Men and women view relationships very differently according to Deborah Tannen. Tannen’s “Sex, Lies, and Conversation” explores the disconnect that exists between men and women in how they view their relationships. This short essay discusses Tannen’s views in detail, and offers the conclusion that perhaps her views are not truly applicable to the entirety of male/female relationships.
Men, Women & Relationships
Deborah Tannen’s “Sex, Lies and Conversation: Why Is It So Hard for Men and Women to Talk to Each Other?” explains the disconnect that men and women in their relationships. For Tannen, it is the intangible matters such as communication that seemingly cause much of the problems and issues. Why is communication between men and women such an issue especially in something as sacred as marriage? Research suggests per Tannen’s article that “social structure of peer interactions” (Tannen) plays a key role in the pitfalls of communication. This is especially interesting in the age of online dating. In essence, the systematic differences in socialization factor significantly in the patterns over discord within relationships. Men and women then look at relationships differently.
Women see relationships based on intimacy. It is the glue that holds a marriage together, so to speak. Women want openness, whereas men are
“much less likely than women to volunteer worries or feelings” (Funderburg).
Thus, this is where most of the problems stem from because the women feel that the men are not communicating and being intimate with how they feel about their particular relationship. Tannen believes that
“once the problem is understood, improvement comes naturally” (Tannen).
Yet is this true? If men and women are wired differently in terms of their patterning’s from childhood – is a simple diagnosis of the problem and acknowledgement enough? It can be reasoned that there is both truth and falsehood in the answer to that question. Tannen cites an example of a relationship and how the woman learned the subtle differences in how she assessed her relationship versus how he did and from there, their relationship breach began to patch itself up. Yet, acceptance of the differences is not easy to do even if one learns that there are differences otherwise there would not be as many divorces as there are in society. So while there is validity to Tannen’s assertion, her take is not a definitive antidote for all relationships, only some.