Monday, February 23, 2009

Sometimes we just need to vent

I've mentioned before that I work with all men. Recently we've hired two other females to balance out the testosterone/estrogen ratio around here. It is nice to bond with the girls.

One of the things I've been privy too, as one of the guys, is how the wives call up to the office to vent to their husbands.

I've been there. I remember doing that with my ex. I can still remember his irritated tone when I called him (he was out of town, as usual) to let him know that the baby needed me but both myself and Rose were vomiting relentlessly.

He didn't like feeling helpless so he would get angry with me.

The thing is, as a wife, we (speaking for myself, of course) are so used to making joint decisions around the house that sometimes we feel that we need some reinforcement.

And sometimes... we just need to vent.

After all, when he came home from a difficult day, he would wind down by filling me in on all the B.S. that he had to put up with that day. I listened, as a good wife should. I didn't feel helpless. I understood that he was letting off steam.

I guess it goes back to the Mars/Venus thing. Men feel that they should do two things:

1. Identify problem
2. Solve problem

But as women, sometimes we don't want the problem solved. We just want some validation, a listening ear, maybe even some sympathy and understanding.

It is interesting, being on this side of the phone call, and seeing how the wives are calling right when we're in the middle of a meeting or conference. I see the irritation on the husband's faces, the rolling of the eyes, the "honey, can I call you back later?" response.

I know how he feels.

And I know how she feels too.

Still it is interesting to see a different perspective on things.


  1. Sometimes I think I am a little too Mars myself...I find myself trying to solve people's problems or give them advice when I think often they just want someone to listen. I've been trying to work on that!

  2. I love seeing two different sides to things, or three, or four, as the case may be.

    And boy, I sure learned early on that Keith is not a good option for venting. If he couldn't fix it...well, he was going to fix it one way or another.

    Now I call my mom when I want to vent! :)

  3. I used to do this with my ex! I know do it with my friends cos I kinda need to do it!

    It never occured to me that men dont do it until now!

  4. I admit I'm not one to complain about my work. I go in, I work, I come home. End of story.

    My girlfriend, however, is not like this. I'm afraid that sometimes, I am not the best listener because I can't fathom what she'd like me to do about the situation. I know this is not the point but I do sometimes feel that way.

    I am learning, though. I think there is a lot of value in learning how to say, "I do not know how to help but I am here with you."

    I just sat still for a bit trying to think about if I had anything to vent about but I think I just vented a bit in my blog. I guess maybe that's my release.

    Who knows? Interesting entry, T. Good to see both sides of a coin.


  5. you pegged it.We can't understand why you don't want to solve the problem!!!

    And then when we don't give you the solution you wonder if we are listening!
    we can't win for losing!

    Manside vent!

    Great post.

  6. I love looking inside marriages from the outside -- how no one makes decisions alone. Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes I feel sorry for -- usually the woman. I once watched a friend unable to decide (on vacation) whether to purchase an 8 or 16 oz bottle of sunscreen. She asked her husband. This was a female, Ivy League educated physician!

    I've written before that while I often wish I had someone to back me up, I'm more often glad I don't have someone looking over my shoulder.

  7. It's funny that although I've known this for years now; that when we women vent to our men they tend to want to solve the problem instead of just listen, I still do it.

    When in a relationship that person is generally the closest to us and we WANT to vent to them but we rarely get the validation we seek and instead end up in mutual frustration - he; because he can't solve the problem to our satisifaction and us cuz we just want him to acknowledge our feelings. Yep, Mars & Venus.

  8. It is interesting to be able to observe this from both perspectives. To listen without feeling that we are being asked to solve the problem is key to being there for each other. When we are the one venting, we must be careful that we are not assigning blame and that we are not indicating that we expect the other person solve the problem from a distance. Great thoughts, thanks for sharing your observations.

  9. Yup, two sides to every coin. I love this post, T! You are an insightful chickie, you realize this don't you?

  10. When I was growing up, it was my dad who came home and vented every night. I never heard my mom vent, at all.

    I do agree that men like to identify the problem, then solve it. And women sometimes just want validation. So if a man solves a problem the woman didn't want solved, does she get angry? I guess everyone is different.

  11. I think that as women, it's way easier for us to just be able to experience our emotions and sit with them. Men are problem solvers - they have to DO something about those feelings of theirs. It's one of those fascinating (though sometimes irritating) differences between men and women....

  12. Yes that's a big thing for guys to learn. I remember my ex use to get mad at me and tell me just listen, don't fix.

  13. I enjoyed reading your post! judging by your 'about me' we have alot in common..including actually liking our ex's! Love that!!:) I look forward to reading more..glad I found this site!

  14. Hi T! Thanks for your comment on my blog... it's good to be back! I have a lot to catch up on it seems. I hope you are doing well and look forward to reading your posts!

  15. I used to be the buffer for my boss, who was a man, in the corporate world, many years ago. He would always shake his head no when his wife would call and ask me to pick it up. She would vent to me instead of him. That's what I got paid the big bucks for. Heh heh.

  16. Man, you almost described my life right there. :) Kind of. Except I'm not married. I don't have kids. And...
    yeah I think that's it..?
    I try to be good and not vent while the boy is at work, yet he works second shift so when I get home and wind down he's just getting to work. And I'm asleep when he's done. And when he's up, I'm at work...
    Luckily, he's gotten pretty good at just listening to me vent.

  17. I hated getting screaming phone calls from my wife while I was at work. I hated the looks of mingled pity/disgust from other workers as I sat there and got chewed out on the phone, trying to respond in mutters 'cause 10 people sat within 10 feet of me. Nightmarish. I'm deeply appreciative that my girlfriend doesn't do that.

    I'm big on venting. I've never found a way to deal with stress building up, other than trying to stuff it & control it, and that inevitably leads to a blowup or passive-aggression or something nasty.

    I don't vent to my mom, 'cause she almost always knows the people I'm venting about. Venting to people who know the ventee is mean; it presents a seriously skewed perspective that can't help but poison the listener.

    I have email buddies that I can vent to about the people in my life, so that I don't have to vent to the other people in my life. Or sometimes I'll write an email to the person I'm upset with, not holding anything back. I don't send the email, of course, but it helps a great deal simply to write it all out and vent it.


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