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DIFFERENCE BETWEEN CRITICISM AND
       FEEDBACK IN A RELATIONSHIP
September 30, 2007
Page 3 of 3  (pages 1  2  3)


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The Mood Component
After I had written roughly half of this article, I went downstairs and asked my current (mellow/conservative/housecat-type) girlfriend (see Types of Women - Housecat) what her thoughts are on the subject of feedback in our relationship.   I did not tell her I was writing an article, I just threw the topic out while she was doing something in the kitchen.  Her response was great – she thought I was about to criticize her for something, and she said,

     ”Whatever it is – I don’t want to hear it.  You can just keep it to yourself.”

So clearly there is a mood component involved when dealing with feedback in a relationship.  I did not realize that Honeybunny had woken up in a mood!  Sometimes there could be a timing component, too – meaning that you don’t want to give feedback when clearly she is ready for something else (like sex).

What if YOU are the One Receiving Feedback or Criticism?
Much of what I’ve written thus far focuses on the man giving feedback to the woman.  But we all know that the reverse is what happens most often.  We all know what it is like to have a woman telling us what is what … what we should be doing … what we should NOT be doing … what we are doing wrong.  Most women that I’ve been involved with were not good at delivering feedback.   The majority of them either screamed or yelled or pick-pick-picked.  Some of them (usually the Latinas) would use a metaphorical butter knife to verbally cut my balls off very slowly … piece-by-piece.  A few of my ex’s were very different, however, and said nothing at all for quite a while until it had built up inside of them to such a huge extent that a nuclear explosion resulted.

So what do you do when a woman has that butter knife out, and is verbally castrating you?  What do you say if she is giving you criticism that you think is unjustified or out in left field?  The best thing you can do is to just listen to it, not react, and try not to take it too personally (as I state in Fundamental Truth #2 – Don’t Take Things Too Personally).  If she wants to go off on you, then let her.  Recognize that there might be some validity to what she is saying though … just try to filter out the drama, and find out what really is the issue.  If it is just an instance of her being crazy (see Fundamental Truth #6 – Women are Crazy), then try to ride out the storm (see Dealing with Craziness or Not Dealing with It).  You can always decide later that the feedback was either valid OR that it was invalid, and that she was just being crazy.  The worst thing you can do is get angry or upset while she is “setting you straight” … as a fight will certainly occur.  My advice is to listen to her, and to tell her that you need some time to carefully think about what she is telling you.   This works for serious situations – but won’t work (for example) if she is suddenly telling you at the mall to stop staring at some young woman’s breasts … in that case, you should just surrender because she has caught you.

Whenever you are the recipient of feedback or criticism, your best bet is to remain calm … listen as best you can … don’t react … take the appropriate mental notes … and conserve your energy.   Pick the battles you want to fight wisely.  And if you always find yourself the brunt of criticism or a battle, then that is probably a signal that she has got to go.   For help with setting her free, check out the midlife article entitled How to Breakup with your Midlife Girlfriend.   You can dump a woman with grace, you know?  No matter what the situation, remember that keeping the overall karma good will help you in the long run … so be as kind as you can.

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