After a stressful day, you need help at home. He just wants to chill. So
while you prepare dinner, do the laundry, straighten up, and bathe the kids --
yet again -- he's watching the news. Meanwhile, you're getting angry.
Sound familiar? If so, you're like every other couple in America, says
best-selling author John Gray (Men Are from Mars, Women Are from
By Theresa O'Rourke
Tired of touchy-feely friendships and being the vulnerable one in
romance, a new breed of steely female is beating guys at their own
I'm at a sake bar watching a man get drunk on an ice-cold woman. He
shamelessly admits he can't stop thinking about her. "Really," she
says, devouring a fat slice of tuna in one tidy bite. "That's
interesting." Her raw beauty recalls a young Debbie Harry. He soldiers on:
Why in God's name is she single? What brought her...
In his latest book, Why Mars and Venus Collide: Improving Relationships
by Understanding How Men and Women Cope Differently with Stress, he
describes the epidemic of stress plaguing us today -- and what men and women
can do to meet in the middle for stress relief, while respecting gender
WebMD recently spoke with Gray. Here's what he had to say:
Q. What are women's biggest complaints about their male partners today,
and what are men's biggest complaints about their female partners?
A. The biggest complaints women have about men is that men don't listen,
they stop being romantic, and they don't help out with chores. Men say that
nothing they do is ever good enough.
Q. Everyone agrees that couples are all under a lot of stress these days.
But are we really that different from other generations -- say, those who lived
through world wars?
A. We are under the greatest stress that's ever been in recorded history.
... We live in a sea of stress, and it's a new cause that really goes
unrecognized. Gradually, in the last century, more and more women have become
co-providers. Never in history have women been the providers in a family
situation. They were always the nurturers, the homemakers.
Q. Are women under more stress than men these days?
A. Women have twice as much stress. Cortisol levels (stress hormones) are
twice as high when she walks into the house, because she's thinking about all
the problems she has to solve and all the things she has to do.
Q. Why don't men just pitch in?
A. Men are not instinctively motivated to help out around the house. Men are
motivated to do things that produce testosterone. As soon as testosterone is
produced, they feel better and they have more energy.
Q. So they resist routine, which makes them passive?
A. A man says, "Only do what's necessary." I've seen very capable,
dynamic single men who, once married to a very dynamic, capable woman, their
whole passion starts to lessen. Their wives start handling everything and doing
What I tell women, you have to start realizing that ... he can do it well
and make a difference. If you allow him do it his way, it may not be perfect,
but at least you're not doing everything. And your stress levels will go down.
Elevated stress levels in women tend to be associated with feeling overwhelmed
and for some women, also a desire for perfectionism.