Men Just Don’t Trust Women. And This Is A Problem » VSB

Dating, Relationships, & Sex, Featured, Theory & Essay

Men Just Don’t Trust Women. And This Is A Problem

It took five months of marriage, eight months of being engaged, and another year of whatever the hell we were doing before we got engaged for me to learn something about my wife. Actually, that’s misleading. I’ve learned many things about my wife in that time period. I learned that she owns both a snuggie and a onesie. And I learned that she’s prone to wearing both of them at the same time. But, there’s one thing in particular that didn’t quite dawn on me until last week.

Panama and I were talking about the Rolling Stone story controversy. It eventually segued to Cosby, which then segued into a realization that there’s a common thread in each of these types of stories and the tenor of the conversations surrounding them.

Trust. Well, the lack thereof. Generally speaking, we (men) do not believe things when they’re told to us by women. Well, women other than our mothers or teachers or any other woman who happens to be an established authority figure. Do we think women are pathological liars? No. But, does it generally take longer for us to believe something if a woman tells it to us than it would if a man told us the exact same thing? Definitely!

This conversation is how, after five months of marriage, eight months of being engaged, and another year of whatever the hell we were doing before we got engaged, I realized I don’t trust my wife. 

When the concept of trust is brought up, it’s usually framed in the context of actions; of what we think a person is capable of doing. If you trust someone, it means you trust them not to cheat. Or steal. Or lie. Or smother you in your sleep. By this measure, I definitely trust my wife. I trust the shit out of her. I also trust her opinions about important things. I trusted that she’d make a great wife, and a trust that she’ll be a great mother. And I trust that her manicotti won’t kill me.

But you know what I don’t really trust? What I’ve never actually trusted with any women I’ve been with? Her feelings.

If she approaches me pissed about something, my first reaction is “What’s wrong?

My typical second reaction? Before she even gets the opportunity to tell me what’s wrong? “She’s probably overreacting.” 

My typical third reaction? After she expresses what’s wrong? “Ok. I hear what you’re saying, and I’ll help. But whatever you’re upset about probably really isn’t that serious.”

I’m both smart and sane, so I don’t actually say any of this aloud. But I am often thinking it. Until she convinces me otherwise, I assume that her emotional reaction to a situation is disproportionate to my opinion of what level of emotional reaction the situation calls for. Basically, if she’s on eight, I assume the situation is really a six.

I’m speaking of my own relationship, but I know I’m not alone. The theme that women’s feelings aren’t really to be trusted by men drives (an estimated) 72.81% of the sitcoms we watch, 31.2% of the books we read, and 98.9% of the conversations men have with other men about the women in their lives. Basically, women are crazy, and we are not. Although many women seem to be very annoyed by it, it’s generally depicted as one of those cute and innocuous differences between the sexes.

And perhaps it would be, if it were limited to feelings about the dishes or taking out the garbage. But, this distrust can be pervasive, spreading to a general skepticism about the truthfulness of their own accounts of their own experiences. If women’s feelings aren’t really to be trusted, then naturally their recollections of certain things that have happened to them aren’t really to be trusted either.

This is part of the reason why it took an entire high school football team full of women for some of us to finally just consider that Bill Cosby might not be Cliff Huxtable. It’s how, despite hearing complaints about it from girlfriends, homegirls, cousins, wives, and classmates, so many of us refused to believe how serious street harassment can be until we saw it with our own eyes. It’s why we needed to see actual video evidence before believing the things women had been saying for years about R. Kelly.

There’s an obvious parallel here with the way (many) men typically regard women’s feelings and the way (many) Whites typically regard the feelings of non-Whites. It seems like every other day I’m reading about a new poll or study showing that (many) Whites don’t believe anything Black people say about anything race/racism-related until they see it with their own eyes. Personal accounts and expressions of feelings are rationalized away; only “facts” that have been carefully vetted and verified by other Whites and certain “acceptable” Blacks are to be believed.

So how do we remedy this? And can it even be remedied? I don’t know. This distrust of women’s feelings is so ingrained, so commonplace that I’m not even sure we (men) realize it exists. I can do one thing, though. The next time my wife tells me how upset she is about something I’m not sure she should be that upset about, trust her. After five months of marriage, eight months of being engaged, and another year of whatever the hell we were doing before we got engaged, it’s the least I can do.

