When I reviewed the book Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice: Hormonal Balance – The Key to Life, Love and Energy by John Gray Ph.D., I stated that I felt John Gray missed something important in his analysis in regard to his 90% number. For those who didn’t read that post, John Gray believes the key to successful relationships is when each partner gets 90% of what they need emotionally from the world and just 10% from the man or woman they love.
Venus on Fire, Mars on Ice talks about earlier times when women engaged in nurturing activities with other females during the day. When her man came home, all her emotional needs had been met. This is not true today. The book makes a case for why it is more important for men to engage in romantic gestures today than ever before. Because women lack these nurturing outlets, the man needs to step up and be more romantic. I don’t disagree with this assessment, but being more romantic doesn’t solve the core problem, which is the fact she isn’t getting 90% of her emotional needs met outside the relationship.
If a man is working twice or three times as hard to be romantic, because she is getting less than 90% of what she needs emotionally from the world, she has less incentive to increase that number. She is getting her roses and massages, why should she drive across town to meet her girlfriends for a yoga class? She is having her stress levels lowered and receiving attention.
This sets up the problem. Men are by nature energy conserving. We are wired to do specific tasks and then rest. That is how we restore our testosterone levels, which reduces our stress levels. Increasing romantic gestures has an energy cost. Comedian Dante Nero has wisely stated that when you do something for someone three times, it becomes expected. Over time a romantic gesture can quickly turn into an obligation. Now we have a situation where a man is not only expected to perform those obligations that were once romantic gestures, but he needs novel ways to continue to be romantic. He has created a romantic arms race against his past self.
I think John Gray missed what I see as the logical response.
One of my tech skills is optimizing database queries. Figuring out how to retrieve the data result I want as quickly and efficiently as possible. Fix the bottleneck and everything works better. The bottleneck here is the 90% number. A man should be spending more time encouraging his woman to seek out positive social networks that lower her stress level. If he doesn’t, then that de-stressing task becomes his responsibility.
Stress by Bernard Goldbach
I was in a relationship with a girl who had a healthy nurturing network. She was active with dance classes, meditated, went to church, was involved with several groups, and had a supportive best friend. During the time we were together, she stopped dancing, going to church, and attending her groups. Her relationship with her best friend also soured and her work responsibilities increased. Most of her nurturing network was gone. Eventually, she found herself unhappy and I was the only one left to blame. Knowing what I know today, I would have been pushing her to restore her social networks or build new ones.
So if your girl starts hinting that she is unhappy and you can see she lacks a nurturing network or other outlets to de-stress, take her out on a nice romantic date. During the date make a stop at an art supply store, pass by a dance studio that offers classes or any other hobbies she might be interested in participating in that are not based on competition. Encourage her to build out her network and hobbies in a way that supports her emotional needs. Otherwise, it will all blow back on you.
I’m no expert on this topic, but I am surprised Dr. Gray missed this point. It is simple arithmetic.