Women may want men to make them happy, but they do not say, and probably do not know themselves, how this might be accomplished. “Women want men to read their minds—or, more accurately, their emotions—because it’s what they do, easily… Females want males to anticipate their needs and desires.” (Obeying their every command is not enough.) Women do in fact have a greater ability to perceive the needs and feelings of others without verbal communication, an evolved adaptation to the requirements of successfully nurturing infants. When they expect their husbands to have this same ability, they are in effect upset that their husbands are not women.
Eventually, women do come out and tell their husbands they are “unhappy.” But this does not mean they have any intention of working on improving the marriage; women ordinarily make no overt, specific complaints until they are
100 percent done with the relationship—meaning [they] have lost all feeling… It’s not uncommon for women to eventually feel less for their husbands than they would for a stranger on the street… When women start being specific to men about their needs, it’s usually only to let their husbands know all the many areas in which they have failed. In other words, their husbands have already been fired; their wives are just giving them the reasons for the termination… She already has another “Mr. Right” picked out or is eager to find one. She is looking for the feeling of excitement again.
Men rarely understand this. The author found that most men blamed themselves and “beat themselves up” for the things they thought they had done wrong in the marriage. Their initial response to their wives’ stated unhappiness was to try to make them happy. “In most cases, their husbands launched futile attempts to make their wives happy by being more attentive, spending more time at home and helping out around the house. Regardless of these women’s past and present complaints, the last thing they wanted was to spend more time with their husbands.” (Langley notes that wives do often complain that “my spouse doesn’t pay attention to me,” but calls this code for “I want another man.”) In fact, wives often became angry precisely over their husbands’ efforts to please them, because this increased their own feelings of guilt for infidelity.
(The Occidental Quarterly, Vol. VII, No. 2, Summer 2007).