Ken Solin wants men to stop pitying themselves and find a way to move forward.
The sexual paradigm is morphing rapidly. Evidence of the progress women are making in every venue is abundant. As the number of women enrolled in the graduate schools of business, medicine, and science, has increased to half or more, the ranks of men have decreased proportionately. More women are serving in government, and some are fighting our wars. While their progress in every arena is laudable, it has led some in the media to the wrong conclusion.
The “demise of men” is a hot topic. While some men are lost and angry and feel as if men are on the decline compared to women, many understand that the ascent of women didn’t depend on the descent of men. Most men understand the shift in the balance of sexual power and aren’t threatened by it. But there are a fair amount of men who apparently do resent empowered women, and their attitudes, while antediluvian, are made publicly and frequently.
Nowhere is the empowerment of women more evident than in relationships. Women aren’t so keen to marry, have children, and stay home. Many view marriage as a one-way ticket to single motherhood, and the divorce statistics support that. Women are far more circumspect about their partnering selections, and some men complain women are unceremoniously dumping them. The comments left by jilted men on HuffPost50 regarding articles about relationships reflect the anger some men are feeling. But the genie is out of the bottle, in terms of empowered women. Where does this leave men? That depends on whether men view themselves as victims or partners in the new dynamic.
I urge men struggling with the changing sexual dynamic, to stop whining about how women are treating them. First, it’s unmanly to whine. Second, no one is listening except other whiny men. Women have long suffered second-class citizenship, especially in relationships, so it falls on deaf ears when men complain women aren’t treating them well. There’s often a temporary swing to the other extreme during a cultural shift.
Every time I write about men behaving inappropriately with women, there’s a contingent that reminds me that women sometimes behave badly in relationships, too. Of course there are women who aren’t particularly interested in being the best relationship partners possible, but that’s a flimsy excuse for men who insist their dysfunctional behavior is a quid pro quo. It’s a circular argument with no winner.
Taking the high road is most effective. Men who treat women with respect and dignity will find few who will mistreat them in return. Men need to stop excusing their behavior and cynicism about women because a woman once mistreated them. If men behave in a manner that will inspire women to appreciate them and treat them with the respect they deserve, they will be rewarded most of the time.
If you’re in a relationship with a woman who treats you badly, walk away. If a woman unfairly dumped you, let the pain in, allow yourself to feel the sting, and then move on. Men suffer greatly after failed relationships when they refuse to feel their pain and work it. There’s nothing new about men sucking it up instead of putting their painful experience to rest.
I appreciate all the comments from readers, and I’m not averse to opposing attitudes. But, pointing your finger at women who have mistreated you as your rationale for doing the same to them only increases the emotional distance in relationships, and it won’t win any hearts.
The first principle to honor is that women are equal to men, and until men fully accept that premise, the angry finger pointing will continue, and relationships will remain contentious. Make the first move. Be open and honest and state your needs clearly. Most women will respond in kind and treat you with the same respect. Whether or not the demise of men becomes a reality has nothing to do with women, and everything to do with men’s attitudes.
My men’s group doesn’t allow whining because everyone knows from experience that it keeps the pain alive instead of addressing it and letting it go. Evolved men don’t hamstring themselves with self-pity. If you’re feeling hurt about the way a woman treated you, talking it out with other men will help you move beyond the pain and disappointment. Other men can also help put you on a better path with women. My new book, Act Like a Man, clearly demonstrates how men can successfully improve their relationships with women, and make lifelong men friends in the process.
Originally appeared Huffington Post.