Why We as Women Need to Ease Up On Men.

ease-up-on-men-photo-by-jim-campell 

This isn’t about the men that hurt on purpose, men that rape, or men that abandon their families. This is about the average Joe, the guy that loved his mama, tries his best and is still mystified by those of us that are female.

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I hear women question openly: What’s wrong with men? Why can’t they shoot straight? Why can’t they communicate?

We complain that men are shut down in one breath, and complain they’re too emotional in the next. The truth is, our men are striving for a balance in a world where the rules of masculinity keep changing.

I live in Boulder, Colorado, where a man is as likely to have a yoga mat in the back of his truck as his mountain bike. While yoga may open their hips and allow their minds to clear, there are still many guarded and wounded hearts in those classes. Both men and women have been wounded deeply. Men still struggle to make sense of women, while women experience men as closed off and shut down. The reality is, a man’s heart is as vulnerable as a woman’s, but the rules for men are laid out differently from the very beginning.

Here’s a great example of the difference:

While walking my dog, I met a boy in his young teens on a skateboard. His eyes were clear as they met mine and we engaged in a friendly chat. He was open and unguarded until my dog approached, then sharing with me that he once had a dog that looked like mine and was forced to give her away. In that moment, his face clouded, his eyes dimmed and the pain he carried was noticeable. His body language changed and his friendliness ceased.

My mouth hung open as he walked away without saying goodbye, and I realized I had just witnessed a clue as to why many men seem shut down.

Like many women, men are wounded early. The difference? Men are often forced to “buck up” and stuff their emotions rather than express them. Think about it: peers usually ostracize a crying boy over the age of 7.

Often juggling his ever-changing role with mom, he naturally starts to bond with dad and old rules such as “buck up, boys don’t cry and get over it” from prior generations are passed on once again. As years go by, a young boy’s heart becomes more and more protected with each new wound, no real outlet for emotions available. On the other hand, a great many women, regardless of their dysfunctional childhood, grow up and find comfort through female friendships—it’s considered normal to cry and vent, express emotion, and fall apart if necessary.

Men aren’t naturally encouraged to release their pain and express hurt, so to survive, they add armor to their hearts and stand guarded against further pain.

While we find comfort in our female friendships, many men say their only source of physical comfort is sex. I often wonder: Do men reach across the bed for sex when sometimes they’re just seeking solace?

The women I know all agree that witnessing an empowered man opening his heart, despite his wounding, and putting it all out there in a vulnerable way–is sexy. Sexy, but not easy. Most men have been shamed in the past for asking for what they want. They’ve been shamed for wanting sex, shamed for feeling attraction and shamed for their vulnerability. It’s an uneasy playing field out there, actually a mine field when you think about it.

Take a woman previously wounded by an aggressive man and have her approached by a man openly asking for what he wants and she may run. Makes you realize that the next woman he approaches may experience him as a man that dances around what he really wants–now afraid to ask openly. What a conundrum eh? Women are wounded and afraid to trust. Men are wounded and afraid to open.

So what can we do?

  • We, as women, can be patient when men talk with us, give them time and space to express themselves and understand that they don’t communicate like our female friends.
  • Bantering with girlfriends and talking over one another is common behavior when we gather together, but a man’s sharing is a different process. Men don’t jump from subject to subject. It’s not that they don’t want to share with us, it’s that often when they try to, we jump in and interrupt the flow.
  • We can count to 10 in our heads when they stop talking and give them a chance to speak again because 9 out of 10 times, they will.
  • We can have patience.
  • We can understand that a closed down reaction during a fight is most likely embarrassment and pain as our men realize they’ve disappointed us. We can take a step back and not take the lack of immediate communication as anger and instead, take a time out.
  • Most importantly we can remember that our man is not going to be like our female friends. Changing men is not the goal. Even if we successfully changed them, chances are we wouldn’t be attracted to them anymore.

By learning to decipher what appears to be shut down and angry behavior as deep wounding, we can find the patience needed to speak a different language with the men we love. Treating our men as we do our female friends is like walking into a French pastry shop, ordering something in Cantonese, and getting angry when we’re not understood. It requires a different language to show our love.

——

You might also like Why Men Need to Give Women a Break Too by Tamara Star

and  Man Up Woman Up Why Don’t We All Just Stand Up by Tamara Star

Originally posted on Daily Transformations

About Tamara Star

Tamara Star believes happiness is not an end destination, but instead the ability to see the ordinary through eyes of wonder. She’s an international best selling author, life coach, and the creator of the original “40-day Personal reboot program for women” –a 6 week virtual deep dive into clearing the slate on what’s blocking you from living a life you love. Her first book, a quick and easy read: “How to Survive a Break Up and Come out Thriving,” is available on Amazon. Her co-authored book “Sexy Secrets to a Juicy Love Life” sits on the International Best Sellers List. You can find more information on dailytransformations.com and follow her on FB orTwitter.
Receive Tamara’s 11 ways to instantly regain your balance now right here.

Comments

  1. Tim Goldich says:

    Thanks Tamara. I’m heartened by your message. I feel cared about.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Thank you Tim. I’m glad you do. There are far more lovers out there than haters when it comes to men and women. Unfortunately, we only hear the nightmare stories between the sexes.

  2. Christopher says:

    Very nice article. I like the author’s approach to try not to change men, but simply understand the different expressions between the sexes.

  3. Very good point. This is a much needed cultural shifting viewpoint. The old paradigm of the tough heartless man always wanting sex and nothing more is extremely outdated. I have many guy friends and none fall into any of those categories when you get to know them. It’s only the cultural stereotype that forces these sweet men to engage in derogatory conversation about women from time to time, but one of one conversation with these souls has shown me that even the toughest guy on the block is a heart waiting to be filled with caring and love.

  4. Wow, a sharp departure from the other material on this site, I am impressed by the sheer thoughtfulness so out of step with the widespread narrative.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Thank you for writing and commenting. There are lots of posts on this site in the same vein….the conversation is happening and I know both sexes are very happy about this. :-) Maybe dig a little more in some of the other subject tabs besides the first page Garrett. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Cheers!

  5. “Do men reach across the bed for sex when sometimes they’re just seeking solace?”

    That hit home. I used to get into fights with my now ex-fiance of 7 years all the time. I’m probably as guarded a man as they come, and I know for a fact that I do tend to express myself physically because it’s just too damn difficult to do it any other way. I learned from a very young age to suck it up and be tough, and as a result, physical expression is just about the only unguarded expression I have; the only way I was able to try to really tell her how I felt.

    Unfortunately, even though I tried to explain this, I very frequently got that commonly heard line ‘you only want me for sex’. Trying to really express my feelings with long conversations is just exhausting beyond words. You used the word ‘shamed’ a number of times, and that really hit home too.

    It’s confusing that so many women seem to, on the one hand, want these impossibly strong, assertive, mind reading, hunting bread winning men. Then on the other, demand sensitivity and vulnerability and openness. The role of men in today’s society can be a rather confusing one, and there are many good men out there who have the best of intentions when it comes to women but just don’t have a clue how to navigate the seemingly mixed messages we get about what we are supposed to be.

    Obviously my fiancee never really got what I was trying to tell her, but I’m glad at least one woman out there has touched upon a subject that many men may find sensitive. Thank you.

    • Tamara Star says:

      GT, May you find a woman that gets it. I think there are many old patterns changing and I for one know of many women that feel this way. So many changes happening for both sexes in regards to roles. I find it confusing too as I like to be treated as a woman on a date in regards to manners and respect, ie: open my door, etc…but in other situations diffferently….it comes down to communicating what you want as a woman, keeping the door of communication open, and not reacting and writing stories in your head about your partners actions. Inquire vs. react and own the meanings we give the stories we write in our heads. Does that make sense? Goes for both sexes.

  6. Richard O. says:

    “Like many women, men are wounded early. The difference? Men are often forced to “buck up” and stuff their emotions rather than express them. Think about it: peers usually ostracize a crying boy over the age of 7.
    Often juggling his ever-changing role with mom, he naturally starts to bond with dad and old rules such as “buck up, boys don’t cry and get over it” from prior generations are passed on once again. As years go by, a young boy’s heart becomes more and more protected with each new wound, no real outlet for emotions available. On the other hand, a great many women, regardless of their dysfunctional childhood, grow up and find comfort through female friendships—it’s considered normal to cry and vent, express emotion, and fall apart if necessary. Men aren’t naturally encouraged to release their pain and express hurt, so to survive, they add armor to their hearts and stand guarded against further pain.”

    Thank you so very much for this tremendously insightful observation. In reading this, I had a huge feeling of ‘Oh my god…there’s someone out there that understands!” In my personal experience I’ve found that in the process of peeling off emotional armor, there always seems to be a little more protection underneath and most women’s patience (and I’m painting with a rather broad brush here) doesn’t last quite as long as this process. I’m grateful for the feeling of being well represented by this article and would love to hear more women’s thoughts on the subject. Cheers! R.O.

  7. Luke and GT, I really appreciate your well-worded responses.

    I am a woman who was raised by my father with two brothers. I often thank God for that upbringing. It was a very “real” (it is what it is) environment. It has left me “communicativly” clumsy around many women or others who aren’t as forthcoming about their true thoughts or intentions, but I’ve found that my open style (humble, honest, mixed with humor) allows others to let down their guard, which is helpful.

    Luke, your metaphor with the swords is perfect, and your swordsmanship shows great restraint, wisdom, maturity, and a deep heart. I hope you find a worthy fencing partner :) One who is playful and careful. No need to be hurtful in a relationship–nothing good ever comes from that behavior.

    GT, your self-awareness and willingness to try to explain your communication style with your previous partner is wonderful. We, men and women, are wired differently for a reason–it’s not only due to previous damage. When you find a partner who is also self-aware, mature and loving enough to understand your language, you’ll be able to feel so safe with her that you’ll be motivated to learn to her language as well, and both can become bilingual in the language of intimacy (physical and verbal).

    I am married to a wonderful man. He had many battle wounds from his mother and ex-wife. He had a quick reflex, using anger, when he felt I was coming at him from the same stance that either of the other women used. I decided that I’d give him as many years to learn to trust me as it took him to learn that defensive reflex (8 years of marriage was the worst of it with his ex). Every time he’d become defensive, I’d calmly remind him that I love him, and I will never intentionally say something mean or hurtful to him. It was a frequently-dispatched reminder the first year, much less the second, hardly ever the third, and now I can’t recall the last time he mistook anything I said or wrote. He now knows my heart is to lift him up and be his partner, so if I say something that sounds hurtful to him, he instinctively double checks with about my meaning. It’s lovely. We NEVER argue. That’s saying something with 6 kids between us and 2 bat-shit crazy ex’s :) Hang in there guys!

    • ” I decided that I’d give him as many years to learn to trust me as it took him to learn that defensive reflex..”

      Trait #24 of an amazing woman and person. Thanks for the touching demonstration of what “giving” means.

    • Krista, your comment needs to be printed and taped to my bathroom mirror, especially the last paragraph. If more people, women and men, did what you describe for each other, the gender war could be nearly over within a year or so.

  8. Toni Dewey says:

    How refreshing! I’ve been in a relationship with a deeply emotionally wounded man for 3 years. I’m constantly trying to understand him, to be patient with him and to give him the space to open up. It’s not easy! But this reminds me of why I should keep going. Thanks.

  9. Good article…you are about 60-70% there. Maybe it fits men in there 20’s and 30’s but when the issue boils on until you are in your 40’s the expression changes…..

  10. Tamara

    ❞Most men
    have been shamed in the past for asking for what they want. They’ve been shamed for wanting sex,
    shamed for feeling attraction and shamed for their vulnerability. ❞

    I wonder who did the shaming. Was it other men?
    I do want all men that only express their feelings,wants ,vulnerability ,happiness,frustration,anger ,and love make having sex to change.
    Yes I want them to change and to tell them that we only feel sorry for them want help. They have to do the changing themselves and they have to want to change.
    Who wants a man that is incapable of saying I love you? I don’t.

    And how many women cry and break down together with their female friends?
    I have never seen a woman friends cry,but many men have cried near me,without feeling shame.

    I refuse to ease up on men.

    • Kim,
      As a woman, this attitude makes me sad for both men and women. There is no hope for a solid relationship when either party comes in with an expectation that the other person is NOT enough, just as they are. Tamara, and Krysta, above, understand that men, like us, bring strengths and limitations to their relationships. We must love them exactly as they are if we want them to love us as we are. Otherwise we are holding out a double standard and bludgeoning them with our anger. Not a sound basis for love. When we start with acceptance, both men and women blossom in wonderful and often unexpected ways. Men need allies and friends if they are to grow emotionally. Just like us.

  11. Tamara,
    Beautifully said and written! Asking women to empathize and change their actions and reactions accordingly is solid advice for everyone of every age. Love it.

  12. Tamara

    ❞Most men
    have been shamed in the past for asking for what they want. They’ve been shamed for wanting sex,
    shamed for feeling attraction and shamed for their vulnerability. ❞

    I wonder who did the shaming. Was it other men?
    I do want all men that only express their feelings,wants ,vulnerability ,happiness,frustration,anger BY having sex , to change.
    Yes I want them to change and to tell them that we only feel sorry for them want help. They have to do the changing themselves and they have to want to change.
    Who wants a man that is incapable of saying I love you? I don’t.

    And how many women cry and break down together with their female friends?
    I have never seen a woman friends cry,but many men have cried near me,without feeling shame.

    I refuse to ease up on men.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Kim, I’m sorry for your lack of support. I would urge you as a fellow woman that has been deeply hurt, to not generalize. There are many wonderful women around me that support one another and create a safe container for tears…but it took a while to find them. And….there are many men that openly say I love you and do not shame.
      We can always find the freaks and the abusers…the woman haters and the catty people if we look for them….but if we get really clear on what we want, and what we want to offer others….slowly like minded men and women come into our life. There are far more good, kind, loving men and women out there than naught. We just have to know how to recognize them and also when to call a spade a spade and walk away.
      I hope you will ease up on men and most importantly, yourself.

      Thank you for taking the time to comment. Even when you disagree with these posts, your opinion is welcome.

    • Kim: I refuse to ease up on men.

      And there are plenty of men who refuse to ease up on women, too.

      So the mutual beatings will continue until morale improves.

  13. I think a part of the problem is when it comes to identifying the source of the wound instead of acknowledging the wound was valid and trying to promote healing people tend to get caught up in the politics and group identities and before you know it its more about attacking/defending groups of people than about healing that person’s pain.

    A while back there was a man here that told his story of how when he was young he was harassed, teased, and bullied by both girls and boys. In his efforts to speak up about it he found people were quick to condemn what boys did to him but would ignore or even try to justify what girls did to him.

    Thankfully it seems like he is doing better but when faced with that kind of treatment it doesn’t strike me as the slightest bit odd that some other guys would grow up with a grudge against women. All his life he’s been basically told that its okay for women to treat him that way. So he develops distrust and hatred of them. You aren’t going to heal that kind of wound by going on about hatred against women when he’s lived through hatred BY women.

    Thanks for speaking up Tamara.

  14. wellokaythen says:

    Good advice. Allow me to add one more piece of advice that I’ve mentioned several times already:

    Don’t dismiss his feelings as “ego.” Before you jump to the conclusion that a man who’s upset “just has a fragile ego,” consider the possibility that what you’re seeing are valid, real-life, actual emotions, not just some variant of selfish pride.

    Also, I think we’re actually discouraging men by harping so much on “vulnerability” or “opening up” or “taking a risk.” Telling men over and over that sharing feelings is about “being vulnerable” is not really all that encouraging. It just reinforces the idea that sensitive equals weak.

    • wellokaythen writes: Don’t dismiss his feelings as “ego.” Before you jump to the conclusion that a man who’s upset “just has a fragile ego,” consider the possibility that what you’re seeing are valid, real-life, actual emotions, not just some variant of selfish pride.

      I’m a pretty serious Buddhist. I teach Buddhism to a global virtual Sangha with members all over the world.

      So my response to this is that when we get upset, whether we’re men or women, it definitely is because of what you call our “fragile ego”. That THING, whatever you call it, was actually the final impediment to full enlightenment that Gotama identified during his final sit beneath the Bodhi Tree. When he found it, he exclaimed, “Aha, I have found you – the builder of this house of suffering”.

      And so I would say that since none of us – men or women – are Buddhas or even CLOSE to being Buddhas, we’re all carrying around a very fragile ego indeed. And that ego never stops chattering, and spewing forth all sorts of thoughts and feelings, and having all sorts of reactions to all the stimuli – both positive and negative – that it gets from the world, and also from its own internal self-talk.

      And I would say that ALL those feelings are “real” feelings, whether they’re justified by the particular stimulus or not – whether they happen in men or in women. And I would also say that BOTH men and women struggle not only with primal wounds, and gender based wounds, but also with what you are calling PRIDE.

      In other words, this is just the human condition, and it’s good for us if we can look at it compassionately and with wisdom – whether we’re looking at our selves, or at “the other”. And if we had more of that – in the way that women look at men (as Tamara writes here), or the way that men look at women – a lot of the current gender wars would just go away naturally.

      • I get the ego thing,you know,its connection to the self and pride and how it predisposes us to some aspects of hurt.But that is only a part of the story.That approach renders everyone’s painful experience as neutral,the same.The pain felt by a hungry child isn’t the same as the child in pain because they must eat veggies before dessert. The Buddist concept of ego could have the additional affect of completely pardoning the guilty when they hurt others. I will say that among those that have suffered greatly,some women,slaves,and indigenous people around the world,-to name a few-there is a tendency ofttimes to imagine one’s own suffering in isolation.If one knows human history(what happened yesterday) you realize not only is such a notion unquantifiable,it’s probably not true.That’s the ego at play,which accounts for and critiques the stalemate between black and white,male and female,Jew and Arab alike.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Sure, in many variants of Buddhism it’s all ego. (As I understand it, there are many schools of thought in Buddhism.) I can accept that.

        If that’s really true, then let’s treat all of it as ego for both men AND women. If it’s just splitting hairs to contrast feelings and ego, then we should call women on their egos as often as we do men. Discount feelings across the board, then, not just for men.

  15. @Steve Tamara’s post is an example of what many men are trying to hear my friend.I hear you and know you and Tamara have similar points of view.

  16. Tom Brechlin says:

    Perfect ending to my evening on the net. Making dinner for my wife and it’s about ready. I truly enjoyed reading your article and it gave me a sense of hope that there are women in this world that get it. I snagged mine 38 years ago and won’t let her go for anyone. Tamara, thank you.

  17. Tamara,
    I can’t thank you enough for your post. It’s refreshing to hear from a woman who understands that gender-role socialization is harmful to men too.
    If you don’t mind however, I’d like to take some of your ideas a step further. When you write in your post, “he naturally starts to bond with dad and old rules such as “buck up, boys don’t cry and get over it” from prior generations are passed on once again,” it appears that you may be attributing the passing of these old rules exclusively to other men. In a larger sense though, we all perpetuate these rules. Women after all, are still the primary caretakers for a majority of boys and even boys who grow up without a male role model still learn that they are expected to bottle up any emotion they experience, except of course for anger, that one is okay. The lesson is reinforced by large number of teen-aged girls who clearly prefer “bad boys” when they begin dating.
    I’m not trying to shift all of the blame to women here. I’m only trying to point out that we’re all in this together and that many of the traditions we perpetuate are harmful to both males and females, even if each are damaged in different ways.

  18. Audrey Sunshine says:

    Men who don’t act like those described in the article (ie. tough, stoic) are also always wanting sex. I don’t think it is appropriate to imply that, for men, sex is a *replacement* for other types of intimacy. Like glorth2 said, “…when men reach for sex, it’s usually because they want sex.’ Also, I would get down on my knees and thank the lord if I would meet a man who would shut down during a fight or who would stop talking for even a minute. The one I deal with cannot stop talking about his feelings. Apparently his feelings are the most important thing in the world and obviously are much more valid than mine or anyone else’s. Sure, he appears nice and sweet to others but he can turn into a vicious, violent animal in a moment if his ego is hurt. There is a reason men are taught to contain their emotions: it’s called social order, and it barely works as it is. My experience is that the more men delve into their emotions, the more violent and selfish they become. Where in the Hero’s Journey is the part where the Hero talks in depth about his feelings? I say go back to bottling it up and we can just stop trying so hard to “communicate” with them. When did all of this touchy-feely stuff start, anyway?

    • wellokaythen says:

      “…if his ego is hurt…”

      See now, that’s what I was talking about above. Why can’t we talk about this man as someone who has feelings and not just bruised ego? Maybe his feelings were hurt, not just his ego. He’s selfish and obnoxious about sharing his feelings, but that doesn’t mean the feelings are invalid.

      He sounds a lot like the women in my previous long-term relationships. Their feelings were the most important thing in the world, at all times. They preferred to drop emotion bombs to end conversations on their terms. I doubt anyone ever criticized them for having wounded egos.

      All I ask is that if this behavior is because of a “fragile ego,” then we use the exact same label for WOMEN who do it as MEN who do it.

      • wellokthen I have never been in a relationship with a woman who didn’t feel like her feelings were THE most important.Ever.

        • wellokaythen says:

          I suspect that this is a fairly common sentiment among men. I also think it’s one important factor in men being more reserved when it comes to sharing their feelings within a relationship. I know in those bad relationships I was in, I acted cowardly and dodged all conflict as long as I could. That’s no recipe for success. Toss in the horrible idea that I’m supposed to keep her happy at all times and you have a total nightmare for both people.

          We can’t really understand men’s way of communicating their feelings without looking at the ways that women receive those feelings. We can’t pretend that men always avoiding sharing with people ready to listen. Quite the contrary sometimes.

    • Women like you are the reason good men later turn into the AH’s that all you women keep complaining about. There are countries you could move to where things are still like as you describe. Except in most of those places, women like you are less than politely encouraged to shut their mouths. Usually with the help of a fist, boot, knife, or bottle of acid to the face.

      So what then? You think that society should evolve to allow women to have more rights and privileges, while men should just shut their mouths and come home with a paycheck? We’re human beings too, you know. Not the dumb apes you make us sound like.

      If your post is at all indicative of what you’re like as a person, I get the feeling that it’s not the man you ‘deal with’ who is the problem. It sounds like you just plain hate men, in fact, and this poor guy would be lucky to get away from you and get himself a loving woman.

      Also, archetypes and fairy tales are good up to a point, after which you have to start filling in the details with a little thing I like to call reality. Life isn’t some cartoonishly simple fairy tale. However since you brought it up, even if it were, there are PLENTY of ‘heroes journeys’ where the hero has to deal with his own inner workings.

      Honestly, I feel bad for whatever poor wretch ends up having to put up with you. Have a good night…

      • Sad to know you think women are the reason for men’s bad behaviour and prejudice. And some women’s bad behaviour and double standards, would you condemn as just the result of men’s abuse as well, just like THIS WOMAN you are talking to? Hm. Some people might feel mistrust or fear to get involved with a gender/race/whatever after abude, but prejudice and hate, stating ignorance and generalizations? No, that’s not right.
        If I hate men it’s because I’m ignorant and bad, that’s all. If some men hate women, it’s also these men’s ignorance and badness. Simple.

        I belive this woman just likes the old, dumb roles. I’m sure a lot of men would also enjoy the way she thinks (the ones that say women are too masculine nowadays, too assertive, too independent, etc.). Can’t start counting how many men I’ve seen saying how they hate the new emotional, feminized and “gay” men. Dumbs belong together. 😉

  19. Great article! As a woman, I’m puzzled by it all. I can only imagine how men feel. I really love men. I’m glad someone articulated this issue so well. Although I like to think I’m well informed, this article reminded me that I have more work to do to cross the bridge to the other side. I hope that eventually we reach toward one another instead of continuing to turn against each other, when it’s very clear as the author has pointed out, that we act from our wounds. Thanks for the reminder to be kinder and more understanding toward the men who mean so much to me.

  20. Awesome article, incredible comment thread (really, amazing!!!). Though I would add this: as men we need to change and grow as well. And we can’t do it alone (even though many of us believe we should be able to), can’t even do it in community with other men (read mens groups). I believe this kind of healing is witnessed and nurtured in primary relationship. And it’s messy, and terrifying, and at times excruciating. It’s also liberating and increases our capacity for joy and expression. It makes us better men, which in turn makes us better partners, fathers, friends, humans.

    So to my fellow men who wonder if shedding the armor is worth it, I give a resounding “yes!” To the women who are willing to hold this space, and in turn shed your own stories, it is also worth it. It is always worth it to turn into each other, and simply say “I am hurting, I am ashamed, I am angry, and frustrated, and this is not what I want to be though I know no other way; can we find a new way together, one awkward step at a time?”

    Let’s change the world :)

    • Tamara Star says:

      @kevinC YES YES YES YES YES YES YES

    • And I would add something else: when our relationships change with our moms and boys seek their father for bonding, sometimes the father is not there for bonding. So then there’s a whole ‘nother slew of issues and problems, and years and years and years of accepting that, trying to become the man you probably should have been a long time ago, learning about yourself, women, friendships, life… all with that changing mom relationship and absent relationship with the father. To be clear, I’m not speaking about a friend.

    • I have never read from this publication before, but saw it on FB and had to click the button. After reading it I felt at home. For over 20 years I have felt this and even teach on such matters. I wrote a book about our emotions and how powerful they are. “Good Mourning Sunshine”, is a book about waking up to our own emotions thereby giving us the understanding needed to love ourselves, God and then others. Thank you for reminding us how twisted our thought processes are around these things we call emotions. God please give us wisdom to know and understand ourselves and then we can know, understand and love others. God Bless You, Sincerely, Angela Bertone

    • @Kevin C Count me in!

