dating advice

Understanding the Opposite Sex
" Why can't a woman be more like a man? "
"Why can't a woman be more like a man?" asks Professor Henry Higgins in the film My Fair Lady. It is gender conceit to think that one is correct and the difference lies in the other sex. Men and women differ in many ways yet with a bit of effort and an open mind, understanding the opposite sex is not that difficult.

From the beginning of time, men and women have tried to find ways to understand each other. Like the saying, "You can't live with them, can't live without them." Understanding the opposite sex is a journey that never ends and to categorize men or women in a certain way would be oversimplifying the matter. While some claim that men are from Mars and women from Venus, the truth is that they both belong on Earth and are not so different that they be deemed as aliens.

Women complain that men just don't understand while the men lament on the way the fairer sex goes on and on about any given issue. So what is it that makes men and women so different? To begin the process of understanding the opposite sex, an open mind is required.

Gender Stereotypes
Despite the obvious physical differences, nature plays a minor but important role in the distinct manner in which men and women behave. It is, in fact, the gender stereotype that children are brought up with that guide their understanding of how they should behave and their expectations of the opposite sex. While boys are encouraged from a tender age to be more action oriented and analytical in their approach in play and work, girls are taught by example and in play to take on a more nurturing role. It is quite possible that you and your partner are not so very different, but your perception and expectations of him or her may be at polar opposites. All through history as well as in contemporary times, men are encouraged to be confident, fearless, and unwavering. Thus groomed to have a fair amount of space in personal relations they have trouble with complete intimacy. On the other hand, women are socialized for intimacy.

Biological Differences
The physical difference in the sexes and complementary hormonal difference also effects behavior. Interestingly, scientists have found that male and female brains do not grow in the same manner. In a baby girl's brain, the left half of the cortex, which controls thinking, develops faster than in boys. Both sides of the brain interact better in girls. The male brain is about 10-15% larger than its female counterpart. In infancy, the right side of a male's brain is better developed than the left and this leads to better spatial abilities and awareness. Understanding the Opposite Sex
  1. Acceptance: Society places different stereotypes and behavior patterns on the two genders and while this is learned behavior, it is vital to remember that it is very difficult to change.
  2. Bringing down expectations: Perhaps most of us find the opposite sex so different, not because they are so in reality, but because they are quite different from our expectation of a life partner. There really are not too many prince charmings or princesses around. Both sexes usually have too many expectations of their partners and a rift between expectation and the real person is what causes problems.
  3. Men are taught to maintain their distance while women provide nurturing and prefer complete intimacy. Understanding this and meeting half way would make a world of a difference in any relationship.
  4. Everyone likes to be romanced: Often the burden of adding romance to the relationship lies on the man's shoulders. The truth is that romance is all about letting the other person know how appreciated he or she is and how special they are.
  5. Word your questions well: Men tend to think in terms of action while women think in terms of emotion. While communicating, phrase your questions in a manner to help bring out what you are thinking and feeling.
  6. Listen: Pay attention to what your partner is saying. In case of any doubts, question and clarify the issue. Respond to what is actually being said and not what you "think"' is being said. For instance, when a woman discusses a problem at work with her partner, she usually wants him to listen and understand how she is being affected by the situation instead of giving advice about how to solve it.
  7. Space: Give each other enough space to grow and maintain their individuality.

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