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Infidelity Recovery: What is it with Men?

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Author: Dr. Robert Huizenga


I've worked intensively with hundreds of couples over the past 25 years and, of course, you will not be surprised to know that more women than men are "open" to marital therapy and talking about relationships in general.

Most men reluctantly enter the realm only if they "have to." Their marital world usually needs to be in dire straits before they give their assent.

Here are some observations about this phenomenon:

1. Men think they are inadequate when it comes to expressing feelings or inner thoughts. And, they assume this is what marital therapy is all about. They perceive the woman as the expert in this realm and they assume that they will be in the "one-down" situation when it comes to working on the relationship. And, of course, no man wants to be one-down.

2. Men usually internalize. That is, they work through, or think through, a situation or problem. No one may know what is happening between their ears. Men usually do not have a need to "talk out" a problem or situation. And, of course, working on a relationship is about "talking it out." At least that is what grocery store magazines and talk show hosts say.

3. Men are practical problem solvers. They define the problem, look at solutions and implement the solution. And, if that didn't work, try another solution. Wooo-hooo psycho-babble is a foreign world and they don't want anything to do with it.

I'm really being a little unfair to men here. Men, don't be too upset. I sometimes make strong statements to make a point.

Some women, I find, share these traits as well. Actually it may be that more and more women share some of these characteristics. It's Not Always Gender

I conclude that the important issue here is not one of gender, but that of being in a polarized relationship. By that I mean, one person internalizes more and the other person has more of a need to externalize or "talk it through."

The externalizer sees great value in self help books, perhaps therapy, and finds materials that will help him/her talk about and work on the relationship.

The other partner thinks, "Oh no, do I have to?" And, only if his/her emotional or relational equilibrium is highly threatened will he/she journey into this territory. If he/she does, it is only to the degree that the partner is appeased or he/she can find a quick and graceful way out.

A beginning point for a "polarized" couple is to acknowledge the phenomenon. Polarization must be addressed before a couple can effectively repair or reconstruct the relationship.

About the author: Dr. Robert Huizenga, the Infidelity Coach, offers infidelity help and relationship advice for coping with extramarital affairs and marital infidelity at: http://Break Free-From-the-Affair.com and http://Infidelity-help.com. Get articles and free downloads on emotional infidelity, coping with infidelity, the cheating spouse, signs of an affair, surviving infidelity and more.


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