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Singles Scene News
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Scottsdale AZ 85271
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Do male/female relationships have more difficulties? And who’s to blame for our conflicts and misunderstandings?
by Janet Jacobsen
Jan. 2003

Recently we conducted a small survey at a singles event, to make a start at looking at how single men and women see misunderstandings and conflicts between the sexes. Do we see conflicts and mis-understandings as fairly similar things? Do we see such problems in male/female relationships as more or less common than in other relationships? Our sample was just 22 singles (8 men and 14 women), but this preliminary look says that we may have some interesting similarities - and differences.


Our first question asked participants to rate their agreement with the statement “Misunderstandings happen more often in male/female relationships than in other relationships.” Among the men, 75% agreed, compared to 57% of women. Responding to the statement “Conflicts happen more often in male/female relationships than in other rela-tionships,” about 65% of the women agreed, compared to just 40% of the men. Nearly equal ratios of men and women (20-25%) disagreed with the conflict statement, but men were more likely to mark “don’t know” (40%) than were women (15%).


So while about equal numbers of women indi-cate that both misunderstandings and conflict are more likely in male/female relationships than in other relationships, men feel the same about misun-derstandings, but not about conflict.


On both questions, we asked who was most often at fault when misunderstandings or con-flicts happen in male/female rela-tionships: the man, the woman, both parties, or “no one’s fault.” In both misunderstandings and conflict, about 70% of women said that both parties were to blame, but women were more likely to say it was no one’s fault in misunderstandings (20%) than in conflicts (15%). Men preferred the no one’s fault option in misunderstandings (50%, with 40% blaming both parties), but thought that both parties were more often at fault in conflicts (about 65%, with 25% selecting “no one’s fault”).
So we seem to have a different perception on when a dispute is based on equal blame, compared to when such difficulties “just happen,” with no one to blame. Both sexes, however, are more likely to see both parties as being to blame in conflicts than in misunderstandings.


As a check on singles’ views about male/female inter-actions in general, we asked for responses to the statement, “Good friendships are possible between single men and women.” Interestingly, 100% of both sexes agreed with that single men and women can be friends.


Single men and women seem to agree that misunderstandings and conflicts are more likely in male/female relationships than in other relationships, yet they see the possibility of good friendships with the opposite sex. Talking generally about when difficulties arise, singles of both sexes seem to rarely blame each other, but have somewhat different views about whether both parties share the blame, or no one is at fault.


Our sample is too small to draw any major conclusions at this point, but it does suggest that these are definitely issues worth pursuing, which we plan to do. We’ll give you the results in future issues.