Archive for August 27th, 2011
What about men and relationships? There is a myth that men are inferior to women when it comes to building and maintaining a relationship. You here about how men are wired differently than women and how their brains are developed in a way that inhibits them from valuing connection and closeness with others. There is an attitude that you don’t expect men to be appreciative and responsive in relationships because closeness, intimacy, and connection aren’t that important to them. When a relationship is in trouble, don’t count on the man to want to change, repair the relationship, or even be aware there is an issue.
I’ve seen men change. I’ve seen men who want to change. I’ve seen men who value relationships. I’ve seen men fight to the very end to salvage their relationships. And yes, I’ve seen men who avoid the connection with their partners, and attach themselves to their work, achievemnents, and how good they look to the rest of the world. Even these guys can learn to realize how important their significant other is to them, and having a secure connection with their partner is paramount to their physical and mental health. It might mean that they have to hit their rock-bottom in order to do so. Then, they realize that human contact, being closely connected with the one they trust and love, who reciprcates that, is more powerful than anything else. They can learn to feel close and intimate with their partner and realize how this connection helps them feel worthy and whole.
Men get tripped up in relationships and this is nobody’s fault. They learn as young boys how to avoid being vulnerable and to devalue what they feel. They may be told that big boys don’t cry, you have to be strong, tough it out, and be a man. It would be hard for anybody to acknowledge and respond to their partner’s feelings when they have learned to repress their own feelings, needs and wants. As a result there is a disconnect in the relationship where the man is barely treading water, and his partner is feeling like collateral damage.
It becomes difficult for men who have developed these coping strategies that protect them from having to be vulnerable, to actually be able to express what they feel and really need in their primary relationship. Their learned relationship style can keep them stuck from approaching their partner when they really need to. What men really need, is to learn how to express to their partners when they are feeling insecure or fearful. They get stuck there. Instead they might get reactive and blame, get critical, or go on the attack. Or they might withdraw and get busy doing something as far away from their partner as possible. Men need the tools to learn how to calm themselves down, take a breath, understand their emotional situation, realize what it is that they really want to do or say, then to actually allow themselves to express what they need to say, or do what they need to do. When a man can learn this process that directs him to his partner where he is expressing how he is feeling, then he can achieve that bond, closeness, and security with his partner which is what he really needs. When this occurrs his fear, insecurity, and unhappiness disappears.
Those important relationship tools that men need can be learned in individual or couples therapy. They can begin to see how they defend themselves from getting close and connected with a significant other. Men can explore, talk about, and process where and how they learned to keep themselves protected, and not allow others to know their fears and anxieties. They learn to shut down all emotion because that was safe. Men can learn how that way of relating hurts himself and his partner. He can finally understand that when he constantly self protects it really does the opposite-it hurts himself and his partner more.
Men can train to learn how to live more gratifying and fulfilling lives. They can learn to experience what it is like to connect with their significant other emotionally. When they feel that closeness and bond, then they realize how alive they really are. Men have told me how they value their realtionships and that the other stuff is just “stuff.” They can relax and let their anxieties pass. It is like they get a new lease on life.Read Full Post | Make a Comment ( None so far )