“He wants to ‘fix it,’ she wants to be understood,” Integrated Minds Clinic Psychologist Ambrose McKinnery says.
As couples across the globe look to celebrate Valentine’s Day this Friday, many may reflect on their relationship and wonder if it’s got what it takes to go the distance.
Mr McKinnery said when difficulties arise – and they are unavoidable – there can be differences in gender in thought, temperament and interpreting a situation.
“She wants to be heard, to be listened to and understood. To be valued and made to feel important,” Mr McKinnery said.
“She wants that emotional connection, commitment and love. She wants empathy and compassion. And she wants to be desired.
“For various reasons this is where men often struggle the most.”
He on the other hand, Mr McKinnery said, “wants to be respected for his commitment to make things happen, including his work and career. To be seen as capable.”
“He complains she is overly demanding, oversensitive and temperamental, emotionally reactive to neutral and off-hand comments, taking offence when none was intended.”
The relationships expert said communication differs between genders and connection can be formed through learning and practising active listening skills.
“Whilst every couple is unique, relationship counselling often addresses the common themes of healing, communication including active listening skills, and commitment and love,” he said.
“Listening is the key to start building a better understanding of each other, and giving each other what they need most.”
Mr McKinnery said what people really want from their partner and intimate relationships is connection, commitment and love.
“Through our intimate relationships we seek a deeper connection with our partners. We enjoy someone ‘knowing’ us at core levels.
“This entails the values that we live by, our past struggles, the joy of our successes, and our future dreams.”
He said the need to share experiences is a core need for most of us and that relationships thrive through commitment.
“Commitment comes from core values, together with enough attraction to sustain togetherness, and a desire to build and create futures involving families and other achievements.
“Love drives the commitment, and provides the fuel to motivate the want to be with each other.
“Without the motivation to work together as a team, to get through difficulties, to put in the effort with each other, it can become hard work to stay afloat.”
Ambrose McKinnery has more than 20 years experience as a practicing Psychologist, specialising in adolescents to adults and relationships. He holds a Bachelor of Psychology (Honours) and Graduate Diploma in Counselling and is the senior relationships Psychologist at the Integrated Minds Clinic in Mooloolaba.