Make Room For The Stuttering

Women Who Stutter

Posted on: February 8, 2010

There has been interesting conversation going on over on the covert group, of which I have been a part of for over three years. It is amazing how much people who stutter have in common, and how willing we are to share when we feel we have a safe environment and unconditional support.

A graduate SLP student posted that she is conducting a survey to find out more about women who stutter and to see what, if any, issues we have that differ from men who stutter. Several women replied that they are interested in participating in the survey.

I have always felt that women and men approach our stuttering differently. Point in case, in the self-help support group that I attend, which is 90% men who stutter, I have also felt that I am more relationship based with my stuttering and that the men don’t much like talking about the feelings part. Men also seem more interested in quickly learning tools and techniques that might help manage or improve fluency, while myself and the other women more often talk about and share issues related to feelings and acceptance.

Over on the Stuttering Chat group, there are often many discussions about how difficult it is for men who stutter to approach and attract the opposite sex for dating and relationships. I think women feel the same way, maybe we just don’t voice it quite as much as men.

For the first time in years, I have experimented a little with dating. It is as hard as I remember. It is awkward meeting someone you don’t know. I went out with one very nice person for coffee and conversation. We probably won’t see each other again, although it was a very pleasant evening. But I remember working hard to be as fluent as possible. I just did not feel comfortable letting my guard down with him. I stuttered a few times, and was pretty sure he chalked it up to just nervousness.

I also went to dinner last week with a very nice guy. We had a wonderful evening and will probably see each other again. The difference with him is that we got to know each other a bit over the phone first, talking for about a month before meeting. That broke the ice and made both of us feel comfortable. I told him I stutter, and at first he said he couldn’t tell when we first spoke. Of course – because I was intent on being as fluent as possible. But as we got more comfortable, I let myself relax and stutter freely, and he really doesn’t care. He hasn’t said he doesn’t care – I can just tell. He has gently teased me about it, which I took to mean that he is not at all bothered with it.

Telling people who you don’t know that you stutter is a hard thing to do. I worry about when should I say something. If I do, will it be a deal-breaker right away? Will the person be polite and then I never hear from them again? I don’t think its one of the things that you might post on your profile on the on-line dating things. Where would I put it? Under interests, likes, must haves, be nice?  I am sure men probably think and worry about some of these same things. In my case, it seems like I obsess too much over it. Maybe that’s my covert side coming it. As a covert, I was so used to hiding my stuttering, all the time, from everyone, and now that I want to be upfront, this part is still very hard.

I’d like to think that in matters of the heart, a small thing like stuttering shouldn’t matter at all. But it does. To me, and the others of us out there who worry about negative social reactions.

Share your thoughts. Do you think men and women approach their thoughts and feelings about stuttering differently? Are there differences in how people who stutter go about doing the dating and relationship thing?

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3 Responses to "Women Who Stutter"

Pam,
I am trying to imagine what it would it be like being able to hide my stuttering,and then having to choose whether or not to “let it out.” I can’t imagine what that must be like because I am an overt PWS and of course, can’t hide my stuttering. The easiest way I would try to hide it would be to not talk. With that being said, I would have at the beginning of the conversation mention I stutter because the guy would probably be wondering what’s going on. On the other hand, like you mentioned some people you can tell aren’t bothered by stuttering at all (which is so awesome).

I feel its a vanity thing for women(ME DEFINATELY) after all a woman generally worries about how she looks ,hair makeup etc….and if you come across as someone who looks good,trendy and is as much as possible the complete package ,to then start chatting and for the stutter to arise ,makes that perfect image uncomplete ,so thats why i think women veiw it in a different way.
Men generally dont worry as much about their appearance but like to be the typical alpha male and they would possibly view stuttering as a weakness.
I hope I make sense.
lisa

Lisa I often wonder about that too, I am someone who always try to look my best, and my stuttering does affect this image for me.

Pam, I do think men approach their stuttering differently from us, and I have the perfect example, my husband stutters and seem to get by pretty well with it. He does not talk about the emotional part unless I insist, but still he seems comfortable doing things I would not dare do at times, like being the chairperson at church, talk on the phone, talking to strangers etc.

I just draw the conclusion that because men are more practical beings and women are emotional beings, this could be why.

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