Dating Tips
For Men

The Man Cave with Harriet Waley-Cohen

July 8, 2016
▪ 6 mins read

Mental Cave

Hey guys, and welcome back to my AttractionHQ podcast which is women perspective and womanhood does male dating advice. So thank you for tuning in and listening to my podcast. Today I'm joined by an amazing female friend of mine. She's a coach. She's a speaker. Her name is Harriet Whaley-Cohen. And I'm delighted to have her here with us. We're gonna be giving you some strong woman advice in a nice way about what to do when you want to enter the man cave.


Welcome to the podcast, Harriet.


Hi, I'm not in a cave of any sort today. I'm in your beautiful flat. It's wonderful to be here.


Amazing. And we were talking about why the man cave. If you guys don't know what the man cave is, it's that moment where you want to have some space process retreat. And I don't think retreat weakly. It's pretty normal as a dude. And for anyone really when things get more intimate.

You're with a woman- you like her more, things are really moving forwards for that increase in intimacy to cause a knee jerk reaction of Oh my God, I'm not sure I can handle this. I don't know if I'm the right man for her. Is this all gonna end? I don't want to upset her. I'm afraid. Don't know if I'm ready.This whole clusterfuck of feelings! What can often happen if you don't smartly respond to those feelings is you end up as you said, Harriet, smashing it all to pieces.


Yeah, I think that can happen by accident, actually. I remember a long time ago, I read Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus book. And it absolutely talks about this, that when guys have to process something, they figuratively go into their cave and look at the walls. And that the worst thing that a woman can do is to bang on the cave door and go come out of the cave.

But then that just sends the man deeper into his cave to look at the walls at the back and really try to make sense of things. The more that he does that the more panicked and insecure the woman becomes. I don't think there's an issue at all with the need to go into the man cave and the need to retreat and the need to process. I think that's incredibly healthy. But I think that that the vital thing here is how that's communicated so that the relationship becomes stronger.

It can actually be seen as as a way to grow respect and intimacy rather than something that unintentionally smashes the whole thing to pieces by causing insecurity, misunderstanding, and potentially, and definitely unintentionally, a breaking trust.


Definitely, because on the other hand, I've had guys say, she's upset, so I'm gonna give her some space. Because when I'm upset, I like my space. And of course, we're here chuckling about this because it's so obvious. No, no, she doesn't want the space she wants you to be there so that she feels stabilised by your presence. So it's kind of one of those funny things, isn't it? About men and women relationships.

Nothing's wrong with needing to go in and look at the walls in the cave and process stuff as a way of coping strategy. Nor is there anything wrong with wanting reassurance, love, physical contact, talk it over. They're both perfectly valid strategies to deal with the same thing. It's just unfortunately somewhat in conflict with one another. So the right thing to do here is to recognise that her way of processing stuff and dealing with stuff is going to be different to yours, no less valid.


I don't think it's necessarily as straightforward either as a male or female divide. If we just look at ourselves as individual humans who have different ways of dealing with things. All that it needs to resolve it is to just let the other person know what's going on.

Hey, I'm processing some intense feelings around this relationship and it's not because I'm not into you. In fact, it's because of how much I'm into you that I need to do this processing. And what I need to do right now is have some timeout or go into my cave

Or however, you want to express it and let the other person know what they can expect from you while you're doing that.

Look, this is what I need. Is that going to be okay for you? What communication do we need in between?

Because I think if a guy suddenly goes into his cave a woman's not expecting.


And there's no communication. And when she reaches out to try and communicate, she feels rebuffed and rejected, we get into a really bad cycle.


Yes, yes. And that just creates even more insecurity. And then she'll start banging on the cave door going, oh, what's going on? And that's the last thing that you want. Because if you've retreated how much you like her, the last thing you want is her thinking, you've retreated because you don't like her.

That's the breaking of trust, the breaking of intimacy. But actually, this is a beautiful, wonderful, fantastic opportunity to that quite early stage in a relationship where these sorts of insecurities will come up. That's the moment when this is a beautiful opportunity to get closer to each other by communicating, honouring each other's needs, whilst looking after yourself, each of you at the same time.


Right? So basically no communication and just retreat leads to panic. And women, we interpret it as a rejection. So remember how bad you feel, when you walk up to a woman in a bar, and she turns away and completely ignores you. You want to time that by like 100 when it's a woman. When you really like this guy, and you're going and getting settled into the relationship and you're enjoying his company, his presence. And suddenly there's a door slammed in your face. This is actually a very unnerving place for women to be in.

So again, if she knows what the plan is if she knows rough timeframe, rough communication levels to be expected, why you're doing it, this is going to help her to resolve. And you know what?She's much more likely to then feel comfortable to back off and give you the space that you want or need. She'll understand that this is not the end of the relationship. This is actually part of the process of you forming and building something super, super strong.


Yeah, absolutely.


So this is the plan, guys. Remember, if you get in a man cave out, which is cool, communicate, communicate with her. Then you can come back together and you can actually build something long run that's nice and strong. And where you both understand and appreciate each other's needs, whether that's for some space, or whether it's actually to spend some time talking.

Again, I would argue that as much as you might need your space. And that's great. And it's really good that you're aware of your own needs. Because it's a relationship, we have to have some level of compromise here. And there might be a thing where her needs are a bit different from yours. So again, having that willingness to spend time with her or talk to her, or express how you're feeling about stuff, it's going to meet her in the middle.

She gets a little bit of what she wants and you get a little bit of what you want. And then you compromise and negotiate and hallelujah you can all work out so much better. Sometimes relationships break down and they become messy and it's just a nightmare. And all it needs to be that way it's just two people making a whole bunch of assumptions about what the other one is thinking and feeling.

About Harriet:

Harriet Waley-Cohen is a certified One of Many™ coaches, a health coach, certified by the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN), and an experienced speaker.Harriet believes in life-changing transformations. She empowers women through her talks and coaching.Love, kindness and playfulness are central to her life!Learn more about Harriet and her work at her website!

Hayley Quinn smiling profile
About the author

Hayley Quinn is a leading dating and relationship coach, with 3 million views of her TEDx talk and 18 million YouTube views. She is spokesperson for Match, a columnist for Cosmopolitan, a regular contributor to international media, and has been published by Harper Collins (“The Last First Date”, 2022) and Simon & Schuster (“Do This, Not That: Dating”, 2023).

Stay connected with Hayley
Newsletter icon
By clicking “Accept”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyse site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. Privacy Policy.