The other day, on the article on men who seem to be naturally good with women, a reader wrote in to ask about emotion regulation in relationships, and annoyance at always having to be "the rock" for women he's dating and others when they vent emotionally, when meanwhile they begin distancing themselves or just decline to give support as soon as he turns the tables and he needs to vent.
Here's his comment:
“Is it recommended to keep your emotional problems/issues separate from seduction?
Some girls (that I've known for more than couple months) seemed to have been of the stock where if I ever talked about my personal emotional issues (like the deep shit that you become aware of as you gain emotional IQ/mastery) with them, they gave me a look like how dare I speak about myself more than they talked about themselves...that's not how it's supposed to go!! Men, including lovers are people too, and have emotional moments (maybe a overbearing boss or a horrible relationship with parents or frustration from not being able to start a business or whatever). What I really wanted was for them to provide me with the value (same empathy/support) that I provided them, but they didn't really seem to care all that much...(it was more of a fake care, but not a real genuine OMG I feel your pain). Obviously they couldn't (nor volunteered) to really help me out and provide me with advice (even when asked), just an awkward silence then they turned the conversation back on them.
Have you ever seen this? What are your thoughts? Do you advise to keep have a support system separate and apart from seduction, and to not clue women into what you're feeling?
I am clueless on this. But maybe it's not women. Thing is I've seen a similar thing from my family too. Growing up, they weren't really equipped to deal with my emotional needs. Perhaps I presented them wrong? Conversation is part presentation...anyways the result was that I just kept shit bottled up inside, becoming aloof and not even recognizing it until much later. Now I'm more of a fixer, but it's really good to have someone around that says "i understand how you feel...try this." Never had that, not even from family.”
I replied; the original commenter replied to my reply to further clarify; Franco, the moderator of our discussion boards, weighed in; and the original commenter returned once more to contribute to the discussion again. All-in-all, it turned into a pretty thoughtful conversation, though clearly from parties who were coming at the problem all from rather different angles.
So, the question raised, I wanted to dive into it much further: what's the right way to go about handling emotion regulation in your interpersonal relationships? Or, is there even a right way - is there an ideal path? Or simply different shades of gray?