Thomas Fiffer reveals the secret that most men won’t admit to their partners.
I’m writing this for anyone who feels intimate love for a man, for your man. The kind of love that makes you want to stand side by side with him, be his partner, make him as happy as he makes you, and give him what he needs to flourish and thrive. That kind of love. The kind where you work to strengthen your bond, build trust, and create a life of magical memories together. The kind that seems almost too good to be true but is utterly, unbearably real, so real that the thought of losing it, of losing him makes you tremble. Your love for this man, your man, makes you vulnerable, but that vulnerability brings the two of you closer and solidifies your connection. You’re not afraid to be honest and tell him what you like and want—for breakfast, for your future together, for your pleasure in bed—and he’s not afraid to tell you anything either … except this one thing. He wants you to know it, but he doesn’t want to have to say it. Because saying it makes him, in the eyes of many, less of a man, and he fears maybe in your eyes too, even though you love him. Saying it is hard, impossible really, because he’s been raised and taught and trained to be strong for you, to protect you, and to provide for your needs. Saying it frightens him, but he’s not supposed to be afraid. That wouldn’t be man-like. So he keeps it to himself. The thing he wants to say. And the fear of saying it. All bottled up inside. So I’m going say it for him, because I am him, and he is me, and he is all men.
The secret is this:
I want to be held.
Not held like you need me.
Held like I need you.
Held the way you hold a baby, rock him until his breath becomes rhythmic, and make him feel warm and loved and safe.
I want to be held like that.
And in your arms, I want to acknowledge my deepest fears to you, without worrying that you will worry.
I want you tell me it will all be OK, even if you aren’t sure it will be.
I want to cry on your shoulder, to unleash a river of tears and not be told to man up or asked what’s wrong with me or be told I need therapy or meds.
Because being this way, needing this way, is not un-manlike.
It’s totally man-like.
It’s an essential quality of being a man, of being me.
Showing my emotions, sharing what makes me weak in the knees, shining the light on my innermost secrets—this takes courage, an accepting partner, and a safe space.
I want to be held.
In that space.
For a while.
Until I feel better.
Until my shoulders stiffen again, my chin lifts, and I let out a deep breath, wipe my nose and dry my eyes, and soldier on.
That is my secret.
And that is the man secret.
The secret most men won’t tell you.
Only now, it’s not a secret any more.
Now … you know.