Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus: The Classic Guide to Understanding the Opposite Sex - John Gray 1992
Men Are Like Rubber Bands
Men are like rubber bands. When they pull away, they can stretch only so far before they come springing back. rubber band is the perfect metaphor to understand the male intimacy cycle. This cycle involves getting close, pulling away, and then getting close again.
Most women are surprised to realize that even when a man loves a woman, periodically he needs to pull away before he can get closer. Men instinctively feel this urge to pull away. It is not a decision or choice. It just happens. It is neither his fault nor her fault. It is a natural cycle.
When a man loves a woman, periodically he needs to pull away before he can get closer.
Women misinterpret a man’s pulling away because generally a woman pulls away for different reasons. She pulls back when she doesn’t trust him to understand her feelings, when she has been hurt and is afraid of being hurt again, or when he has done something wrong and disappointed her.
Certainly a man may pull away for the same reasons, but he will also pull away even if she has done nothing wrong. He may love and trust her, and then suddenly he begins to pull away. Like a stretched rubber band, he will distance himself and then come back all on his own.
A man pulls away to fulfill his need for independence or autonomy. When he has fully stretched away, then instantly he will come springing back. When he has fully separated, then suddenly he will feel his need for love and intimacy again. Automatically he will be more motivated to give his love and receive the love he needs. When a man springs back, he picks up the relationship at whatever degree of intimacy it was when he stretched away. He doesn’t feel any need for a period of getting reacquainted again.
WHAT EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT MEN
If understood, this male intimacy cycle enriches a relationship, but because it is misunderstood it creates unnecessary problems. Let’s explore an example.
Maggie was distressed, anxious, and confused. She and her boyfriend, Jeff, had been dating for six months. Everything had been so romantic. Then without any apparent reason he began to distance himself emotionally. Maggie could not understand why he had suddenly pulled away. She told me, “One minute he was so attentive, and then the next he didn’t even want to talk to me. I have tried everything to get him back but it only seems to make matters worse. He seems so distant. I don’t know what I did wrong. Am I so awful?”
When Jeff pulled away, Maggie took it personally. This is a common reaction. She thought she had done something wrong and blamed herself. She wanted to make things “right again,” but the more she tried to get close to Jeff the more he pulled away.
After taking my seminar Maggie was so relieved. Her anxiety and confusion immediately disappeared. Most important, she stopped blaming herself. She realized that when Jeff pulled away it was not her fault. In addition she learned why he was pulling away and how gracefully to deal with it. Months later at another seminar, Jeff thanked me for what Maggie had learned. He told me they were now engaged to be married. Maggie had discovered a secret that few women know about men.
Maggie realized that when she was trying to get close while Jeff was trying to pull away, she was actually preventing him from stretching his full distance and then springing back. By running after him, she was preventing him from ever feeling that he needed her and wanted to be with her. She realized that she had done this in every relationship. Unknowingly she had obstructed an important cycle. By trying to maintain intimacy she had prevented it.
How a Man Is Suddenly Transformed
If a man does not have the opportunity to pull away, he never gets a chance to feel his strong desire to be close. It is essential for women to understand that if they insist on continuous intimacy or “run after” their intimate male partner when he pulls away, then he will almost always be trying to escape and distance himself; he will never get a chance to feel his own passionate longing for love.
In my seminars I demonstrate this with a big rubber band. Imagine that you are holding a rubber band. Now begin stretching your rubber band by pulling it to your right. This particular rubber band can stretch twelve inches. When the rubber band is stretched twelve inches there is nowhere left to go but back. And when it returns it has a lot of power and spring.
Likewise, when a man has stretched away his full distance, he will return with a lot of power and spring. Once he pulls away to his limit, he begins to go through a transformation. His whole attitude begins to shift. This man who did not seem to care about or be interested in his partner (while he was pulling away) suddenly cannot live without her. He is now feeling again his need for intimacy. His power is back because his desire to love and be loved have been reawakened.
This is generally puzzling for a woman because in her experience if she has pulled away, becoming intimate again requires a period of reacquaintance. If she doesn’t understand that men are different in this way, she may have a tendency to mistrust his sudden desire for intimacy and push him away.