  21. It is going to take quite some time before I reveal my vulnerabilities to a woman.I have found that much of the hype about women wanting,needing men to open up is unqualified noise.The last three times I did so the woman did the exact thing I asked her not to do.Each woman insisted,as a condition of the relationship,that I reveal my most crushing hurt.Each woman proceeded to use it against me.Many women mistakenly believe they are naturally gifted as empathizers.They are not.Empathy is learned behavior

    • Each woman proceeded to use it against me.Many women mistakenly believe they are naturally gifted as empathizers.
      Or they are fully aware that its not true and just use the stereotype to get men to lower their guard in order to use their vulnerabilities against them.

      • Maybe some women. But as the article points out, we should not assume all men are out to wound us, please give women the same benefit of doubt. Not all women will use manipulation to construct an outcome. There are points of honor and fairness that would stop them from doing so. A good woman would not use a man’s vulnerability against him. You may not believe this. It’s okay… I hope that you will see it when you are ready.
        After being abused, I thought most men were bad…until time showed me differently.

        • The reason I said “or” was to pose another possible reason, not to definitively say that is the reason.

          Of course there are different types of women and some would be manipulative and some would not be. Truth be told we’ll probably never know exactly why those women did what they did to ogwriter.

          A good woman would not use a man’s vulnerability against him. You may not believe this. It’s okay… I hope that you will see it when you are ready.
          I’m already aware of this but of course that shouldn’t stop us from talking about (and hopefully working through) why there are people that do use someone’s vulnerabiliies against them.

        • So powerful that after being abused, you learned that not all men are bad Laura. Thank you for your comment…and your courage.

    • Hi Ogwriter
      ✺”Each woman insisted,as
      a condition of the relationship,that I reveal my most crushing hurt”✺
      I am surprised that they set that condition.

      Revealing your ” most crushing hurt ” ,is that telling them about the most painful emotional experience in your life, or did they ask you to tell our weakest points?

      Would you open up to a woman in a relationship and share what you need the most from her?
      Your deepest needs.

    • Theorema Egregium says:

      Just for clarification: Did they do that right away, as in “Haha, tricked you, fool, now suffer for your naivity”, or maybe “I don’t know, now that I know your vulnerabilities it somehow makes you sooooo unsexy”; or did it only happen later, when the relationship had gone sour and they fell back on anything they might use as ammunition?

      That makes a difference, I think. The first scenario is absolutely indefensible and horrible (and also pathological) behaviour. The second case is of course cruel and mean, but in a breakup situation it’s not entirely unexpected.

      • One individual wanted me to demonstrate that I could be vulnerable.You know, prove that I was an evolved man.I told her that I had been badly hurt when someone I was in love with had an affair with a friend right under my nose.Therefore,I needed clarity in our relationship with our friends.She said she understood and would respect my wishes.We planned a romantic getaway,our first,to Napa.The day before we were to depart her ex boyfriend,who I had met through her months previous,rolled into town. I went to her house to have dinner with them. Upon my arrival she announced,”Honey,Rick’s in town for a couple of days and he’s going to Napa with us!”This really fucked me up.I didn’t get it,the lines were getting blurry for me.I said there was no way he was going,turned round and went home. And we worked through it,to my undying regret.Later,at a friends wedding,I was sitting down talking to a mutual friend and she came over.I offered her a seat next to me,she refused and our friend asked her,”Why don’t you sit on my lap?”And she did.This is such a trigger for me,once active,the reaction must play itself out.Over the ensuing weeks,my self confidence plummeted,I tumbled into a spiral of depression that lasted for for months on end.I asked her how see could be so callous after all I had told her.She said she hadn’t really understood and didn’t know why I was upset.I have learned that there is tremendous power in knowing a person’s vulnerabilities.And no Iben I am not ever telling another woman,this secret or what my deepest needs are.I have also learned to provide for myself emotionally.All women are not like her or the others.I know this from personal experience.Expecting that someone will satisfy my deepest needs or empathic to them is foolish

        • Hi Ogwriter

          Thank you for sharing your experiences.
          I can tell you,that the feelings you had here:
          ✺”Upon my arrival she announced,”Honey,Rick’s in town for a
          couple of days and he’s going to Napa with us!”This really fucked me up.I didn’t get it,the
          lines were getting blurry for me.I said there was no way he was going,turned round and
          went home. “✺
          In my own experience the reactions you had here was to feel your own borders speak clear and loud to you. Is more than a red flag. You knew your personal borders had been abused,violated , disrespected.
          This person will do it to you again. At least that is how I have started to think when my reactions becomes that strong. My personal borders scream to me and I respect my body’s signal.

          ✺”.I have learned that
          there is tremendous power in knowing a person’s vulnerabilities”✺
          Yes Ogwriter that is true.

          ✺”And no Iben I am not
          ever telling another woman,this secret or what my deepest needs are.I have also learned to provide for myself emotionally.All women are not like her or the others.I know this from
          personal experience.Expecting that someone will satisfy my deepest needs or empathic
          to them is foolish”✺

          It is not foolish to expect real love to be possible Ogwriter , but I do understand you since I have nearly given up myself.
          Here is how I see it.
          Some of us have some traumatic experiences in life that others can not understand emotionally even if they try. And they don’t get it .
          The only ones that understand are others with similar experience and a FEW good psychologist and psychiatrist.

          It is like one war veteran can understand another.
          What can we do about it Ogwriter ? I don’t know. Maybe be 100% clear to the other about our deal breakers and make sure they get it. We can have a long list of deal breakers and among them are the one that is our vulnerability. To be clear about deal breakers is not showing vulnerability.

        • Baggage reclaim is an excellent site! give great advice about this tuff – you don’t need to withhold everything ogwrite let is drip by drip and at your own pace. People who step over your boundaries don’t respect you, especially if they didn’t check with you first before doing or didn’t rectify it after a mistake. You cant really have a love fulfilled intimate relationship with intimacy. Just do it on your terms – doesnt sound like that women was particularly emotoinally intelligent. My best friend of many years is no longer my friend because she started use my vulnerabilities against me and i in turn did to her. It was terrible that it went that route, but she showed that her empathy was conditional. if someone empathy is conditional. get out.

        • @ogwriter

          Everyone has different levels of comfort with physical closeness and ex’s. It sounds like she may have just been someone who was very ‘free’ and did not understand that you had different boundaries. In her mind, it could be that she didn’t know that it would be a trigger to you because she was ‘cheating’, per se.

          That said, she seems like a flake. I’d venture to say that most people would not be as clueless as her. I have literally never heard of anyone (male or female) that invited an ex to a couple’s getaway without even running it by their partner. It’s good that you’ve moved on from her.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Your comment made me cringe…not because it was bad but because I’ve been disrespected like this by a man and then called out as being the crazy one. She treated you without respect. Over and over again.

      I’m so sorry on behalf of all women.

      And….in response to your very last sentence, I hope you do not the past behaviors of some, ruin your chances of a future with another that could be big enough to hold your deepest needs and have empathy for your past hurts. I wish that for us all.

    • Tamara Star says:

      I commented back to you earlier but after reading your second comment, I invite you to read my post Domestic Violence isn’t always physical. I’m not saying you experienced domestic violence with this last one, but the REASONS behind attracting in these last 3 women might be eye opening to you. http://www.dailytransformations.com/domestic-violence-isnt-always-physical/

    • Amen, brother!

  22. Your missing something else more subtle.
    The tenancy of women to use this information you share with them against you next time there’s a disagreement.
    It’s not about not wanting to be vulnerable, it can be about not wanting your vulnerabilities thrown back at you next week or next month when the mood has changed…
    You forget to to take out the trash on a day that was rough at work for her… next thing you know you get you relationship with your mother thrown in your your face….
    If you want vulnerability and sharing, be conscious of how you use that information…

    • Tamara Star says:

      Tim, I hear you but I’m hoping you’re not generalizing all women or all men. Both sexes have done this and it doesn’t mean the past equals the future in each relationship.

  23. Great article. I find it sad to see in the comments that men are so surprised that a woman writer is seeing them as fellow humans and fighting their corner. What dynamic have we been creating that this is seen as a novel concept? I also find it sad to see that women feel their ’cause’ is threatened by the concept of empathy towards men. The longer this ‘gender war’ continues, the more I worry for us all.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Glass half full or half empty? I see this conversation as evidence that the gender wars ARE healing. There is so much headway happening all over the planet.

      • As I said at the beginning, great article. Perhaps my ‘glass half empty’ tone should have been contextualised by the fact that I’d just been reading the daily dose of hate-fllled comments on Facebook and Twitter, from both ‘sides’ of the gender war. Perhaps I need to unfollow some pages! I do not include your article as part of the gender war. On the contrary, it’s part of the move towards understanding, which is highly positive. It’s the *response*, the shock and resistance to the fact that women might fight men’s corner, which I find sad. Sometimes the vitriol surrounding this is worse than the original issues.

        • The happy people are often too busy in happiness and don’t want to spread the joy and feel like they’re rubbing it in, whilst the angry people are ok with publicly lashing out. So that probably makes for more bad comments visible than good.

          • Archy, I’m afraid you are right. I often hope the women who don’t just want to fight with men will speak out more (and write more) so that we could really begin to end gender wars. I support women’s rights and do what I can to help, but I rarely feel that goes both ways. Voices like Tamara are desperately needed, because men aren’t really being heard much, or being allowed to speak much without censor or without it starting a fight. I don’t want to fight with anybody; but I don’t want to be walked over, either.

            Archy, WellOkThen, Ogwriter: if any of you are on Twitter or have blogs, I’d love to talk to you elsewhere. I’m on Twitter as AsAshesScatter. Lately, seeing how you all view the world is what I would miss the most if I leave GMP. But for self-care reasons, I may need to. It makes me sad. I only come here lately to find yours and Danny’s and MediaHound’s comments.

        • Tamara Star says:

          Yes, I hear you!

        • Tamara Star says:

          @sonya I hear you and I agree.

  24. Well said, Tamara. It’s a simple concept, elegantly fleshed out. I learned it while helping two teen-aged boys to be open to other humans of all genders and persuasions in any relationship, from acquaintance to intimate: Suspend expectations; if you don’t, they’ll live down to them.

  25. “I often wonder: Do men reach across the bed for sex when sometimes they’re just seeking solace?”

    You wonder that? Why is it not obvious the answer is yes?

    • Theorema Egregium says:

      Frankly, for many people (including me, strangely enough) it is only obvious after having read many essays to that effect (like here) and have had the appropriate lightbulb moment.

      There are still many people (men and women) who believe that men neither want nor require solace, because they have no finer feelings, and that they always want sex because they are hopelessly sex-obsessed perpetually horny apes. That men often seek out sex because it’s the only form of validation they feel they are able to obtain is not universally know. The people that don’t know it need to read texts like this. I am VERY thankful for this work. It is a great job.

    • Tamara Star says:

      That’s not always true @pdweb and many of the men here are admitting it. There’s not an always or never here.

  26. Great piece Tamara, thank you for sharing this work.

    To all who care to understand why men are so obsessed with sex, you might appreciate this article:

    http://www.interchangecounseling.com/blog/why-men-are-so-obsessed-with-sex/

    Love,

    Naima

  27. Thank you Tamara for your thoughtful article and thanks to the others who commented on how their vulnerabilities have been abused. I have two thoughts about this. First, it is naive to buy into the feminist myth that women are some sort of advanced beings and men are mere proto-humans. As you mentioned, both men and women have been wounded and, in our society, women probably more so. A therapist of mine once advised, “intimacy must be earned.” It is OK to keep your own counsel until the relationship has progressed to deeper levels of trust. Intimacy should never be used as a bartering chip, but should be a natural deepening of the bond between each other. Secondly, both physiologically and sociologically, men have slower response times to emotional stimulation. As you well put it, we are not your girl friends and don’t expect us to respond as such. While men are taught early that women have slower physical response reactions, women are seldom taught that men might require “emotional foreplay” before they can become fully involved. Women should know that they can become better partners and lovers by gently stimulating and teasing their man’s emotional sensitivities rather than demanding instant emotional gratification, which can feel like emotional rape as some of the responses indicate. Summing it up, intimacy must be earned and emotional foreplay can make the journey fun and pleasurable for both partners.

    • Tamara Star says:

      I agree. Intimacy is earned. Too often people jump into bed with one another immediately and expect that to suffice as intimacy. I wait. I wait until I know the person and while my friends often roll their eyes at my waiting, 100% of men I’ve been with have never complained and have in turn respected me and even agreed. I’ve been able to avoid the trauma drama of expecting sex early on to mean intimacy. Ahhh, but that’s another blog post.

      • @Tamara Indeed!!Intimacy is earned and so is love.But we hop into bed and say I love you too soon.It’s like we want to stay caught up in the throws of and goofiness of romance,you know,the easy fun stuff.In my experience,it is what happens after the crisis-there is always a crisis-that tells you what kind of relationship one has.

        • Tamara Star says:

          @ogwriter we do! What a wonderful crazy messy ride we take too. For all the heart aches, disappointments and drama of it all…I still choose love. Give me that brass ring and that hell of a ride any day over heart safety and single-hood. (which i currently am)

    • Hi JohnH

      What you say here important !
      ✺ “Secondly, both physiologically and sociologically, men have slower response times
      to emotional stimulation. As you well put it, we are not your girl friends and don’t expect us to
      respond as such. While men are taught early that women have slower physical response
      reactions, women are seldom taught that men might require “emotional foreplay” before they can
      become fully involved. Women should know that they can become better partners and lovers by gently stimulating and teasing their man’s emotional sensitivities rather than demanding instant
      emotional gratification, which can feel like emotional rape as some of the responses indicate.
      Summing it up, intimacy must be earned and emotional foreplay can make the journey fun and
      pleasurable for both partners.”✺

      We need an article an long dialogue about this issue.
      JohnH, Tamara and others. Please write about this.

  28. These tips are probably good ideas but I think we should also keep in mind that men and women are not naturally different, they are forced to become different because of the ways we treat them and all of the double standards we have about emotions and other ways of expressing ourselves. It would also be helpful to encourage your child to subvert these norms by letting boys and girls both be able to cry or express themselves so the damage being done to both boys and girls can finally stop and people can relate to each other like we should be able to. Good post but I am a little wary of the ending where the “differences” between men and women take on a biologically determinist vein instead of a social one.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Lindsay, I’m wondering if you read the post. My point agreed ib the programming that happens early on in regards to crying and expressing emotions. But I disagree with you, there are indeed genetic differences. If you’ve ever had a boy and a girl, you see those differences almost immediately.

  29. Tamara thank you for sharing

  30. I’ve had some women wonder why I like sex so much, they don’t realize that sexuality is a form of intimacy that brings me so many pleasures and it’s not just sexual as these few women assumed, but it also makes me feel loved n sexy n powerful n emotionally re-energized n romantic n lovey dovey.

  31. I, too, say Thank you, Tamara!

    And with regard to Ogwriters’ story earlier in the comments, I also wonder about this. If you have shared your vulnerabilities with someone, and then have your borders violated on purpose in public by that person. Then what?

    • @FlyingKal It was a potentially dangerous situation,mitigated because I was mature-lots of life experience- and we were in public.I immediately removed myself and went outside to gather myself.I then returned to the party and pulled both of them aside and without cursing- a miracle of self control- told them how I felt and I went home.We went to therapy-which was so biased it was unless- and while in a session,I fired my girlfriend and the therapist.

    • Tamara Star says:

      I’d say that’s a sign of trouble ahead. One rule for me of intimacy is keeping secrets secret and not using someone’s wounding or vulnerabilities against them.

  32. Wow, with this and a recent article pointing out women’s unreasonable expectations in relationships, in the best possible way –

    What website is this, and what has it done with goodmenproject?

    Moar of this kind of thing please

    • OirishM & Jeff Kelley: My thoughts exactly. I’m on the verge of giving up on GMP due to the over-saturation of “not for men anymore” or “how women want men to be” content (and I have been a contributor and writer here in the past). It really saddens me to feel that perhaps my self-care should include leaving GMP, as it is now, behind. As a male survivor of child sexual abuse and incest, this used to be a safe place for me to learn about how to become a man from other men. Tamara’s article is therefore a boon. We need more articles like hers.

  33. I believe Current US gender-feminist inspired changes to law enforcement protocol, are slowly turning heterosexual relationships into very real legal liabilities for guys.
    Every action has a reaction, and American law enforcement’s new protocols that are removing the basic due process rights for guys being accused of “anything a women says he did”, can and will have long term consequences…Men will start walking away from relationships.

  34. What if…(stop me if you’ve heard this before)…we treated individual men and women like individuals, instead of essentialising non-communicative behaviour through a gendered lens.

    • @Heather Not to be a smartass but we don’t do what you suggest because we don’t know how.

      • Say what? You don’t know how to treat people like individual human beings?

        • Tamara Star says:

          @Heather, there are communication style differences AND our brains work differently. There have been many studies done on this. So no, I do not agree that we should treat our men like our women friends when it comes to communication styles. And, the point of my post is that understanding and respecting our differences creates more peace. I don’t treat my grandma the way I treat my brother, etc. I take them both into consideration and while I respect and love them both as individual human beings, there are different ways of communicating.

          • Okay moving away from the frustrated tone of my two comments, and more toward the analytical tone of my blog post…

            If you think that communication styles are biological and gendered in nature, why do you tell women to be more accommodating to men’s communication styles instead of the other way around? Or perhaps you do but just not in this article?

            • Tamara Star says:

              @Heather Much of the coaching I do is with men. I teach them how to best communicate with women and there is an accomodation that happens. It happens for both sexes…we’ve got to meet one another half way and communicate in a way that we’re heard.

            • So then, what are the suggestions you give to men to make them accommodating to the communication style you think is inherently feminine?

            • That is a good question HeatherN.

            • Tamara Star says:

              @heather I work with men one on one on this subject. This post wasn’t about that subject. If you want a session with me, contact me. If you want to write about this subject, I highly recommend it. But this post wasn’t about that subject.

        • @Heather I can’t speak for anyone but myself.Seriously do you have the ability,at all times and in all contexts, to treat everyone as an individual? That is virtually impossible to do.Mind you, I am not suggesting anything ill of you.Have you had some special training perhaps that has allowed you to resist the very human habit of categorizing?Humans,especially Americans, naturally group like things together.It is a brain thing. It is easy,uses little energy and doesn’t frequently have immediate drawbacks.You and I live in a world where we must navigate group ID AND the dynamic of individualism,though we are seldom aware of it.For instance,one may wish to be treated as an individual who also happens to be a member of a particular faith or other kind of organization or institution.I ask you where does the individual begin,end, and the group identity begin and end? If one doesn’t have adequate knowledge of both:how the individual wants to be treated in both realms what do you do?To achieve the heightened state of empathy necessary to do this,one must be self-awareness,awash in humility and open like an exposed nerve.Doing this, for most of us, would require tremendous brain power and would be exhausting.

  35. Thanks for the article. Something that I think is not often noted is the role women play in reinforcing gender role stereotypes. One example among many: I recently dated a woman who started telling me about her past relationships, as people on dates often do. She told me in a voice dripping with contempt that she ditched her last guy because “he was weak, he cried”. Heaven forbid a man should ever be afraid, sad or even just moved to tears, like a real human being or something. I smiled inwardly and thought how amused she’d be to see me crying in the movies (I do that openly – why not, I like ‘chick flicks’). My point is, there are thousands like her, an army of women ready to smack men back into line, then complain that the men don’t ‘open up’. Very funny.

    • Theorema Egregium says:

      Forgive my curiosity, but how did it turn out with this woman? Was it the last date you had with her?
      If I had been in that position, I would not have smiled inwardly, but chuckled outwardly (I do that when the world around me gets to crazy to believe) and paid the bill and walked out on her right on the spot. With a smile. I’ve done so before. It feels very empowering.

    • Was the comment really gendered? I mean, some people think crying is a weakness, or crying because of a relationship ending is weak, and so on. All this is ridiculous, but some people do think like that. So maybe she just meant that crying in this situation was being weak? Because by your comment I can’t see the sexism.

  36. This is a nice article. However, it makes one very common mistake.

    The assumption is that men process their emotions differently simply because they were socialized to do so. Like if we were allowed to let it out, we would prefer that and do it more. What this ignores is that for probably most men, we get feedback from our bodies, and that feedback tends to tell us that experiencing very strong emotions is uncomfortable, painful, and often interrupts what we want – it works against us. Hence the age old practice to help men control their emotions more. It isn’t simply some weird social project – it is incredibly helpful to learning to be who you want to be in the world. Typically, men are taught (often by older and wiser men) to control either through suppression or, more preferably, through channeling their feelings into work or into creative expression (we often forget how many men pursuit art, poetry, painting, and music – regular men, not just the famous ones).

    In any case, I am not claiming that this is the final, most mature way to be. But because women don’t understand that this is actually a preferred way of being, particularly when we’re young – too much emotion is painful – they don’t get the quiet and non-dramatics many men prefer (except perhaps anger, because that is an easier emotion for male bodies to process). As a man ages, he learns to let his emotions open up more, but it isn’t because there was necessarily anything in the first part of his life that went wrong.

    • To an extent I agree with you that men process emotions differently than women, but we should be aware of what is nature vs. nurture. Yes, we will never become good girlfriends, but we can undo some of our social conditioning and learn to better embrace and express our emotional aspects of being. We are more and grander than our conditioning and woman can assist us in that process. Men have to want to explore their emotions for their personal reasons, not just as a tactic to get laid or some domestic peace.

      • Thanks John and Mark

        Men have to want to explore their emotions for their personal reasons, not just as a tactic to get laid or some domestic peace.

        And also, men have to want to explore their emotions for their personal reasons, and not have it used as some kind of “emotional blackmail” to increase our domestic workload.

  37. This is a good Article … it does not go far enough… to the Place where Men are Shamed and have their vulnerabilities USED AGAINST THEM LATER…

    OR Address the Issues of “Chivalrous Program Response” where a Woman’s Fear (Real OR Imagined) is USED to Trigger Aggression and Punitive Punishment by Other Men or Women , against Men on a Regular basis Creating a Shame Based Environment that keeps Men Guarded ALL THE TIME.

    There is Also an Atmosphere in these Spaces … that Women are Morally and Emotionally Superior to men… which is also separating the empowerment of All every time this happens.

  38. Jeff Kelley says:

    Thank you. We need to have more people like you and for you to get more of that message out all . Your the only one that I’ve ever heard that men are more then what they think they are. We need to give all people a chance both men and women .

  39. KatyElaine says:

    I think that this is very condescending. Most adults have to grow up and be part of an adult world – with interaction and communication and all that stuff – having come through a preceding lifetime of hurts. Why do men get a buy on their pain, exactly? Should women get a buy on theirs just because of the particulars of being female? If so, should we just say that all adults can be excused for being trapped in their own personal expressions of childish pains? What is the point of adulthood, then?

    We are all excused – act however – no need to grow up.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @Katy, No one gets a “buy” as you say on their pain. My point is that we all have pain and understanding that we all process it differently creates a bridge between the sexes. We don’t treat our dogs like cats so why treat men like our women friends or visa versa. I sure as hell wouldn’t want my ex to treat me like his male friends.

      • KatyElaine says:

        I think in interpersonal relationships you extend compassion where it is most appropriate in that relationship, if that makes sense. I know many women wounded and unable to communicate and many men who communicate beautifully – and the other way as well. In most cases, I don’t particularly care to change the way communication happens; when I do care, I would be remiss to approach that in a way based on gender.

        I would hope that my partner would have the maturity to treat every person with whom he has a relationship as an individual. This may be your opinion, but fostering or supporting sexism is a very uncomfortable thing for me. I don’t think that it helps our collective social evolution to say that one gender is excused for a certain bad behavior simply because that is the way it is – male or female. We all know what good behavior is, why shouldn’t we simply expect and work for that in all of our relationships?

        • I didn’t read this article with the intent that it was pointing out good behaviour from bad.
          I read it more as it was emphasizing that people are different, and that there are trends in that difference that somettimes are more prevalent in one gender than in another.
          And because people think, act, behave, and interpret differently, we should be able to give them the benefit of a doubt, should they not act exactly the way we expected them to.

          That’s my take on this. But then again, I may be all wrong.

          • KatyElaine says:

            I appreciate your take on this, FlyingKal. Unfortunately, I get stuck on the instruction for women on how to modify their behavior to accommodate the male in their life’s lack of communication skills. After your wrote that, I went back and read the piece and came away with the same opinion.

            I completely agree with your statement as an observation of human communication, but did not get that out of this essay.

            • @KatyElaine

              I think you are being unfair because you are trying to equate “hurt” with “hurt” across gendered experiences in a way that doesn’t work in real life.

              Let me offer an example: the vast majority of women I have known, from my mother to my girlfriend, to the most casual female acquaintance, have struggled to some extent with body image issues that (in the most general terms!) the men in my life do not struggle with. Nonetheless, I can recognize that we live in a society that can be more demanding of female body conformity than it is of male body conformity. As a result, I cut my girlfriend slack for stressing out over her weight – I tell her it does not matter to me, and I wish it did not matter to her, but I do NOT demand that she wake up tomorrow and be fully confident in her body regardless of her appearance.

              Yet, from your comments here (and maybe I’m misreading them, I don’t know?) you seem to think its okay for us to DEMAND that men wake up tomorrow and just ignore all of society’s messages that “real men don’t cry” and “real men are stronger than emotions.” Would you likewise think it’s okay to demand that all women simply get over any body image issues that they may have received from society’s messages towards them? I hope you would not. I hope you would recognize that in both instances our society is projecting a potentially harmful message, and we should give each other space for the purpose of dealing with stress caused by that message.

            • Tamara Star says:

              @lafondm AMEN

          • Tamara Star says:

            @flyingKal Thank you

        • Tamara Star says:

          @kalainerene I definitely do not support sexism. And yes, we should expect good behavior from both sexes~of course.

