With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, I am reminded about the ongoing debate about the emotional lives of men and women. As far back as I can remember, the views that have been expressed typically focus on vast differences between the sexes, suggesting that men and women have about as much in common with each other in terms of their feeling lives as a cockroach has with a collie. Indeed, so far apart are the sexes on matters of the heart that, according to author and relationship counselor John Gray, they each must have landed here from different planets—men hail from Mars, women are apparently more at home on Venus.
Of course there are real, tangible differences between the sexes to be sure. But when we speak about something as intangible as the human emotional response, it seems difficult to distinguish nature from nurture—it’s one of those chicken or the egg kind of quandaries as far as I’m concerned. After working for 35 years with the intimate lives of both sexes, I can only conclude that being human is not an easy thing. All human beings struggle with their feelings. People who take a greater interest in this struggle tend to be the ones who reap rewards in the form of greater self-knowledge, along with a heightened sense of meaning and connection. More