Men, This Is Why She Criticizes You

Almost the world over, a near experience for men is being criticized or nagged by their wives or girlfriends. Feeling like no matter what you do, you can’t seem to make your partner’s irritating behavior stop is another commonality uniting men the world over. 

Interestingly, it’s not happenstance that men find themselves in the position of being criticized more than the other way around. Differing biology and socialization both play a role in explaining why men tend to be the ones who get criticized in a relationship. 

If you can identify with being the target of a woman’s wrath, then this article is for you. Read on to learn exactly what it is that makes your girlfriend explode and how you can successfully encourage her to ease off.

Women express themselves differently

While the extent to which biology and socialization respectively influence how men and women express themselves has yet to be determined, research has demonstrated that women tend to produce more emotion-oriented messages than men. 

One study, for example, found that, when asked to write a story about love, men’s narratives were 50% shorter than women’s (Barbara, 2008). As well, evidence suggests that men are more likely to favor a problem-focused approach in response to a stressful situation, whereas women will focus on emotional support.

In your relationship, these differing styles of expression explain why, when you take out the trash as a symbolic gesture of your feelings for your partner, she won’t necessarily understand the loving intentions behind this act. 

Also, when your significant other is telling you about her stressful day, though your inclination is to help her find a solution to her difficulty, she’s actually seeking supportive words rather than concrete help. These gender differences mean that you may find that your partner frequently accuses you of being insufficiently loving because she’s expecting you to be more emotionally attuned and expressive.

To set her straight in terms of how you feel about her, try expressing positive feelings toward your partner more often, but don’t forget to let her know that when you do something for her, like change the tires on her car, it’s another way of saying you care.

It takes men longer to cool off

When you’re in the midst of a disagreement with your partner and you’re starting to feel angry, chances are you might end up shutting down and withdrawing emotionally. That’s because when humans are overwhelmed by negative emotions, their bodies give them two options: fight (criticize) or flight (withdraw). The reason men tend to go into withdrawal mode is that their cardiovascular systems are much more reactive to stress compared to women’s, making the experience of strong negative emotions extremely uncomfortable.

In order to avoid that sensation, men shut down. Unfortunately, rather than making the problem go away, when you tune out in response to your partner’s criticism, she feels like she’s not being heard, which makes her criticize you even more and you then shut down further -- in short, a vicious cycle ensues that can have a major impact on the quality of your relationship. 

In fact, in one study, physiological measures, such as heart rate and blood pressure, explained 60% of the variation in how satisfied couples felt in their relationships (Levenson & Gottman, 1983). To break free of this negative cycle, the next time you’re having an argument with your other half and things are getting too heated for you, say something like: “I feel too angry right now to continue this conversation and I need to take a 40-minute break.” 
Being specific about your feelings and your need for a (long) time-out lets her know where you stand and she’ll likely be receptive to your statement because she won’t feel ignored.

Women crave social engagement

Some theorists speculate that the female brain is more primed for social connection than its male counterpart. For example, according to Dr. Luan Brizendine, author of The Female Mind, even from infancy, baby girls will spend more time gazing into the eyes of others than baby boys. Later, in childhood, girls tend to play games that involve relationships rather than action-packed adventure scenarios. 

Fast-forward to adulthood and Brizendine notes that women talk three times as much as men, uttering an average of 20,000 words a day compared to 7,000 in men. Because females may crave sharing and engaging more than men and it may be more linked to their self-esteem, when they can’t satisfy this hunger, more desperate actions may be taken in a bid to get your attention, including criticizing.

In effect, criticizing can be your girlfriend’s way of saying, “Listen to me, I matter!” To get around this problem so that you have enough alone time and your mate feels valued, set aside some time each day, even if it’s only 20 minutes, to chat with her. During this period, give her your full, undivided attention and try to not take over the conversation. Also, make it clear that you need time to unwind alone. For example, you could say: “I’d really like to talk to you, but my day was stressful and I need to chill out first.”
Men hoard power
In a romantic relationship, men typically have greater difficulty sharing power than women do. While the jury is still out on whether the reasons behind this finding are biological, social or both, according to relationship scientist John Gottman, one thing is clear: If you’re not willing to share power with your partner, there is an 81% chance your relationship won’t last. 

What’s more, when your relationship suffers from a serious power imbalance, you’re more likely to be on the receiving end of a lot of criticism from your partner, simply because feeling like her opinion doesn’t matter translates into anger. Curb her criticizing by taking small steps to share some of the power in your relationship. Start by giving in to one of her requests in an area that’s not particularly important to you. Or, talk over a major decision together, doing your best to take her input into account before acting.


While men and women don’t live on separate planets, there are undeniable gender differences that crop up in a relationship that can even lead to its demise if they’re not adequately addressed. Understanding these dissimilarities and learning how to use them to your advantage, however, can help you turn a critical situation around. So, implement the new tools you’ve learned about here and expect a lot more peace and quiet around your home. 

By Farah Averill
Men, This Is Why She Criticizes You Men, This Is Why She Criticizes You Reviewed by E.A Olatoye on August 17, 2019 Rating: 5

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