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“A man’s highest need is to feel respect, whereas a woman’s highest need is to feel loved.”

— Marriage expert and researcher Shaunti Feldhahn

In Shaunti Feldhahn’s article, The 5 Respect Needs of Men, she says men feel disrespected and not loved if their partners question their decisions or abilities. The biggest injustice and hurtful act of disrespect for men? Being criticized or questioned in front of others.

Uh oh.

All of this set off an alarm in my head.

Personal growth = Oh I’m the asshole!  

— Antonia Dodge, Personality Hacker

One man in my past told me I argue too much. He asked why I question him. I was dumbfounded as to why he thought I was arguing. I hate arguing.

Perhaps he felt I questioned his competence or knowledge. Perhaps I did question his competence or knowledge?

Intuition and feelings lead me

I follow my intuition a lot, which means I take a bit of knowledge, instantly pattern search it and come to a conclusion based on a quick recall of past experiences.

I also check in to see how something feels to me. If it doesn’t feel right, I doubt it. I can see where others might not trust these methods. They are not particularly rational. Non-linear thinking makes many people nervous and frustrated. But I’ve learned to trust my intuition because it is often accurate.

Are you questioning my capabilities?

It has been my experience, that most men have a dire need to be deferred to and trusted. My intuition and ‘how does it feel’ tests don’t require me to depend on someone else’s judgment (these are introverted functions — they happen on the inside), and can cause discord because my thoughts might run counter to theirs. I’ve had male clients, past boyfriends and current guy friends, get ruffled when they thought their competence was in question. Mind you, I did not do all the ruffling. My clients have companions of their own who know how to make them feel disrespected. Since working with male clients, I definitely see a pattern of hurt and frustration due to doubting of their judgment and/or abilities.

The hard part for women is that most of the time we truly do not know we are doing it. All of those times we remind our husbands or sons to do something? Those are acts of distrust to them.

Negative assumptions

We all know what damage assumptions can do. They can lead down a rabbit hole of miscommunication and misjudgment. Admittedly, I remind my son to do things. I’ve tried to be more hands-off but then he doesn’t know where his wallet is, get up on time or put away his laundry. Sigh… I assume he won’t remember or if he does, he won’t do it right. He feels like I don’t trust him or believe in his competence. I would really like to let go of this draining way of interacting. I’m open to suggestions for ways to handle it.

Why are you on their side? Don’t you trust me?

If My man was at odds with someone, I did my best to empathize with him and understand his perspective.  I also could not help seeing the perspective of the others involved. It’s natural for me to do that. Again my introverted intuition comes into play. It loves to forecast and figure out others perspectives. My man always felt like I defended the other person. He would even ask me to stop defending them. I think he saw my perspective shifting as not backing him up or not trusting his judgment. The weird thing is I understand that too. I just couldn’t stop doing it.

It is interesting to note, that if there is any negativity emanating from an individual, it often sways me to empathize with the other side in a debate.

How do we make our men feel respected?

I’ve tried everything from softer wording to blind allegiance regarding my reactions to a man’s decisions or abilities. The hard part is when your reactions are not authentic to you but they feed your man. That causes internal  discord but creates a positive effect on your relationship.

For now, I am working on being aware of when my words or actions make a man feel disrespected. I hope awareness leads to more respectful and trustful behavior on my part and more ease and comfort on theirs.

I’ve read that smart women have a harder time finding partners. Could that be because they challenge the men they meet and make them feel disrespected?

How respected does your guy feel? How respected does your partner make you feel?

** I believe women feel disrespected and questioned too.