One of the most common sources of arguments between intimate partners can be traced back to a fundamental misunderstanding about the way masculine and feminine1 minds communicate, and indeed the way they experience reality. In general:

A masculine mind means what it says __literally__

A feminine mind says what it feels __in that moment__

A masculine mind experiences reality as a structured multidimensional grid. Everything in its rightful place, well-ordered, consistent, rational, unchanging across time (unless new information is rigorously vetted and incorporated). A masculine mind seeks resolution, finality and stillness. To construct the perfect grid that will remain true and unchanging forever.

A feminine mind is a web of infinitely interconnected, constantly changing, unimaginable complexity. Never still, never the same, everything is related to everything else. It’s closer to a quantum probability wave, a superposition of many states. A feminine mind knows that nothing can ever be resolved and compressed into a fixed grid, and enjoys the constant dance with the dynamic nature of existence.

So back to communication. When a masculine-minded person says something, he usually means what he says literally and it can be held onto and relied upon as consistent across time. In this way a masculine partner provides structure in a relationship. Sometimes a feminine-minded person might see this as overly rigid, too extreme and foolish.

When a feminine-minded person says something, she is usually expressing the emotional/sensational quality of the present moment. In this way the feminine partner provides energy and aliveness in a relationship, drawing attention to what is actually happening right now. And arguably what is happening now is all that exists (the masculine’s grid stretching into the past and future exists only as a shared mental illusion). Sometimes a masculine minded person may see this as confusing, unreliable, frustrating or even dishonest.

So men - what she says is not what she (literally) means. Feel the words she speaks as a carrier wave to express the emotional/energetic content of the moment, and not as a literal statement to be held onto and incorporated into the grid. Once spoken the moment no longer exists and a new moment has emerged. Don’t be surprised when she says or acts in a completely inconsistent way in the next moment.

Women - what he says conforms to an (imaginary) structure in his mind which can be relied upon as solid and unchanging, but don’t be surprised when it feels like he’s missing the point, blind to what’s happening. The mental model he is carrying misses the richness and depth of the present moment, because no map can accurately represent the entire territory.

  1. Refer to Masculine and Feminine - The Polarized Self for definitions of the terms Masculine and Feminine. They do not mean “man” and “woman”. As a shorthand only I may refer to a Masculine-oriented person as He/Him/Man and a Feminine-oriented person as She/Her/Woman, but there are many other possibilities.