By Rachel Anyika
Jan 2, 20185 min
Updated: Feb 17, 2021
Men and women in general have a large degree of difference in how the brain processes and stores information. Women (or feminine energy individuals) are able to process data from both the left and right lobes of the brain simultaneously. The right lobe of the brain is feeling, non-verbal, receptive, creative and sensuous which means that women are able to merge feelings with thoughts much more easily. Men (or masculine energy) individuals will mostly process data from the left lobe of the brain first. The left lobe is logical, action-orientated and problem-solving. This creates differences in the emotional needs of men and women and as a result most people will not instinctively know how to support their partner. These gender differences are discussed further in Brain Differences Between Genders by Gregory L. Jantz on Psychology Today:
"Scientists have discovered approximately 100 gender differences in the brain, and the importance of these differences cannot be overstated. Understanding gender differences from a neurological perspective not only opens the door to greater appreciation of the different genders, it also calls into question how we parent, educate, and support our children from a young age."
Much has been written on the subject of gender differences in relationships and there is still more research to be done to enable us to understand the effects fully. One popular and easy to read book on the subject is Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus by John Gray. In this book the top 6 primary emotional needs of women are explained:
A woman needs her partner to show concern for her general well-being and an interest in her feelings. This is due to a combination of biological and cultural conditioning, that support the nurturing role women will often take. To show caring is not reflective of how much money a partner is willing to spend. Rather it can be demonstrated by checking in with her on a regular basis to see how she is doing, checking she got home safely, considerate planning, asking interested questions etc. Personally, the guys I have been the most interested in are the ones who have waited with me at the bus stop right until my bus came, the guy who walked 15 minutes in the opposite direction to escort me to the tube station, and the guy who always messaged me after a date to check I got home okay. Lauren Jacobs provides some interesting views as to why this is a key need for many women in Why Strong, Independent Women Just Want to Be Taken Care of (Sometimes) on the Huffington Post blog:
"Seeing ourselves reflected in society as receiving less money, respect and opportunity than men might push women to be independent-minded in our professional lives, but these elements of inequality can cause even the feminists among us to feel that we deserve to be treated that much more nicely — even specially — by the men in our personal lives. It becomes a refreshing change of pace: When a man’s kind treatment comes from a desire to give, we can relax, be ourselves and not have to push so hard.
Another key issue that unfortunately highlights the inherent inequality in our country and our world is personal safety. Nationally, 95% of domestic violence victims chronicled by visits to the ER are women and globally, one out of three women will be sexually assaulted in their lifetime. When discussing heterosexual romantic relationships, this matter cannot be overlooked. Women want to feel safe, and we deserve to feel safe, especially in the presence of men."
A woman needs to feel that her partner understands her. The easiest way to demonstrate understanding is to be able to listen to what she is saying without making judgement or getting angry. Being able to show empathy, and listening without offering solutions or advice will make her feel heard. Be fully present by listening without being distracted by a phone, the TV, computer etc. If you don't fully understand her point of view, explain this to her, don't be afraid to ask more questions and paraphrase what you do understand to check if you are on the right track.
It's often thought that respect is something that mainly men value in a relationship. However, respect is a primary emotional need for women too. When a partner responds to a woman in a way that acknowledges and prioritises her rights, wishes and needs, she feels respected. This is a partner acting in ways which take into consideration her thoughts and feelings. For example not talking down to her, demeaning her, flirting with other women, criticising or ignoring her, are all ways to make her feel respected.
4. Devotion/To be Cherished
A woman needs to feel like she is a priority and fully supported. She does not want to feel like a second priority behind work, hobbies and other interests. If she feels like a second priority she will not feel valued and will start building emotional walls. However, this does not mean to lose yourself in a relationship. For example, if you need to stay late at work more often to complete an important project, take this into account and plan a special date or time to spend with her. Setting aside quality time to spend with her will make her feel cherished, rather than just wanting to spend time with her when you have nothing better to do.
Validation can be shown by not arguing with how a woman feels, or objecting to those feelings. Try to remember that you are not responsible for how she feels but you can contribute to her happiness. This does not mean that you have to agree with all her feelings but rather that you are able to validate her reality by accepting how she feels and why she feels that way. Dr Shannon Kolakowski describes this in The Single Best Thing You Can Do For Your Relationship on the Huffington Post blog:
"An important distinction is that you can accept your partner’s feelings, but it doesn’t mean you need to agree with them. For instance, say that you go to see a movie together. Afterward, you discuss your thoughts about the film. Your partner found it entertaining and funny, while you found it boring and predictable. You might validate their point of view by saying, “It sounds like you really enjoyed the film. It wasn’t my favorite, but I can tell that you had fun watching it.” In this example, you’re acknowledging your partner’s enjoyment of something, without sharing the same sentiment."
6. Reassurance/ Affirmation
Reassurance can be demonstrated by consistently showing up in the relationship and meeting her emotional needs on a regular basis. Generally, a woman's brain is more emotionally centred therefore she will spend more time analysing and assessing her relationships. Verbal reassurance from a partner that the relationship is on track helps increase her sense of security. If a woman has the anxious attachment style then she will need more verbal reassurance, particularly after a period of less contact or an argument. Verbal affirmation is letting her know that you value her worth and she does not need to prove herself to you. Simple things like telling her that she is more than enough for you, the things you love about her personality or complimenting her on how she looks.
When both partner's are focused on meeting each other's differing emotional needs the relationship will be equally satisfying. To compare the top 6 emotional needs of men read the article here.
John Gray, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus - First released 1 January 1992
Gregory L. Jantz, Brain Differences Between Genders - https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hope-relationships/201402/brain-differences-between-genders
Lauren Jacobs, Why Strong, Independent Women Just Want to Be Taken Care of (Sometimes) - https://www.huffingtonpost.com/lauren-jacobs/why-strong-independent-women-want-to-be-taken-care-of_b_3605582.html
Dr Shannon Kolakowski, The Single Best Thing You Can Do For Your Relationship - https://www.huffingtonpost.com/shannon-kellogg-psy-d/relationship-advice_b_2127394.html