Have you ever given much thought to what makes your partner feel safe? Noticed how men feel physically safe? And women experience real and imagined threats to their physical safety almost every day?
When men and women get into partnership, misunderstandings about Safety can create tension and break up relationships because men and women often experience safety in opposition.
Men have a much stronger sense of confidence in themselves and their ability to keep themselves safe because they tend to be bigger and stronger than women. Because of this confidence, men almost always feel safe moving through the world.
Women, on the other hand, continually evaluate their environment for potential threats and avoid them. From jumping at the loud voice of a man when he’s angry, to choosing the safest parking space, women move through the world with caution.
FOR THE MASCULINE: Anything that threatens his ability to keep the people in his life safe makes him feel unsafe.
FOR THE FEMININE: Anything that prevents her from “seeing” her environment represents danger. In fact, she actually needs to know what’s going on inside a man’s head to feel safe because instinct won’t let her take safety for granted.
The best way to understand this crazy dynamic is to imagine the masculine as a warrior. “His” job is to protect the people he has committed himself to protect. In order to do this, he won’t reveal his weaknesses or his strengths to ANYONE if he can help it OR unless he feels he is completely safe with them.
If he told the enemy who his family was, they would no longer be safe. If he told the enemy what the plan was, his squadron wouldn’t be safe. If he expressed his vulnerabilities, he wouldn’t be safe.
That’s right. For a man to share what’s deepest inside him, HE MUST FEEL SAFE.
Can you see how these instinctual differences might lead to conflict? When men need to know that women are safe to be vulnerable with? And women need men to be vulnerable in order to feel safe?!
Irritation, frustration and anger are unsafe.
The tone of a woman’s voice, the furrowing of her brow, and the sheer intensity with which she “expresses” her lack-of-safety-driven-feelings-about-things causes him to feel unsafe.
When he feels unsafe, he won’t talk, and his silence feeds her fear for her own safety and thus the cycle amplifies itself into a downward spiral of misunderstanding.
Many relationships have ended because of this dynamic. But it doesn’t have to be this way!
Take some time to explore what makes you feel safe and share it with your partner (or the person you’re dating)!
Talk about what creates the experience of safety for you, and what feeling safe makes possible for you!
When you understand what you need, and share authentically with your partner, your connection will be strengthened.