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Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at Or don't. Whatever.

  • Tx10inch

    Man….I could write a thesis on women and their over emotional feelings. But I won’t. #cuzlazy #cuzain’tcrazyeither

    • miss t-lee

      “over emotional” huh?

      You bet not.

      • Tx10inch

        See? lol

      • camilleblu

        “You bet not.”

        lol, #werd t-lee

      • he tried it!

        • miss t-lee


        • Tonja (aka Cheeks)

          LOL shole did. Especially given how emotional men can be. They just call it “anger.” Which… is an emotion. Ask the countless men who attack and/or kill women just for saying no.

  • BreezyX2

    *Looks around at all the VSBs, points at Champ’s picture, rolls eyes but points at it anyways* This right here folks is indeed a VSB.

  • I wouldn’t call that lack of trust though Damon, seriously. I think its a matter of how men communciate and interpret, vs how womeon communicate and interpret. Immediately in the scenario you described, I thought “she just wants him to listen and reassure her.”, not, oh she wants you to fix it. Very common challenge.

    • Damon Young

      it’s trust. trust me. (heh)

      • LOL….btw did you get my email? Love to get you on the podcast…

      • Elowwole

        It really is, Damon. And kudos to you for realizing (and articulating) it. When men are conditioned to believe that women are emotional and therefore irrational, it becomes the basis to dismiss any truth as merely emotion. Which is, as you stated, exactly what’s going on when white people are dismissive of Black people’s experience of racism. Yes.

        • Wayward Scholar


          “The feelings of the lower-status party may be discounted in two ways: by considering them rational but unimportant or by considering them irrational and hence dismissible. …the lower our status, the more our manner of seeing and feeling is subject to being discredited, and the less believable it becomes. An ‘irrational’ feeling is the twin of a invalidated perception. A person of lower status has a weaker claim to the right to define what is going on; less trust is placed in her judgments; and less respect is accorded to what she feels. Relatively speaking, it more often becomes the burden of women, as with other lower-status persons, to uphold a minority viewpoint, a discredited opinion.” (Arlie Hochschild)

    • BlueWave1

      I agree with you here. The way we communicate and interpret information is indeed different (generally speaking). How many young men have been told something by a woman, came away with what he thought was an accurate interpretation, only to be told he didn’t get it? There is always the stereotype that women use 20 words to say what could be said in 10. And men use 5 words to say what should be said in 10. As I said those are stereotypes, but they don’t come out of nowhere.

      That leads to men often thinking women make a bigger deal than they should. It also leads to women thinking men are indifferent to most things. Both of these things are not true. But I think they are born out of fundamental difference in communication style, not so much a lack of trust.

      • Tx10inch

        Ok. Here’s my thing. Women ask us to just listen right? Don’t try to fix everything and just hear them out, even though it goes against everything we’re taught as men (especially an Alpha male such as myself) to fix and protect problems immediately for the women we love and care for. But when we DO sit silently and listen providing no feedback or answers, why are we met with “You act like you don’t care” O_O C’mon man….

        • C’mon man, you saying there is no semantic difference between a dude looking bored and checking his phone while you’re pouring out the contents of your heart…and him looking at you attentively? lol.

          • Tx10inch

            Maybe so…but he’s LISTENING. lol

            • mikster


        • BlueWave1

          Been there, done that and got the entire t-shirt collection. What you wrote here is why I believe men and women need healthy friendships outside of their romantic relationship. Your lady needs her friends as a sounding board and vice versa for you. As men we need to hear the most important things from our women. But we don’t need to hear everything. I’ve told my wife I am here anytime you need to vent. However, my instinct to fix is not going anywhere. She needs to know when to come to me and when to just vent to her girlfriends instead.

          • camilleblu

            *drops a crisp $20 in the collection plate*

            healthy friendships are SO necessary

          • mikster

            *puts $5.00 in and passes the plate* I would throw in the other $5 but I’m hungry and those flaming hot cheetos and mountain dew calling my name soon as church is out

            • I know I’m late, but that line about the Cheetos and Mountain Dew is HI-larious!

          • Guest


          • Actually, friendships don’t help you understand the opposite $3x better, because you don’t have to deal with the expectations/entitlements that come with being in a relationship.

