After almost a year of separation, Joe, a thirty year old man, and his wife signed the divorce papers. What must have been a relief became an anxiety-producing event for Joe.
After signing the papers Joe and his ex wife went for a walk and had lunch together. She, who had been acting distant and cold since their separation, showed a warm and nurturing attitude toward Joe.
For most people her kind attitude would have seemed normal. However, her kindness caused Joe much confusion because suddenly he felt attracted to her! The same woman, who, according to Joe, had caused him much suffering, now was so kind to him. Joe felt that he still loved her but wasn’t sure about his feelings.
This anxiety and confusion were the reason Joe contacted me for an online session.
I recommended Joe to avoid talking or writing to his ex for couple of weeks. This would allow him to reflect on his feelings and clear up his thoughts in order to make the right choice.
Men are Clueless
Usually men are clueless when it comes to read women’s subtle messages. It’s like opening a safe without either the combination or the key! Unfortunately (for men) women do communicate with indirect cues and non-verbal messages.
Several studies have shown that men mistake friendliness with sexual interest. Women’s communication is rich with emotional subtleties that female friends are good at deciphering. However, most men lack the skills of reading female’s non-verbal communication.
Joe, an emotionally vulnerable man, who has been suffering mainly due to loneliness, suddenly receives kind attention from a woman who once loved her. Joe, an emotionally hungry man, was confused because he failed to recognize that the attitude of his ex was not love, but kindness.
First of all, most women are polite with their ex. Secondly, it’s possible that she felt pity for Joe. She must also felt guilty. Politeness, pity and guilt were the main ingredients of her attitude to nurture a broken man.
Joe, however, interpreted her attitude as a green flag to get back together. This “lost in translation” phenomenon was the cause of his anxiety. It’s beside the point that she clearly communicated her desire to have a separate life by signing the divorce papers! Joe, like many vulnerable men, distorted the reality and saw what he wanted to see.