You thought you were everything she wanted, and vice versa.
A couple of years in, she cuts you down; criticises you; disempowers you—emasculates you.
Nothing you do is appreciated. You’re devastated. It’s all gone horribly wrong. Where is the woman fell in love with?
Diminishing men is now commonplace—many women do so without a second thought. They believe it’s acceptable. We’re also good at cutting down other women, but it doesn’t make either scenario ok. If we’re talking stereotypes—this is one I’d like to help smash.
We complain our men don’t cut it; they don’t live up to our expectations, our hopes, or our dreams. This message is all over the place—in popular culture, the media.
If you’re one lucky guy, you’ll have a remarkable relationship with the women in your life and this perversion will be a mystery, if not a concern, to you.
But it is a perversion—possibly as damaging to men as physical or sexual abuse is to women—and it’s widespread.
The question is: How do you avoid partnering with women who will cut you down?
Start here. Ask yourself, are you qualified to make her happy?
I saw the term ‘qualified to love you’ some years ago (coined by SARK, I believe).
And for this article, a metaphor popped up: Job selection.
It might be an odd metaphor to use, given the whole L-O-V-E thing, but seriously, relationships should be more like job selections.
Men already do this to some extent, but women are less likely to do so. We all need to get more real about this if we want longer, more satisfying or deeply loving relationships. If you’re happy with ‘casual, light or non-committal’, stop reading now.
Forget lust and attraction for a moment. It’s a programmed element to make perfect babies, but it won’t prevent the shit hitting the fan later down the track if you’re not qualified for the job on offer. To complicate things, pheromones have the power to disable all logic and reason.
It cuts both ways. Both men and women need to be very clear on who they are, what qualifications they have, and the suitability of the ‘job’ (ie what you are presenting) to keep them happy and interested.
For the purpose of this exercise let’s say one of you is more masculine and one is more feminine, even if you’re same-sex.
Masculine and feminine are by definition different. We have more chance of successful partnerships if we acknowledge, accept and honour those differences. We are not yet, as a species, androgynous.
If you’re a man looking for a feminine partner, find someone who understands the way the masculine communicates; the stages of development that men go through in their life; the best way for her to ask you to provide what she needs. It’s your job to help her understand you. Women thrive on communication. We’re not mind readers, and neither are you.
To do this, you must also understand yourself very well—what makes you proud; what motivates you to be a better man; what completes you; what frustrates or annoys you. Talk to us. If the woman isn’t qualified to understand and respect men, or if she’s not willing to take a crash course, then be warned. You might be in for a rough time, if not now, then later. I wouldn’t bet money on it lasting.
For a woman to be happy and stay interested, you need to be qualified or genuinely interested to know what she needs and wants. We love it when you understand us; how we think; why we talk so much yet sometimes need time out; how we like to be touched; what makes us feel adored, feminine, safe and happy. And yes, on the lighter side, putting out the bins without being reminded does count. You get huge points for, strangely, helping us with even the smallest, most ridiculous housekeeping jobs. There are good reasons for that. To secure the job for life, you need to be aware of what’s required, from the early interviews. Then accept or decline. Remember, good women go into relationships wanting happily ever after—we thrive on happiness too.
Many men hold the belief that women prefer rich and powerful men. Well yes, some do. But not all. If wealth alone determined a long, loving and respectful partnership, all the rich guys would be married to the same woman for life.
The upshot is if you’re unfamiliar with your needs, how can someone else know them?
Are the women in your life good women, or interested in becoming better women? If you want to avoid being cut down, emasculated or disempowered, look to those who are trying to become better women. If they think they have nothing to learn about men, be wary.
Women can learn a lot from the masculine, analytical process when it comes to choosing partners. We are often drugged by your charms, touch, intimacy, charisma, strength, looks and voice. And we are inclined to imagine you’re the man we need, and turn nasty when you’re not. This is insane. Some of us believe love or passion can conquer all, but without the complementary qualities of meeting needs, that love will be a passionate rollercoaster or an unmitigated disaster.
We women must also take a good hard look at ourselves. Accepting men not qualified to understand or meet our needs spells disaster. It’s not fair on men and we break our own hearts by doing so.
If men and women want lasting, deeply satisfying relationships, it pays to understand ourselves more deeply than stereotypes and pop culture would have us do, and bring more honesty, clarity and respect to our choices from the very start.
Photo: Getty Images