In the words of Johnny Depp -‘People cry not because they are weak but because they have been strong for too long’. Talking to a lot of my male clients in the coaching sessions, I have been seeing the emotional side of these men, which was touching a cord within me. These men seemed to want to say so much to their women but for various reasons couldn’t. So I thought what better way to put their perspective out than to write an article about them. Needless to say, this is just one dynamic playing out in the myriad of possibilities for relationships.
Men are emotional beings too. They just have been conditioned by our society to not appear so or express much emotion as it is considered ‘weak’. A ‘soft’ man, i.e a man with feelings, is harshly judged, both by his male peers as well as many women. The bro-code requires them to be one of the boys and fit in , which very often means pretending that you are all cool and apathetic, especially in the realm of feelings.
On my end I am still trying to understand why in society emotions are considered such a taboo. Sure, I am all for balance and healthy expression of emotion but not the denial of their existence altogether. I mean, isn’t the fact that I have emotions, the differentiating factor between me and a rock? Even dogs have emotion. Imagine telling a dog, don’t bark when your scared, swallow it up and keep mum or else you will be labeled.
Statements like- ‘be a man’, ‘toughen up’, ‘don’t cry like a girl’ seems to have done such deep subconscious damage to men, that when in romantic relationships they very often seem to withdraw or shut down when intense emotions arise. Herein comes the infamous ‘Man-cave’. He needs time alone to process these emotions. He doesn’t know how else to deal with them. Women on the other hand seem to end up waiting for the expression of real emotion from their man and the absence of that in the relationship and his withdrawl into his man-cave, leads to a huge gap between the two individuals. She feels neglected and rejected. He feels mis-understood!
I believe, men and women are here to make love not war. It is not about one being better than the other. We are just different and bring different things to a relationship, which is what makes it so amazing. We are part of the same team. How can men and women develop true intimacy, if he feels he is going to be judged for his emotion as unmanly, not macho, sissy. How can he be his complete real self if his woman needs him to be macho to feed her own sense of safety in this world or to feed her own ego on landing herself a macho and able man. A Trophy-husband/boyfriend so to say. Something to boast about in her next coffee date with her girlfriends. Even more of an ego boost is if he has successfully managed to buy her expensive gifts and taken her for luxurious vacations. That’s more material for conversation with the girls. Somewhere, in all of this the man ends up feeling used and feels it’s a large price to pay for her love and loyalty. The relationship suffers a silent death.
There’s more. A lot of men are scared to open up truly and be fully vulnerable.
Reason being, past experience or even observations have showed them that women tend to use the information to emotionally manipulate their man, indirectly control him and get him to do things they want or need. They hence don’t feel safe doing so as they do not want their feelings being used as a weapon against them. If they were sure that their woman would honor and respect their feelings, now that completely changes the story!
If we want real fulfilling relationships we need to consciously shift the dynamic from power, control and taking, to love, respect, understanding and GIVING.
You see the beauty of two people giving in a relationship is that nobody then has to ‘take’ from the other because there is a natural flow of giving and receiving.
Even the age old conditioning of women that its the sole duty of the man to pamper or look after the woman, which is quite an unfair expectation and pressure on the man, needs to be reviewed. Why cant we both pamper each other, be there for each together and be each others strength and support?
In this modern world, where we women are asking for equality in every sphere, how about we give real equality to the men too.
Just as we women have now so amazingly conquered the sphere of money making and hence balanced our left brain and right brain, why not give our men a safe space to also balance their logical, power and action driven side with their feelings side. That’s real quid-pro-qou!
And before I get killed by my girlfriends, I promise , ‘What she wants him to know’ is coming soon!