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What To Do When The Woman In Your Life Is Hurting

Men, stop trying to cheer up your girlfriend/wife when she’s hurting. It might not make sense to you right now, but it will. Read on.

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Whether you have been married for years or have just begun to date, whether you are separated by thousands of miles or get to see each other every day, being the safe ‘home’ she could run to when she’s hurting is NOT a difficult task. Contrary to what popular relationship portals might tell you, comforting her when she’s hurting is NOT a matter of helping her see the ‘brighter and the better.’ Your experience with the same may have validated my statement much more than another four lines of writing would, right?

woman crying

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

One of the rookie mistakes that most men, even those who have been married for quite a long time, make is to attempt to ‘fix’ things for her. Trying to make funny faces or cracking a joke that is personal to the two of you to cheer your lady is a wasted effort. Now, I am not doubting your intention fellas, all I am saying is women are wired differently and are sensitive creatures who deal with pain in a different way. You know that already, don’t you? So, then, if she’s mad at you for staining the cushion covers or hurt because umm … well, you suck at remembering important dates and have forgotten your anniversary for the nth time in a row, your antics or perhaps a ‘grand’ gesture might help. But as for the rest of those times, when she’s really hurt with your behavior or that of somebody else’s or if the situation around her is causing her immense pain, that ‘feeling of love’ you have toward your girl/wife needs to be channeled much differently to help her deal with her sorrow.

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So, then, what do you do to alleviate the grief? What do you do to nurse the wound? How do you lessen the pain? How do you relieve her heartache? How do you attenuate the hurt that seems to have quelled her spirit? What do you do to soothe her when she’s mad at someone else? What do you do when she is devastated by the loss of a loved one? What do you do when she feels disheartened at having been ‘wronged’ in some way by you or somebody else? What do you do when she’s just had a miscarriage? What do you do when she is sharing her ‘sadness’ with you? What do you do to abate her suffering and misery? What do you do when she feels that an irresolvable challenge is driving her over the edge? What do you do when she is fearful of the consequences that the problem might have?

Answer – Do not attempt to cheer her up.

Instead, here’s what you should do:

1. Do not ignore it, acknowledge it

man comforting a woman

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

One of the most common things I hear men say is that ‘Well, I knew you were hurting but I just didn’t know what to say, so I didn’t say anything at all.’ Let me expound upon the damage that this ‘deceptively-intelligent-decision-in-your-head’ does to you and the other person. In choosing to remain silent, you are sending out a rather poignant message through your silence. Your silence says, ‘you don’t care enough.’ Now, I know that this isn’t the case with you (or I am hoping it isn’t), and therefore, as already pointed out, you need to know that women are wired differently and need reassurance. She needs you to comfort her, even when she isn’t asking for it. She does not discuss her heartache with every passing person but you are one of the most important people in her life. Try reflective listening. Understand her pain and extend the empathy she craves. She wants you to acknowledge her pain, more so if you’ve caused it, and comfort her. I know it gets rather uncomfortable for you ‘men’ but it is important for you and the relationship you have built/are building with her that you learn to be comfortable with the uncomfortable and acknowledge her pain. In doing so, any words you speak, no matter how awkward, shall be more soothing than you’d ever know. There’s a reason words have so much power.

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2. Do not dismiss it, validate it

man sitting idly by while woman is crying

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

The next worst thing you can do when she’s grieving is to invalidate her pain. I know I asked you to speak but if you’re going to utter statements like ‘look at the brighter side,’ or ‘I know it’s hard but count your blessings,’ or ‘whatever happens, it’s for the best,’ you better stick to silence! Please do NOT try to wash away her pain coz you can’t. And even if you can, it isn’t your onus. Your vow to her is to be ‘present,’ to be ‘available.’ Do that. Do not try to invalidate her hurt by citing an analogous example or offering an inspirational quote or a platitude, just for the sake of saying something. Instead, tell her that you love her, tell her you’re hurt because she’s hurting or simply tell her you are there for her. That validation shall comfort her weary soul and assure her that she isn’t walking alone through it all.

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3. Do not offer anything, just do it

couple hugging

Image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Do NOT, for heaven’s sake, utter ‘Let me know if there’s anything I can do.’ As normal as it sounds to you, she is a woman!! When she’s writhing in agony, she will NOT let you know. And she probably needs EVERYTHING!! So, don’t just offer to do something, just go ahead and do it. Fix her a meal, take out the trash, leave a present on her pillow, pray for her. Remember, if your words brought in a little bit of hope and healing, your actions shall work ever-so-more powerfully. They shall prove that you really, really care!

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Remember that walking away from ‘her pain’ because you have a rather hard time making her feel better or because you feel extremely uncomfortable in such situations is NOT an option. It SHOULD NEVER be one. Please step out of your comfort zone and into her pain and watch the magical power of ‘healing-in-togetherness’ unfurl itself!

Featured image source: Google, copyright-free image under Creative Commons License

Article Name
What to do when the woman in your life is hurting
Women deal with pain in a different way than men. Here's what you need to do when your girlfriend/wife is hurting.
Sejal Parikh

Sejal Parikh

"I'm a hurricane of words but YOU can choose the damage I do to you..."