Tips with Trish: What More Can I Do?

Dear Trish,

I think my relationship with my girlfriend is great, but she says we don’t talk enough. I feel like we talk all of the time. We talk, we snap, we are basically in constant communication. And, for the most part, I like it. I do get overwhelmed at times, though. Sometimes if I don’t respond to her right away, she thinks I’m mad. She also tends to get anxious if I don’t text her first thing in the morning or last thing before bed. I even attach zillions of emojis to most my texts because it conveys even more feeling.

Besides the connection through technology, I do other things that I know girls like. I watch chick flicks, I cuddle, and I cook. I like spending time with her and making her happy. I come from a family of several women, so I think I’m pretty good at knowing what she needs. She says she needs more communication, though. I feel like I am more in touch with my feelings and communicate better than lots of guys I know. What else can I do?

Signed, Never Enough

Trish says,

I agree, it sounds like you are doing a pretty good job of keeping up with boyfriend responsibilities. It is no secret that men and women are different. Our brains are wired differently, our hormones are different, and thus our emotional needs are often different. Women tend to show a wider range of emotions than men. They also tend to require more of a connection based on emotions rather than their male counterparts.

Girls develop the right side of the brain faster than boys which leads to talking earlier and sometimes more. It is interesting that women tend to value love and communication more in relationships. This doesn’t mean that men don’t value these things, they just tend to put a different weight on the importance of them within relationships. Interestingly, women often reduce their stress by talking about their problems. Allow your girlfriend to do this and listen with an open mind. Help her understand, though, that you may reduce your stress in a different way than talking. To get along, you both must accept, expect and respect each other’s differences.

Even though you feel like you are sharing your feelings, my guess is that she could always talk more or would like you to verbally express yourself more than you are used to. Although it sounds like you are doing pretty well, men tend to have a more difficult time relating to their own feelings and may feel more threatened by the expression of feelings. Keep making an effort towards expressing your feelings but let her know that you are doing your best. At the same time, talk to her about her expectations. She may be expecting too much or she may have some underlying needs or anxiety that needs to be addressed completely separate from you.

You are doing a lot of work in the relationship, and it is okay to ask for her to get some of these needs met from some of her female friends. It is also okay to ask her to show and express appreciation for the things that you are doing. Open communication with each other can make all the difference. If you don’t do this, the relationship can become unbalanced and resentment can result.

Signed, Trish

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