The success of our relationships heavily depends upon how much we can control our impulses. This is because, on an almost daily basis, we are bombarded with temptations that have the potential to threaten our relationships. These can be the impulses to lie, cheat, or even to be mean to your partner. When we act with little to no foresight, we are bound to give in to such temptations and ultimately to our detriment and to the detriment of our relationships with others. Because impulsive behavior is associated with drug use and other self-destructive behaviors, it is important to work on one’s impulse control, in order to get the upper hand over your impulses.
There are important differences between men and women when it comes to impulse control. It is important to notice this, not because we want to have a useless debate, such as “who’s more impulsive men or woman,” but rather to indicate risk factors so you can know for yourself when to be more cautious with your behavior. Finally, it is very important to note, that while men and women differ when it comes to impulse control, it isn’t by much.
For instance, men have a higher rate of impulsive drug use, but women have a higher rate of impulsive behavior under the influence of alcohol. The way we would interpret this is that men might need to be a bit more cautious when thinking about drug use, and women might need to be more cautious when using alcohol. In the context of relationships, this is because in either case, you might behave in a manner that could threaten your relationship’s stability, such as developing a dependence or cheating. Either way, this advice for drug and alcohol use would go for both men and women, because the difference between men and women in either category is quite small.
The primary difference between men and women is in what we can call their impulse engines. Impulse engines are the source of their impulsive behavior. And for the most part, men and women differ on this front. Women, on the one hand, primarily engage in impulsive behavior primarily due to negative reinforcement reasons (for example, to escape from stress). On the other hand, men primarily engage in impulsive behavior due to positive reinforcement reasons (for example, for the sake of thrill-seeking.) Of course, women act impulsively upon thrill-seeking and men act impulsively upon hopes of relieving stress, but for the most part, we see that men and women have this primary difference between positive and negative reinforcement.
There is a lesson to be learned from these differences. The lesson is that you need to be very aware and conscious of positive and negative reinforcement. Which is to say, if you are feeling stressed out or you are feeling the need to get some thrill-seeking, you need to step back and think about why you are feeling such ways and how to handle these feelings in a healthy manner. So, if you are a woman and you are feeling very stressed out, try to sit down and ponder over why you might be stressed and how you can productively handle the stress. Going out and drinking as a coping mechanism will only serve to make things worse, by potentially developing a habit of drinking or even by cheating on your partner while drunk. On the other hand, if you are a man and you are dealing with feelings of wanting to thrill seek, you need to sit down and ask yourself why you might want to thrill seek and ask if it is worth it. You will probably realize it won’t be worth it.
Being honest with yourself in this manner might be hard. It could also help to seek out others to talk about these feelings, such as a friend, a therapist, or even your partner. Ultimately, you need to have an important sense of radical self-honesty and this will take work. Such work, however, is very worth it. The less impulsive you become the happier your relationships and life will end up being. That is because the more impulsive you are, the more likely you will be to make stupid/life-altering decisions that you will regret in the long term.