Men also need to understand this difference. When a man springs back, before a woman can open up again to him she generally wants and needs time and conversation to reconnect. This transition can be more graceful if a man understands a woman may need more time to regain the same level of intimacy—especially if she felt hurt when he pulled away. Without this understanding of differences, a man may become impatient because he is suddenly available to pick up the intimacy at whatever level of intensity it was when he pulled away and she is not.
Why Men Pull Away
Men begin to feel their need for autonomy and independence after they have fulfilled their need for intimacy. Automatically when he begins to pull away, she begins to panic. What she doesn’t realize is that when he pulls away and fulfills his need for autonomy then suddenly he will want to be intimate again. A man automatically alternates between needing intimacy and autonomy.
A man automatically alternates between needing intimacy and autonomy.
For example, in the beginning of his relationship Jeff was strong and full of desire. His rubber band was fully stretched. He wanted to impress her, fulfill her, please her, and get close to her. As he succeeded she also wanted to get closer. As she opened her heart to him he got closer and closer. When they achieved intimacy he felt wonderful. But after a brief period a change took place.
Imagine what happens to the rubber band. The rubber band becomes limp. Its power and stretch are gone. There is no longer any movement. This is exactly what happens to a man’s desire to get close after intimacy has been achieved.
Even though this closeness is fulfilling to a man, he will inevitably begin to go through an inner shift. He will begin to feel the urge to pull away. Having temporarily fulfilled his hunger for intimacy, he now feels his hunger to be independent, to be on his own. Enough of this needing another person. He may feel he has become too dependent or may not know why he feels a need to pull away.
Why Women Panic
As Jeff instinctively pulls away without any explanation to Maggie (or to himself), Maggie reacts with fear. She panics and runs after him. She thinks she has done something wrong and has turned him off. She imagines he is expecting her to reestablish intimacy. She is afraid he will never come back.
To make matters worse, she feels powerless to get him back because she doesn’t know what she did to turn him off. She doesn’t know that this is just a part of his intimacy cycle. When she asks him what’s the matter, he doesn’t have a clear answer, and so he resists talking about it. He just continues to distance her even more.
Why Men and Women Doubt Their Love
Without an understanding of this cycle it is easy to see how men and women begin to doubt their love. Without seeing how she was preventing Jeff from finding his passion, Maggie could easily assume that Jeff didn’t love her. Without getting the chance to pull away, Jeff would lose touch with his desire and passion to be close. He could easily assume that he no longer loved Maggie.
After learning to let Jeff have his distance or “space,” Maggie discovered that he did come back. She practiced not running after him when he would withdraw and trusted that everything was OK. Each time he did come back.
As her trust in this process grew, it became easier for her not to panic. When he pulled away she did not run after him or even think something was wrong. She accepted this part of Jeff. The more she just accepted him at those times the sooner he would return. As Jeff began to understand his changing feelings and needs, he became more confident in his love. He was able to make a commitment. The secret of Maggie and Jeff’s success was that they understood and accepted that men are like rubber bands.
HOW WOMEN MISINTERPRET MEN
Without an understanding of how men are like rubber bands, it is very easy for women to misinterpret a man’s reactions. A common confusion arises when she says “Let’s talk” and immediately he emotionally distances himself. Right when she wants to open up and get closer, he wants to pull away. Commonly I hear the complaint “Every time I want to talk, he pulls away. I feel like he doesn’t care about me.” She mistakenly concludes that he doesn’t ever want to talk to her.
This rubber band analogy explains how a man may care very much about his partner but suddenly pull away. When he pulls away it is not because he does not want to talk. Instead, he needs some time alone; time to be with himself when he is not responsible for anyone else. It is a time for him to take care of himself. When he returns then he is available to talk.
To a certain extent a man loses himself through connecting with his partner. By feeling her needs, problems, wants, and emotions he may lose touch with his own sense of self. Pulling away allows him to reestablish his personal boundaries and fulfill his need to feel autonomous.
To a certain extent a man loses himself through connecting with his partner.
Some men, however, may describe this pulling away differently. To them it is just a feeling of “I need some space” or “I need to be alone.” Regardless of how it is described, when a man pulls away, he is fulfilling a valid need to take care of himself for a while.
Just as we do not decide to be hungry, a man does not decide to pull away. It is an instinctual urge. He can only get so close, and then he begins to lose himself. At this point he begins to feel his need for autonomy and begins to pull away. By understanding this process, women can begin correctly to interpret this pulling away.
