Relationships, men and monkeys!
What do relationships, men and monkeys have in common? That’s one of the questions psychologist Gilles d’Ambra looks at in his book.
But monkey comparisons aside, Gilles d’Ambra’s book* is above all, a guide to help women understand their men, and to build a solid relationship based on mutual sharing.
Doctissimo asks him for some tips to help women better understand the opposite sex.
You state that men are cowardly when it comes to love. Is this really the case?
Gilles d’Ambra: You know, male bravery is a myth, women are much more courageous. Men are brave when it comes to hunting the mammoth or going to war, and this is because they are topped up with testosterone and part of a group. But as soon as it’s about love, they become cowardly. Take splitting up as an example: when they are no longer in love, they’ll often keep quiet and just wait for their partner to realise it.
Surely men have evolved since the dawn of humanity?
Gilles d’Ambra: Not as much as you’d think. Actually men have more genes in common with monkeys than with women! Similarities can be discerned between the different types of men and species of monkey. For example:
- The orang-utan: he lives alone, grumbles when we want something and doesn’t like going out. This type of man is for independent women who aren’t too emotionally reliant;
- The gorilla: coming from a large family, he is very sociable and easy to get on with, a real bon vivant. This type of man is for those women looking for a stable, family relationship;
- The chimpanzee: he spends most of his life with friends and can be moody and individualistic. This type of man is for women who are themselves passionate about their own freedom.
So have both men and women stayed much the same since the dawn of time?
Gilles d’Ambra: No, of course not. Today, women are fortunately for them, much more autonomous; they don’t need men in order to get on in life. Many men have therefore totally lost their bearings… They’re not sure of how to deal with these ‘new’ women, and often become more cowardly as a result.
Do you think that in a couple, a woman can succeed in changing a man?
Gilles d’Ambra: An individual’s inherent human nature can’t be changed just like that. If a woman sets her sights on a man saying, ‘With me, things will be different,’ it will inevitably end badly. When you buy shoes, you get them in your size even if they mould a little to your feet afterwards! It’s the same thing with a man! You need to get the right fit to start off with.
And, in your opinion, what’s the key to being in a couple that works?
Gilles d’Ambra: There is no miracle solution, but it needs to be a two-way street. This is a long-term winning strategy. The goal is not to try and win against the other person, but to both play the relationship game, respecting the other, not trying to outsmart the other… honesty is essential.
So what should you do to keep your man?
Gilles d’Ambra: To make sure a relationship lasts, it’s important to stop living as if it were a throwaway consumable item! Today, many couples take their relationship as it comes on a daily basis, without projecting further into the future or even into the next week. Love is desire for the other with tenderness, but it is also about sharing and building a life together, thinking up plans for the future. These things mean engaging with each other fully, even if the relationship isn’t ‘for life’.
* Pourquoi les hommes sont lâches et les femmes imprévisibles ? Gilles d'Ambra, Editions J’ai Lu, 2010
Copyright © 2011 Doctissimo
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