Men and women can differ on what it means and how to provide it.
Anyone who’s been married for a few weeks knows that it’s a complicated affair. There are lots of rough patches, reasons for conflict, and sources of annoyance and irritation. Some of these have to do with two people living together in extremely close quarters 24 hours a day, and some, well, because partners are just mismatched. But some also have to do with gender — the differences between men and women and how they function and think.
Take something as straightforward as emotional support, the idea that our partner is the go-to person in our time of need. Knowing that we can rely on our partner for comfort, security, and advice makes us feel like we’re not facing our problems alone, and that enhances bonding and the value of our relationship. We might confide in friends and family members, but we won’t do it to the same extent as with our spouse, nor should we.
But the differences in how men and women approach emotional support can result in misinterpretations of intentions, and that can lead to one or the other feeling they’re not getting the support they need.