Why Men Pull Away When Women Get Close
For many women, a man tends to pull away precisely at the time when she wants to talk and be intimate. This occurs for two reasons:
1.A woman will unconsciously sense when a man is pulling away and precisely at those times she will attempt to reestablish their intimate connection and say “Let’s talk.” As he continues to pull away, she mistakenly concludes that he doesn’t want to talk or that he doesn’t care for her.
2. When a woman opens up and shares deeper and more intimate feelings it may actually trigger a man’s need to pull away. A man can only handle so much intimacy before his alarm bells go off, saying it is time to find balance by pulling away. At the most intimate moments a man may suddenly automatically switch to feeling his need for autonomy and pull away.
It is very confusing for a woman when a man pulls away because something she says or does often triggers his departure. Generally when a woman starts to talk about things with feeling a man starts to feel this urge to pull away. This is because feelings draw men closer and create intimacy, and when a man gets too close he automatically pulls away.
It is not that he doesn’t want to hear her feelings. At another time in his intimacy cycle, when he is needing to get close, the same feelings that could have triggered his departure will draw him closer. It is not what she says that triggers his departure but when she says it.
WHEN TO TALK WITH A MAN
When a man is pulling away is not the time to talk or try to get closer. Let him pull away. After some time, he will return. He will appear loving and supportive and will act as though nothing has happened. This is the time to talk.
At this golden time, when a man wants intimacy and is actually available to talk, women generally don’t initiate conversations. This occurs for these three common reasons:
1.A woman is afraid to talk because the last time she wanted to talk he pulled away. She mistakenly assumes that he doesn’t care and he doesn’t want to listen.
2. A woman is afraid the man is upset with her and she waits for him to initiate a conversation about his feelings. She knows that if she were suddenly to pull away from him, before she could reconnect she would need to talk about what happened. She waits for him to initiate a conversation about what upset him. He, however, doesn’t need to talk about his upset feelings because he is not upset.
3. A woman has so much to say that she doesn’t want to be rude and just begin talking. To be polite, instead of talking about her own thoughts and feelings she makes the mistake of asking him questions about his feelings and thoughts. When he has nothing to say, she concludes he doesn’t want to have a conversation with her.
With all of these incorrect beliefs about why a man is not talking, it is no wonder that women are frustrated with men.
HOW TO GET A MAN TO TALK
When a woman wants to talk or feels the need to get close, she should do the talking and not expect a man to initiate the conversation. To initiate a conversation she needs to be the first to begin sharing, even if her partner has little to say. As she appreciates him for listening, gradually he will have more to say.
A man can be very open to having a conversation with a woman but at first have nothing to say. What women don’t know about Martians is that they need to have a reason to talk. They don’t talk just for the sake of sharing. But when a woman talks for a while, a man will start to open up and share how he relates to what she has shared.
For example, if she talks about some of her difficulties during the day he may share some of the difficulties of his day so that they can understand each other. If she talks about her feelings about the kids, he may then talk about his feelings about the kids. As she opens up and he doesn’t feel blamed or pressured, then he gradually begins to open up.
How Women Pressure Men to Talk
A woman sharing her thoughts naturally motivates a man to talk. But when he feels a demand is being made that he talk, his mind goes blank. He has nothing to say. Even if he has something to say he will resist because he feels her demand.
It is hard for a man when a woman demands that he talk. She unknowingly turns him off by interrogating him. Especially when he doesn’t feel the need to talk. A woman mistakenly assumes that a man “needs to talk” and therefore “should.” She forgets that he is from Mars and doesn’t feel the need to talk as much.
She even feels that unless he talks, he doesn’t love her. To reject a man for not talking is to ensure that he has nothing to say. A man needs to feel accepted just the way he is, and then he will gradually open up. He does not feel accepted when she wants him to talk more or resents him for pulling away.
A man who needs to pull away a lot before he can learn to share and open up will first need to listen a lot. He needs to be appreciated for listening, then gradually he will say more.
How to Initiate a Conversation with a Man
The more a woman tries to get a man to talk the more he will resist. Directly trying to get him to talk is not the best approach, especially if he is stretching away. Instead of wondering how she can get him to talk a better question might be “How can I achieve greater intimacy, conversation, and communication with my partner?”
If a woman feels the need for more talk in the relationship, and most women do, then she can initiate more conversation but with a mature awareness that not only accepts but also expects that sometimes he will be available and at other times he will instinctively pull away.
