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If you’re a man, I’m sure you’ve thought about how complex women are. How they simply can’t be figured out. How they do the most bizarre things, for unknown reasons. (If you’re a woman, it’s likely you agree.) If you have, then you will find this next statement confusing and perplexing. Women are not as complicated as you think they are. They’re actually rather simple.

Before you brush me off as a lunatic, hear me out. The primary reason that men and women don’t understand one another is because they don’t take the time to truly try. Within that context, we have to understand that men’s and women’s brains simply process information differently. The exact same even could happen to a man and to a woman and you would likely have two entirely different responses. As such, we have to work to understand where the opposite sex is coming from.

In the next several posts (because this topic is simply too long for only one post), I’m specifically addressing the men out there who are in relationships — spouses, boyfriends, fiancees, etc. If you’re single and reading this, my hope is that you’d take note for the future. My goal here is to better help the men understand the women in their lives so they may more effectively care for them, love them, and grow into a deeper relationship with each other.

Before I start, let me give you a quick disclaimer: I will generalize most women in the following paragraphs. Yes, I understand that not all women want these things out of relationships, but it is more worthwhile to inform the gentlemen about the majority of women than the few for whom these things are not true. I’m not an expert with formal training of any sort — I’m simply an observer, and a learner. The following is what I have gleaned from my experiences and those of others, combined with the wisdom of professionals. (Once I finish this series, I will give you a few resources that will further your learning.)

Men, there are a few basic things that women want, and need, from their relationships with you, as their significant other. Without further ado, here is the first of three things women want:

She wants her feelings to be heard and understood, not solved.

Men, I understand that we naturally like to solve problems. It’s what we do. When your woman tells you about  a problem at work, or a problem with her mother, you instantly begin creating solutions, don’t you? (I know you do because I do it too.) Well, stop. Or at least stop telling her what those solutions are unless she asks you to. She doesn’t really care about them. What means more is that you listened to her and understand how she’s feeling, not that you’ve fixed the problem.

You may be asking yourself, “Why does she tell me all this stuff if she doesn’t want me to solve anything? This is a waste of my time.” It’s simple — she wants you to understand her feelings. Her sharing and your understanding brings you together on an emotional level (which is most important to her). She wants to tell you because she cares about you.

Don’t get it twisted — our logical, problem solving skills can still be utilized. In fact, she enjoys seeing you solve puzzles and problems; they just have to be on issues that don’t involve her emotions. Like the car making a weird sound. If she tells you, “Baby, my car made some kind of strange rattling sound today as I was driving home from work,” don’t ask her how that made her feel. Just get the problem fixed. If the problem is emotional, you listen; if it’s not, get it fixed.

If you’ve ever talked to your woman at the end of the day (or, heck, at any point in any day), you know that she’s got a lot to say (if she doesn’t, that’s a bad sign). It’s likely that a good portion of what she has to say concerns her emotions and how she was feelings while said events are going on. Of course, if you asked us, we’d give a one word answer that would frustrate her. But no, she’s different — she always has a lot to say. And while it might seem that most of what she has to say isn’t important to you, but it is very important to her. That’s why she’s sharing it with you — because she finds it important. She simply wants you to understand her problems; her perspective. With that said, it’s important that you listen.

Let her talk about anything and everything she desires (that includes you) and — here’s the key — listen to her. Focus on her. Make eye contact with her. Make her feel like she is the most important thing in your world at that moment. Turn off all the other distractions and pay attention. You can’t pay attention to her while you’re watching TV or texting someone on your phone. I don’t care if you think you can, she doesn’t see it that way. she wants you to devote and focus your attention on her for these few minutes.

(If, for some reason, you can’t give her that undivided attention at that moment, but, she wants to talk, it’s a good idea to say something like, “Baby, I understand you’re upset and I do want to listen to you, but I need about five minutes. Then, I’m all ears, ok?” Telling her that shows that you are interested in what she has to say, while also showing her that she’s important enough to give her your undivided attention).

[Written by Stuart McDonald for For more from Stuart, check out his personal blogfollow him on Twitter, and connect with him on Facebook.]

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