When men are in an argument, men go through more physical pain from that emotional pain than women do
There’s this idea that men don’t feel feelings, have feelings or express feelings. This idea comes from the non-critical thinking observer who project onto men what they want without actually trying to understand what is going on with men.
It’s easier to dehumanize men if you keep telling everyone they don’t feel since if you don’t feel you’re obviously sub-human.
Here is the research though. When men are in an argument, men go through more physical pain from that emotional pain than women do. This is because the cardiovascular system of the female can shut off and recover quicker than the males can to stressful situations. This makes sense from a biological stance because males who were quicker to being activated by adrenaline and who were aroused by their adrenaline for longer periods of time were more likely to survive than men who were not so aware of their surroundings.
“Psychologist Dolf Zillmann at the University of Alabama has found that when male subjects are deliberately treated rudely and then told to relax for twenty minutes, their blood pressure surges and stays elevated until they get to retaliate. But when women face the same treatment, they are able to calm down during those twenty minutes. (It’s interesting that a woman’s blood pressure tends to rise again if she is pressured into retaliating!) Since marital confrontation that activates vigilance takes a greater physical toll on the male, it’s no surprise that men are more likely than women to avoid it (Gottman, 2015, pp. 43).
This is why men have to go take a walk, need to go into the garage and work on something, need to sit and play video games for a while, go for a run, work on their work and when things are getting destructive, drink. They are trying to reduce the stress induced hormones that are pupping through their bodies because their biology pushes them towards retaliation and they do not desire to retaliate.
Wives, girlfriends, and partner, just because you’re ready to talk about an argument soon after the argument happened doesn’t mean your husband, boyfriend or partner is. It’s not always because they’re avoiding you. It’s because they’re biologically trying to calm down so they can have the talk and work on the problems constructively.
If you nag them, push them or criticize them during this cool down period you reset their whole biology and their adrenaline starts pumping again and you’re just being sadistic at this point.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Lois Verbrugge and James House found that,
“Unhappy marriages can increase your chances of getting sick by roughly 35% and even shorten your life by an average of four to eight years (Gottman, 2015, pp. 6).”
This is why if this pattern happens enough times, men will emotionally cut off from you and do what is commonly called ‘stonewalling’.
“In 85% of heterosexual marriages, the stonewaller is the husband. This is not because of some lack on the man’s part. The reason lies in our evolutionary biology (Gottman, 2015, pp. 42).”
When stonewalling happens, the ability for a relationship to survive and be satisfactory falls dramatically.
So, give men the time they need to cool off so they can have the constructive conversations needed in the relationship. Your wishes to talk too soon don’t supersede his biology, physical and emotional health. If you believe that your wishes do, that is called narcissism and is investing in the destruction of your relationship and in the destruction of your partner’s health and well-being.
Men, you’re not off the hook in this whole scenario though. We talk about your responsibility in all of this in How Marital Arguing Shortens Men’s Lives Part 2.
Not sure what to do or think about what you’re feeling? If you’re curious to know more about relationships that shorten your life-span here is my Guide: 14 Differences Between Toxic & Loving Relationships. This will walk you through the different parts of these kinds of relationships so you can identify what you or one of your loved ones is experiencing so you can Fix Your Fate instead of letting destiny choose for you.