  40. Wow. Great article and thanks for writing it. This something I definitely see in many men including myself, my dad, many of my friends, and most of my uncles. Men that for the most part have shut down; it seems like the only emotions men are allowed to express are lust, anger, and grim determination. This is depressing to expect half of the population to be unfeeling rockmen. So, thank you, for being so understanding and bringing society closer to finding a brighter day.

  41. Correction: Women being patient with men is part of the reason patriarchy still exists. Not the whole reason.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @EJ please. Give me a break. BOTH sexes need to be patient with one another. This kind of complaining is what continues the great divide.

    • To expand on everyone’s argument against yours EJ, it’s not fair to put “patriarchy” on all men. You can put that on men in high power who set the trends and standards. There have been numerous studies showing that extremely powerful men such as political figures, very successful businessmen, and the like usually have very different brains then most. Actually a lot of them can be considered to have something very wrong with them to the point of psychosis because getting into those positions usually takes a lot of moral and ethical compromises that frankly, a lot of men aren’t willing to make. But we live in a world where everything is a trend from these figures. It’s a problem with society as a whole, both sexes that allow these people to become so successful that they are allowed to set the rules the way they have been. Patriarchy is a problem with the species, not one sex.

    • Jingleheimer says:

      “Patriarchy” is a fallacious term because it assumes that a Victorian coal miner held inherent social power over even the Queen, by virtue of gender alone.

    • EJ…being patient with abusive behavior (or patriarchy) is not the same as being patient with men. It’s the same as it is with our female friends…would you be “patient” with a woman who is being a bitchy drama queen? Probably not. But you WOULD be patient with a woman who is experiencing confusion or pain…even if she is reacting differently than you would. In short, being patient with men is absolutely not a problem. Being patient with stupid, misogynistic IDEAS AND BEHAVIORS is a problem. I think it is easy to become confused between hating a person and hating a behavior. :)

    • I was wondering how many comments down I’d find something like this. I’m both impressed and disappointed.

  42. Theorema Egregium says:

    The article’s subtitle clearly says: “This isn’t about the men that hurt on purpose, men that rape, or men that abandon their families. This is about the average Joe, the guy that loved his mama, tries his best and is still mystified by those of us that are female.”
    The fact that you chose to ignore that completely and talk about abusive partners instead is saying a lot about you. Or do you even assume that men usually are abusive?

    If you feel that decent, modern men who only want to do their very best and make the people around them happy are STILL too poisoned with patriarchal ideas (which might be the case, I don’t know for sure), I’ll give you a hint:
    Your strategy of “readucating” men by scolding, shaming, derision and condescending righteousness will get you nowhere. You cannot batter and shame good men into being better men. It will only make them into bitter, resentful men.

  43. CharlieOneFour says:

    Wait a sec, EJ, I thought that patriarchy hurts men too. I thought that masculinity norms encourages poor behaviour in men like hiding emotion.

    Shouldn’t you be patient with these men instead of forcing more patriarchy on them?

    Oh wait, despite the fact that the author stated explicitly that she is not talking about men who hurt on purpose, you decided to bring the conversation back to female victims of domestic violence. Your prejudice is showing and it’s not a pretty sight.

  44. Tamara Star says:

    @pikeamus Spend some time reading the research. Our brains fire differently, process info differently etc. I’ve never suggested we put up with bad behavior or abuse. In fact the first paragraph spells that out. I’m suggesting we have different communication patterns. Watch toddlers, you can see it there.
    http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/men-women-different-brains1.htm
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/07/26/male-brain-men-and-women-brain-anatomy_n_3645108.html
    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2313138/Ever-think-halfs-brain-wired-differently-New-research-reveals-youre-right.html

  45. Tamara Star says:

    @EJ
    Do some research. There’s plenty of Neuro research showing our brains fire differently. My suggesting we be patient with our men and the differences between us is the same advice I give my male clients when talking about their wives. My first paragraph excludes the abusers and the bad behavior. Telling someone to be patient with someone else isn’t rhetoric. I’ve written about domestic abuse AND the fact it isn’t always physical. Frankly, your comments point to the fact that you’re hypervigilent and looking for what’s wrong vs. what’s right. If we continue to look for what’s wrong with our men, we’re going to see it. Don’t be ridiculous assuming I would recommend women be patient with abusive behaviors….I’m talking about the average Joe that is trying to make sense of us. Just like us women trying to make sense of our men. Patience does wonders for both sexes.

  46. if men stuff emotions and not cry it can have disastrous effects on a mans physical health.
    While feminists have a point in blaming patriarchy for this. Yes young boys and men get the a lot of the messages such as not cry. As a man it is good to be cognizant how masculinity can have toxic effects. For example not crying and “never let them see you sweat” from other men.
    However, women also reinforce the traditional gender role which does not afford men the liberty to show vulnerability.
    Many women can say they want men to be vulnerable but I don’t believe its genuine. Women as much as men reinforce the traditional “toxic masculinity” in this culture. For example, a lot of women are still attracted to the “Rambo” bad boy. While I do not agree with a lot of the PUA movement the fact is it is so popular now because the have seminars teaching men to stop being soft nice guys and be more confident “bad boys”.

    While I am not solely blaming women for reinforcing toxic masculinity, they are an equal culprit along with men in reinforcing toxic masculinity. After all what human being male or female wouldn’t want a situation where you are allowed to show vulnerability and you have a significant other of the opposite sex who is the strong “rock” in a crisis or traumatic situation. Many men are angry with women because they feel women reinforce traditional male gender roles while men are forced to hold in their emotions while women get to release them and feel them. Many men are finding this double standard unfair. There are many men I know that will cry and show emotion in front of other men especially close friends but will not cry and stuff their emotion in front of women because they think women will think they are less of a man who could not protect them in a crisis. Men are perturbed because while men reinforce toxic masculinity, women reinforce it as well. The whole male as protector one who does not cry meme is predicated on being strong and able to protect women. No wonder in many mens groups that was formed in the 1990’s with the Robert Bly “Iron John” movement men started to cry and be vulnerable because the groups were men only without women around..

  47. Ty Sevrens says:

    A friend of mine posted this article on her Facebook page and I’ve just recently gone through a very difficult separation with a woman I love very deeply.

    It’s incredible the parallel’s here in what Tamara’s written, to what we have just experienced. As a man who’s experienced a great deal of turmoil in his life, I’ve often ‘reacted’ to what I feel is a misunderstanding of what I’m trying to express when speaking to a woman. The constant ‘interruption’ of my thought process .. mid-sentence has got to be the most common and it’s so frustrating to not be able to articulate an emotion when my partner seems to always have to cut in.

    I realize that is totally normal female behavior.. been around it enough to know.. but it had a huge impact on our relationship. I absolutely shut down and never shared with her.

    As an example.. she wanted us to go to counseling.. I got cold feet and needed some time.. it took me a couple of months to come to terms with the need for this counseling and I told her I was ready to do it. She refused to go.. and has now for months. I was and am devastated by this. How was I to know that my initial reaction was going to cost me the love of my life? I had no idea. She didn’t see that I needed time.. but my love for her was and is so strong that I pushed through my initial fears and was determined to do whatever we needed to be better together moving forward.

    Now.. we’re apart. Broken heart. :(

    Thanks for this article.. it has helped me greatly this morning.
    Ty Sevrens

    • Hang in there, Ty, and keep feeling and keep talking. I and millions of men know exactly how you feel today. You’re going to feel better. You will make sense of it and you will get stronger. This doesn’t come from shutting down and closing up, it comes from becoming confident in who you are and shouting it from the rooftops. There are GOBS of women who will hear you and respect you for it.

    • Tamara Star says:

      You’re welcome @Ty and thank you for writing. I’m sorry for your heart. Have you shared this with her? Perhaps this comment of yours?

  48. Tom Brechlin says:

    I have to say that I’m sure glad that I was born when I was and that beck when I was dating my wife, things weren’t so freaking complicated. It’s like people are having to learn how to be people. Things these days are way too complicated for me.

    Did anyone listen and/or read 70 Years of Happiness – Reed and Allene’s Pro Tips for Marriage ? Talk to people who have been married for a long time and you’ll understand. But we live in such a “me” society, people are too busy caring about themselves then others. “Narcissism” comes to mind. What do you get when two narcissists get married? A divorce. And with stats showing a 50% divorce rate ….

    Although I comment Tamara for her efforts, it’s sad that we need “life coaches” at all.

    • hi Tom

      As a divorced women i dislike to be shamed and called a narcissist by anyone .
      What do you Tom know about living in an other persons shooe?
      Narcissism is a personalty disorder, and is we can recoqnize it traits of it when we see persons that brag about himself. .

      • Tom Brechlin says:

        Iben, I don’t understand why you’re personalizing this. There is a saying we use on the unit, “if it doesn’t apply, let it fly.” I was simply expressing my views and how I have seen things change in the 58 years of my life.

        Side note … my comment to Tamara was supposed to have read “commend”… not comment

        • Tom Brechlin: “If it doesn’t apply, let it fly.” Thanks for adding that. I need to adopt that, as I have a bad hyper-vigilant problem with taking generalized things too personally, when they actually don’t apply to me. As a survivor, if I can adopt this concept (a wonderful woman I know calls it “khaki that stuff”, as I dislike and won’t wear khaki), then I wouldn’t be spending energy on offense that I could be saving for healing. And thanks for the work you have done to help youth, also. I hope you enjoy having more family time, though, as you said in another comment.

          • Tom Brechlin says:

            WWR, Thank you for the kind words. Funny thing about working with these kids, they’ve actually taught me a lot of things … more then they could even imagine. I am going to miss them, but being at an alternative school, I will still be working with kids but on a different level. Additionally, I’ll be working at a charitable organization which includes working a crisis call center.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @brechlintom I agree. Believe or not, I agree. My grandparents were happily married for 67 years. My grandpa said his secret was never taking her for granted or assuming he knew everything about her. (ie: he stayed engaged and interested in her as a person) My grandma said her secret was knowing what she didn’t like about him before she married him and deciding she could put up with it. lol Interesting perspective but bottom line was…she knew his flaws and accepted them. They were deeply in love…went through tough times, came out the other side and held hands until the end. I believe in good men and good women. I also believe there are some mighty damaged assholes of both sexes. Bottom line, be vulnerable, own your shit and be willing to be patient with one another keeping the relationship itself as most important vs being right. I’ve been married once, proposed to 6 times. I believe in love and refuse to become bitter and closed down regardless of past hurts and disappointments. Too many people today want to play the victim role. To me, that’s our biggest problem…pointing the finger. And yes, I have been victimized. By others and myself. Thank you for your comment. I’ll check out 70 years of happiness.

    • Tom,

      Some of us don’t actually believe in “marriage” for life. Some of us write our own vows. Some of us choose a life coach because we don’t settle for the status quo and choose to think for ourselves and unfortunately what is “sad” is that our culture doesn’t necessarily encourage that and so coaches can help individuals navigate, support and encourage their own thoughts. Some of us have more to offer the world than small mindedness.

      Wake up bud. It’s VERY narcissistic to say ” it’s sad that we need “life coaches” at all.” as in your perspective is that of the worlds. A non narcissistic way of saying that which would show that you are capable of owning your experience would be “I am sad that we need life coaches at all.”

  49. I fail to see how the anecdote provided above proves any kind of “difference.” The boy was happy at first, and stumbled on a painful memory. Children of both sexes can shut down when confronted by such memories, especially in front of strangers or acquaintances. Boys certainly don’t have a a monopoly on that.

    The problem with this article is that it infers, as a starting point, that men are “broken”, “stuck” or “developmentally challenged”, and that women need to coddle them until they are ready and able to communicate as complete human beings.

    I’m not one to defend the patriarchy; certainly, men have imposed horrendously upon women over thousands of years. But men have also acted as providers and protectors. Men are not only socialized to bear a lot, and to bear it in silence — they are expected to do so by the women in this society, some of whom, paradoxically, want them to share all their feelings at the same time.

    “Bucking up” is often the only way one can face extremely difficult situations and responsibilities; adversity is not something that simply goes away with a wave of the hand. Focusing on the goal, and nothing else (instead of dwelling on and sharing one’s of fears and uncertainties) is sometimes the only way to overcome this adversity.

    If we were to present women with two stereotypical male extremes — the “strong, silent, assertive alpha” and the “soft, gentle, caring, communicative” male, how many of the women reading this article would honestly pick the latter over the former as a potential life mate?

    • Tamara Star says:

      @revelation Those are some mighty big assumptions from my post. I’m out.

      • Sorry, but ” men are “broken”, “stuck” or “developmentally challenged”, and that women need to coddle them until they are ready and able to communicate as complete human beings” was exactly what I took away from this article too.

        I understand the call for (…mutual) understanding, but this paints a very simplistic (and condescending) picture of men and women,

        • Tamara Star says:

          @Kay I find it interesting that you as a woman make this assumption when most of the comments on here are from men saying yes, thank you.

        • Tamara Star says:

          @Kay it’s interesting that you created those words and those meanings out of my words. Sad actually.

        • Kay your position argues that communicating like a human being involves having and using skillsets that are more natural to women.Like talking about one’s emotions…alot.Sharing is the general term I think.There are so many problems with this belief that men are,on average, emotionally inept and poor communicators as compared to women.It is nothing more than bias.Having a car with a bigger motor doesn’t make one a better driver.Usually,possessing a large motor also requires that one have bigger brakes too.Obviously,if just puruses GMP,as just ONE example in the world,there are plenty of men who communicate well:even as their knuckles are dragging on the ground.There are some who seem to communicate just like women.Women, are not better communicators just because they talk more frequently than men.Some of this debate centers around volume of communication.Why use ten words when five will suffice? Good communication actually demands a skill that is often not discussed,listening.

      • Wow Tamara – you really stirred something up with your post. Looking at the variability in the replies I almost wondered if everybody had been reading the same post! But I guess that is the problem with semantics – people view things through the prism of their own personal experience; and everybody is different. That said I once spent an amazing lunch with a woman whose work was researching gender differences and her perspective was that there was very little real difference. I started off more or less holding the opposite position – but she ‘won’ the debate hands down. Since then I have continued to be fascinated by this topic – and after all it is the basis of so much misunderstanding and suffering in the world, and my perspective (informed by my spiritual beliefs and experience) is that if there is a ‘purpose’ in being born/manifested as a human being it is to experience consciousness – so from the perspective of an ‘individuated’ sentient beings so we are ALL all given a wide range of behavioral possibility. At one end of this spectrum lies openness & receptivity, empathy, connectedness, and ‘feelings’, whilst at the other end is strength, assertiveness, the capacity for single-mindedness, and action. Although both XX and XY people are intended to have access to the complete range of behavioral possibilities for a number of reasons (mainly physiological perhaps) most (but not all) XX people tend to be more in tune with the empathic receptive end of the spectrum while the XY people (mostly – but again not all) favored the more assertive/active end. They were intended as polar opposites after all. The other thing to keep in mind here is that the Y in XY is merely another X with ONE ‘arm’ lopped off – so if you do the maths it would seem that men have 87.5% sameness with women who (contrary to the Biblical version) are the ‘base’ model for humanity. Now at some distant time in our history I suspect men lost touch with their ‘Xness’ (for want of a better word), developed a warped version of the assertive end of the behavioral spectrum, became frightened about where that left them, and then set about subjugating women because from the ‘warped’ perspective what you no longer understand and know is best dealt with by controlling it. As a result of this shift in the consciousness of the XY people they declared that the empathic/feeling end of the behavioral spectrum was the sole preserve of the XX people – retaining the other end as theirs. So great was their need to distinguish themselves from the XX people that they denied their own ‘Xness’; stating that to have the qualities of empathy, connectedness, and feeling was a weakness. Thus began a long campaign of denigrating the value of the XX people (or even ‘Xness’) and the XX people were gradually diminished to beings that only existed as an ‘extension’ of the XY people who were (in their own minds – and as they claimed God had decreed) the superior form of sentient being. A further assertion was that the XX people could not have the same degree of ‘intelligence’ –since (in the view of the XY people) intelligence could not co-exist to any significant degree with any being that exhibited ‘feelings’ and were therefore emotional labile. In some societies the fact that XX people bled regularly even led them to being shunned during this period as being ‘unclean’ – and the paranoia went on. Tragically, what the XY people failed to grasp was that by making ‘war’ on the XX people; degrading and diminishing them, (at the same time conveniently forgetting and denying their own Xness), they were also making war on themselves – rendering themselves empty and lacking of meaning. To fill that emptiness the XY people increasingly sought ‘power’ – for them an expression of dominance, as well as more material things, and sex – since that (for them) was a most exciting and readily available material experience. XX people were thus increasingly objectified as sex objects, while they (the XY people) objectified themselves as uniquely powerful and the (sole) source of wealth and economic well-being – the ultimate value in the society they had created. Over time they taught the XX people to accept and believe that this was the natural order of things ‘according to God’s plan’. They did not recognize that their submersion in an imbalanced warrior culture – where aggression and even violence were seen as legitimate means for getting respect and power, was also the source of the emptiness and dissatisfaction they continued to feel. Emptiness they attempted to ‘fill’ with more and more material experiences- but with only transient success so that they ended up like rats on a treadmill wired to the superficial values of the material world they had constructed. As a result all sentient beings thus encultured lost touch with their inner world, and the XY people in particular lost touch with their hearts – the now forgotten gateway to experiencing their true nature. I do think Mike’s last comment (If we were to present women with two stereotypical male extremes — the “strong, silent, assertive alpha” and the “soft, gentle, caring, communicative” male, how many of the women reading this article would honestly pick the latter over the former as a potential life mate?) was very valid. The point being that over the millennia it was not just men that were being indoctrinated by the dominant patriarchal cultures around the world – women were being sold the warped (as opposed to the original) model of masculinity as being desirable. I know from my own personal experience that if you are a man and you start operating from the entire behavioral spectrum including the empathic receptive connected end you are are immediately seen as being either a) gay, or b) suffering from gender dysphoria – in other words you are a woman in a man’s body. If you remember SNAGS (sensitive new age guys who made their appearance in response to the feminist revolution) you might also remember that they didn’t last very long. Qualitative behavioral research showed that women quickly became bored with them and turned back to the same old bad boy sort of guys that gave them so much trouble in the first place. Now I realize there is a great deal of generalization here – but that doesn’t make the entire hypothesis invalid. I am a nurse and yoga teacher so I spend most of my time in the company of women; in fact the majority of my friends are women and so I know from personal experience that men have the capacity to communicate really well with women once they break down the enculturation that taught them that feelings are a ‘no-go’ zone. This probably has something to do with the brains capacity for ‘neo-plasticity’ so that once men start to utilize a previously underutilized area it actually starts to develop and resemble the standard ‘female’ brain. So maybe women need to change the way they think and react to men in a pretty significant way – one that allows them to to be attracted to empathic men who explore their inner world, share their feelings, and CONNECT to their partners. ‘Liberated’ strong women (at least in cultures that permit it) operate up and down the behavioral spectrum and perhaps men need to develop the same ability to fluidly operate from any place on the spectrum as the situation requires. There is a myth around that suggests that prior to the existing period of patriarchal dominance there were matriarchal societies that were (eventually) just as toxic as the current patriarchy. Is it too much to hope for a new society where women and men co-exist in harmony and connection? The divine feminine dancing in joy with the sacred masculine?

        • Hi lain

          This was interesting !
          And I agree with this :
          ✺ ‘Liberated’ strong women (at least in cultures that permit it)
          operate up and down the behavioral spectrum and perhaps men need to develop the same ability to fluidly operate from any place on the spectrum as the situation requires.”✺

        • Iain: I greatly appreciated your XX and XY explanation of societal development. I agree on how you explain it, and it helped me understand “patriarchy” better. I do however have to wonder (often) at the phrase “the divine feminine and the sacred masculine”. Most people who use that phrase seem to think “divine” and “sacred” are synonyms and equal labels, but they don’t both mean “god-like beings”. Sacred means something consecrated to a god. Basically, the phrase actually means “a goddess and the object consecrated to the goddess”. “Sacred masculine” doesn’t mean “god”. Why not “the divine feminine and the divine masculine”? Just a thought….

        • Jean Brandt says:

          Yes we can. It is the next step of our species evolution. I am on the intended path of finding that balance. That is why I can see things from both men and women’s perspective.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @Mike They certainly don’t have a monopoloy on that….my article was pointed to one sex for a reason. And to answer your question, I know many women that would choose one over the other….seems you have an assumption that women want the first one. I personally like a combination of both and haven’t found a man in my life that fits into one or the other….we are all shades of all of it. Thanks for your comment

  50. Hugs would be another great form of physical comfort for a man.
    They are very important, in my experience.
    With no type of physical or emotional solace or comfort a man must basically be a robot.
    That’s where I am at.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @andreskiles Thank you for this comment. I got crushed over on the Huffington Post for the same post…men telling me I’m nuts for writing that.

  51. Tamara – Right On.

    For years with my work with men, women and myself I continued to see men struggle to show up. Yes, even in Boulder where I lived many years ago and occasionally return to visit.

    What we often forget that for thousands of years women were left at home raising the girls and boys. As boys we learned by default how to experience and express emotions from a feminine model. Much of our struggle is not with women or ourselves – it’s with the paradigm we grew up in as kids.

    One of my missions is to help men create our own model of how to be emotional in a masculine way. When a man does that he wins and his partner wins.

    Thanks for support men and encouraging women to step into their fear and open their hearts. All the men I know want to love, when a woman allows for that possibility most men will take a risk and step into that new space. Eventually he will be able to do that on his own.

    Owen

    • Tamara Star says:

      @owenmarus Thank you for this comment. My hope is that we all take a risk and step forward without preconceived ideas of our past pain.

    • As a man that was raised by a very affectionate and loving mother, and a quiet and emotionally distant father (he loves us, but in a very reserved kind of way I suppose…), this is exactly what I’m struggling with. I have always been in touch with my emotional side, and it continues to be a problem in my relationships with women.

      Each of them have referred to that quality as a “plus” with the curious addition that “I’m sure somebody else who is more normal than me will love it, you’re perfect”. Yet, they will also admit that they are looking for somebody who is “more of a man”, in their more angry moments calling me a pussy and directly referring to past, unrelated events in which they saw me shed tears. Then they seek out exactly the type of man that girls stereotype, the guy that cares more about himself, the one that knows how to “handle their bullshit”, and that’s a quote. Every guy knows that girls consciously or unconsciously test for this trait with what people in the pickup community call “shit tests” where they see how you react to different emotional responses. They want somebody who will put their foot down and let them know “who’s the boss”. This doesn’t make any sense to me since I was wired and raised to be empathetic and try to work things out and understand them.

      Point is, it doesn’t matter what girls will tell men about what they THINK they want in a man. Girls are ruled by their emotions, and in the end they may be more logically attracted to the type of guy that won’t hurt them and will understand them, but emotionally they are more attracted to the traditional type of male and that side of them always wins. My mother raised me the way she wanted men to be and it has ruined my chances for love.

  52. Hi Mike

    You say:
    ✺“Bucking up” is often the only way one can face extremely difficult situations and responsibilities;
    adversity is not something that simply goes away with a wave of the hand. Focusing on the goal,
    and nothing else (instead of dwelling on and sharing one’s of fears and uncertainties) is
    sometimes the only way to overcome this adversity.”✺

    Many countries have leaders that are women, prime ministers, ministers of defense , finance ministers as well. They seems to cope with fear, uncertainties and danger as well as any man. And they probably have feelings like other women.

    Those countries do well,and theses women cope with crises and dangers .
    You arguments are that to be a good leader you must be socialized to repress and control all feelings like men have traditionally .
    What about Hillary Clinton, Angela Merkel, ……the list is long.

    • Hi Iben,

      I believe that Angela Merkel and Hillary Clinton very rarely show their actual feelings about issues, they must control to maintain a professional appearance. In your statement you suggest that they ‘probably have feelings like any other woman’. This means that you yourself have not witnessed the expressions of these feelings. If they do indeed have these feelings but you have not seen them expressed, the logical conclusion must be that these women keep their feelings in check.

      I believe that women are more than capable of filling roles in all aspects of life and that they cope well with crisis and danger, they will also conduct themselves the way they necessary way to get the job done, and this often means keeping thoughts and feelings to oneself and not being reactionary.

  53. Jeff Kelley says:

    Thank you for what you wrote. I’ve not heard any women as of late say that have anything nice to say about men. That’s the sad part of today. I come from a family that broke up and because of that my mother hated me. The one women that we all should love and trust. But since then I’ve had women treat me as badly if not worse. Please keep up things like what you wrote. Please keep writing things that are nice to men . PLEASE

    • Tamara Star says:

      @moxx82199 Thank you. And please rest assured, there are many many women I know that love men as much as they love women….and they don’t write the future based on a few bad experiences. There are more open hearted, open minded women than not. Same with men… we just hear the horror stories more than we hear the loving wonderful ones.

  54. Isaac George says:

    Astonishingly good piece…it hit me where I live. Recently have been coming out more proactively with women, and being direct and saying what’s in my heart or feelings, and so far the results have been mixed. Some of the responses are less than positive. Maybe it just takes awhile to work the rust off. In any case, this is one area in which radical honesty really can work, and it is shifting my energy in a very positive way. Thanks Tamara!

    • Isaac, I strongly believe that you’ve created a beautiful “filter” for repelling women who don’t deserve you. Stating your value without apology will scare away a lot of women who can’t take the heat of a strong, honest man who is happy to watch her walk away if she doesn’t share his values.

      Mixed responses are exactly what you want. Pleasing everyone is a no-win proposal. Nice going, dude!

    • Tamara Star says:

      @Issac, thank you.

  55. Ty Sevrens says:

    I’ve been following the comments on this article throughout the day and after my post I saw some people just spiral down into utter nonsense. I seriously doubt that Tamara intended for her thoughts to be taken as out of context as they have in some of the responses I’ve read.

    Look.. she’s right.. we’re all wounded. Our entire species is nothing short of insane at times and the simple fact of the matter is that times have changed. Our roles in today’s society have taken on an entire new light.. new meaning… we have new purposes as men and women and there are far too many people out there still hanging their hats on the traditional roles set out by our ancestors.

