work. If you disagree with me, there’s no need to start a fight over it.

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