When he is available, instead of asking him twenty questions or demanding that he talk, she could let him know that she appreciates him even if he just listens. In the beginning she should even discourage him from talking.
For example, Maggie could say “Jeff, would you listen to me for a while? I’ve had a hard day and I want to talk about it. It will make me feel much better.” After Maggie talked for a couple of minutes then she could pause and say “I really appreciate when you listen to my feelings, it means a lot to me.” This appreciation encourages a man to listen more.
Without appreciation and encouragement, a man may lose interest because he feels as though his “listening” is “doing nothing.” He doesn’t realize how valuable his listening is to her. Most women, however, instinctively know how important listening is. To expect a man to know this without some training is to expect him to be like a woman. Fortunately, after being appreciated for listening to a woman, a man does learn to respect the value of talking.
WHEN A MAN WON’T TALK
Sandra and Larry had been married for twenty years. Sandra wanted a divorce and Larry wanted to make things work.
She said, “How can he say he wants to stay married? He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t feel anything. He walks away when I need him to talk. He is cold and heartless. For twenty years he has withheld his feelings. I am not willing to forgive him. I will not stay in this marriage. I am too tired of trying to get him to open up and share his feelings and be vulnerable.”
Sandra didn’t know how she had contributed to their problems. She thought it was all her husband’s fault. She thought she had done everything to promote intimacy, conversation, and communication, and he had resisted her for twenty years.
After hearing about men and rubber bands in the seminar, she burst into tears of forgiveness for her husband. She realized that “his” problem was “their” problem. She recognized how she had contributed to their problem.
She said, “I remember in our first year of marriage I would open up, talk about my feelings, and he would just walk away. I thought he didn’t love me. After that happened a few times, I gave up. I was not willing to be hurt again. I did not know that at another time he would be able to listen to my feelings. I didn’t give him a chance. I stopped being vulnerable. I wanted him to open up before I would.”
Sandra’s conversations were generally one-sided. She would try to get him to talk first by asking him a string of questions. Then, before she could share what she wanted to talk about, she would become upset with his short answers. When she finally did share her feelings, they were always the same. She was upset that he was not open, loving, and sharing. A one-sided conversation might go like this:
SANDRA: How was your day?
SANDRA: What happened?
LARRY: The usual.
SANDRA: What do you feel like doing this weekend?
LARRY: I don’t care. What do you want to do?
SANDRA: Do you want to invite our friends over?
LARRY: I don’t know … Do you know where the TV schedule is?
SANDRA: (upset) Why don’t you talk to me?
LARRY: (Stunned and silent.)
SANDRA: Do you love me?
LARRY: Of course I love you. I married you.
SANDRA: How could you love me? We never talk anymore. How can you just sit there and say nothing. Don’t you care?
At this point, Larry would get up and go for a walk. When he came back he would act as though nothing had happened. Sandra would also act as though everything was fine, but inside she would withdraw her love and warmth. On the surface she would try to be loving, but on the inside her resentment increased. From time to time it would boil up and she would begin another one-sided interrogation of her husband’s feelings. After twenty years of gathering evidence that he did not love her, she was no longer willing to be deprived of intimacy.
Learning to Support Each Other Without Having to Change
At the seminar Sandra said, “I have spent twenty years trying to get Larry to talk. I wanted him to open up and be vulnerable. I didn’t realize that what I was missing was a man who would support me in being open and vulnerable. That is what I really needed. I have shared more intimate feelings with my husband this weekend than in twenty years. I feel so loved. This is what I have been missing. I thought he had to change. Now I know nothing is wrong with him or me. We just didn’t know how to support each other.”
Sandra had always complained that Larry didn’t talk. She had convinced herself that his silence made intimacy impossible. At the seminar she learned to share her feelings without expecting or demanding Larry to reciprocate. Instead of rejecting his silence she learned to appreciate it. It made him a better listener.
Larry learned the art of listening. He practiced listening without trying to fix her. It is much more effective to teach a man to listen than to open up and be vulnerable. As he learns to listen to someone he cares for and is appreciated in response, he gradually will open up and share more automatically.
When a man feels appreciated for listening and he doesn’t feel rejected for not sharing more, he will gradually begin to open up. When he feels as though he doesn’t have to talk more, then naturally he will. But first he needs to feel accepted. If she is still frustrated by his silence she is forgetting that men are from Mars!
