Are Men Too Lonely? Are Women Too Judgmental? Yes!!

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This article from Harpers Bazaar had my head spinning for a number of reasons.

“Women continue to bear the burden of men’s emotional lives, and why wouldn’t they? For generations, men have been taught to reject traits like gentleness and sensitivity, leaving them without the tools to deal with internalized anger and frustration.”

Yes, it’s true that men are, in general, less in touch with their emotions than women. At the same time, I think men are more sensitive than ever before. As a dating coach, it’s a big part of what women – like this author – are complaining about.

More importantly, why is it that a man acting vulnerable with his girlfriend is “a burden” but if a woman dumps everything on her boyfriend, it’s just part of his job description?

“I want a man who makes me feel safe, heard, understood. A man who makes me feel validated and powerful. A man who makes me feel connected. A man with whom I could be myself and know that I’m going to be loved unconditionally.”

Man says the same thing.

“Yeah, I don’t think so.”

I wrote about this in my second book, “Why You’re Still Single,” in a chapter called “Men Don’t Go Both Ways.” Basically, women want a man to be BOTH the Marlboro Man AND the Sensitive Artist simultaneously. If he acts too stoic, it’s frustrating that you don’t feel more emotionally connected to him. If he acts too vulnerable, it’s frustrating that he seems so weak. No matter what he does, he’s screwed.

This same double standard continues elsewhere in the article.

“As modern relationships continue to put pressure on “the one” to be The Only One (where men cast their wives and girlfriends to play best friend, lover, career advisor, stylist, social secretary, emotional cheerleader, mom—to him, their future kids, or both—and eventually, on-call therapist minus the $200/hour fee), this form of emotional gold-digging is not only detrimental to men, it’s exhausting an entire generation of women.”

Honestly, if either of the two genders was looking for a partner to “have it all,” couldn’t we agree that it’s women?

Are you pretty? Are you nice? Will you accept him and have sex with him sometimes?

Congratulations, you are capable of making 90% of men perfectly happy!

Congratulations, you are capable of making 90% of men perfectly happy!

Contrast that with my job, talking to women every day for 16 years and you’ll realize that being a cute, nice and accepting man won’t get you anywhere with most of my clients.

“What does he do?”, “How much money does he make?”, “Who did he vote for?”, “Does he love animals?”, “Does he have any fashion sense?”, “Where did he go to college?”, “Does he believe in God?”; all of these come up quickly – and that’s before we ever get to the important questions of kindness, consistency, communication, character, and commitment.

This is not to suggest that the article doesn’t have anything valid to say. It does. It’s just a bit one-sided and overstated about the toxicity of an entire gender.

Here’s something that I largely agree with:

“Across the spectrum, women seem to be complaining about the same thing: While they read countless self-help books, listen to podcasts, seek out career advisors, turn to DC female escorts friends for advice and support, or spend a small fortune on therapists to deal with old wounds and current problems, the men in their lives simply rely on them.”

Is the author correct that men are isolated, less likely to ask for help, and overly dependent on their relationship for emotional support?

Yes.

Does that negate all men as partners? I sure hope not.

I’ve written before about my own loneliness. It has been a project for years to find a group of friends that I can connect with regularly. The struggle is real.

My college friends are too far away and caught up with their young families.

My local friends are great guys who are similarly caught up in the cycle of work/family and don’t have the time to cultivate deeper relationships on a regular basis.

I tried a poker game. Some of the guys were just too douchey for me.

I checked out a local men’s group. Says one men’s group member in the linked article:

“In our culture, men have always found ways to be near each other, but it’s never been centered around feelings,” he explains. “Men are taught the remedy to heartbreak is to get drunk with your buddies, objectify women, and go out and get laid; to basically distance yourself from your feelings and channel them into an aggressive outlet. We use sports as an excuse to bump up against each other, so desperate we are for human touch and intimacy. But this kind of closeness is based in camaraderie and aggression, not vulnerability and trust. The former is very surface level and not nearly as satisfying as the latter.”

This is all partially true. But you know what happened at the men’s group I attended?

There was a silent meditation and tea. We spent four hours talking about shame.

It might have been the most depressing night I’ve ever spent with other men. For the men who have issues around shame, I appreciate that it may have been cathartic.

Me? I would much rather have gone to a steakhouse with two guy friends and talked about our wives, our kids, work, and fantasy football for four hours.

Hey, if you need therapy, get therapy. I think a lot of us just need some guy friends. It doesn’t have to be deep emotional work to fulfill an unmet need.

In other words, there’s masculinity and there’s toxic masculinity. Nobody’s endorsing the latter. But let’s not tarnish an entire gender as emotionally bereft just because men prefer to connect over beers instead of book clubs.

I’m not making apologies for the damaged narcissists who drain all your energy.

If a guy is broken then break up with him.

If a guy is a taker and doesn’t give a much in return, break up with him.

But if you’re dating a good guy who, for reasons beyond his control, has a hard time cultivating an active social life with other men, please cut him some slack.

You haven’t walked a mile in his shoes to know what it’s like.

And if you don’t want him to judge you for the drama surrounding you, your work, your girlfriends, your fellow soccer moms, your sister and your mother, perhaps you should reserve judgment when he doesn’t have anyone else to turn to except you.

Your thoughts, below, are greatly appreciated.

 



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Are Men Too Lonely? Are Women Too Judgmental? Yes!!