John Gray, “Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus”

Patrizia Poli
5 min readOct 3, 2022

From the seventies to the nineties it was a flourishing of American self-help manuals: how to strengthen self-esteem, how to understand yourself, how to improve your social performance and relationships with others.

There is no lady who has not read “Women who love too much”, by Robin Norwood (in pure seventies awareness style), identifying herself in the pathetic figure hanging on the wire of a phone that does not ring. We have all had at least a look at “Your erroneous areas”, by Wayne Dyer (1977) or “Emotional Intelligence”, by Daniel Goleman. But there is a text that has beaten all the others and that has remained in the ranking 121 weeks and has sold 50 million copies: “Men come from Mars, Women from Venus”, written in 1993 by John Gray, a psychologist specialized in the study of couple problems.

Personally Ifeel a certain annoyance towards those who think they have the “remedy for everything”, towards those who believe that it is enough to modify their behavior a little to make everything change around them. In my opinion, there is no pill of happiness or magic wand capable of transforming an unsatisfactory relationship into a rewarding one. I must however recognize this text, despite the annoying simplification of the problems and their solutions, the merit of having focused on some points that cause misunderstandings in the couple and, I add, also in friendships and social relations in general.

We all knew that men and women come from different planets and speak opposing, mutually incomprehensible languages. But Gray pointed out that if a woman externalizes she does it to let off steam. That’s it. She doesn’t expect advice, she doesn’t want easy solutions. Indeed, a possible solution irritates her because it diminishes the extent of her bottomless pain. If a woman complains, it is for the pleasure and the need to complain, for the happiness of feeling so unhappy. The man, faced with a woman who suffers, feels embarrassment, annoyance and displeasure, therefore he wants to make himself useful and elaborate possible settlement. And this is the best way to infuriate the woman more, since she does not feel understood, validated and justified in her anguish, in a word, she does not feel understood, listened to, supported.

The man, then, even the one devoted and in love, periodically feels the need to hide in his “cave”, especially if he has a problem. The natural reaction of a woman to the same problem is to “dissect…

--

--

Patrizia Poli

Patrizia Poli was born in Livorno in 1961. Writer of fiction and blogger, she published seven novels.