    I’m actually a pretty wide open man.. I have however felt shamed for the deep emotional bonds I have had with women I have loved. Why should I feel ashamed of loving a woman deeply and wanting to celebrate that love? I shouldn’t. My most recent relationship was beautiful.. but extremely complicated.. both of us clearly experiencing harsh pain from our childhoods and previous marriages. We both experienced abuse in some form. I saw a beautiful woman.. with great potential. I fell madly in love with her. Still am.

    Had I not been so fearful of having a counselor ‘tell’ me how I should behave.. I likely wouldn’t be posting anything here. I’d be happy.. possibly. Let’s face it.. what man likes to be told he should ‘feel’ this way or that way about his woman.. or about anything for that matter. We’ve been raised to believe we can fix everything on our own. I, for one.. grew up in a house where my father raised me.. my mother left when I was 3 years old.. I had no real female nurturing throughout my childhood and I sure as hell had no idea what I was doing in my marriage because as a young boy all I saw was an old school dominant man who ruled the roost.

    Was I mislead? Not entirely.. I’m a solid father.. I love my children.. I provide as well for them as I’m able to..but when it came to accepting help from a woman.. actually listening to her and realizing what she was saying would save us.. I was a fool.. I was too proud.. too ashamed to accept the help staring me right in the face.

    I’m suffering now.. in touch with these feelings of hurt and loss.. and a lot of what I’m reading in people’s posts is short sighted and missing Tamara’s point entirely.

    Do I wish I had another chance to prove to my girl that I am capable of being weak? That I can also be the man she knows me to be.. solid.. her protector.. her provider.. her lover.. damn right I wish for that.

    I’m not too proud anymore because what I’m facing now is a future without the woman I’ve loved for years. Could she have been patient with me? Yes. I’m sure she would admit that herself.. considering I sent her this article and she seems to agree that this is eerily reminiscent of our relationship..

    Point is.. Tamara’s got a solid point and it’s been completely missed by a few readers. I appreciate greatly what she’s written here. It makes a lot of sense.

    T

  56. “I often wonder: Do men reach across the bed for sex when sometimes they’re just seeking solace?”

    yes

    • I thought he reached across the bed for solace in the form of sex?
      But you mean he wants to be hugged?

      • Hi FlyingKal
        If you get rejected because the woman thinks you want sex but you know you want to be held, or wrap your arms around her, then simply tell her.

        The great love of my life melted my heart when he expressed himself with words like this:
        ” I want to hold you naked in my arms”.

        • FlyingKal says:

          Hi Iben,

          It’s often impossible to find the exact words at the right time that will defuse such a situation. Two different people will most likely not react the same way.

          But in the unlikely event of me ever finding myself in bed with a woman again, I will try and remember this.Thanks.

  57. Tamara, thanks for sharing this article. The part about “girlfriend banter” shed some light for me on something my wife and I still have trouble with. We have come back from the brink of divorce with lots of hard work on both our parts, and lots of counseling. One of the areas we still struggle with is that I feel at times I can’t be heard because I am frequently cut off. It is very frustrating because I feel like I am not being given equal opportunity to be heard. It is not always when we disagree, it happens in many of our conversations. I feel like she bulldozes the conversation with questions and comments about what I am saying, before I am finished my thoughts. And God forbid I pause…she jumps right in. My communication becomes very fragmented and ineffective. When I express that I feel cut off, she finds many different reasons why it is something I am doing…talking too much, pausing too often, etc. And when she can’t point to something I am doing wrong, she tells me that is “just how people communicate.” I’ve learned how to listen and empathize, I try hard to show her what she has to say is important to me, yet I still feel like I don’t always get the same consideration. Our relationship is great right now, but this is one thing that won’t seem to go away. I try to be patient, not take it personally, be more concise in my statements, and now that I know this is how she communicates with her girlfriends, maybe it will be a little easier to deal with.

  58. Among other things, this article helped me to understand another reason why I, a single, progressive dad, am much more comfortable being a father to my girls than I think I would be to boys.

  59. Jingleheimer says:

    Thank you, Tamara! This is excellent work! I invite you to further investigate various theories underlying the motivations behind such behaviors.

  60. Tom Brechlin says:

    Okay, I have to throw something into this. The term “patriarchy” has been thrown around a lot and I think that in 2013 it’s time to put that aside. There are facts that show that an overwhelming number of boys are now being raised by women. This is not a new phenomenon. I could very much see the benefits of this kind of article being published on women web sites.

    Regarding being raised in a so called “patriarchal” environment, which I was, I’ve managed to sustain a marriage for 38 years, collectively my brothers and I represent almost 200 years of marriage. I’m really getting tired of blaming patriarchy for every problem society experiences.

    • Theorema Egregium says:

      The way I see it is that today “patriarchy” does not mean the rule of fathers, or even men. The word has changed it’s meaning and is now more or less synonymous with “status quo”. In this way even single mothers can be a part of patriarchy, and they often are. We men have to try to get over the emotional response we get from hearing the word. “Patriarchy” does not necessarily refer to us or our fathers. And “feminism” is not necessarily a fight of women for women. I now also refer to my own struggle for growth and emancipation as “feminism”. Etymology is misleading.

    • Wowza.

  61. @Tamara “Even if we successfully changed them, chances are we wouldn’t be attracted to them anymore.” Ain’t that the truth?! I mean,how many damn times have I done that dance?! The man changes for the woman.In good faith,he submits and humbles himself for the good of the relationship,only to be betrayed by someone who, frankly, is emotionally unrealized and cut-off from real intimacy.However, a false religion has taught them,by virtue of their gender, that they are superior to men in this realm.

    • Tamara Star says:

      oooh @ogwriter I appreciate your comments but careful on that last sentence…it’s a big assumption. “they” can’t possibly describe all women or all men.

  62. Many times for a man as described in the article, reaching out for sex is an attempt at absolution and escape from expectation. To embrace him with respect and humanity is the opportunity to release his chains.

  63. Wow. This article is really striking a chord all over the net. Thanks for writing it.

  64. Tamara Star says:

    Well, my post has created a little internet storm. There are even chat rooms now discussing my post. (well, their interpretation)

    After sifting through 203 comments on just one site, I’m convinced that people see and hear what they want to see and hear.

    People look for reasons to pull the victim card again, angry people look for reasons to be angry, haters look for reasons to hate….it’s pretty frustrating and depressing.

    The rage that came out when I asked readers to have patience with the opposite sex and our differences (I coach this for both sides), communicate in ways that can be heard by the other and to know that sometimes we process our emotions differently has been the match that lit the fire.

    I realize there are a lot of wounded, disappointed people out there.

    It takes balls, courage, faith and strength to get up again after being knocked down vs. throwing in the towel and staying angry, hurt, or victimized.

    Every single one of us has had plenty of reasons to stay down on our knees in life, but if we did, then we’d ultimately lose. The abusers, the ones that rape, cheat, lie, steal, hurt and betray…would win.

    But those that DO stand back up ultimately shine brighter than those that don’t, AND they create a beacon for others that aren’t ready or strong enough yet to aspire to do the same.

    Men and Women that stay in the present and see the person in front of them as who they really ARE versus who they’ve played with in the past get my high five.

    Those that don’t categorize ALL women or ALL men as a certain way get my high five.

    And those of you that look for the good, the positive and what’s right in this world and the opposite sex most definitely get my high five.

    Thank you to those of you that have the sheer will, strength and determination to look for what’s right in the opposite sex vs what’s wrong.

    There are far more lovers out there than the haters.

    • Tom Brechlin says:

      Tamara, what you said brought something to mind, something that I had to learn as a counselor with adolescent boys. “Meet these kids where they are at.” And that’s kind of what you’re saying. Be in the present and filter out being judgment, disappointments and expectations. Take them for who they are at that moment.

  65. Scott 'Koda' Dudley says:

    Thank you for writing this.

  66. I’m quite enjoying reading all the comments, not to mention that I quickly posted the original article to share with my friends and family. THANK YOU Tamara for sharing, yet again, your wise thoughts.

    IMHO, understanding how my husband thinks & feels has helped me tremendously in holding compassion for him – there ARE differences between the sexes for many reasons and learning the how’s and why’s of how my husband, and male friends think, react and respond has dramatically improved communication, understanding and connection.

    And, yes, as I learned to hold silence for those 10 seconds, he keeps talking – who knew? 😉

  67. Anissa Duwaik says:

    What a great article! I have found the list of things we can do, right on the mark. I would also like to add, that raising a boy, now 8, who IS sensitive and emotional is very difficult. I’ve found that other kids are not as inclined to hang out with him, which is really, really sad for me to watch. Unfortunately, I have to teach him that when he’s around the other kids, that he has to ‘toughen’ up, or he will be picked on. He’s figured out that he has to act a certain way around other boys, but when he’s around me, he can let his guard down and be himself. I wish I could teach him to be open and emotionally connected all the time, but when being faced with isolation, or worse yet, bullying, we have to accept that our generation of kids may have to be the bridge to the next of men who can be more authentic in their approach to emotional vulnerability.

  68. larry mc kenna says:

    we have to stop genderising ! both sexes are shut off closed up expected to stiff upper lip. lest start looking in terms of eter4nal world pressure for both genders and stop hair splitting it is a general problem rather than secular !

  69. Tom Durkin says:

    Thank you.

  70. The reason that men have trouble opening up and knowing “how to be” is that women want men to be two things that are polar opposites.
    Just watch “Legends of the Fall” for a perfect example of this dichotomy.
    Julia Ormond’s character loves the educated, principled and “marriage material” man out of three brothers. Suddenly, Brad Pitt’s character comes riding over the hill on his horse, driving the cattle home. He’s rugged and dirty, and oozes sex. Or maybe he taps into her primal instincts that he’s got better genes for breeding. At any rate, she wants to be savaged by that man, regardless of his flaws that make him a terrible choice as a partner for life.
    Yeah, that pretty much sums up why, as a man, we don’t know when to be tough and when to be soft. What do you want? Oh, right… you want it both ways.

    Signed,
    Confused, Struggling Man

    • That’s actually a really good example and really true Tristan. I can see that being confusing. I think most women want the marriage-minded man that also brings the excitment. I’m not even sure women always know which one they want, when they want it.

    • I kind of think women feel the same way. Do men want someone whom they can take home to mom and dad, trust to raise their kids, etc.? Or do they want the hottie with the big boobs on the cover of Maxim? What we all really want is someone kind and dependable and fun who maybe goes a little more wild with us behind closed doors. These things aren’t necessarily dichotomous.

  71. Tamara, this article means a lot to me; you should write all the content here (or at least a big hunk of it). Some (not all) women try to stick fish on bicycles and then they get mad that the fish don’t pedal faster. I’m lucky to know women who didn’t mind learning to swim so we could meet on the beach, at least. Please write more for GMP? Your viewpoint is needed badly. I finally got brave enough to peek at the forum for wives, girlfriends, and supporters on MaleSurvivor(dot)org and quickly retreated again. The foul and angry vitriol being spouted about male survivors there by far too many wives and girlfriends who didn’t even seem interested in helping their men deal or heal was appalling. They seemed to be there simply to vilify and grouse about their hardships in “dealing with” their man’s wounded damage. That forum is public, but I hope the survivors don’t go in there much. I won’t go in there again.

  72. Tamara, if my first comment was the “before”, this one is the “after”. I wanted to say thanks one more time for this article. The interruptions and cut-offs I get when I try to discuss things with most women can make me feel unheard and with my abuse background, I either start to fight or shutdown. If I fight and get nowhere, I crumble and start apologizing. It’s not pretty. Sometimes it’s just easier to give in and apologize because I’m simply outgunned in the rapid-fire communication department. When trying to express my feelings or viewpoint, I get interrupted because some portion of what I said has offended or upset, and the women don’t wait to hear the complete thought. If I respond to a question and begin, cautiously, to explain, the women cut in, combatively or not, and I shutdown; continuing is very hard after that. Hearing women talk to each other also baffles me. I don’t know how they keep track. It’s like a verbal tennis game in a mosh pit. I got in a fight the other day over a misunderstanding (me misunderstanding her because I view things through my abuse lens), but we’ve since talked it out. She read this article and it’s comments, and I asked her to please try out your advice. She agreed to try it. Thanks, and again, please write more for GMP, the men here need your viewpoint badly. I’m a survivor of child sexual abuse and incest, and I need to learn how to be a man almost from scratch. GMP has, in many male opinions gotten away from helping men be good men. It’s become more like “how women want men to change in order to be called good men”. This article is the first I’ve seen in a long time that can actually help men. Thank you so much! – WRR

    • Hi WRR,
      Your post is awesome in it’s honesty and openness. I like that in a man.

      This caught my eye:
      “GMP has, in many male opinions gotten away from helping men be good men. It’s become more like “how women want men to change in order to be called good men”. This article is the first I’ve seen in a long time that can actually help men.”

      Tamara’s article give specific points to women on “how to change themselves” in order to better meet the needs of the men in their life. GMP has many, many articles for men trying to explain how WE can change for the same reasons.

      The key to me is that any person’s decision to change themselves MUST be done first because it aligns with their values and who THEY want to be for themselves and those they love. I hope the women who read Tamara’s article choose to make those changes for those reasons. I’d say the same to men.

      • Thank you, Steve, for this response. I mostly agree with you, that we have to want to change first, for ourselves. But we can’t change at all in ways that would help them, if we can’t translate what the women in our lives are saying to us. As for GMP lately, with the exception of articles from survivors, it feels to me like a 80/20 split, with minority being articles like this one. I need more like this. On a site that once was “for men, by men, with women participating”, that has changed. I simply don’t come here as often now because it no longer helps me to do so; and too much of the content is not conducive to my healing or my learning of how to be a good man. This saddens me a lot. I am writing an essay from a survivor’s viewpoint on “mancave” concepts when one never got to be a “real boy” and is trying to learn to be a good man. GMP has changed so much, that I am now beginning to look for a friendlier safe space to submit my works to. I sincerely hope this site will become more equal again down the road. For now, Tamara’s article is helping me in a direct and practical concrete way. Basically, she rocks.

  73. Good piece.

    You mention, “Men aren’t naturally encouraged to release their pain and express hurt, so to survive, they add armor to their hearts and stand guarded against further pain.” Men are not just not “naturally encouraged…”, they are actively discouraged. But emotions are powerful, and what is suppressed in one quadrant may pop out in another. People in general accept anger from men as being natural; so a lot of us begin to express our pain as anger. It gives us an outlet that keeps our hearts and brains from exploding. Sadly, it does a lot of harm.

  74. Joe Smith says:

    Great sentiment but it’s scary that “men aren’t women, don’t expect them to be or treat them as such” is anything new to anyone.

  75. Peter Toluzzi says:

    This gulf between the sexes is especially visible when you look at those under or around 40 years old now. A lot of this separation is a clear result of Reagan’s 80s and the social change that came across America then: the appearance of AIDS, the rise of the “just say no” Religious Right supporting abstinence and re-shaming girls who liked sex or acted sexy… To those of us with five or six decades on this planet, we can see that it wasn’t always this way, doesn’t need to be this way, and is this way mainly because Reagan’s 80’s tried to push SO MANY genies back in the bottle. The hippies were dirty jokes, Vietnam never happened, greed and selfishness were good again, any girl who couldn’t prove she was wearing a bra was branded a slut, gays were a threat to your personal health.. and, most of all, let’s not talk at ALL about Limits to Growth or Climate Change (which were both VERY visible as global problems in the 70’s – anyone remember the hole in the ozone layer that developed over the southern hemisphere then?). So this artificial separation between the genders, coming right after the loving and cooperative possibilities that were explored in the 60s and 70s, it’s a modern created phenomenon, designed to make us unhappy, and to keep us divided and conquered. Smart articles like this are a good start at observing that we are all humans, all had painful childhoods whose baggage we are still dealing with, and live in a society with deeply mixed messages and virtually no support for mutual personal growth – which is, after all, at direct odds with high productivity and lots of money to be given to or taken by our leaders to benefit the 1%… are you getting a different sense of the picture yet?

  76. It also goes much deeper. There is also a lot of reverse sexism. On TV shows the man is often a complete imbecile while the woman is omniscient.

    Women can also help by stopping trying to overanalyze every look, movement, breath, etc. One reason men don’t open up is because we get tired of being psychoanalyzed.

    Y’all also need to lighten up. Among our male friends, if you piss me off, I’ll tell you to stop being a dick. A few choice words may get tossed about, then we’re over it and things are back to normal.

    • Talon, I agree that too many men are shown as being imbeciles. But i don’t think the protrayls of women are any better. I don’t see it as the woman being omniscient so much as them being protrayed as negative, shrews. And in truth, imbecile or shrew, neither are shown supporting each other that much. Simply reverting to their bad characterization.

      • While women in these portrayals come of as bitchy to their men they are always presented as the competent and intelligent ones and the ones who are right and their bitchyness is not framed as negative but is celebrated as natural vis a vis the stupid man. So while there is some truth to women not being portrayed positive the picture most certainly is not equal.

    • Oh, one more thing. I also don’t think it’s fair to expect your female partner to respond like your male friends. I don’t want my male partner to treat me like his male friends either even though I want to be his friend. Which is one of the points Tamara was making about women expecting men to be like their female friends.

  77. I thank you very much for the article, it has put into words what i have thought for many years now. Something however that I would have liked to see included, is that many women feel as though they are simply unable to talk to their significant other. So from my experience women will go and talk to their female friends or to their female family members about problems that are going on. Which is fine, but what this does is gives them a different mindset about the situation than what it actually is. When they talk to their family members and friends they of course get a lot of support from them which unfortunately can be harmful to the overall relationship. If they are having issues and going to other people about it rather than talking through their issues with the other person in the relationship (the only other person that should really matter in a relationship) women can end up with a preset thought that its just not working or they are not meant to be together. When really the man is just wanting to talk but they cant get a word in edgewise because when they finally get to a talking point with the man it is too late and their mind is hard to change. So I feel a lot of the time relationships end because women get obvious support with their problems, but leave with a mindset that may not be 100% correct because the man a lot of the time may not even know that these issues are going on, because of the simple fact that the woman feels as though the man they are with is impossible to talk so they don’t try.

  78. I thank you very much for the article, it has put into words what i have thought for many years now. Something however that I would have liked to see included, is that many women feel as though they are simply unable to talk to their significant other. So from my experience women will go and talk to their female friends or to their female family members about problems that are going on. Which is fine, but what this does is gives them a different mindset about the situation than what it actually is. When they talk to their family members and friends they of course get a lot of support from them which unfortunately can be harmful to the overall relationship. If they are having issues and going to other people about it rather than talking through their issues with the other person in the relationship (the only other person that should really matter in a relationship) women can end up with a preset thought that its just not working or they are not meant to be together. When really the man is just wanting to talk but they cant get a word in edgewise because when they finally get to a talking point with the man it is too late and their mind is hard to change. So I feel a lot of the time relationships end because women get obvious support with their problems, but leave with a mindset that may not be 100% correct because the man a lot of the time may not even know that these issues are going on, because of the simple fact that the woman feels as though the man they are with is impossible to talk to so they don’t try.

  79. Your tips are good communication tools for both sexes and any relationship, romantic or not. We can all be better listeners by actively listening, giving a person a chance to speak, and paying attention to how others are communicating through body language as well as words. We can also solve conflict in an assertive manner and ensure that we give each other space to deal with emotions, if necessary, when conflicts do arise.

    I think that many of the negative behaviours you are telling women to stop are really passive-aggressive or aggressive ways of dealing with conflict, perhaps also engrained by society. While men are encouraged to confront conflict as it happens, women are encouraged to deal with conflict in a more passive-aggressive way, perhaps by venting to friends instead of confrontation. But it’s important for both sexes to engage in assertive communication regardless of how they were brought up. We know to communicate assertively in other aspects of our life but perhaps romantic relationships just somehow tend to bring up old behaviour patterns from our past.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @pink.lady.jenny Yes, that’s a tough one. Girls are taught to be nice, polite and to keep the peace. A recipe for passive aggressive behavior absolutely. Thank you for commenting.

  80. “We can understand that a closed down reaction during a fight is most likely embarrassment and pain as our men realize they’ve disappointed us. We can take a step back and not take the lack of immediate communication as anger and instead, take a time out.”

    As a man myself, who often has this reaction when confronted in a fight and realizing that I’m wholly or partly in the wrong, this is very true. I’m glad that at least someone realizes this, because the continued verbal pushing/battering when we’re trying to process and figure out how to make things right just makes things worse.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @darkmanticore Yes, I’m hearing this over and over and over again. That our communication style during debates/ie: fights can be overwhelming. I’m definitely guilty of that one in my past. THank you for your comment.

    • If you explained how someone had hurt you or let you down and they responded by doing nothing, would that be satisfying to you?

      I think that you have to know that the “continued verbal punishing/battering” that you’re referring to is not excessive, but rather the response of someone who has had no indication that their words had even gotten through. She continues to explain because ‘shutting down’ looks exactly like not understanding or not caring. Is it likely that if you gave some indication that you understood, rather than just shutting down, that the conversation would progress?

      • Jason Hartwick says:

        Wylee. The whole point to this article and this comment is that that is not how men are programmed. That is not how men communicate. If men do not HAVE to be changed, why are you suggesting a fundamental change in men? This is why so many men rebel against the idea of equality. We say “but if everyone is fine the way they are and should be treated equally, why is it that all the changes have to be made by men?” and women (not to be disparaging, but true) like you respond with “but this change would be easier for women, so it must be the best way”.

        • But shutting down isn’t a type of communication, it’s a lack of communication. There’s nothing being passed fron one person to another. I don’t have a problem with different communication styles, but shutting down is the opposite of communication that makes a person feel loved and respected.

          • Jimcracky says:

            But, Wylee, shutting down IS a form of communication. It’s saying: “I need time. I need space to think about what you’re saying. I’m overwhelmed with what’s happening here and I want to think about it.” Why don’t you trust your guy enough to give him some space and see if he returns to it a little while later? Odds are he will if he’s a decent guy. If not, you can always bring it up again – calmly and compassionately if you care about the relationship at all – by saying, “I’m still feeling a need to settle this issue. Can we talk about it now?”

            • While I certainly think it’s legitimate to need a minute or an hour or a day to process things (and it’s not only men who are wired that way), if I’m willing to curb the expression of my desire to hash everything out immediately in order to better communicate with my partner as he needs, is it not appropriate for him to learn to SAY “I want to talk about this with you, but I need to be alone with it for a little while” rather than just leaving the house and making gestures that seem like the conversation is closed and is not welcome to be restarted? I don’t think this article is about allowing everyone to continue as they are–I think it’s about understanding others and communicating with them in a way that makes them feel comfortable to be more open, to change the “men shouldn’t be openly emotional” paradigm.

              I think the comment above stating that “men don’t need to change” is laughable when this article is clearly telling women to change, and as a woman I see nothing wrong with that–everyone needs to learn to relate better to other people and see their needs for what they are rather than what they just look like. That’s what a good relationship is–fitting better and better together as the years go by through learning and adapting to one another.

            • John Anderson says:

              @ Cyndle

              Part of the problem might be that she expects feedback while she’s berating him. That’s why Tamara says pause and give him a moment to respond because he might be waiting for you to finish.

              The other thing is listen to him. Men are programmed to solve problems not necessarily listen to feelings. If you’re mad that he left the toilet seat up, his immediate reaction will be to put the toilet seat down. You might be more concerned with him realizing how it felt to fall in when you didn’t notice the seat was up.

              He may view promising to put the toilet seat down as ending the conversation.

            • Why are women expected to be calm and compassionate and in charge of bringing up difficult conversations, yet you feel that it’s okay for men to shut down? Why aren’t men expected to be calm and compassionate, particularly in instances where as J D said, the man may be “wholly or partly in the wrong”? Do you not understand that this is incredibly unfair to women? It’s not realistic to expect that the injured party should be the one to put in the effort to mend the fences.

              Women get angry, too. They get hurt and upset and irritated. They get frustrated and feel like things are hopeless. I just don’t understand why men like you think that women have a responsibility to overcome their emotions in order to have a good relationship, but men do not.

              Cyndle is right. If a man needs time to process something, there’s nothing wrong with that. But he needs to communicate that, not just walk away. Because just walking away is hurtful and counter-productive and puts unnecessary burdens on his partner.

            • John Anderson says:

              He makes twice as much as she. She needs to get another job. They needed to move he shouldn’t have to get his buddy to help him move the couch. She needs to hit the gym and bulk up. The point being that each person brings something to the relationship. The person that has more, does more. That doesn’t mean that the other person should be shamed for not pulling their weight.

              He just stood there and listened to her berate him for 15 minutes. For guys, that is dong something. We don’t normally respond to aggression with passivity. I think the question these guys are having is that why do women get to define what is enough? I suppose the answer is that they’re the ones who were wronged or hurt. I suppose that’s fine as long as it’s a two way street and when she hurts him, he gets to define how and to what extent she needs to go through to make amends.

              It’s weird how when a guy feels unwanted because he was rejected he’s supposed to suppress his hurt and just wait for another unspecified night.

      • “If you explained how someone had hurt you or let you down and they responded by doing nothing, would that be satisfying to you? ”

        The fact that you feel conflict resolution has to end in immediate satisfaction and catharsis shows that you misunderstand underlying nature of conflicts themselves. Conflicts are ‘misunderstandings’ that occur between two or more people attempting to achieve the same end result: ‘the good life.’

        Think about this way: thinking “i want to be satisfied” is a self-centered view, regardless of whatever pain an individual may be feeling. Why? Because that person’s pain doesn’t preclude the pain of the ‘other’, and vice verse. Catharsis comes not from proving a point or in getting somebody else to apologize, but in the realization that it’s better to have each other than to be ‘right’ in a strict, logical sense. It’s the realization that forgiveness is the greatest gift you can give yourself [Maya Angelo’s a brilliant woman for this insight] and mutual forgiveness can only happen through mutual and healthy senses of ‘self’ [that is, the balance or ‘medium’ between selfishness and selflessness that determines the health of our interactions with one another].

