Years ago I was living with a partner. At the time we were running a business together and finances were tight. I naturally liked to cook and enjoyed making meals for the two of us.
One day he came home and surprised me with brand new dishes. Since I was the one doing all the cooking and cleaning, he wanted to make sure I had what I needed.
When he presented the dishes, instead of being impressed with his level of care and desire to make sure I felt supported — I complained to him instead.
My immediate reaction was: “You shouldn’t have. I don’t need these, I am fine with what I have. And we don’t have the money for this.” I thought I was being easy going and low maintenance.
But really what was happening was that I didn’t receive him and his gift of generosity. It was not how I needed to handle that moment. The dishes were not going to put us in financial despair.
The effort he was trying to put forth into the relationship and how he showed up to provide for me was dismissed. This is one example of how my response shut down my man’s masculinity, instead of appreciating and honoring it. I have since become more aware of the many things (little and big) that women do that end up having an emasculating effect on a man.
This situation with the dishes had an impact but thankfully he and I had a strong level of communication where he could express to me how this made him feel — like I didn’t trust him, respect him, or believe in him.
“Your inability to receive as a woman, like my inability to receive my partner’s gift of the dishes, will eventually erode the level of connection and intimacy you can experience in partnership.”
In my work I interview a lot of men, and one of the biggest things they tell me is “I want her to be happy, I want to be able to help her, I want to make sure she has what she needs.”
When you don’t slow down, you don’t create space for your partner’s provider and protector instinct to come out, and as a result you slowly choke his masculine essence. Over time his desire to take action and take care dwindles and the relationship falls into complacency and flatness. A magic is missing when you don’t allow the dance of the masculine and feminine to unfold. The feminine soft, receptive, and being. The masculine handling, providing, and doing.
Whether you’re single or partnered, reading this article will help you to:
- Stop shutting your man down and pushing him away.
- Shift from being disappointed to grateful.
- Bring out the best in your man.
- Help your partner feel more connected to you.
If you’re coming to this information feeling stuck and frustrated, this article can help you to bring back the spark into your relationship and the excitement of dating.
1. Ways You’re Discouraging Your Man’s Provider Instinct
As I shared in my opening story about the complaint I made when my partner bought me new dishes, many of the women that come to my work aren’t aware of all the little ways they emasculate their partners and how it slowly puts out the flame in their relationship.
Emasculation can be incredibly subtle and if you’re not aware when and how you’re doing it, you can’t make a change to improve the connection with your partner.
“When your man doesn’t feel needed by you, that’s emasculation. When he doesn’t feel like anything he is doing is good enough or that it’s going to be appreciated, that’s also emasculation.”
Awareness of your behavior is the first and most important step.
A simple exercise to take yourself through is to think about all the things you wish your partner would do more of. For example, maybe you wish he would show more affection, give more compliments, express more desire, or help out more.
Now with this list, reflect on the last time he did one of these things.
Did you recognize and express appreciation for what he did do?
Were you open, receptive, and grateful?
Or did you point out how it could have been done better or which part he forgot to do?
How did you react when he showed up for you?
“If you’ve given him any messages that what he does for you hasn’t been good enough or that he isn’t good enough, it’s time to really reflect on the role you’re playing in this dynamic.”
If taking action invites more complaints and criticism, he’s going to stop taking action. If he makes efforts to do something for you and they appear to have no effect on you, he will stop bothering you.
This type of energy or expression will not call forth the best in him and it will not inspire him to deliver the kinds of things that you want.
My partner vulnerably offered his heart when he saw the dishes and thought of me. He opened himself up to be generous and thoughtful and my lack of reception communicated “You’re doing it all wrong” which certainly didn’t motivate him to want to keep surprising me.
2. How Your Disappointment and Dissatisfaction Ruins Your Man’s Motivation
“When she appreciates what I’m doing, it gives me a lot of pleasure to do things for her and motivates me to do more.”
A client of mine was telling me.
See, the man in your life wants to feel close and connected to you and when he feels that you appreciate him for the things he does, it motivates him to want to do more for you in the future.
“One of the most common mistakes that I see women fall into in their relationships with their partners is too much fixation on how they expect things to be, go, unfold…. Wanting things to be a certain way often results in the original generosity of the gesture forgotten about.”
It’s also not uncommon for women to focus on their partner’s mistakes and not enough on what their partner is doing right and forgetting easily about all the ways their men do show up and provide for them.
My teacher John Gray calls this the “the 2nd floor flooding effect”, everything wonderful and generous your partner does for you lives on the 1st floor of a house (in your mind), and all of his flaws and mistakes live on the second floor. Sometimes the first floor gets flooded and you get stuck on the second floor, only able to see what’s not good and what’s not working.
Over time you start to expect disappointment instead of trusting your needs will be met and satisfied by your partner. This attitude of doubt and dissatisfaction gets expressed through your tone, facial expressions, body language, words and actions — removing the joy of giving and pushing a man into passivity.
Men are wired to provide for us, protect us, and make us happy. Without knowing it, you may be overwriting that programming.
3. How to Motivate Your Partner to Take Action
If you’ve now noticed the ways you subtly or not-so-subtly emasculate and shut out your partner, what can you do instead?
Your full reception of his gestures is very important. Your ability to receive him fully and deeply appreciate how he shows up for you is rewarding for him and motivates him to keep doing the things that nourish and fulfill you.
If you continue to critique and complain, it will push him away and shut him down.
There’s 2 very practical and effective things you can try next time your partner does something for you.
When he gives you a compliment, stop and breathe it in. Let the compliment and his words fully land in your body. Let him feel that what he does and says has an impact on you, how it makes a difference for you, how it makes you happy.
When he does anything to help you, stop, pause, and appreciate his actions, fully. Let him feel recognized and admired. The extra moment you take to stop and pause is not only for him but it’s also for you to fully receive and embody the compliment into confidence.
Make it a priority to specifically communicate the impact and appreciation you have for your partner the next time he books a flight, handles something around the house, or does something thoughtful for you.
Be specific and really let him feel how his actions made a difference for you by saying “I felt so supported when you did x and y for me, it made me really happy. I feel so cared for and supported by you.”
“When a man is communicated to in this way, he wants to keep providing and finding ways to make your life easier and more enjoyable.”
Help Your Partner to Be Brilliant
It’s your receptivity that makes your partner more brilliant in your presence. The first step to shifting to being more open and receiving, is bringing awareness to where you are closing and blocking.
If you’re feeling unhappy or like your needs aren’t being met by your partner, really slow down to ask yourself some honest questions.
Are you inspiring your partner to be their best in the relationship? Do you let your partner really feel when something they do is appreciated by you? Do you help him feel like he’s succeeding?
Take stock of how you can be showing up differently, first. Find ways to be grateful and accepting of what your partner is doing and together you can rebuild a way of being that’s built on love, a desire to make one another happy, and mutual appreciation and respect.
If you’re struggling to create an extraordinary relationship, one that’s built on love, adoration, and appreciation. One where you show up as your best self and feel motivated to make the connection with your partner a priority, my popular and practical masterclass “How to Bring Out the Best in Men” will help you to better understand your partner and help you to navigate what’s going on inside you so you can both ask for and receive the love and support you’re desiring.
This post was previously published on MEDIUM.COM.
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