Many men have a hard time coping with women’s stories of emotional and physical abuse, even though the woman herself may have quite overcome them. Although overcome, those are things your partner should know about, shouldn’t he?
Alas, many can’t cope with that. They would either try to minimize it, rationalize it, or simply refuse to hear at all.
Why is that? I’ve asked dozens of them the question. I could never get a 100% satisfying clear answer.
Till a few days ago…
“Dot, that’s a very strong question. It really delves deep into what we all want in our ideal relationship: to be vulnerable to the degree of almost feeling naked emotionally, and just be accepted, loved, and maybe told that tomorrow will always be better than today because it has to be; all without feeling judged or shut out. It’s a tough thing to ask of many guys, as you’ve noticed, because most are not equipped emotionally to deal with something that sensitive. I agree with your later analysis about men being fixers. It is traditionally the role of a man to put a bandage on your physical wounds, but your emotional ones? That’s tricky. I don’t believe many men understand how just listening to a woman’s story and hugging her while telling her he loves her can truly help. It may not be a bandage for that emotional wound, and surely won’t fix anything, but it’s empowering for the soul. I think most men who rationalize, minimize, or plainly ignore the issue just don’t want to admit that there is no tool in their tool belt that has equipped them for tackling it. I’d liken it to that half-built project car in their garage that just never seems to get done. They’ve just hit a point where they just don’t know what to do and asking for help or direction seems more painful than just ignoring it.
So, what to do with them? There’s not much you can. Most of these guys are the same type who are unwilling to go to counseling regardless how dire the situation. While some may step up and decide they’d like to learn how to communicate emotionally to better support their partner, it’s asking a lot of someone when you’re entering the relationship, especially since you’re not going to reveal such things until you get to a more meaningful point in a relationship. You need to seek out men who can communicate emotionally and are open to working on communication in general. Realistically, this sounds like it should be at the top of every woman’s wish list, but frankly a great deal of women confuse men who are physically and mentally “tough” as being equally strong with their emotions, or just don’t delve deep enough into the man they’re dating before taking him home only to realize later that, uh oh, he’s like a deer in the headlights when it comes to deeper emotions.”
Mind you, Dave is only 25. According to me, he has already understood more than any older man I’ve met or, at the very least, could show more honesty, clarity and self-awareness.
Just being able to admit “I don’t know what to do”, stay there nonetheless, can be a bandage in itself and immensely help a woman, me think. And, indeed, it requires lots of integrity and real strength for a man to do that.
Thanks again, Dave. It felt really good to read what you wrote, that’s why I wanted to share. I hope your answer will help others as it has me. :)
Any thoughts ?