WHEN A MAN DOESN’T PULL AWAY
Lisa and Jim had been married for two years. They did everything together. They were never apart. After a while, Jim became increasingly irritable, passive, moody, and temperamental.
In a private counseling session, Lisa told me, “He is no longer any fun to be with. I have tried everything to cheer him up, but it doesn’t work. I want to do fun things together, like going to restaurants, shopping, traveling, going to plays, parties, and dancing, but he doesn’t. We never do anything anymore. We just watch TV, eat, sleep, and work. I try to love him, but I am angry. He used to be so charming and romantic. Living with him now is like living with a slug. I don’t know what to do. He just won’t budge!”
After learning about the male intimacy cycle—the rubber band theory—both Lisa and Jim realized what had happened. They were spending too much time together. Jim and Lisa needed to spend more time apart.
When a man gets too close and doesn’t pull away, common symptoms are increased moodiness, irritability, passiveness, and defensiveness. Jim had not learned how to pull away. He felt guilty spending time alone. He thought he was supposed to share everything with his wife.
Lisa also thought they were supposed to do everything together. In counseling I asked Lisa why she had spent so much time with Jim.
She said, “I was afraid he would get upset if I did anything fun without him. One time I went shopping and he got really upset with me.”
Jim said, “I remember that day. But I wasn’t upset with you. I was upset about losing some money in a business deal. I actually remember that day because I remember noticing how good I felt having the whole house to myself. I didn’t dare tell you that because I thought it would hurt your feelings.”
Lisa said, “I thought you didn’t want me to go out without you. You seemed so distant.”
Becoming More Independent
With this new awareness, Lisa got the permission she needed not to worry so much about Jim. Jim pulling away actually helped her become more autonomous and independent. She started taking better care of herself. As she started doing the things she wanted to do and getting more support from her girlfriends she was much happier.
She released her resentment toward Jim. She realized that she had been expecting too much from him. Having heard about the rubber band she realized how she was contributing to their problem. She realized that he needed more time to be alone. Her loving sacrifices were not only preventing him from pulling away and then springing back but her dependent attitude was also smothering him.
Lisa started doing fun things without Jim. She did some of the things that she had been wanting to do. One night she went out to eat with some girlfriends. Another night she went to a play. Another night she went to a birthday bowling party.
What amazed her was how quickly their relationship changed. Jim became much more attentive and interested in her. Within a couple of weeks, Jim started to come back to his old self again. He was wanting to do fun things with her and started planning dates. He got his motivation back.
In counseling he said, “I feel so relieved. I feel loved… when Lisa comes home she is happy to see me. It feels so good to miss her when she is gone. It feels good to ’feel’ again. I had almost forgotten what it was like. Before it seemed like nothing I did was good enough. Lisa was always trying to get me to do things, telling me what to do and asking me questions.”
Lisa said, “I realized I was blaming him for my unhappiness. As I took responsibility for my happiness, I experienced that Jim was more energetic and alive. It’s like a miracle.”
OBSTRUCTING THE INTIMACY CYCLE
There are two ways a woman may unknowingly obstruct her male partner’s natural intimacy cycle. They are: (1) chasing him when he pulls away; and (2) punishing him for pulling away.
The following is a list of the most common ways a woman “chases a man” and prevents him from pulling away.
When he pulls away, she physically follows him. He may walk into another room and she follows. Or as in the example of Lisa and Jim, she does not do the things she wants to do so that she can be with her partner.
When he pulls away, she emotionally follows him. She worries about him. She wants to help him feel better. She feels sorry for him. She smothers him with attention and praise.
Another way she may emotionally stop him from pulling away is to disapprove of his need to be alone. Through disapproving she is also emotionally pulling him back.
Another approach is to look longingly or hurt when he pulls away. In this way she pleads for his intimacy and he feels controlled.
She may try to pull him back mentally by asking him guilt-inducing questions such as “How could you treat me this way?” or “What’s wrong with you?” or “Don’t you realize how much it hurts me when you pull away?”
Another way she may try to pull him back is to try to please him. She becomes overly accommodating. She tries to be perfect so he would never have any reason to pull away. She gives up her sense of self and tries to become what she thinks he wants.
She is afraid to rock the boat for fear that he might pull away, and so she withholds her true feelings and avoids doing anything that may upset him.
