Getting Beyond “He Said/She Said”

The term, “He said/she said” is often heard in the unfortunate case of rape.  In this situation the term applies to the fact that when there is little factual evidence on which to base a decision the jury is left trying to determine who’s story they believe and the case becomes one of her word against his.  These cases perhaps illustrate the problems regarding he said/she said that couples are faced with in a relationship.  Beyond the fact that in a rape case one or both of the parties may not be telling the truth, exists the underlying problem that men and women think and process information differently. The differences between men and women include differences in thought process, sensitivity, memory, and communication.  A successful relationship is one that recognizes the difference between men and women and is able to get beyond the he said/she said scenarios.

Men and women have a different thought process when it comes to solving problems.  While both sexes are capable of solving problems equally well the thought process involved in coming to a resolution varies between men and women.  For men a problem is an opportunity for them to demonstrate their problem solving skills in a quick and efficient manner.  Men see having the problem solved as the ultimate goal and they believe that the best solution is the one that is quickest and most efficient.  Women on the other hand see a problem as an opportunity to work together and reach a resolution.  Women relish the chance to communicate about the problem and the act of working together to solve the problem is more important than actually solving the problem.  Women may feel closer to their partner, even if the problem still exists, if she feels that the resolution process drew them closer together.  Understanding that women and men view the problem solving process differently will help a relationship to prosper.

Sensitivity is another area where men and women differ.  Women have a heightened sense of sensitivity relative to men.  This heightened sensitivity results in women being more prone to act on their emotions rather than on rational thought.  A woman’s sensitivity allows her to understand her own feelings as well as those of others better so her reactions tend to take feelings into consideration above logic.  However, men do not have the same level of sensitivity and therefore are more likely to make their decisions based solely on logic and not take feelings and emotions into consideration.  This disparity can result in problems during a relationship because the woman assumes that the man intentionally tried to hurt their feelings if they make a decision that has this effect while the man may grow frustrated if he believes the woman made an irrational decision.  Realizing that this difference exists will help a couple go get beyond he said/she said.

Men and Women also differ in terms of memory.  Men have a memory that is stronger in situations where they can recall the details of an event by making an association with something concrete such as a location or item.  For example men are more apt to remember an event that took place in a location that they are able to visualize well.  Women on the other hand have a memory that is stronger when they are able to associate the emotions felt with that memory to other memories where they had similar emotions.  This type of memory is especially problematic because when I women becomes angry with her partner, she is often able to recall other situations where he has angered her.  Unless the difference in memory is recognized it can become a source of frustration in a relationship when the man and woman don’t understand why their partner doesn’t remember something that is so vivid to them.

Men and Women also often have different communication styles which can complicate a relationship.  Men tend to be more introspective about their problems and choose to deal with them internally and without discussing them with their partner.  When they do decide to discuss a problem it’s usually after much thought and careful consideration.  Women on the other hand enjoy conversing about their problems with their partner and believe that doing so helps them to understand their problem better and come to a solution more easily.  Women often use communication as a method for reaching a conclusion.  They view the discussion as a way to figure out a solution.  The he said/she said aspects of communications must be understood to avoid frustration and disappointment in a relationship.

Men and women have different styles when it comes to problem solving, sensitivity, memory and communication in a relationship.  Careful observance and understanding of these differences is necessary for a relationship to flourish.  Understanding these he said/she said principals and being willing to get beyond them will help to minimize difficulties in a relationship in regards to gender differences.