        A better way of expressing it would be this:

        “How would you feel if you expressed your hurt to someone and they either attempted to silence you or walked away in apathy?” To which the reply would be ‘nothing particular; their vices are their choice.’

        • Nowhere did I say ‘immediate’ – thats you making assumptions about my viewpoint.

          What I’m saying is that when people open up to you and allow themselves to be vulnerable, they want to at least know that they’re heard. A relationship where an injured or upset party gets no response, let alone empathy or compassion, is not a healthy relationship. What I mean by ‘satisfaction’ is feeling respected by and important to your partner.

          People don’t open up about their grievances to hear themselves talk. They do it to reach a resolution so that they can stop feeling like crap or being treated like crap. They do it because they’re unhappy with how something in the relationship is going. It’s not ‘catharsis’ that they want – it’s a better situation. No one should be expected to stay in a relationship where they are unhappy and their partner seemingly doesn’t even care. That’s not healthy.

          Their vices may be their choice, but staying in a relationship with someone who is seemingly apathetic to you is also a choice. And it’s not a choice that anyone should be recommending. Maybe you don’t care if your partner doesn’t give a crap about you or your feelings, but I’m assuming that most people would care enough to leave and seek a partner who values and respects them more.

          • “A relationship where an injured or upset party gets no response, let alone empathy or compassion, is not a healthy relationship.”

            Well now we’re going into something different entirely. I viewed the expression ‘lack of response’ as being in the moment, ie during a heated discussion. That can be viewed from any number of angles, but of course it’d be toxic if it was a permanent or common disposition. 😛

          • I feel like you missed the point of the article. The point of the article was that men need the time to process something before they can give any sort of reaction. It’s simply the way our minds work. You’re immediately going to the assumption that when a man shuts down, he is ignoring you or something else to that effect when often he’s just trying to process. While women often think out loud, men think in silence and sometimes processing takes time. You cannot assume that when a man pauses to process, he is ignoring you, sometimes it takes a few seconds to even get to the point where he can say “I understand you and I hear you, but I need a second to process it”, and that is what the author is trying to say, have some patience and allow your man a second to process, that’s the solution she’s trying to get at.
            Shutting down is in no way a lack of communication, it is a silent communication that says “give me a moment to process”

      • Yeah, I’m with Wylee. It’s a straw man to refer to someone who is just trying to make their voice heard as someone who is emotionally battering their partner, and then saying that that is wrong. Of course emotional or psychological battery is wrong. But trying to get someone to simply acknowledge that a topic has been raised is NOT on par with berating them. Expecting someone to be able to at least say “I hear you but I can’t respond to you right now” is not outlandish. It’s cynical and childish to suggest that what Wylee means by “satisfaction” is “winning” and not “being recognized as a person with a grievance, regardless of its ultimate disposition.”

        And I agree with AJ and others below, this isn’t a gendered thing. I don’t steer free of verbally assaulting someone because they are male and therefore a simpleton, I do the same for my “girlfriends” because pausing to let someone process and respond is what adults do. At least, adults who aren’t on reality television, who realize that serious discussions are not an opportunity for verbal sparring.

    • John Anderson says:

      I remember hearing from a guy that he stopped talking to his wife because she was much better at it than he. He couldn’t articulate his position or think on his feet as well as she. Consequently, she’d win every argument even when he knew he was right. Sometimes it looks the same, but the reasons are different.

  81. This is great information for dealing with ANYONE who is closed down. I love what’s said here, but am leery of the “Men” “Women” tags. As though by having a penis or a vagina I’m automatically categorized one way on many issues. Many men have been told these things but remain open, many women have closed off and don’t talk because of lack of comfort. Yes, it does happen more often to men, but not directly because they have penises, more likely because they have been identified as men and had someone in their lives shut them down.
    This is great stuff for anyone standing on either side of that divide.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Thank you @AJ I agree, and to make the article more readable, I needed to take a stance since writing it from a “we” perspective just didn’t work. I was also making the point that there are different communication styles and different societal expectations emotionally. Thanks for your comment.

    • Jason Hartwick says:

      It isn’t ONLY nurture. Testosterone (the hormone generally produced in larger amounts by men) plays a part in this as well. Part of the embarrassment and shutdown is the aggressive nature of this naturally produced hormone that men don’t really understand is the source of the aggression, so we are acting like this and don’t know why, so add confusion on top of those other feelings, and THEN add the fact that we have been programmed to not take that aggression out on others, particularly those we love (don’t hit mommy/daddy, don’t hit little sister/brother, that’s not nice, don’t yell at people it isn’t nice), and you have a person who is USUALLY male that shuts down while sorting all that out.

      • wellokaythen says:

        Testosterone is still poorly understood and much more complicated than most people think. Its relationship to aggression is not a simple cause and effect, but more like a feedback loop. We have a lot of historical evidence from societies that employed male eunuchs, like China did for centuries and centuries, that show male eunuchs could be just as aggressive, even just as “macho,” as any other man.

  82. @Tamara Good point. The they I speak of specifically refers to the object I described as those who believe in the false religion.

  83. i’ve got no sympathy. we have all been broken and hurt. i can’t ease up on men who don’t ease up on me from things that they suffered at the hands of someone else. i need for them to challenge everything that they’ve been taught about being and try to be more considerate to all those they come in contact with. as a woman i have had to feel the pain that the men i’ve dealt with have felt. never once an ounce of consideration for the new person that stands before them, ready to love them and give them a chance. they need to heal themselves and understand that everyone that they come across is not the same. as i woman i am taught not to let one man stop me from giving others a fighting chance. well that hasn’t worked out for me thus for. i don’t care. i felt a little bad when reading, but reality is, they need to buck up and get their shit together.

    • Tamara Star says:

      We all need to get our shit together @akynos. If you continue to be angry and shut down, the only person that will pay a price is you. We’ve all been victimized, both sexes actually. But if you continue to carry the torch of being victimized, it is you that continues the self abuse. I’ve been there sister. Drop the sword. Not all men are bad and making all men pay for the crimes of a few is like men saying all women are psycho bit*hes. It’s not fair.

    • Michael Rowe says:

      Really, akyonos? “No sympathy?” Have you thought of seeing a therapist?”Because “men” as a species are clearly not your main problem, nor are clearly only ones who need to “buck up and get their shit together” in this case.

    • I admire your honesty and believe that many other women feel the same way but don’t admit it.Your honesty uncovers a wound and gives a glimpse into the cyclical nature of the longstanding,ongoing,power struggle between some men and women.

    • @Erin Hello there.It’s been awhile,hope you are well.I just started a new job,baking,which I have in the past.One of the job requirements is that we share the work load.This job requires pushing,pulling and repetitive heavy lifting.The women do as little of the heavy lifting and pulling and pushing as possible,while expecting me to help them do their jobs as needed and as required of all employees.It is not in their conciousness to review how unfair it is to use my strength so that they can avoid using theirs’.These women physically are soft.They don’t excercise or do anything to prepare themselves to deal with the rigors of the job.I do.My point is that both men and women have unrealized expectations that they can rely upon certain attributes specific to gender that they don’t themselves possess that the other has.Women,perhaps should take a step back and review all of the contexts in which they benefit from abilities specific to men before they bitch about all the heavy lifting they do for men.

    • Casey Ydenberg (@CAYdenberg) says:

      Let us know how that works out for you.

  84. In general, I think that there’s a lot of good advice in this article. It’s always good to encourage people to be more understanding of other.

    The only issue that I take is with the last bullet point. I’m not entirely sure what is meant by the statement, but I would argue that everyone should change in a relationship in the sense that we all need to improve. We all need to better ourselves in some way. The article does a good job of outlining how men are emotionally hindered by our society, but implies that it’s okay to let the product of the hindrance remain. That’s not good for anyone – for the man or for his partner.

    It can be incredibly hard for men to communicate, but it is necessary. Communicating your thoughts and feelings is literally the only way that someone can really get to know you in depth. Everything else is just an assumption.

    For a woman, a man reaching out for sex because he want to connect and a man who is reaching out for sex because he just wants sex look identical. A guy who shuts down during an argument because he feels badly and a guy who walks away because he doesn’t care look the same. A guy who doesn’t say ‘I love you’ because he’s afraid of expressing emotions and one who doesn’t say it because he just doesn’t love her look the same.

    Expecting women to tell two identical things apart is unfair and, of course, very prone to error. No intuition is perfect. No assumption is fool proof.

    The bottom line is that if you want your feelings to be known, you have to make them known. The more overt, the better. You don’t have to have long-winded conversations or write love poetry, but you do have to make sure that your not relying on your partner to fill in the gaps for you.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ Wylee

      I think what she’s saying is that because they look the same you give him the benefit of the doubt. His true motivations will become evident. Does he hold you after sex or does he roll over and fall asleep? Does he bring you a present or do something nice for you out of the blue after an argument? Words aren’t the only way we communicate. He has to start communicating., but you can create a safe space because that’s what you can do to help.

      • Is he rolling over because he’s just not a cuddler, or is he doing it because he doesn’t feel close to you? If he doesn’t make a kind gesture after an argument, is it because he doesn’t have an interest in repairing the rift or because he’s not good at selecting gifts?

        Do you see my point? It’s a never ending loop. You can’t use someone’s actions as a base for interpreting their actions.

        I agree that women need to be a safe place for their partners, but I don’t think that it’s fair to expect women to just live in limbo until it becomes clear what their partner is thinking.

        • John Anderson says:

          @ Wylee

          I understand, but I think you confuse speaking with clarity and they aren’t the same thing. She asks where are you going? Is she curious, concerned, or controlling?

    • Whlee

      well said. i agree with you

    • Hi Wylee, and thank you for your contribution to the debate.

      I just wanted to add this.
      It can be incredibly hard for men to communicate, but it is necessary. Communicating your thoughts and feelings is literally the only way that someone can really get to know you in depth. Everything else is just an assumption.

      Communication is a two-way street. It requires not only that you share your feelings, but also for someone else to listen and be receptive.
      And in my experience, there’s a large amount of women out there who grossly overestimate their own ability to actually listen and notice what is being said.
      I don’t think that it’s okay to let the product of the hindrance in communication remain. Nor am I saying it should be okay.
      It’s just that… If I already said something X number of times and I’m ckearly not getting through. Shutting down seems to be the only alternative for someone who doesn’t want to raise the voice and further escalate the conflict?

  85. If only life and truth were so simple, to group the emotions, instincts, characteristics, upbringing, millennia of expectations and life experiences into two categories: men and women. Generalizations — empathetic and non — don’t help the conversation.

    • I get what you’re saying, but I kind of disagree. When talking about individuals, generalizations are rarely helpful. But, they are helpful when you’re talking about more broad issues. There is such a thing as a social trend.

      This isn’t an advice column.. The purpose of this article is not to get a description of one single man and then offer his partner advice on how to understand him. The article is general because it’s trying to address some of the gender-based trends that occur in relationships, in an effort to help a large number of people. Clearly, there are instances where it will not apply. But for those to whom it does, it can offer insight and help people empathize.

  86. HorseExpert says:

    Oh God, yet more ways we are supposed to take care of men’s feelings and egos and self confidence and feelings of manhood. First, let them take care of the system they’ve created that benefits them so hugely, and purchase even half the “how to listen to the opposite sex” books we do, and watch all the TV shows about relationships, blah blah blah.

    Now, on top of being constantly called a “biatch” as if it’s a normal part of the lexicon, I’m supposed to ask, “Honey, are you REALLY reaching for sex—or solace?” Now I’m his freaking therapist, too. Is that before or after I shave my hoo hoo to look like a prepubescent girl, as seems to be the preference these days.

    Enough codependence. Enough. Basta! Let them introspect and heal themselves and spend the extra percentage of salaries they earn over women, in therapy.

    I didn’t cause this, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it.

    • HorseExpert
      :) not bad.
      I like your honesty

    • This comment struck a nerve for me.

      I know plenty of women who are exhausted from dating men. There definitely is a sense that because women are more ‘competent’ at relationships that they should do the heavy lifting, and then turn around and do more work to be understanding about why men aren’t more ‘competent’.

      I mean, look at the example in this article. A guy does something that hurts a woman, and she does the work of bringing up the difficult topic so that it can be discussed and resolved, she does the work of knowing her own feelings so that they can be shared, she expresses her POV and opens up the conversation so that he can have space to explain his side… and he walks away. So, not only has she been hurt, but she’s also done all the work of trying to repair the situation and she’s gotten nothing in return, no acknowledgement, no apology. Rather than being upset, she now has to do even MORE work in assuming that he’s actually really, really sorry about everything even though he’s done nothing to indicate that that’s the case. It does seem a bit like women are expected to do everything and the guy just gets to walk away. It does seem a bit like women are expected to understand themselves and the guy, too, while they guy doesn’t even have to understand his own feelings, let alone the woman’s. The attitude is very much that because woman CAN, they MUST… meanwhile there’s no pressure for the guys to be more able.

      But, I give guys a certain amount of room because society has done them no favors. They’re starting at a disadvantage. If a guy is actively trying to better himself, I will give him plenty of wiggle room. However, if a guy feels entitled to do less work in a relationship because of society’s attitudes… then I think that your ‘enough’ response is appropriate.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ Wylee

        “I know plenty of women who are exhausted from dating men. There definitely is a sense that because women are more ‘competent’ at relationships that they should do the heavy lifting, and then turn around and do more work to be understanding about why men aren’t more ‘competent’. ”

        Maybe women need to have their own women going their own way movement. When MRAs bring up men going their own way because they’re tired of the dating scene, they’re usually vilified by (mostly) women. I think if women demand men enter the dating scene, they need to provide them reason to be there. On the other hand I would fully respect a woman’s decision to stop entering into personal relationships with men as long as she provides men the respect and courtesies they deserve in public as I would expect MGTOW to provide women.

        • MGTOW, similar to the MRM, is vilified because their views are so extreme. It’s not that there aren’t some instances where going one’s own way wouldn’t be appropriate – there are – but it just becomes a question of being reasonable about those.

          In my post above, I outlined that, for me, the cut off point is effort. It seems to strike a balance between being considerate of the ways that men are hindered in relationships by our society, but doesn’t enable men who do not want to be an equal partner, who want the benefits of a relationship without having to put in the work. If there were to be a WGTOW movement, I would expect it to apply only to the latter guys, and not to men as a whole. The main goal here should be allowing guys a safe space where they can undo some of society’s wrongs, not to just abandon all men entirely. If you give guys support and care, there will always be a percentage who takes advantage of that goodwill and a percentage that uses it well and reciprocates it (or at least tries to).

          I do think, though, that if more women left partners who didn’t contribute emotionally to the relationship, there would be fewer of these men. The tendency among some women really is to just provide endless amounts of slack.

          The reason that MGTOW draws such negative feedback is because it so grossly generalizes women (they say that it’s roughly 1% of women who are worthwhile, compared to 99% that are, presumably, only good for sex) and it does so by quoting some pretty bogus statistics. No one is suggesting that there are no situations where a man is justified in leaving a relationship.

          • MGTOW, similar to the MRM, is vilified because their views are so extreme. It’s not that there aren’t some instances where going one’s own way wouldn’t be appropriate – there are – but it just becomes a question of being reasonable about those.
            On a small side note I beg to differ on that a bit. In what I’ve seen of those villifying MRAs its become quite clear that even when there is common ground, the very thing the villifyers say they are looking for, they would rather look for an attack angle.

            I get the feeling that there wouldn’t be so many MGTOW if men were given the tools to not only figure out what they want in relationships but also the tools to get out there and find such a relationship. Instead they are told what they are supposed to want which leads to a pursuit of unhappiness that results in falling for generalizations. Its not like those guys just came up with that stuff from nowhere.

            • I don’t know what your experiences have been with MRM, so I’m not even going to comment on that. Your views are your views.

              ” if men were given the tools…”
              Given by whom, though? One would assume that if the MGTOW men are capable of forming an online community and a ‘movement’ per se, they would also then be capable of forming a community/movement to assist men in developing more tools, or at least highlighting the need for it. Having tools is one part having a society that offers you instruction, but it’s also one part putting in your own effort to learn how to use those tools. Even in a society that offers free education, people still have to study.

            • What I meant was that if they had the tools beforehand. Yes people still have to study and if they were to get the tools from a MGTOW movement that would be great but that would more of a “better late than never time frame”.

              What I’m talking about is getting to them before that point and that would start when they are younger. Back when they are pre teens getting their ideas on what it means to be a so called “real man” from movies, books, music and all sorts of places.

              Just because they may not be putting the effort now doesn’t mean they started off never putting in effort.

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              @HorseExpert …. Was this a hit and run? I appreciate your honesty and perhaps you can expound on what you said. You do appear though, to have a chip on your shoulder about men simply by the way you communicated your views. In particular your mentioning the perceived wage gap which is irrelevant to the topic.
              In so far as therapy, these types of articles and responses are in some ways therapeutic for both men and women so as to better understand man and women.

              BTW, I don’t know of any man that uses the term “biatch.”

      • Wylee
        You are right!
        This description is exactly the way both my women friends and myself have experienced.
        And why John Anderson advice you to withdraw from men like MGTOW do surprises me. MGTOW is not a model for women nor for men.

        • John Anderson says:

          @ KIM

          I don’t advocate MGTOW. I’m not sure that it is ever healthy, but people have the right to make unhealthy decisions and it may not always be the worst decision that can be made for someone. If people continue to make the wrong choices, they need to take a break from dating.

          ““I know plenty of women who are exhausted from dating men.”

          What if they never make the right choice? Dating should be a fun and rewarding experience. When it has become work and not worth it, it is time to stop. As for whether you should ever start again, it’s a cost / benefit thing. Should a person invest the time and money in education? I say yes. Should a person buy a home or have more disposable income by renting an apartment? I say buy a home in most cases. Each person gauges the risk / reward for themselves. It comes down to the individual’s choice whether it’s even worth the risk of rejection to ask them out. If it was an easy choice, wouldn’t women be making it at least 50% of the time since they’re better at relationships?

          I believe that life is to be experienced. I believe that life is to be enjoyed. I also believe that it’s best to think long term. I own a home. I’ve invested in a masters degree. I believe that those investments over time will result in more happiness for me. I think potentially finding a life partner is a reward bog enough to justify the risk of continued dating even if it never materializes. I do respect an individual’s decision not to take that risk.

          • @John Anderson
            To date is not taking risks :)
            Setting up house together, buy a house together or marry is taking risks , the way. I see it.
            And I agree with everything you say here.
            As a woman I have given several men too long time , been too patient for too long in the hope they would feel safe.
            Now a psychiatrist friend gave me a good advice. He said:” give him three months”. He has not decided if he wants to be with you ( have a sexually exclusive relationship) or not, then move on and forget him.

            That is a good advice for any woman.

            • @Kim A practicing psychiatrist gave you that,albeit unprofessional, advice?!It all sounds so punitive,rigid,provincial and somewhat random.Do you tell the guy up front?Is it based on when you decide or when he decides the relationship has officially started?How much time per day,per week is necessary to qualify?What if the man comes from a culture that believes in long courtships?Is it possible to apply for an extention?

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              3 months? Wow. My wife and I dated off and on through HS and college…. I guess I would have been out in the snow if she’s followed that rule of thumb…. Would be married for 38+ years.

            • Tom Brechlin says:

              That should have said “would not be married for 38+years”

    • First, let them take care of the system they’ve created that benefits them so hugely, and purchase even half the “how to listen to the opposite sex” books we do, and watch all the TV shows about relationships, blah blah blah.
      First off today’s men didn’t create the system you’re talking about any more than today’s women did. It would help if you’d keep trying to hold us collectively responsible for the actions of past men. Second it would also help to not presume that by virtue of being male we must be benefitting from said system. Third there’s no point in trying to go into “if they had to put up with half the nonsense we put up with….” territory because frankly as a guy we put up with quite a bit of our own.

      Now, on top of being constantly called a “biatch” as if it’s a normal part of the lexicon, I’m supposed to ask, “Honey, are you REALLY reaching for sex—or solace?” Now I’m his freaking therapist, too. Is that before or after I shave my hoo hoo to look like a prepubescent girl, as seems to be the preference these days.
      Is the guy that supports calling women bitches the same guy that’s looking for sex in place of solace? And as for shaving the pubes we’re too busy being told that we are supposed to be going after all p@ssy and be glad for any that we get regardless of shaving.

      Enough codependence. Enough. Basta! Let them introspect and heal themselves and spend the extra percentage of salaries they earn over women, in therapy.
      You sure that guy making that much extra over women? I’m serious because for every “women earn x% less than men!” stat there’s another that show that the majority of that gap is due to something other than sexism.

      I didn’t cause this, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it.
      Today’s men didn’t cause this. They can only control the parts they play (but since you seem to be of the mind that we are all connected by our maleness its no wonder you think anyone of us has full control over the situations). Its going to take more than men to cure it and its certainly going to take more than making it all about women as well.

      If you aren’t interested in working on it then why are you here?

      • I’m not surprised that it doesn’t make sense to you.

        Its a part of the “men are horn dogs that want sex all the time” bit. We’re expected to have sex as many women to prove that we are “real men”.

        In other words there are more messages out there than the ones that tell guys to hold women to outrageous standards.

        And when did this new trend start , when men start to accept women’s bodies and vulvas as it actually is?
        Its been going on since I was a teenager (and I’m in my early 30s now).

        Are you saying men no longer feel disgusted when women don’t shave?
        No I’m saying there are also a lot of men that don’t care whether women are shaved or not.

      • You’ve managed to comment on her entire post while completely ignoring the nature of it.

        First, let them take care of the system they’ve created that benefits them so hugely, and purchase even half the “how to listen to the opposite sex” books we do, and watch all the TV shows about relationships, blah blah blah.
        Here, she’s calling out the fact that women are expected to care about relationships. The fact that so many women buy relationship books and pursue relationship-related media indicates that they care enough about relationships with men to invest their time and energy. There is no corresponding time/energy market for men. The amount of time that the average man invests in consciously improving his relationship with women is relatively small.

        Now, on top of being constantly called a “biatch” as if it’s a normal part of the lexicon, I’m supposed to ask, “Honey, are you REALLY reaching for sex—or solace?” Now I’m his freaking therapist, too. Is that before or after I shave my hoo hoo to look like a prepubescent girl, as seems to be the preference these days.
        She’s pointing out how women are supposed to conform to men. Just as they are expected to conform their physical appearance, they are also expected to conform to his emotional needs, setting their own aside. Even when they are already investing much more effort than their partner, they are expected to invest even more effort to be a “therapist”.

        Enough codependence. Enough. Basta! Let them introspect and heal themselves and spend the extra percentage of salaries they earn over women, in therapy.
        She’s saying here that men need to invest more time and effort into themselves and their relationships if they want things to work. Women can’t be expected to do everything.

        I didn’t cause this, I can’t control it, I can’t cure it.
        By “the situation” here, she’s talking not only about conditions on a social-level, but also the conditions within a relationship. While men do need help (from other men and from women) when it comes to changing society, they are pretty much in the drivers seat when it comes to their own attitude and effort within their specific relationship.

        • More like missed part of rather than ignored.

          That comment came off like she was dragging society level issues into this which is why I responded the way I did. On a relationship level though she is largely correct.

        • John Anderson says:

          @ Wylee

          “There is no corresponding time/energy market for men. The amount of time that the average man invests in consciously improving his relationship with women is relatively small.”

          I think women assume that men don’t put any effort into their relationship because they don’t use the same metric. Women don’t know how many times a man was rejected by other women before he got a yes from her. Each of these rejections cost a man. Men still pay for the majority of dates He has to work for the money (spend his time), but women don’t see this as an investment in their relationship. He’s still expected to propose. It’s up to him to assume the additional risk to move the relationship forward and to mitigate her risk by offering her a ring, which she could keep if he were to break things off. Yes, these are societal traditions, but don’t women have the same obligations as men to fight antiquated gender norms. It seems that women are OK with the ones that benefit them.

          • I’m well aware that men face their own challenges in the dating world. But what I’m talking about, and what this article is about, is the day-to-day maintenance that a satisfying, long term relationship takes. Asking someone out and paying for some dates early on does not exempt you from doing the work of getting to know your partner and care about them and support them, particularly when the relationship can last for years and years on end. Picking out one or two isolated instances where the onus is put on men does not mean that you get to ignore the sheer volume of mundane, unsexy work that needs to be done is any normal relationship. There are going to be literally hundreds of slights and misunderstandings and instances of hurt feelings that need to be resolved eventually. There will be hundreds of instances where your partner needs understanding and support and comfort. There needs to be communication big and small every day of every week of every month of every year. The fact that you’re pointing to one instance – a proposal, of all things – indicates to me that you don’t really understand what I’m talking about.

            • John Anderson says:

              @ Wylee

              Sure, I agree that relationships are a lot of work and that there are day to day issues that need smoothing over, but I thought the objection wasn’t that men didn’t do the work, but that women were expected to do the heavy lifting. I can’t speak for your experience, but in my experience the man doesn’t just pay for a few dates. He does the heavy financial lifting throughout the relationship. Sure, I pointed to a proposal (and the onus of having to initiate the relationship), but there is also Valentine’s Day, Sweetest Day, anniversaries, etc. Last time I checked men were still expected to spend more and do more on these special days.

              I guess I’m echoing what Tamara is saying. It’s not about the guys who hurt on purpose, but about the guys who want their partner to be happy, but may not know how to go about it. Yes, guys need to get their emotional side together. They need to ask for what they want and have it acknowledged. Some women don’t want to hear that your hurting or you need this or that to be happy. We’ve discussed mismatched libidos and there are people who believe that the person with the lower libido should always win. There isn’t always discussion of compromise and yet this seems the only case where they advocate against compromise.