The second major way a woman may unknowingly interrupt a man’s intimacy cycle is to punish him for pulling away. The following is a list of the most common ways a woman “punishes a man” and prevents him from coming back and opening up to her.
When he begins to desire her again she rejects him. She pushes away his physical affection. She may reject him sexually. She doesn’t allow him to touch her or be close. She may hit him or break things in order to show her displeasure.
When a man is punished for pulling away, he can become afraid of ever doing it again. This fear may prevent him from pulling away in the future. His natural cycle is then broken. It may also create an anger that blocks him from feeling his desire for intimacy. He may not come back when he has pulled away.
When he returns, she is unhappy and she blames him. She does not forgive him for neglecting her. There is nothing he can do to please her or make her happy. He feels incapable of fulfilling her and gives up.
When he returns, she expresses her disapproval through words, tone of voice, and by looking at her partner in a certain wounded way.
When he returns, she refuses to open up and share her feelings. She becomes cold and resents him for not opening up and talking.
She stops trusting that he really cares and punishes him by not giving him a chance to listen and be the “good” guy. When he happily returns to her, he is in the doghouse.
When a man feels punished for pulling away, he can become afraid of losing her love if he pulls away. He begins to feel unworthy of her love if he pulls away. He may become afraid to reach out for her love again because he feels unworthy; he assumes he will be rejected. This fear of rejection prevents him from coming back from his journey into the cave.
HOW A MAN’S PAST MAY AFFECT HIS INTIMACY CYCLE
This natural cycle in a man may already be obstructed from his childhood. He may be afraid to pull away because he witnessed his mother’s disapproval of his father’s emotional distancing. Such a man may not even know that he needs to pull away. He may unconsciously create arguments to justify pulling away.
This kind of man naturally develops more of his feminine side but at the expense of suppressing some of his masculine power. He is a sensitive man. He tries hard to please and be loving but loses part of his masculine self in the process. He feels guilty pulling away. Without knowing what has happened he loses his desire, power, and passion; he becomes passive or overly dependent.
He may be afraid to be alone or to go into his cave. He may think he doesn’t like being alone because deep inside he is afraid of losing love. He has already experienced in childhood his mother rejecting his father or directly rejecting him.
While some men don’t know how to pull away, others don’t know how to get close. The macho man has no problem pulling away. He just can’t come back and open up. Deep inside he may be afraid he is unworthy of love. He is afraid of being close and caring a lot. He does not have a picture of how welcomed he would be if he got closer. Both the sensitive male and the macho male are missing a positive picture or experience of their natural intimacy cycle.
Understanding this male intimacy cycle is just as important for men as it is for women. Some men feel guilty needing to spend time in their caves or they may get confused when they start to pull away and then later spring back. They may mistakenly think something is wrong with them. It is such a relief for both men and women to understand these secrets about men.
WISE MEN AND WOMEN
Men generally don’t realize how their suddenly pulling away and then later returning affects women. With this new insight about how women are affected by his intimacy cycle, a man can recognize the importance of sincerely listening when a woman speaks. He understands and respects her need to be reassured that he is interested in her and he does care. Whenever he is not needing to pull away, the wise man takes the time to initiate conversation by asking his female partner how she is feeling.
He grows to understand his own cycles and reassures her when he pulls away that he will be back. He might say “I need some time to be alone and then we will have some special time together with no distractions.” Or if he starts to pull away while she is talking he might say “I need some time to think about this and then we can talk again.”
The man grows to understand his own cycles and reassures her when he pulls away that he will be back.
When he returns to talk, she might probe him to understand why he left. If he’s not sure, which is many times the case, he might say “I’m not sure. I just needed some time to myself. But let’s continue our conversation.”
He is more aware that she needs to be heard and he needs to listen more when he is not pulling away. In addition, he knows that listening helps him to become aware of what he wants to share in a conversation.
To initiate a conversation the wise woman learns not to demand that a man talk but asks that he truly listen to her. As her emphasis changes, the pressure on him is released. She learns to open up and share her feelings without demanding that he do the same.
She trusts that he will gradually open up more as he feels accepted and listens to her feelings. She does not punish him or chase after him. She understands that sometimes her intimate feelings trigger his need to pull away while at other times (when he is on his way back) he is quite capable of hearing her intimate feelings. This wise woman does not give up. She patiently and lovingly persists with a knowing that few women have.