Two very common psychological biases influence how men and women perceive each other.
Perceptual accentuation is the tendency to see what you want to see. If you don’t think that women are good drivers, you are going to “see” them everywhere you go. The other bias, called the out-group homogeneity effect refers to the idea that we tend to see out-group members as all being alike. For instance, people tend to view members of a minority group, as being very similar to each other – to the point where it can sometimes be hard to tell them apart.
These two biases cause real problems when it comes to viewing men and women as they really are. Men tend to see women as being more alike, and women do the same to men. Combined with the tendency to focus on what we expect to see, it can prevent us from seeing people as the individuals they are.
New research shows that men are not from Mars, nor are women from Venus. Both men and women are from Earth.
The only real difference between men and women comes down to physical strength. Other than differences in physical strength, men and women are more similar than they are different. Key quote from the research:
“From empathy and sexuality to science inclination and extroversion, statistical analysis of 122 different characteristics involving 13,301 individuals shows that men and women, by and large, do not fall into different groups. In other words, no matter how strange and inscrutable your partner may seem, their gender is probably only a small part of the problem.”
Blaming problems in a relationship on sex differences is probably a mistake. It more likely has to do with your perceptual biases and your partner’s actual personality.
More on the research here.