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Burford: Doesn't a woman likewise hand over part of her power to the most significant man in her life?
Carter: Yes, but she does it by sharing her most private feelings. A woman usually believes you know her when you know what she feels.
Burford: You've written that when a woman begins to care deeply for a man, he becomes her home-improvement project. Carter: A woman often marries a man for his potential.
If women married men for who they actually were, there would be far fewer marriages.
Burford: How might the relationship unravel when she expresses her disappointment? When the marriage is on the brink of breakup, the woman drags him into my office.
Carter: The man may initially improve according to her recommendations -- remember, he has a lot invested in what she thinks of him. The there's the day when she inadvertently steps on his jujube doll with a spiked heel, and it's so painful that he snatches his self-esteem back. He tries to make himself not care what she thinks, which is why she begins to feel he's emotionally distant. That's when I hear what almost any therapist can tell you is the most repeated phrase among men: "No matter what I do, I can never please this woman." While she's been genuinely trying to improve him with the best of intentions, he's been feeling her efforts as a shot to his self-esteem.
He believes she's saying he's irresponsible in general. " With his self-esteem wounded, he may launch into a defense about what it means to be responsible.He may say things that seem boring, silly or outlandish: "You know what I'd do if I had ,000?I'd invest it in lotto." But if a woman really listens, he'll share more. Burford: In your book "Nasty Women," you state that men are more word-oriented. Carter: Yes, but research on gender differences has proven that men tend to take words more literally and to hear them in more sweeping terms." The other agrees -- but still leaves his PJs out.So his roommate finally says with a grin, "The next time you leave your pajamas out, I'm gonna burn 'em in the backyard." He does.