            In a friendship, women tend to be more sensitive of dumping their emotional burdens on your lap, than they would be if you’re their boyfriend/husband, because they actually view it as a favor in the former, and view it as a responsibility in the latter. There’s certain things as a romantic partner that you are “supposed” to do, whereas as friends, everything you do is a matter of voluntary choice. That’s kind of why being in the friend-zone doesn’t qualify you to be in a relationship with a woman.

            • BlueWave1

              I’m thinking strictly in terms her need to vent. Sometimes that need can better be met by her girlfriends than her man. Still I agree with you that our friends don’t always help us understand the opposite sex. A lot of times it like circling the wagons information wise. Nothing new is being revealed.

              And expectations in a relationship can be like hypertension. They can be the silent killer. It is amazing what we start to expect from people just because we exchanged bodily fluids.

          • troubleman

            Wow, great comment. I think I’ve actually learned something…

        • You’re supposed to be worry quiet until you’re supposed to speak. Women want to be known as individuals. properly anticipating and reacting to how they think and feel because they feel they are already experts at doing it with men.

          • Tx10inch

            Quietly worry until I’m allowed to speak?!?

            • Galaxy has failed me again. I meant something else other than worry but I can’t remember.

            • Meridian


      • T.Q. Fuego

        Couldn’t agree with you more that this convo is a matter of ineffective communication, not lack of trust.

  • Tx10inch

    It’s why we needed to see actual video evidence before believing the things women had been saying for years about R. Kelly.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Seeing the video evidence can get you put on a gov watchlist……

      • still haven’t seen the video evidence.

        • Nope. Back in college dudes were bootlegging that is and selling it. Not watching kiddie porn.

        • camilleblu

          it’s interesting to me that folks needed to see that video before believing the allegations. i mean, he did marry a 15 year old as a 28 year old man. didn’t seem like that much of leap to me.

          • Rachmo


    • TheVilleintheA

      STOP IT! LOL

    • Detroit Skater

      *DEAD* bury me in my good pant suit….

      • Sigma_Since 93

        With the good wig????

        • Detroit Skater

          i’m loc’d, but if no one can touch up the edges in a good wig….LOLOL

  • YasiinThaKilla

    Jessica Biel is sexy, and she’s sitting on a little somethin too..

    • Biel inspired one of my fake names for my fake band: Nice A** For a White Girl

      • LadyIbaka

        Folks rave about her ass, but I see just another butt, no bubble, no mountain, nothing to write home about.

  • Sigma_Since 93

    It’s the subjunctives of feelings that always mucks us (men) up and women are the judge and the jury when it comes to approving our responses to the information. How hard am I supposed to come with my support over you being aired out by your girl about your NYC bootleg purse? How am I supposed to react to the good news about a person you don’t really like? Am I supposed to call you out about your best intentions (meddling) went south when you were told not to do so? ???

    Let’s opine over a libation at Meat and Potatoes…Sway hasn’t provided me with the intel I need maybe you can shed some light on this.

    • Damon Young

      i’ll opine over anything at meat and potatoes. that might be my single favorite restaurant now

  • miss t-lee

    A wise man in the cinematic masterpiece “White Man Can’t Jump” once said, “listen to the woman.”

    Best advice for the free99.

    • Sigma_Since 93

      Lissen Linda. We listen but we don’t always understand. If it were all about listening, we’d be gwads.

      • miss t-lee

        Here’s the thing though homes. We don’t always want you to understand. We just want you to listen, and actually listen. Not that bullsh*t style listening either.

  • Cleojonz

    I wouldn’t so much call it distrust as it is maybe a natural skepticism in relation to women and ideas and facts they may be trying to convey. I don’t think women are equally as skeptical as men. My husband I think regards me as a pretty intelligent person but a lot of times when I relate a fact to him he feels the need to fact check me. I will get a you’re right after the fact but he feels the need to check anyway.

    • Damon Young

      “wouldn’t so much call it distrust as it is maybe a natural skepticism”

      aren’t skepticism and distrust the same thing?

      • Cleojonz

        I don’t think so. I think when you distrust you never take someone at face value you will just always assume they are not telling the truth. I don’t believe you feel that way about your wife or else you would not have married her. As a skeptic you sort of believe, but you may just want to see receipts to make doubly sure.

  • Breh.
  • Skegeeaces

    Honest and well thought out. Appreciate it, VSB!

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