              Let’s say you lived with a guy for 2 years. He lost his job. How do you handle it? Sorry, you can’t make rent, see ya. Well you might not be able to make rent now, but as long as you’re looking for work and take on more responsibilities around the house, you can stay. I’m advocating for the latter approach at least in the short term. As long as he shows his appreciation in other ways (traditional masculine ways) and he tries to open up, you should ease up on him with the understanding that if and when he does open up you better be ready to receive what’s coming.

            • It bothers me that you’re equating spending money with caring/understanding someone. One does not compensate for the other. I cannot imagine someone approaching their partner about not listening/not understanding/not caring about something and having the response be “but I paid for dinner…and last night, too” it’s just not comparable. Supporting a family is a huge task and I would be totally on board if a man expected his partner to work or provide child care so that he was not the sole provider. But that’s just a separate issue than what we’re discussing here.

            • John Anderson says:

              @ Wylee

              “t bothers me that you’re equating spending money with caring/understanding someone”

              You misunderstand me. As I understand it, the complaint was that men won’t put time into their relationship by researching ways to improve it. I merely point out that men do invest the time into their relationship by earning money to spend on dates and things to make their partner happy.

              There were a bunch of films in the 80s/90s that essentially had this as a plot line. Parent (father) spends his time earning money instead of spending time with his child. He buys his child many different things and the child wants for nothing materially, but the parent eventually learns that what the child really needed was his or her father present.

              If this is what women want from men, to work emotionally on their relationship instead of spending the time earning money for the dinners and presents, they need to communicate that.

            • “If this is what women want from men, to work emotionally on their relationship instead of spending the time earning money for the dinners and presents, they need to communicate that.”

              We do. There are plenty of us who don’t care about shiny things or fancy evenings, and we are shunned in favor of the giggling bimbos. And when we want to have our own careers and earn our own keep and go dutch on dinner, we are accused of being un-ladylike and man-haters and such. Even if it’s refreshing in the early dating months, most guys wince at the thought that the family home might be paid for by their wife instead of by them, that they won’t be the breadwinner. You can’t have your cake and eat it too, so don’t pretend that y’all don’t seek out women who respond specifically to the emotionally shallow financial overtures.

              The article is about emotional openness, not wallet openness. You want to have that conversation and equate dollars with feelings, that’s an entirely different topic.

            • Wylee, I actually agree with alot of your points and find you to be intelligent and well-spoken. However, I don’t really think Tamara is asking that much of us as women. Yes, it’s true that women have more pressure put on them to emotionally carry the relationship. Lots of books are targeted at us to be the emotional guides. And while we hope to see that change, and we still carry a brunt of that responsibility, I actually don’t think Tamara’s suggestions require that much work and really should be something we apply to all our relationships. Especially our relationships with our guys even when we don’t feel it’s 50/50 equal.

              I truly see your points and think they are well made. But sometimes we need to step back from the ways we (rightly so) feel injusticed and simply acknolwedge the ways *we* should work on ourselves even when we may feel the other gender isn’t carrying their own weight in one area. Because even if we don’t feel like it’s exactly fair, carrying ourselves in ways that honors others, honors ourselves as well.

            • I’m not sure if you read my initial comment, but I actually agree with the bulk of the article as well. A lot of it falls under the general practice of trying to approach your partner on their terms, rather than expecting them to meet you on yours 100% of the time. That’s just good advice for either gender.

              My only real issue stems from the last point about not expecting men to change. That’s where I part ways from the author. I’m not sure how you can spend paragraphs outlining the struggles and difficulties that men have in relationships and then say that nothing should change.

              As far as women are concerned, I don’t think that many would care about minor variances from 50/50 in any given area. But the experience of women that I’ve known has been that its not particularly close to 50/50 in the emotional support category. It’s a wide enough split that they feel truly burdened. Because emotional intimacy and support are really the core of a relationship, women can sometimes feel like they’re in the relationship by themselves almost. Speaking from personal experience, it’s a very lonely place to be.

              The message should really be that there are social constructs that are unhelpful to men but that they can be overcome. Not that once you’re raised with gender norms you’re stuck with them. Men would be happier in relationships where they were able to communicate effectively and have their thoughts and feelings known. It would make women happier, too. Why not strive for that rather than having people striving to accept their current situation?

            • My only real issue stems from the last point about not expecting men to change. That’s where I part ways from the author. I’m not sure how you can spend paragraphs outlining the struggles and difficulties that men have in relationships and then say that nothing should change.
              I don’t think she is saying that men shouldn’t change but rather women shouldn’t expect men to “become like women” and/or women shouldn’t try to mold the guy their with into something. At the least the former could very well lead a woman changing her guy into something that she really doesn’t like.

              I’ve seen a few instances where guy/woman were dating and the woman insisted that the guy make this change and that change and do this and do that and sometime later she dumps him because she “didn’t like what he had become”. She made the bed but then didn’t want to lay in it.

              Men would be happier in relationships where they were able to communicate effectively and have their thoughts and feelings known. It would make women happier, too. Why not strive for that rather than having people striving to accept their current situation?
              Yes men would be happier in relationships if they were able to communicate their thoughts and feelings more effectively but at the end of the day “more effectively” is going to up to the guys in question, not the women they date.

              Sure if a guy communicates differently the woman he’s dating might think its better for her (and thus think its better for the relationship) but if it’s not better for him then what good is it?

            • But what changes make you “become like a woman”? If you argue that women communicate effectively and share their feelings, then any progress that a man makes in that area would be seen as more “womanly”. If you use the current, harmful definition of masculinity, then any positive change would therefore be seen as less masculine.

              If what you’re referring to basically comes down to style (I.e. men may bring up discussions as they occur while women may take time to process them with friends before opening up; men want to have the discussion in one go, whereas women may want to check later to see if the issue is resolved, etc.) but the content is generally the same, then I think we’re on the same page. Everyone has a different style.

            • I guess you could say I’m talking about style.

              Is the goal to help men communicate a way that helps them (and any partners they have in the long run) or make men more like women?

              They aren’t the same thing because the harmful definition of masculinity (at least the parts of it that relate to communication) isn’t the only definition of masculinity that’s out there.

              What I’m getting at is that we should be working towards getting lines of communication open rather than trying to label different types of communication by stereotype for the purpose of deciding whose is right and whose is wrong.

              (Just to use a quick example if we were talking about the changes that women make, say take the lead in the business world, would we be saying that those women need to become like men? In fact if I recall women don’t like that much. If learning how to be assertive in the business world doesn’t mean that women are acting like men why would learning different methods of communication mean men are acting like women?)

            • But I didn’t say that men should be more like women. I said that they should strive to be effective communicators – I didn’t gender it. Your comment was the first in this chain to label communication styles as male or female.

              If your comments weren’t a direct response to my comments, but to the broader topic, then I think that we’re saying the same thing. People mistakenly label traits (both positive and negative) as masculine or feminine and all it does is make it difficult for everyone. Just because a gender is currently more likely to exhibit a trait doesn’t necessarily mean that that trait is inherent to the gender.

            • I’m not saying you are saying men should be more like women but trying to explain what the author said in that last bullet point. You seemed to be thinking the author was saying men shouldn’t change (in reference to that last bullet point) and went into what I was thinking she meant and ended up including that part about men being like women (in reference to her saying “…our man is not going to be like our female friends”).

              I think what has happened is that in disagreeing with your thought that she was saying men shouldn’t change in that last bullet point I went into a full explanation of that bullet point and it all got mixed together.

              So to go back in time what I’m saying is that I disagree with what you said here: “That’s where I part ways from the author. I’m not sure how you can spend paragraphs outlining the struggles and difficulties that men have in relationships and then say that nothing should change.”

              I don’t think she was saying that men shouldn’t change.

            • The burden to “carry” the emotional leadership of the relationship in reality means women addressing ways they want men to change and the burden of changing being put on men. I see that as much more of a burden on men, doing the majority of the changing and adapting, than on women, trying to make men adapt to their wishes.

            • Hi Mortimer

              A hear many men here on GMP say the same as you say here:
              ✺”I see that as much more of a burden on men, doing the majority of the changing and adapting, than on women, trying to make men adapt to their wishes.”✺

              Can you give us five examples ?
              I do not understand what you mean.
              Equality of the sexes means woman learn skills so that they can support themselves economically, hopefully for equal pay. It also means women can vote and take part in political life. And women can own propriety…..etc.

              Can you explain how women’s focus on getting an education means ” trying to make adapt to their wishes” ?
              Please give us some examples from everyday life about how women in 2013 try to make men adapt to their wishes.
              And what is women’s wishes in 2013?

            • John Anderson says:

              Hi iben,

              In my experience when men say that women are trying to change him it usually contains a social aspect. She may try to change his image by trying to get him to shave a mustache or wear particular kinds of clothes. I told the story of a friend who bought 30 pairs of the same socks so he only had to wash once a month and folding was a snap, but his wife made him buy different pairs of socks because she found it monotonous.

              She might rearrange his furniture or the way his house is organized. A neighbor got married. His wife moved in with him and his brother. His brother was complaining to me that she was changing everything. In more extreme cases she might want to pick his friends.

              I’m not sure that in every case the woman is being controlling or malicious. She may have the best intentions, but like I told Tamara in the advice I left. Believe what he says. Don’t think you know him better than he knows himself. Don’t think you know what’s best for him better than he knows himself. Even if you’re right, it might ultimately make him miserable. For me, I’d rather have a short happy life than a long miserable one.

            • Hi John Anderson
              Mortimer wrote
              ✺”The burden to “carry” the emotional leadership of the relationship in reality means women addressing ways they want men to change and the burden of changing being put on men. I see that as much more of a burden on men, doing the majority of the changing and adapting, than on women, trying to make men adapt to their wishes.”✺

              Then I read your comments and examples of how women try to make men adapt to their wishes. And I feel you have never been married John :).
              I expected examples if how women expect or demand men to change now we have more equality between the sexes. But you write:

              ✺”Hi iben,

              “In my experience when men say that women are trying to change him it usually contains a social aspect. She may try to change his image by trying to get him to shave a mustache or wear particular kinds of clothes.”✺
              Yes John, sometimes a woman ask for something that means a lot to her.
              Just like a man can ask for something,women are also asked to do things to please men:
              In my marriage have been asked to not use makeup, not use deodorant , not sing while I do the dishes, shave my legs before I leave for the beach, not loose weight because that resulted in smaller breasts( they are large enough as they are)
              color my hair when the first gray hairs showed in my thirties. He also wanted me to shave. I let him shave me,and then he realized how difficult it was . He was unable to complete the task. (And he could see what he was doing, but a women shaving her private parts can not see anything.)
              And demands and wishes a man can have sexually is a long list.

              Do you really think men don’t ask women to adapt and give them what they want John? Don’t you think we also get told what kind of cloths men like to see us in ? Many men like us to use dresses, sexy underwear, sexy nigh dresses, and always always be well groomed and paint our nails . I have no problems with a mans wish for expensive grooming like extention eyelashes, hair color etc IF he is willing to pay for the luxury :)

              Is your idea of a marriage a relationship where a person never ask for anything from the other?
              Some wishes are so stupid that we simply say no to them, but other wishes can be met because we want to give out of love.

              Do you think a women marries or cohabits with a man and expects him to eat only the food she likes. Do you think women only cook food they like and ignores food her man loves!

              ✺”I told the story of a friend who bought 30 pairs of the same socks so he only had to wash once a month and folding was a snap, but his wife made him buy different pairs of socks because she found it monotonous.”✺
              Let’s hope your friend with the socks still are married :) . If this was their only problem I am sure they are quiet happy…

              ✺”She might rearrange his furniture or the way his house is organized. A neighbor got married. His wife moved in with him and his brother. His brother was complaining to me that she was changing everything.” ✺
              This you come with this example surprised me.
              And I wonder if you have been married or cohabited with a woman? I think not.
              The brother complained ! Well, the brother was not married to the woman.
              If a man marries and expect that he alone decides everything in the house, then HE is dominating and controlling the wife and the marriage. It can not end well. Marriage is give and take, and both parts adapts to the other. A man must be naive if he think he alone decides everything in the house, it’s decoration and use.
              .Usually a couple owns a home together and decides together how to use the house and decorate it. If a man marries and think he alone decides this then he has a problem. The wife is not a guest.

              ✺”In more extreme cases she might want to pick his friends.”✺
              Yes the proses of give and take can develop into control and domination. But then you have the start of domestic violence, and that is not normal behavior.

              I can not see how any of your examples is examples of new conflicts,or new demands women now make? Do you really think women never had anything to say in the home about furniture and decorations in earlier times? Two persons have a home together. This is not the “mans home”. Any man that think he can continue his bachelor life after marriage is in for a surprise .

            • Wait, wait wait, wait. So the drastic changes demanded of men are… rearranging furniture? Are you seriously suggesting that a man is defined by his socks or his furniture? How are those things more integral to a person’s identity than what they do with the majority of their day, how they relate to others, and how they value themselves? I truly do not believe that any relationship ever in the history of any rational adult has hinged on socks, on either side.

        • “Here, she’s calling out the fact that women are expected to care about relationships. The fact that so many women buy relationship books and pursue relationship-related media indicates that they care enough about relationships with men to invest their time and energy. There is no corresponding time/energy market for men. The amount of time that the average man invests in consciously improving his relationship with women is relatively small.”

          Most of those books are about how to take control of the relationship and make yourself “happy”. Not sure that should be counted as a positive, investing in the relationship type thing and I doubt most women would want their lover to be reading literature that was so control oriented.

          • How many of these books have you read Trey? While I think there are alot of negative relationship books out there, there are plenty that actually are about becoming a better communicator and working to make the relationship truly better for both partners. Wome nare pretty ravenous over this material and truly want to know how to make their relationships more fulfilling. Relationships don’t become fulfilling if they are only fulfilling for one person. I would actually LOVE LOVE LOVE if more men spent more time reading such material. Instead, what I see as being pretty active in male media is about how to bang younger women or convince a woman to try all the kinky stuff a man wants to do . The media is very good at exploiting are most selfish desires though, for men and women.

            • I would actually LOVE LOVE LOVE if more men spent more time reading such material.
              I think you don’t see much men reading that material is because what relationship advice/books is offered to men that’s not sexual is usually in the form of “you’re wrong, do what she says.”.

            • Well let me clarify, I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to see men spend more time reading HEALTHY material. And clearly information that simply says that anyone is always wrong and to simply do what the other person says is clearly unhealthy.

              Heck, a lot of books for women that become popular are sadomasochist itself and I think rather unhealthy too. Yet, for some unknown reason to me, they still become popular. Such as, “He’s Just Not that into you!” Some of these books are jsut down right sadomastochistic. Women beat themselves up enough as it is. These books often feed into that as well.

      • Nah, shaving/waxing is still the norm. Most guys won’t turn down sex because of it, but some may look down on you about it… or mock you to his friends after… but they won’t turn down the opportunity to increase their ‘number’.

        The best bet is just to avoid those guys. Sleep with someone who wants to sleep with you because they are attracted to you – not because they have something to prove to their buddies.

        • None of my girlfriends have ever shaved their genital area.
          I asked one of them (my most long-term one) just once, if she could consider trimming (not shaving!) herself, since she seemed to enjoy the oral I was giving her. Her answer was a flat refusal, and I have never raised the issue since.

          • wellokaythen says:

            I’ve experienced something similar. I suggested that I would have an easier time with cunnilingus if her pubic hair was trimmed a little (not shaved!) and she called me a pedophile and kicked me out.

            • Wellokthen
              Maybe some men would kick the woman out if she expected him to shave off his beard and mustache before she kisses him. The hair in his face make the kissing difficult for her ..she gets hair in her mouth, it tickles and she wants better access to his lips .

            • I don’t think her reaction was healthy and I don’t think she treated you with respect.

              Sometimes, when a man you are in a relationship with asks you to do something with your body, even if it’s something minute like trimming or shaving, it can *feel* like a critcism for how you choose to present yourself. I am not justifying her response. Only explaining some, sometimes, female pyschology.

              On line with your experience, I’ve heard a lot of men say if a woman doesn’t accept pornography, then she gets “kicked to the curb”. There are a lot of uncompromising people out there in the world.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ HorseExpert

      “Now I’m his freaking therapist, too. Is that before or after I shave my hoo hoo to look like a prepubescent girl, as seems to be the preference these days.?”

      If that bothers you, be thankful you weren’t born a boy. You may have had your genitals permanently modified in some cases because your parents or society believed that women preferred it that way. If it helps, pubes grow back and you can always make the decision not to shave.

  87. I think the main problem is a lack of love and self-worth in both genders. I agree with the fact that men are really not given a forum to show emotion, but I truly believe that with the right person, they will have that outlet. The secret, I think, is that both parties truly get to know themselves first, rather than following the oh-so flawed social interpretation of “man” and “woman”. I LOVE that genders are different, and I prefer to celebrate that. Let’s face it: many men love feminine women, and many women love “manly”men. But the right to your emotions is really a non-gender issue. It’s a human one.

    • Supra deluca says:

      But what is feminine, what is “manly”? That changes over time. All the time. Every culture sees it diferently.

  88. #compassion in spite of the world that wounds and inspires fear in all of us

  89. Your article makes sense people need to be able to open up and not feel shame because of it. The only issue is that this bucks against the men are this women are that dynamic that is instill in us where we don’t know where the biology begins and the social ends. Its like you are trying to ease up on the rigidity but in doing so its just a back and forth lock that gives a little then goes back the being a constraint.

    Until the ideas of masculinity and femininity are allowed to be fluid we are merely slightly loosening and enternally tightening chain.

    The overall crutch of celebrating the “differences” in gender is that what are we celebrating? Are we applying certain attributes and words to one gender and not the other? Are biologically difference are a given if we as society want to take pride in certain attributes that are “suppose” to be “inherent” in men and women then people will still feel confused and ashamed.

    Trying to see each other as human beings first is very admirable I agree with it hundred percent but it will be next to impossible if we try to do that AND hold to the idea of men and women are as “different” entities.

  90. Tamara, another article from you I really enjoyed. Thanks for the point by point tips that clearly out line effective guide points. I don’t think we can ever be reminded too much to simply have patience with one another. Especially since it’s so easy to loose it. I know in the past that I’ve been frustrated by an ex boyfriend’s inability to understand what I’m saying or communicate with me the way a female friend would or my Mom would. Even while at the same time understanding that it’s probably for these exact differences that I’m attracted to him to begin with.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @erin Thank you and I really appreciate the intelligent comment stream I’ve seen from you. You bring good insight into the conversation.

    • Just on the topic of gendered communication….be direct, very direct when communicating. No hints, no reliance on body language, say exactly what you need. I wishhh people did this more!

      • Being direct is wonderful. However, I’d prefer we didn’t demonize those smaller cues, body language and signals that are very much a part of our non-verbal communication. How about we meet halfway? More direct communication and perhaps access knowledge in the art of non-verbal communication.

        • @Erin…,men have criticized,on this and other threads, the exclusivity of the verbal communication metric that women use to define communication,to no avail.Reality says that we communicate using a variety verbal and nonverbal cues.Many experts say that up to 90% of communication is nonverbal. We,being the animals that we are,communicate instinctually nonverbally all the time.I believe most women very skilled at this.Often times they deny the meaning of and the use of these nonverbal cues.Denied or not humans communicate a wealth of info without saying a word.When it comes to communication, good faith is hard to find.Why listen to someone pontificate endlessly on communication who only understands a small aspect of it?Shouldn’t one know what they are talking about before giving advice and making demands?This illustrates precisely one of the biggest communication issues between men. Women see themselves as expert communicators.Women are not communication experts because;1)they talk a lot about their feelings…can’t keep em’ quiet really. 2)Women are not better communicators because they are women.This nonsense is especially irritating and will shut men down making them defensive too.3)they think their feelings are more important than a man’s.4)see numbers one,two and three.

  91. wellokaythen says:

    There are at least two big related issues here about social/cultural conditioning. One is the way that men have been taught to express their feelings to other men and society as a whole. The other is the way that men have been taught to express their feelings to women or in intimate relationships. When men are in a situation of sharing feelings with women, it can be a very different kind of dynamic than any other situation.

    Men who appear to be emotionally closed down when talking to women are not just acting out machismo or stoicism or some kind of neurotic desire to control something. They aren’t just stuffing their feelings deep down. Sometimes a man is reluctant to express his feelings to a woman he cares about because he’s afraid of the effects on HER, not just his own vulnerability.

    There’s a warped variant of “chivalry,” for lack of a better word, that suggests that saying anything that makes a woman upset is just inherently something bad. So, many man are circumspect about their own feelings because they’re worried about upsetting HER feelings somehow. Saying something that makes her sad or angry or upset means that you’re a “bad man,” so he avoids the risk of doing that by not talking about his feelings. That’s a warped way of acting in a relationship, but when you’re stuck in that dynamic it can seem perfectly logical at the time.

    I know I was like that for a very long time, without even being very conscious about it. I seemed to create relationships with people who simply reinforced my shut-down role, though they were probably not conscious of what they were doing, either.

  92. Tamara, I read your post AGAIN. And it’s still as good as it was when you published it. (grin) And tonight, I wrote a small portion of my side of the shame/vulnerability picture. I hope you enjoy. Of course I linked back here to your wonderful post. John McElhenney

    http://wholeparentbook.com/asking-men-to-be-vulnerable/

  93. Richard Aubrey says:

    Talked to a MSW family/marriage counselor about twenty years ago. He had a case where, among other things, the wife didn’t think hubby was interested in women because she’d never seen him checking out the hot ones, of whom one lived across the street or something.
    He said staring, checking out, or ogling, were all rude. So he didn’t do it.
    Boy, that’s a toughie.

  94. John Anderson says:

    Hi Tamara, great article, as I’ve read both article comment threads I think there are a few things that could be added to the advice given to women about how they should approach their men.

    * Listen to what he has to say. Hearing is not the same thing as listening.
    * Believe what he has to say. Don’t assume you know him better than he knows himself.
    * Accept what he has to say. Getting a man to open up does nothing if what he has to say gets ignored.
    * Don’t misuse what he has to say..

    Nothing will shut a man down faster than when he has communicated his feelings to his woman and she ignores, disbelieves, disregards, or misuses what he’s said.

    My two cents.

    • Tamara Star says:

      Brilliant John. More than 2 cents actually…that’s worth 2M

    • How strange that all these same points could be applied to women as well… oh wait, we’re people too! Well, damn, maybe none of this has to do with gender, and it all is just about respecting other human beings as people.

      • I was about to say the same thing, Jordan. I think the problems are exactly the same– interacting and socializing are skills that humans have adapted relatively recently, and we’ve done some wonderful things. But we also demonize social awkwardness (which everyone experiences) to the point where no one will admit that sometimes, learning to communicate with other people–especially in an intimate fashion–is like learning a second language.

        Don’t get me wrong, I think this is a great article, mostly because it highlights part of the problem– we (guys) are often guilty of treating women as anything other than just people, and women will often do the same with guys. A lot of it is social conditioning, I think, and a lot of it is trying to learn the navigate the tricky, often confusing territory known as “other people.”

        While there are a lot of real gender issues out there, I think that a great majority of relationship issues can be resolved with respect, communication and “do unto others.”

  95. Adam Blanch says:

    How nice to hear a woman speak about men as if they were human beings instead of a convenient scapegoat for women’s pain. Also nice that you don’t claim to ‘know’ what men’s experience is but mainly express your opinion as your own.

  96. Finally. Thanks for sticking up for the other half! Hope it becomes a trend. We’re not all bad…have our faults…but who doesn’t?

  97. A very good insight and thanks for sharing. Whilst my father led the way to teach my brother and I that “real men don’t cry” when we were growing up, he led the way in showing his emotions as he got older. He stopped saying the former and showed the latter. I’ve always been emotional (that is what you see is what you get regarding how I am feeling) and crave, at times, opportunities to open up to my wife. She asks occasionally.I hope she asks more – like daily.

    Many men are kinaesthetic so we struggle to put words to our feelings. I do. According to some socioathropological studies women are far more developed at communication because in previous years women were the gatherers and did so in groups. A great forum for communication. Men were the hunters. Speaking openly put the hunt at risk. Hunting was done in silence for the most part. If not, no one got fed. As a result, men have a few centuries of catching up. Apparently, men speak on average of 15,000 words per day and women 25,000. We use fewer words and are result focused. We say what we need to say mostly in as few words as possible. We are strategists. We are thinking ahead of what the ramifications will be of what we say and do. In short, we may look like ducks but our feet are paddling.

  98. I had to stop reading all these comments by women that think they have a bone to pick with this .. Maybe you guys missed the beginning of this article:

    “This isn’t about the men that hurt on purpose, men that rape, or men that abandon their families. This is about the average Joe, the guy that loved his mama, tries his best and is still mystified by those of us that are female.”

    I know you’ve been hurt, you know we’ve been hurt.. so let’s both put the swords down. Geez. Just recognize who is worth your patience and support, and who isn’t. Walk away from those who don’t.. but with those who do, stop perpetuating the cycle. And, trust. We all want to. Thanks.

