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Friday, 7 August 2015

The fundamental lack of trust between men and women

Yesterday I had the privilege of looking into a female mind during a conversation with a foreign woman. She had approached me by “liking” me on a social network site. I deliberately use the word “privilege” as men don't often get such an opportunity.

After my conversation I suddenly realised the fundamental distrust between men and women when it comes to relationships. This distrust starts by wondering about each other's intentions, continues with questions on the sincerity of each other's feelings, culminates into assumed – rather than verified - explanations regarding each other's behaviour, and ends with rejection based upon these prior assumptions. It's almost a miracle that relationships between men and women still develop.

Despite the success of books (e.g., men are from Mars, women are from Venus) and movies (e.g., What Women Want), it seems that mutual knowledge is still remote. Women are still a mystery to men. Men are still unreliable creatures to women. Ultimately, both men and women have a fundamental lack of trust towards each other (e.g., intentions, feelings, behaviour).

Based upon prior experience, women wonder about the true intentions of men. Will he introduce me to his parents or am I just for fun? Secondly, women wonder about the sincerity of male feelings. Does he say he loves me to get the next level or to get intimate with me? Male behaviour may easily cause further questions. Why does he still look at other women, am I not good enough for him?

In general, men underestimate the level of insecurity inside women. From the outside, women appear to be very confident of themselves. I suppose that this inside-outside contradiction is an essential part of the “mystery” of women, at least in male perception. Moreover, women have the nasty habit of beating around the bush, not saying what they really feel/think, which men may easily view as lying. Hence, the male lack of trust in women.

Based upon prior experience, men also wonder about the true intentions of women. Is she really interested in me or just in my successful role in society? Secondly, why does she feel good about me, can't she get a better/younger/more attractive or more successful man? Thirdly, some female behaviour may be irritating and frustrating, like answering “It's ok” or “Nothing” to serious male questions or using (lack of) sex as a weapon. Men are no clairvoyants, especially about women.

In general, women underestimate the level of male trustworthiness, especially once men are in a relationship. From the outside, it may look like that men chase every woman within their perimeter. I suppose this inside-outside contradiction is an essential part in the perceived unreliability of men, at least from a female angle. Moreover, most women are well aware that they cannot trust another woman when it comes to stealing their man. Lastly, women know that men don't even realise what another woman is capable of when it comes to getting what she wants.

Based upon the above, it looks like a miracle that men and women still develop relationships. Yet, it's not psychology that is responsible for relationships but chemistry. The famous hormone oxytocin is not only responsible for bonding but also for developing trust in a relationship. And sexual intimacy, one of the cornerstones for a relationship, also delivers regular quantities of oxytocin. (John Gottman)

Flatter me, and I may not believe you. Criticize me, and I may not like you. Ignore me, and I may not forgive you. Encourage me, and I will not forget you. Love me and I may be forced to love you. William Arthur Ward, American writer (1921 - 1994)