  99. Thank you Tamara.
    I recently came out of a relationship with a massive communication break down,
    I couldn’t say what I wanted to say in the heat of battle quick enough, the topic would go from one thing to another and I just couldn’t process it all or keep up. It got the point where I was so lost with it all, I just shut down. I thought there must be something wrong with me, I can’t communicate properly or I don’t have the attention span, I couldn’t work it out.
    I love her still even though she is now gone, but it won’t work with the communication the way it was.
    I’m glad you have she’d some light on this topic for me, and that I’m not the only guy out there in this same situation.
    Thank you for making me feel a bit normal. :)

  100. From the comments, it sounds like women still don’t get why men are shutting down and opting out. Do yourself a favor and read Dr Helen Smith’s “Men on Strike”. Thinking of us as “men that hurt on purpose, men that rape, or men that abandon their families” or, as indicated in this article, “men that need their mommy” may play well in your feminist critical theory classes, but you’ll end up alone with 8 cats for the rest of your life.

    http://blogs.the-american-interest.com/wrm/2013/06/19/why-men-are-going-galt-a-review-of-men-on-strike/

    • Kloi Dav. says:

      What’s wrong with cats anyway? A lot of women don’t want to marry and the more time passes the less they will want to. In fact, in some Euro Countries and Japan, for example, men are the ones suffering – they want to marry, women don’t. They don’t NEED to marry just like men don’t.
      Also they still could adopt a child, get pregnant (artificially or not) or get a dog or bird lol.
      But really, trust me: there’s a lot of men that wold marry the worst witch in this world because that would make sex a reality, so don’t try to shame women with this sexist tact, it doesn’t work.

      • jasonlyle says:

        why do you feel its shameful ? This is supposed to be enlightening, not to be offended by.

      • John Anderson says:

        @ Kloi Dav

        “But really, trust me: there’s a lot of men that wold marry the worst witch in this world because that would make sex a reality,”

        To a large extent this is because society (mostly pushed by women) have made prostitution illegal to maximize women’s sexual power. Why do you think (mostly) women are against pornography? It reduces their sexual currency. Women themselves will tell you that it’s something they have to compete against.

        We should however look at what’s healthy for individuals and society as a whole. Japan is suffering a major labor shortage. Bringing in people for outside will change their culture (I’m not taking a position on whether this is a good thing or not. Just pointing out that it will happen). From what I understand about 25% of young men and 40% of young women report not being interested in sex, not just marriage. When 25% of men are not interested in pre-marital sex, that signals a serious problem in my mind.

        • Actually, there is plenty of research out there that shows pornography is hurting all of us through our relationships.

          And I’m not sure where your theory comes from, but the outlawing of prostitution and pornography was driven by religion – which is led rather exclusively by men.

          Wow are you off-base.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ Natalie

            Actually, many of the earlier religions were fertility religions that didn’t have a problem with prostitution I’m not sure that even the 3 monotheistic religions explicitly forbid it. It’s most likely a cultural or political decision that some choose to mask as religion. Why would that be? The “religious” tend to want to outlaw ALL pre-marital sex not just prostitution. That way the church controls marriage. They also control sex.

            So why has society in general decided that only a small instance of pre-marital sex is wrong? Why has this society also looked at only this particular act of consensual sex outside of marriage as wrong?

          • religions may be superficially led by men, but the fact of the matter is women make up the majority of churchgoers. The male “leaders” are really more like figureheads, especially in Protestant churches.

        • Prostitution was made illegal because of the feudalistic patrilineal property system (you know how much trouble the “bastards” in Game of Thrones cause, right?), which turned to religion as a cover story to make the case to serfs with no property. This turned it into an emotional issue, which has been hard to evolve past. How much sense does it make that women would want to be seen as some kind of sexual bankers? This phenomenon creates an expectation among men that women owe them sex, converted into a commodity rather than an activity, as some twisted social contract, which leads to all kinds of horrible situations. Sexual power is not real power. Military and monetary power are real power. Lysistrata is fiction. Sorry, but you’re just calling women whores. It’s bullshit.

          “Going Galt” means withdrawing from society, not to amuse yourself to death and refuse to accomplish goals, but to create your own better society. Women have always had terrible stereotypes (weak, stupid, passive, mean, volatile, greedy, amoral) about them. So have men – it’s just that in the past, destructive qualities were presented as virtues (violence, disposability in wars and industry, heartlessness, greed, etc.). Realizing that these horrible stereotypes are, in fact, horrible, is a step in the right direction. No longer do you have to repress your anguish, die inside, and stoically mold yourself into Don Draper. Be free.

          While there are very few gender essentialist ideas that hold up, higher activity level and aggression in boys and men is consistently observed. This means that they need more attention in the classroom, and more physical activity. These qualities are being phased out of schools, not because schools are trying to teach children to work together, but because we are refusing to invest in our schools. Conservative and MRA ideals, which are anti-feminist, almost always support this. Why?

          This is just one example of the disconnect from reality that book you referenced has. I know it’s based on how men feel and perceive the world, but how did it get that way, when:

          – Divorce court often tends to side with women based on judicial decisions, not the law, and judges are more often old white men with rigid ideas of gender – ideas of gender that MRA’s and conservatives usually support.

          – There are copious instances of universities covering up rape.

          – There are plenty of male spaces (sports teams, men’s groups, musical groups, lots of sports bars, fantasy football, lots of gaming guilds, hunting/fishing, gyms, strip clubs, etc.) for men to go. If there are none in your area, start one. Male-only business associations are off-limits for ethical reasons, however, because livelihood is too important to take away for some people’s social recreation.

          Technically letting women in does not strip it of being a male space; in lots of these places, the “no girls allowed” rule is enforced by simply making women uncomfortable enough to wonder why they’re there and leave. The only place I can think of that men are truly technically not allowed is Curves, convents, all-girls schools and camps, and women’s bathrooms. All of these except Curves have male-only equivalents, which basically does because of the existence of boxing gyms.

          A) Is it really important for you to go to these places? and B) Does this not make sense?

          Campus Women’s Centers, which have heard a lot of complaining from MRA’s and conservatives, allow men to be there, but use the alienation principle, like all the male spaces I mentioned. Furthermore, it does not disadvantage men to let women join business clubs, which they need to do to have equality of opportunity. Your argument is equivalent to, “Well, if I can’t go to Curves, you can’t go to the grocery store!” Bulllllllloney.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ chiiill

            I’m not quite sure who you’re talking to. It seems the comment addresses many comments, but I’d like to address some of your assertions.

            Prostitution, rape, slavery (including sexual slavery) has been around for millenniums. If female purity for marriage (women as property) is an important societal belief, wouldn’t it make sense to have prostitutes? That is if men wanted to have premarital sex. So the act is legal, but not socially legitimized. Your child with your slave does not inherit your wealth. Some feminists have pointed out that women’s bodies were effectively used to breed the next generation of slaves.

            If it was simply an issue of legitimacy, why is the act itself banned? To my knowledge slave owners were not punished for raping slaves. Laws were interpreted or passed to keep the offspring as slaves to answer the question of legitimacy. Very few interactions with a prostitute result in pregnancy let alone child birth. The only purpose served by making prostitution illegal is to stop men from having an easy avenue for premarital sex (Yes, women hire prostitutes also, but I don’t think that’s societies motivation).

            “Sexual power is not real power. Military and monetary power are real power. Lysistrata is fiction. Sorry, but you’re just calling women whores. It’s bullshit.”

            Why is military power real power? The threat of it’s use. Why is monetary power real power? The threat that it will be with held. Companies can negotiate prices or get concessions from suppliers if they do a large enough volume and can threaten to go somewhere else. Minimum wage protects employees by preventing companies from with holding money and forcing them to provide additional labor in order to make (hopefully) a subsistence wage. Sexual power can be used either way. If you do or don’t do this, I’ll have an affair with or have sex with X. Strippers use it to make money. Some women use it to get out of traffic tickets or get discounts, etc. Sex can also be with held. If you don’t do this or give me that, I won’t do this.

            You may have a point when you look at levels of coercion especially when it comes to a desire vs a need. So if a person can rent a room for $100 a week, heat it at 60 degrees, shiver but not freeze. If a person only needs 6 hours of rest a day to survive and can live on 5 loaves of bread a week and some water, any wage above $1 or so an hour would not be coercive because they don’t absolutely need it to survive. If society guaranteed each individual 6K a year, money would significantly lose it’s power?

            I think most people would agree that life is to be enjoyed and people limiting my enjoyment in an unfair way is exercising coercive power. Most people also look at relationships as compromise. When one person uses an aspect of that relationship as leverage to gain advantage in other aspects, that’s power. Believing that sex as a gift while expecting a man who doesn’t like to dance to dance with you, expecting him to pay for dates, expecting him to buy you flowers on Valentines Day, etc. and not viewing these as gifts, but entitlement. That’s bullshit.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ chiiill

            “No longer do you have to repress your anguish, die inside, and stoically mold yourself into Don Draper. Be free. ”

            The difference being that men should do this because it benefits them. The stereotype that seems to persist, however, is that men should be able to do this on their own. Women have a problem, we need a societal response or need men to fix it. Tamara suggests ways that women can help, why shouldn’t they?

            “These qualities are being phased out of schools, not because schools are trying to teach children to work together, but because we are refusing to invest in our schools”

            Wrong, society has made the choice to medicate this. They have chosen to “convert boys into girls” so to speak rather than attempting to address the needs of boys.

            “Divorce court often tends to side with women based on judicial decisions, not the law, and judges are more often old white men with rigid ideas of gender – ideas of gender that MRA’s and conservatives usually support.”

            Then why do feminists, if they are as progressive as you claim, oppose laws limiting judicial decisions (joint parenting) while simultaneously advocating for laws like mandatory arrests in DV cases because it limits police discretion? Could it be that in one case the victims are men and in the other case the victims are women and even if they’re not they know the person arrested will be a man?

            “There are copious instances of universities covering up rape.”

            That sucks. I also think it’s worth noting that there have been many men who have been raped, many by women. Just because these rapes were unreported and not covered up doesn’t make the problem less severe or less worthy of a societal response. Just wanted to point that out especially since you wrote this “Campus Women’s Centers, which have heard a lot of complaining from MRA’s and conservatives, allow men to be there, but use the alienation principle, ”

            It sucks just as much that men don’t have the support systems to even report being raped. It’s sad to think that getting to the coverup stage would be an advancement.

          • John Anderson says:

            @ chiiil

            As far as male only spaces go. There are many more women only spaces. I’ve heard male survivors of rape who’ve contact rape hotlines only to be told that they only assist women. There was the story of the guy who wanted to get tested for breast cancer and was turned away by a women’s clinic. He contacted a news organization that contacted Komen who set up an appointed for him at a Komen funded organization. The lump was already fist sized. If an unaccompanied child is on an airplane, guess what the seat next to him is, a women only space.

            There are women only swim times and road races. Harvard had adopted a women only swim time without having a similar men only time. There was a huge controversy among runners a few years back when men started winning women only races. There was more sexism involved than “exclusion”. Some men were denied prizes. Others started in positions so far back they could not possible cross the finish line first even if they had the fastest time.

            Society demands that women be able to compete with men at the “highest level”. Try to keep a woman out of the NBA or PGA and wait for the feminist backlash. If men started demanding tryouts for the WNBA or LPGA, that would spell the end of those leagues as women’s leagues. Women would still complain even if they capped male participation like they do in coed sports leagues. These leagues pay money so I don’t think the “business is conducted here” really has as much merit as you think. You’re still denying someone a career.

      • actually, Japanese men are the ones foregoing relationships. see: the grasseater male phenomenon

        • Wes Carr says:

          Not just relationships, but also the 60-70 hour work weeks of their parent’s generation that left fathers no time for their families. Or for anything else. Men were, and still are expected to work, provide and die if necessary.

        • Supra deluca says:

          Many Japanese women don’t want to marry anymore because many men there still want them to fit the old roles; to stay at home, obey the husband, etc.
          Some guys, the younger ones, just don’t want to have casual sex, or casually date. But most of these guys still think of marrying later. They just don’t care about that stereotype that guy need to go after women, need to want sex all the time, etc.

    • Tamara Star says:

      @Fen what a toxic comment this is…I am saddened by your response.

  101. “how to please your man” written by some lady.

  102. Thank you for making this article. I really appreciate having a woman write this and understand men so well. I truly believe in equality and I have been trying to understand women as best as I can. It’s really nice hearing a woman talk about this and express what many men are too afraid to express because of their programming. There are many things in this world that are unfair for women, I truly believe that. Unequal pay is just one of many examples, and beauty magazines would be another example, having to live up to photo-shopped pictures that aren’t even real. But this article highlights some of the problems men face. We grow up in a society where we are told if a man shows affection and love for another man then he must be gay. “Don’t hug other men otherwise you are gay. Don’t cry otherwise you are a sissy. Real men don’t cry.” All this garbage that is forced on us from a very early age and it’s hard to break free from. It’s strong programming pushed on us by the age we can talk, it’s ingrained in us.
    So yes it’s very hard for men to express their feelings because they have been attacked in the past for doing such things. And I believe men can overcome this programming if they can learn to accept that it’s okay to feel, to cry, to love their fellow men. It’s just hard for men to accept this is okay when other men have been telling them their whole lives that “real men” don’t do these things. And obviously there are men out there who are flat out jerks and shouldn’t be excused, but like Tamara was saying there are also average Joes who are just a product of this society they are brought up in. I am a man who wants to feel and care and for the most part I am a very caring person, but I still have some programming to shed but I see other men and the way they act and I am frustrated by their lack of progression. But I understand why some of them are the way they are, and I am also disgusted by some men as well. It’s definitely hard being a man who cares about women when there are so many men who treat women like garbage. Because I get grouped in with these other men, yet I’m nothing like them. You can’t group all men together just like you can’t group all women together. We are all people and all individuals but both men and women have been victims in this society in different ways.

    Thank you for this article. I really appreciate the thought and understanding that went into this.

  103. this was a great article! it made me realize why i do some of the things i do as a guy. thanks for helping me evolve as a human

  104. The Dude Abides says:

    It seems a lot of people misunderstand the relationship setting. INDIVIDUALS want and act differently. The more universals you try and establish the less people you’ll please. There are guys that intend to hurt, rape, etc. and then there are guys that are at the opposite end of that spectrum. There are plenty of women that I’ve met that are just as negative, spiteful, vengeful, and outright sex-craved as men. Everyone is shaped by their pasts and their coping methods are their own: there’s no right way to grow up. I know men that express their feelings better than women and women that are more callused than men. My best advice is approach every person pragmatically; you can’t just throw a blanket over everyone. Get to know people, and do whatever it is that you do – have sex to cope, talk about every intricate detail of every man/woman that’s ever hurt you, what have you – within your own comfort limit, and go from there. It’s pretty easy to establish a read on someone if you ask the right questions. I think the article is pretty on-point if we’re just discussing women being more patient with men.

  105. Paolo De Marco says:

    You have superior genes? Because you have a privileged natural athlete body, or above average IQ, or extraordinary body functions… or it is just because you were born with a penis? Because of men that think they are superior is that we as Humanity do not prosper, we need equality, which doesn’t mean we’re exactly the same, it means we benefit form each other strengths; a superiority complex is out of the question, really 1950’s and we’re over that already: women and men!

  106. Did we read the same article?
    How does the author make men into pets?

    Considering the vast vast compendium written daily of male obligations to women in mass media I am very thankful to see an article detailing female obligations to men. Additionally, I am willing to overlook the (insanely small by my eyes) imperfections in the article.

    Celebrate successes and don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. I dare you to find another 3 articles detailing female obligations to men.

  107. Jim

    I am afraid your breed will die out.
    It is not much we can do about that. Selective breeding is the thing.

  108. I read the piece, but only a few of the 300+ comments.

    For my part, I’d rather not be cut any slack. Most women I’ve known do not have any serious problem with men. Being baffled by things many men tend to do is not a serious problem. Assuming that I do those things without any evidence is headed toward serious. Harboring a serious grudge against me because of men is something I’d just as soon know about so that I can take the appropriate evasive action.

    I guess assuming anything about a person based solely on sex is potentially problematic and something we all would be well served to check. By “check”, I mean controlling the behavior that might be prompted by untested assumptions. I’m guilty of both the assumptions and occasionally of not checking them.

    Assessing me as an individual who happens to be a man seems pretty basic. No one does that perfectly, but striving to do it well seems more like common decency, and I don’t want or expect more than that. I think the piece is aiming at a different target, but not at my request.

  109. 45 year old white male here– thank you for this. As a member of Mankind Project, I can tell you that getting in touch with those wounds and expressing our pain in healthy ways (and in a safe environment) is KEY to becoming more open, more trusting, and more accountable in my own life. Thank you again for your insight, Tamara Star! http://www.mankindproject.org

  110. so my issue is, I am always curious and love to communicate with others. So my question is….when my husband is upst or angry about something how do I encourage him to talk about it without it turning into an argument. I just hate not knowing what’s going on, if I’ve done something, or if I can help? But it always feels like he’s angry with me or himself?????? I just hate feeling so helpless. So do I just wait for him to come to me, because most he won’t. And then we don’t talk for day’s and I’ll feel really distant from him. Seems ti maj e the matter worse. Your thoughts?

    • @pain:
      May I suggest letting him brood in the matter first, then when he seems cooled down, bring up the subject and listen, ask questions and maybe help him formulate his feelings. Could be he has a hard time finding the right words for his world of feelings.
      Not interrupting, not going into ‘fix mode’ is key, just as with women.
      Does this help?

    • @pain
      It’s important to remember that many men are not programmed like women, where expressing their pain necessarily makes them feel better. Whether it is because he was brought up by society differently or just because he was wired differently than you, having to express his feelings may be painful for him. I know that some of the times I was most hurt haven’t been solved by talking about what happened or how I feel, but by doing something I love like woodworking or camping and just refreshing my mind and not thinking about it. When men comfort other men, the first order of business is never to express their feelings. It’s to go to their favorite bar and have a drink, or shoot pool, something to remove themselves from the mess of feelings at least for a little bit. Later on the feelings may come out, but only if he’s feeling a little better and feels secure to let his guard down. Telling a man he’s safe to express himself is not the same as making a man feel like he’s safe to express himself. And sometimes he may not want to talk about it all, either because he doesn’t have the words to express how he feels or it just isn’t the right time for him to talk. That doesn’t mean he hasn’t been emotionally comforted. In any case, it sounds like your husband is feeling pressured to express himself, which can only compound the problem, and he’s seeing you become frustrated by not being able to help and a frustrated wife is only feeding his frustration. You say you love to communicate, but wanting him to tell you what’s wrong sounds like its more for your sake than his.
      All of that is not to say that you can’t be there emotionally for him and comfort him. Next time he’s upset or angry, try telling him you recognize he’s had a rough day, then try to do something nice for him like cooking his favorite meal and getting a six pack of nice beer, and then leaving it at that. Let him pick the tv show, and later on he may tell you what’s wrong or he may not. Whichever way, you’ve shown him you care about him and comforted him. Whatever you do, don’t say things like “I want to help but you won’t tell me what’s wrong” because he probably already knows what he needs to do, but knowing that doesn’t mean it’s not still a problem. Also, don’t try to give advice after he tells you what’s wrong or help him fix the problem. Men don’t want that, and in my experience women don’t wan that either, but women often don’t realize they’re comforted when a man just listens to them, and men want the same thing. It’s more a human thing than a man thing, but it fits better into a man’s state of mind. If he tells you what’s bothering him, he really just wants a sounding board to get it off his chest.
      This is a great article though to let women know that its tough out there for guys too. Women have been shaped differently than each other by their experiences and seem to want very different things from men, so its good to give men a little leeway as they try to figure you out.

    • John Anderson says:

      @ pain

      I heard a relationship expert suggest starting by talking about a topic he’d like to talk about. In this case, I would think during a time that he wasn’t angry. I suspect that he’d either open up or you can introduce the topic into the conversation.

      From what you’re describing it sounds like he’s under a lot of stress. I would suspect something work related or financial, but it could be health related or related to the health of another. A couple guys I know work through stress by working out. Some guys feel the only emotion they can express is anger (not grief, fear, or doubt) and maybe that’s why he avoids you.

  111. When I read things attributing universal characteristics to two groups of people it makes me wonder if I am missing something. I feel like it is difficult for me to place the behavior of the people I know into two clear categories, myself included.

  112. Thanks for this great article Ms. Star. Judging from some of the comments however, it seems you’re fighting a losing battle.

    • John Anderson says:

      I think people mostly comment when they don’t agree with something said like this comment. I think a lot of the negativity you see is people feeling attacked and feeling the need to defend themselves. There will also be some people who believe that articles presented as one size firs all should be one size fits all, but it gets unwieldy to put all the disclaimers in and they need (I’m guilty at times too) to view it in light of the author’s overall intent.

  113. THANK YOU!!!!

  114. Fantastic! You’ve shared such great insight, things that most women = and men – need to hear. Giving men a chance to open up and share their vulnerability without fear, creating a safe space for them to do so can be the foundation of a beautiful and deep relationship.
    Thank you for sharing this with such grace.

  115. Wow Tamara that was a great read. It really made me think about my upbringing and why I am who I am. I was brought up in an all boys private school where I was taught to be tough and anything less was considered “gay”. Lucky for me one of my best friends is gay and I believe if I had not become friends with him, I would still hate “gay” people as I was taught to hate them from a young age. Seriously there is something wrong with this culture. I remember bring brought up in a culture that was so “anti gay” I feel so ashamed. Even my father, friends, teachers all contributed to this culture of hate. It still subconsciously effects me as I try not to be “gay”. This has put serious strains on my previous relationships as I have shut myself off at the fear of being “gay”. You really have nailed the point which is in my opinion; a typical male is so afraid of opening up to anyone, because of the culture he’s been brought up in, that it is having serious consequences on relationships. Keep up the good work I’d love to date you lol

  116. Thanks for writing this, Ms. Star!
    We need more women speaking out as ambassadors.
    I’d like to add that I’ve found that some western women have a hard time coping with the feelings of their men. Especially handling their own criteria of how much is ‘too much sentimentality’ from a male partner.
    Also, men don’t express certain feelings but act them out, other men understand and recognize this. These feelings will be handled differently by women in general and seeing men not handling these feelings the same way makes these women think we’re not handling them ‘the right way’.
    For instance, sometimes I’ll brood on a problem and wait till my intuition comes up with a solution and then I’ll act upon it.
    I just won’t need to talk about it. Many women find it a problem and call ‘we don’t handle our feelings’ well. The only difference is: we don’t talk about these feelings because we trust we’ll recognize the problem and fix it – by ourselves.
    Women on the other hand will often need to talk about certain feelings to their friends and only by speaking about them and hearing opinions will they recognize the problem and fix it. They stay in the ‘what am I feeling?’ and ‘am I normal feeling this?’ phase much longer. Men seem to almost skip this phase or in any case, not talking about it loudly and elaborately.
    We just need our woman to understand this and not arrest their love or patience during this phase. We’re just men being men this way.
    Internet hugs to both genders!

  117. C.J. Hayes says:

    We, as women, can be patient when men talk with us, give them time and space to express themselves and understand that they don’t communicate like our female friends.

    -Correct. We don’t hum and haw and speak in double meanings. We say what we mean and we mean what we say. Talking to us is an exchange. You speak, I listen. I speak, YOU listen. That’s where the breakdown usually happens. You assume we weren’t listening when we were. And when you do that, we shut it off. Not because we were “embarrassed”. But because we’re frustrated with you.

    Bantering with girlfriends and talking over one another is common behavior when we gather together, but a man’s sharing is a different process. Men don’t jump from subject to subject. It’s not that they don’t want to share with us, it’s that often when they try to, we jump in and interrupt the flow

    As stated before, it’s an exchange. But a vast majority of women seem to be so in love with the sound of their own voice, it sends the message that they’re not listening. So, if you’re not going to listen, what’s the point in speaking?
    .
    We can count to 10 in our heads when they stop talking and give them a chance to speak again because 9 out of 10 times, they will.

    Not always, but it’s a nice gesture to consider.

    We can have patience.

    Yes, please be patient enough to let us finish our sentences. We don’t interrupt you, so stop doing it to us.

    We can understand that a closed down reaction during a fight is most likely embarrassment and pain as our men realize they’ve disappointed us.

    WRONG. We’d rather not get into a verbal altercation with you. Because we’d rather avoid saying something we did not mean. If that means silence, so be it. It’s the most sensible choice.

    We can take a step back and not take the lack of immediate communication as anger and instead, take a time out.

    That’s exactly what’s going on here. We’re giving you a time-out. If we’re angry, we’ll tell you. Don’t worry about that.

    Most importantly we can remember that our man is not going to be like our female friends. Changing men is not the goal. Even if we successfully changed them, chances are we wouldn’t be attracted to them anymore.

    You finally figured this one out? It’s about goddamn time.

  118. “The women I know all agree that witnessing an empowered man opening his heart, despite his wounding, and putting it all out there in a vulnerable way–is sexy.”

    I object to having to be empowered in the first place. I am not empowered and it isn’t something i demand from myself. The whole idea of appearing powerful is annoying. No one has power. We are all the same weak, needy, lost human beings struggling through this life and we should appreciate seeing each others weakness and find comfort in that. Male or not I need as much protection as you do – i am talking emotion here – and empowerment is nothing one just inhibits, it’s something attained between EACH OTHER. A single individual doesn’t have the empowerment most woman seem to seek, at least in my opinion, and i be damned putting on a show to appear more attractive. I want to be valued for who i am, not what i make you believe i am. I am empowered, alright, but i am not without you. That’s just so fundamental, ultimately, i think that’s the only reason we seek each other out (beyond the whole stupid basic drives).

  119. David Wise says:

    A lot of these relationship advice books and columns rely too much on male/female stereotypes. All men are not the strong, silent types who shut down and don’t know how to communicate. I, for one, and other men I know are perfectly capable of expressing ourselves. And some men know when to keep quiet to avoid deepening an argument. However, according the writer, “We can understand that a closed down reaction during a fight is most likely embarrassment and pain as our men realize they’ve disappointed us.” Huh?

  120. Christy Forrester says:

    I think the gist of the article is an important message about communicating across gender cultural differences. I think the article does a great job rounding out possible experiences/feelings/actions men have. It definitely tries to make clear which men are being discussed, but I think the main weakness is the over generalizations of women. There seems to be assumptions that all women are chatty and that they prob wouldn’t want a man who steps outside of gender norms. In my experience these assumptions don’t stand up… But this is an opinion piece, which while not backed up with much data, does get a worthwhile conversation started about culture of gender norms. While I like most of the ideas for awareness and communication, I don’t love the title, because it has one woman speaking for all woman and furthers the stereotype of the “nagging woman”. I do think it’s good to understand where people are coming from though, and gender role compliance won’t go away over night, it would be nice to see a world where men were encourage to display and communicate a healthy and fuller spectrum of emotions.

    This article only focuses on what she thinks women should do. I wonder what men can do?
    This is the other issue with the way this article was written. I see the value in recognizing the real lived cultural realities of people in differing gender roles, but it doesn’t sit well with me that the behavior change is all on the “women” in this piece… and that women are to accommodate men. Maybe if she had written it differently just saying that we need to understand the struggles with communicating across gender roles. Maybe that was her intent, but the result was that the women are the problem area that needs to adjust behaviors. I feel that many women have already done a lot of work and fighting to shift the culture of gender roles and suffered a great deal of backlash and struggle. So I guess I am saying if men choose to empower themselves to change the definition of masculinity in order to be the version of themselves they would like to be… that they must expect some backlash. It takes courage to fight the system. There are many women in history and many women now who have fought, met violence, imprisonment, and even death seeking change in gender roles.

    I have read a great a bit of Foucault and literature on gender role development and maintenance. Foucault describes the “Panopticon” which is a prison where the prisoners are being policed and watched at all times, but the prisoners can’t always see them. In this theory he Foucault feels it gets to the point that the prisoners police themselves even in the absence of the dominant forces watching them.

    I feel this is what happens with gender role construction. We are policed and then we eventually police ourselves. When a young kid steps out side of the behavior for their gender, there are repercussions, and there is punishment. We have all surely experienced that kind of bullying or behavior modification to keep us in line with our gender. After a while, we just police ourselves.

    So the next thought and question I usually have is, “Who benefits? or What function benefits from this system?” I would say many things do. The system of patriarchy and male power can benefit from the way gender roles are preferred to stay. I would say heteronormativity and gender role compliance have been seen as a benefit to the capitalistic agenda as the union of man and wife and role division are intended to produce more capable human workers… but I could go on too many tangents in this line of thought and I’d like to stay focused on the gender behaviors.

    I agree that men suffer so much under the roles they are ascribed by the gender police. I would so like to see it change, because we all suffer. I think the resistance we see in the change is “a complicated bear”. It is scary for many men and women to change and resist. Men may want to be more emotional, but there is that fear in place of the looming gender police and punishment. I would wager part of it is also the fear of losing power that is conflated with male gender behavior expectations. Personally as a woman, and a feminist (which I define as someone who questions power structures and believes in equality), I would love to see men live fuller and healthier emotional lives and not meet punishment for change, but when one resists, there is always struggle.

    I also believe in the struggle is for empowerment for all to live as their full selves and to have fair opportunity and be valued equally. However, I think the nature of this long standing imagined dichotomy and the gender police… send the message to men that “women” or “others” don’t want to be equal, they want to be more powerful…. Which I don’t think is the case. To me this is the difference between empowerment and abuse of power. I don’t like abuse of power as in getting more benefits, being able to be violent and unpunished, and having more value, resources, and opportunity. But I love the idea of empowerment to be your most amazing self and to have equal value.

    This article only focuses on what she thinks women should do. I wonder what men can do?
    I would also say that the more I think about it… I see another issue with the way this article was written. I see the value in recognizing the real lived cultural realities of people in differing gender roles, but it doesn’t sit well with me that the behavior change is all on the “women” in this piece… and that women are to accommodate men. Maybe if she had written it differently just saying that we need to understand the struggles with communicating across gender roles. Maybe that was her intent, but the result was that the women are the problem area that needs to adjust behaviors. I feel that many women have already done a lot of work and fighting to shift the culture of gender roles and suffered a great deal of backlash and struggle. So I guess I am saying if men choose to empower themselves to change the definition of masculinity in order to be the version of themselves they would like to be… that they must expect some backlash. It takes courage to fight the system. There are many women in history and many women now who have fought, met violence, imprisonment, and even death seeking change in gender roles.

    I guess I am saying that it is system we are up against… and that it would be great to see men and women join in the struggle to see change. It would be AWESOME to see men and women against the status quo!!! I suppose I don’t see men as being left out or misunderstood, but I see them as not having had to be a part of the change efforts for some time. I kind of don’t feel too bad for them for being misunderstood… welcome to the party… this is what happens when your privilege to be unaware of your complicity gets challenged. Maybe the left out feeling, if we are verbalizing that feeling properly, is because part of the structure of this unequal system has privileged men to not have to look at these issues. But now as things slowly change maybe “men” feel that they are not sure who or how to be… or what is wanted from them now. A shift away from doing our gender they way we have been instructed to and every minute and from every angle in our lives… can cause a real existential crisis. A feeling of “Who am I, if I am not doing all the things I was taught and not thinking the way I used to?” a sense of “Who am I without these guidelines and expectations?” I know that feeling very well personally. I have had my world turned on its head when I saw how complicit I was/am in the system. I often felt and feel… how do I get a sense that “I am doing the right thing” without validation from some outside source? Scary shit! I grapple and flail for sure. But personally I want to “be the change I wish to see in the world” (Thanks, Ghandi 😉 Even though my ways of resistance isn’t as big as someone like him.

    Anyway, I know that I welcome men who want to seek change. I cant speak for all women, but I can say that I love seeing men get to be fully themselves… and seeking equality… and showing emotion… And they don’t have to flex their muscles, or make a ton of money, or save the princess to make up for it. I just love seeing them be real and human and I think vulnerability takes such strength. Also I think we are caught in thinking that if we adopt behaviors from the other side of the gender binary that we must trade in one from our own… like I will choose emotionality and lose reason… or from a woman’s side I will choose physical strength and lose beauty ideals. It’s the system, the gender police, and the dichotomy that make us think we must give up one for another… when really…. Why can’t we have them all? We do actually have them all, but what is stopping us from embracing certain qualities.

    I get that it is confusing for men Totally. But I would say men should just be the kind of men you want to be and I can guarantee some women will resist because they are caught up in the internalized oppression of gender police too. But other people, who are as progressive, courageous, strong, and intelligent will treasure men like that.

    • Anonymous says:

      How ca your comment by longer than the article itself? Wow.

    • Thanks for your points. I agree–there’s some build-in insult to this piece. Sort of that “Men are from Mars” nonsense. The burden of effort is on the woman, yet again. She must search out ways to understand her man’s cave while its naturally assumed she’s naturally communicative and in perfect touch with her feelings.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      ok somehow I have been identified as a spammer by the system, but how? I dont post any links. The system is not working, the GMP mods need to fix this.

      Ok the bugged spam system has eaten my comment. but Christy gender norms are a team game, its possible that you dont see it, but it is, and you shouldn be quick to dismiss mens experiences just because it doesent fit what feel or experience.

      ” but I think the main weakness is the over generalizations of women. There seems to be assumptions that all women are chatty and that they prob wouldn’t want a man who steps outside of gender norms. In my experience these assumptions don’t stand up ”

      I agree, same thing goes for over generalization against men, most of articles written by feminist on men doesent fit either, to many generalizations and to much bias. The reality is complex. The great mistake feminist movement made was to not include men from start. This was a big mistake a mistake feminism is still struggling. Because frankly there wasnt any reason not to men are just victims as you are. And trust me most if not all would love to lose all these obsolete gender norms.

      Well you comment is problematic on several point witch need to be adressed. But im out of time, so it most be a chat for another day.

      • tashina strongbow says:

        your right women should have included men from the start, it is true, and we need to be supportive of the good guys, but a lot of women and men are not so good, and we need clear definitions of good and bad, so people who are crappy aren`t put in with the rest of us. I wish a lot more men were good, but just look at Mitt Romney the racist Mormon, Pat Robertson, who claims all women are here to give men sex when and how they want it, yeah, they have a sex panel on how women should act once a week, I am all for frequent sex, but not how they want it, oi!! talk about sexist, holy smokes!! but yeah, women should identify the good ones and be grateful, loving, supportive, and as positive as we can be, without hurting ourselves in the process, peace out.

    • Hi Christy Forrester,

      I love your reply, I believe myself to be a caring, honest, and supportive man but I find myself going through this part of my life you talk about where I’m not sure who or what a man should be in this modern world. I find myself giving everything I am to my romantic partners and getting used up and thrown out when their emotional needs are satisfied, yet all my female friends tell me they wish happiness for me because I’m an amazing guy and I deserve to be treated well.
      How can i be so amazing if I open up to women only to have them kick me in the heart? Every time it happens I feel less and less inclined to open up and be more like the men that women flock to, who lets face it, treat women like crap.
      I am not saying all women are like this, I am drawing on my experiences as I need to make something work for me. Stop telling men to man up and just let us be ourselves, love us for who we are and not for who you think we should be and you’ll find that men a very emotional and sensitive as well as strong, just like women are.

    • Wow. That was amazing. I loved both the article and the response. If only more people thought the way Tamara Starr and Christy Forrester did (and mucho props to my hero, Ghandi) what wonderful world this would be!

    • This article only focuses on what she thinks women should do…it doesn’t sit well with me that the behavior change is all on the “women” in this piece… and that women are to accommodate men.

      This is the point though. Women are the gatekeepers of dating, romantic relationships, and sex. They wrote the rules of the “game” and hold all the keys.

      Let’s say, you’re playing a board game with a friend—playing by their rules. Midway though, they change one of the rules on you, and call a foul. You try to explain your side, but they don’t give a moment to listen. This is the experience most men have dating american women.

      Thus, the onus is on women to even the playing field. Good men who play by women’s rules are seldom rewarded with any sort of affection. In other words, men have little left to go on.

      You accept the way things are, you’re an active participant in making them worse.” I see too many good women condone toxic behavior from women with low-self esteem.

      Eg. A quality lady will be kicking it with her girlfriend, the girlfriend boasts how, lately her BF has been an asshole, so to get back she made-out with some guy off tinder. Or, she was dating a guy for a month, then out of the blue, cut him off and started seeing another guy. This behavior would not be tolerated if it was coming from a guy friend.

      Thus, it’s up to the good women to call out that bad behavior. Toxic women not only hurt men, they hurt women too, because men won’t approach them and/or won’t commit to a relationship, out of fear of being stabbed in the back—again.

      Women need to go back to calling a spade, a spade. Yes, it’s uncomfortable, but Waiting for men and society to change for you is useless, and is the opposite of empowerment. Be the change and do not accept double-standards.

  121. You should be easing up because you’re pushing men away to the point where they’re opting out entirely. Men are on the cusp of the kind of liberation that feminism gave women, yet are pretty much society’s scapegoat at the moment. We catch crap from every direction, feminism included, and many of us are so fed up that we’ve just given up on all of it.

    Best of luck to society if all the men decide to throw up their hands.

    • Supra deluca says:

      Straight men give up so easily, uh? I can think of many other social groups that also suffered since the dawn of time and they are still trying to win, trying to be better people, etc. Us gay guys catch crap from every direction, and here we are, being good people and trying to make a difference, in general.
      I guess it is this entitlement for feeling powerful and above everyone else that straight males, even more when it comes to the white ones, have always been conditioned. Even when also being put down. I am sorry for that, but you guys have to wake up.

      • Nice! No safe place for men to speak respectfully about the pain and challenges they face. Can you imagine how you would feel if a man hijacked an article about women’s pain and challenges. Oh wait they do it everyday, must be a vengeance thing.

        • James Murray says:

          This is a problem I’ve been facing for a while now. Those of us who DON’T fit into the neat little box and aren’t rabid misogynists like the Voice for Men group.

          Every time you try to express the frustration and look for support, you end up with a self-righteous, snarky comment that utterly disrespects you and dismisses you out of hand.

          Thanks Supra deluca, for being such a kind and thoughtful soul. Not.

          • I think the problem comes when people don’t realize how they sound.

            As in: re-read the article: the criticism is valid. The only less-than-usual thing was that it came from a woman & not a man.

      • Mr Supertypo says:

        ” I guess it is this entitlement for feeling powerful and above everyone else that straight males, even more when it comes to the white ones, have always been conditioned. Even when also being put down. I am sorry for that, but you guys have to wake up ”

        Straight guys are just guys, please stop dehumanizing us.

    • tashina strongbow says:

      don`t give up dude, there are a lot of us who want to be supportive and are, to the good guys, but I do know how you feel I catch it form both sides too, one article says women should make the first move, but if you do, you are either a slut or pushy, but every chance I get, I try my very best to be loving and supportive, I am naturally maternal to all my friends, male and female, and yeah, being white, I have taken crap having lived in an all black neighborhood, so I know what you mean, you try your hardest, and get shit for it, I was heart broken for Tom Matlock, how women treated him was so unfair, please know we are not all like that, the good men, I am here to support you in all that I can, there are a lot of us out there. especially us old school broads. that is why I call myself a human rights person and not a feminist, I know you won`t believe me, but there is a lot of things that changed in feminism. some not for the better. and not all feminists agree with each other. but fort all you good guys, and gals, I am here for ya, peace out, Tashina

  122. Darren says:

    Beautifully written and spot on. I’ve learned that almost all men (including myself) are caring shame and guilt from their life events, especially from events in their childhood. Societal norms say keep it in, don’t share it, don’t acknowledge it – and this becomes a poison that warps our ability to 1) know ourselves and 2) be effective fathers, brothers, spouses, etc. Learning to live authentically is necessary and terrifying and the longer we (as men) wait, the harder it is, and the more damage we cause to those we love. I’d encourage any man wanting to look in the mirror to read Brene Brown’s work around shame and when you are truly ready to “see yourself for the first time” take time to explore The Mankind Project (http://mankindproject.org/) and consider taking part in this transformation community. I can promise, you’ll never be the same. You’ll thank yourself and so will your loved ones.

  123. Wes Carr says:

    Thanks for this article. In her book Men On Strike, Helen Smith touched on some of the points you
    made as to why men are giving up on relationships, marriage and even college.

  124. This is just reinforcing outdated stereotypes. I’m female and I’m nothing like the idea of a woman this article presumes. I don’t non-stop chatter and find rude when people talk over the top of each other. My friends and I do NOT EVER break down in front of each other. I was raised not to cry, ‘make mountains out of molehills’ or ‘air dirty laundry’. Translation: don’t talk about your stuff. I’ve literally broken up a defacto relationship because the guy would non-stop talk about every single thought, may be, might be, could be, feelings that crossed his path . He was constantly on at me, ‘how do you feel about me’, ‘how do you feel about us’ and then when I’d try to answer; ‘I don’t believe you. I think…’

    Sorry but it’s not the 1950’s anymore and ‘Sex and the City’ was a tv show, not reality.

    • Thank you for the sanity check.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      Bastet, so you know how annoying is to read outdated pieces on guys. Frankly there is to much disinformation between the genders. We need to break the gender myths.

  125. James Murray says:

    I just have to say thank you for this article. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.

    I’m so damn paranoid of being one of ‘those assholes’ that I’ve pretty much just given up on dating. Even when I approach a woman I’m interested in and try to be as non-threatening as possible, I don’t seem to ever really get considered. I understand why women feel the way they do, why the world is a much more frightening place because of those men who have no clue or no shame.

    Guess what ladies! They aren’t only harming YOU, they’re harming the REST of us guys that DO have a clue, that do have some class and that DO respect you. They’ve made you afraid of us all.

    There’s other cultural factors that influence my failure in relationships, the Seattle freeze comes to mind, but I swear, every time I get close to someone, they bail out as soon as I don’t step up as some sort of macho man. I open up and share, they see me as less of a man (I’ve been TOLD this, flat out!).

    So yeah, we hurt, we’re scared of spending the rest of our lives alone, we’re frustrated, and as seen above, get hammered back down when we DO try to do something constructive about it. Of course we’re closed off, We’re terrified of BEING THE VERY MEN YOU DESPISE!

  126. I agree and disagree with this article. While I don’t care for the generalizations the author makes about women, I don’t feel it’s causing the greatest harm here. The generalizations about men bother me more.

    Also how does this even follow the anecdote with this boy who lost his dog? ‘I spoke to a young man who couldn’t [or wouldn’t] talk about his grief therefore women need to ease up on men’. I don’t get it. I agree that a lot of men would benefit from having a safe place to express themselves, and that a lot of women should help facilitate this. I don’t understand the premise on which the author is basing her argument.

    Lord knows I interrupt my boyfriend all the time. Luckily for me he’s able to jump from topic to topic like I can, and he appreciates the types of conversations we have. I’m still working on the interruptions and my patience.

    Not all men are like the author describes. Men come in an array of personalities and guess what, different women (and men) will be attracted to different kinds of men.

  127. I treat men like they treat me; they are just men. I do not put them on pedestals like some of them expect women to do. I will call their BS if needed and I expect them to call on mine. The problem is that it is difficult for men to be equal to women. The demand respect, but hardly give it to women. If this was an article about women, the replies would have been hostile. I see that a lot lately about GMP where men have needs that are being ignored, but women never had them…. Sad

    • Anthony says:

      Men and Women, ALL people. The biggest problem of all is communication and true understanding of each other. Men and Women do not think or speak with the same style of mind in general. Learn to communicate with each other, on a deeper level, with understanding and many will begin to see some amazing things happen. Self discovery is the first step to being able to accept others into your life, man or woman. Forget social norms, you be who you want to be and be proud of it. I don’t cry in public i think its embarrassing and shows lack of control over ones self, and if I do break down its with someone who I deeply trust as privately as possible. Everyone has their side of the story, instead of trying to make your side heard, stop and listen to the other side, there are many things to be learned.

    • Mr Supertypo says:

      Luzy it also go in reverse, what you say can easely be said about women. Maybe not us who look into this but the general reality outhere is different. Everything women/men say about the opposite gender goes also the other way. Im sorry but its true.

  128. As a man now approaching 60, I have finally gotten past most of the gender crap Christy spoke about above. I think overall her points have much validity to what’s going on today. I am comfortable now being who I am, mostly, there is after all close to 60 years of hearing “the message” of how you’re supposed to be to fit in.. Women seemed to have gotten past a lot of that as a group. Men are still stuck by both men and women, sometimes more by women than men. I call out my male friends as well as my female friends when I hear nonsense. I like things that both genders can like. I’m communicative and feeling, responsible and protective. I am whom I’ve always been, just more open about it than I was in the past . it’s a really nice place to be. Glad I was able to experience that. Many people don’t, or won’t.

  129. One other thing. I finally figured out, internalized it, that you can’t please everybody. In reality not many people, and in the end maybe only one-yourself. Life is short. If people don’t like what I do, then my response is to ask them to ask me the real question first before they made their commentary. That question is “should I expect you to give a shit about anything I have to think or say?”. That generally stops them from going further. I am consciously aware to try not to hurt anyone by what I say or do, I expect the same consideration from others. When they violate that I have no fear or remorse to put them in their place. Fortunately my wife, while certainly not agreeing with me all the time, and tells me when she doesn’t, likes me just fine for the person I am. I’m a lucky guy.

  130. In the end it boils to respecting each other. If the man or woman dont respect each other or themselves, then that is basically a dysfunctional relationship. That’s when people move on. Ease up or not its subjective.

  131. ChissBountyHunter says:

    “Most men have been shamed in the past for asking for what they want. They’ve been shamed for wanting sex, shamed for feeling attraction and shamed for their vulnerability. It’s an uneasy playing field out there, actually a mine field when you think about it.”

    Feeling attraction is ok. Wanting sex is ok. Asking for sex is sometimes (usually) not ok. Pretending to be friends with someone just to get close enough to harass that someone is not ok. Pressuring someone to be with you because you feel attraction is not ok. Putting your self-worth as being something measured by how many people you can get to have sex with you is not ok. Can you understand the difference between those things?

    If you can, then I’ll never have to shame you over it.

    Anyone who shames people for FEELING a certain way is in the wrong. But please don’t ACT in creepy ways because of how you feel. It’s that easy.

    • tashina strongbow says:

      women should be supportive and grateful for good men, I wish I knew more, but we should have better definitions for good people, but we should be more patient and wait to see if men are good guys or not, or good guys with just a few bad things, some of the men who write for this site are definitely not so good, check out spearhead. com the bad boys of good men`s project. I am about to write an article about the power trips in different sex styles pro and con, I don`t like power trips in bed, only pleasure, any guy who wants to read it first and tell me what you think of it let me know, if there are any guys who want to read it post it here and I can e mail, ya, if ya want. it will be lengthy and you won`t like a lot of it, but it has a really happy ending, I promise, I will turn it into a blog if it doesn`t publish, hope to hear from you. Tashina, tell me what you think of power trips in bed.

  132. What is the article based on?

    I like a lot of the stuff the Good Men produces and it is all well intended, but often the articles claim some grand understandings and make blanket statements about entire genders with a near-religious faith and zeal.

    I am also very skeptical of articles by women claiming to want men to open up more about their feelings.

  133. Patrick Caneday says:

    Great article, Tamara. Thanks for reminding me that I’m not abnormal or wrong when I have these typically male responses.

  134. Great article. I think women would do well to understand that men don’t and most likely won’t communicate the same way as other women. And of course, on the flip side, the same holds true for guys, as well. Would solve a lot of communication issues.

  135. The days of the sensitive man are over. A lot of men who have gone that route are still branded rapists by the very same women who told us to be sensitive in the first place. Women are now reaping what more than four decades of feminism have sown. We can’t be too masculine or we’re misogynists and we can’t be too sensitive or we’re wimps. A lot of us are walking away entirely, choosing indifference over trying to hit the moving target that is making women happy. Women have no one but themselves to blame for it.

  136. As a young straight male, whilst there are a great number doing us a massive disservice – I’m looking at you, with the Snapback hat & bad Ibiza tattoos! – There are still some of us struggling to find our ways in the world.. Told one second to be the macho man, then another to be soft an open up.. With every new girl one meets, it’s a proverbial minefield in figuring out how to play it.. Whilst i’ve never been the sort to enjoy games, it’s seemed that 90% of women I’ve come forward with my intentions an feelings, have all but kicked dust in my face as they’ve turned an fleed 😛 Now, at 21, i feel I’ve come through more than my fair share of heartbreak, seemingly finding trial an tribulation where others find a walk in the park.. Not every guy you see is at he appears at first glance, sure.. Alot perhaps are.. But just, give em a chance :) Know that everytime a nice/sensitive seeming, possibly slightly odd, kinda guys speaks his mind, that he’s probably had his heart broken in the past for doing the exact same thing in the past.. But will continue to do so regardless, because quite frankly.. Life’s too short :)

  137. Remember that men, and boys, also need rights, equality, liberation.
    Invariably if a woman speaks out about women’s rights, equality, liberation she gets praised and liked. Invariably if a man speaks out about men’s rights, equality, liberation he gets contempt. Double standards.
    Meantime, women’s issues at least in the west have been in the spotlight since around 1900, men’s haven’t. Specific men’s yes, but not men as a whole. Many people aren’t even conditioned to see that.
    A woman said that men generally are hurting in ways that women couldn’t even begin to understand. Thus, needing women’s sympathy and compassion.
    One also wouldn’t know how it really is to be the opposite gender.
    Women generally have also been raising children for a long time, moulding boys and girls separately into how they wanted adults to be. For instance boys having to suppress their girly sides.

  138. Great article,and so very true,I’ve experienced being open and and showing emotion only to be slammed and ridiculed by the woman I loved.
    I was so confused trying to be a real man but also trying to be caring, warm and open.
    Was a disaster…..
    Why would I do that again?

    I have moved on and constantly have to push and remind myself to love and open my heart.

  139. David Marks says:

    Except that women will not take this advice. Men are regarded much the same as as ATM machines and vibrators – we dispense money and pleasure, at least until we stop functioning or until you find a better model.

  140. Mereidith Kinsley says:

    I always believe that all men are half-women. The angles of these souls are diverse—tough, rational, aggressive, hostile, restrained, at the same time sensitive, understanding, sweet and considerate. But the reality is we all are afraid to bestow our love , openness and listening to others around us. It is not easy for us to express individual emotions in proper situations or occasions , to consider the elements involved with our social identities. We can be families, colleagues, classmates, staff… everywhere. It is the point that really counts in the censorious world where we hide past wounds and memories , we strive to make ourselves heard and learn to speak up. Thus, we are all vulnurable and inclined to prevent ourselves from hurting instantly. HOWEVER, to be ready for receiving the benediction of love and care, the first step we need to take is to drop off the timid heart and go from endless hiding or escape from too powerful ego.

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  1. […] to their spouse and child, don’t particularly complain, and just make it work every day. Those Average Joes may not have the status of other guys, but we‘ve long loved […]

  2. […] recently did a post entitled Why We Women Need to Ease Up on Our Men and openly discussed the ways we women need to pull back a bit and have patience with our men and […]

  3. […] Why We Need to Ease Up On Men – The Good Men Project, Tamara Star […]

  4. […] wrote Why Women Need to Ease Up on Men and Why Men Need to Give Women A Break Too in an effort to foster compassion and understanding […]

  5. […] Article from The Good Life […]

  6. […] Why We as Women Need to Ease Up On Men. — The Good Men Project. […]

  7. […] when it comes to how to interact. One is The Good Men Project, which has awesome posts like “Why We as Women Need to Ease Up On Men,” and “What If He Cries?” but these projects are few and far between with […]

  8. […] A reply to: ”The women I know all agree that witnessing an empowered man opening his heart, despite his wounding, and putting it all out there in a vulnerable way–is sexy. Sexy, but not easy. Most men have been shamed in the past for asking for what they want. They’ve been shamed for wanting sex, shamed for feeling attraction and shamed for their vulnerability. It’s an uneasy playing field out there, actually a mine field when you think about it.” Tamara Starhttp://goodmenproject.com/the-good-life/why-we-as-women-need-to-ease-up-on-men/ […]

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