Intimacy Part Two - Talking to the Men
|In my first article on intimacy, I spoke in general terms about the different levels of intimacy in each of our lives. In part two of intimacy, I want to specifically address the men.|
As I mentioned in my previous article, intimacy is a two-way street, as are relationships. In order for a relationship to grow, ( whether it be family, friends, significant other, or married spouse ) there must be active participation by both parties, as a whole. If that overall balance is not there, in regards to a relationship, and more succinctly intimacy, the relationship will slowly die.
One of the problems with intimacy, in my opinion, is how men ( as a whole ) not only perceive intimacy, but more importantly, how they embrace it in their own life, as well as with those closest to them.
There are many societal biases, and myths, that I believe are responsible for the lack of intimacy ( as it truly needs to be ) in the individual life of men, ( as a whole ) as well as with those they may be involved with, in whatever form or fashion. In this article, I will address some of the societal biases, and myths, that men ( as a whole ) are living in, and ones that prevent true intimacy from taking place in their life.
As men growing up in the 60's and 70s, many of us were taught, whether directly, through the example of our parents, or indirectly, through friends and advertising, that being a man was about financially providing for your family. Growing up during that era, we men were taught that working hard all the time, was the ultimate expression of intimacy. We were taught that if a man truly cared about his family, he would work as hard as he possibly could, in order to provide not only the essential needs of his family, but many of the wants of the family as well.
While providing for your family ( as best you can ) is important, it is not what should define us as men. Being a good provider for your family, does not equate to being a man, who is capable of being intimate with those he loves, simply because he may work 8,10, or 12 hard hours a day. Being a hard worker, is merely a part of who we are as individuals. It is not who we are.
Just because you were away from home all day, working as hard as you could, that doesn't mean you have some how fulfilled your responsibilities, as a partner in the relationship. Working hard on the job, does not translate into intimacy with your partner men. It never has. Working hard all day, does not entitle you as a man in a relationship, to come home, sit in front of the t.v. all night, while your partner or wife, is regulated to being alone once again, in her mind, and in her heart. You may have been taught that as a child growing up, but doesn't mean that what you were taught in that regard, was true.
Your wife, or significant other, worked hard all day as well, whether it was inside the home, or outside the home. Her work may be completely different from yours. However, that does not remove your responsibility of being intimate with her, each night. When I say intimate with her, I am not necessarily referring to making love to her each night. As I said in my previous article, there is a lot more to a relationship, and intimacy for that matter, than making love.
Another area where I believe men ( as a whole ) have been the recipients of societal bias, and myth, is the outward expression of emotion. Growing up male during the 60's and 70's, many of us were taught, that real men don't cry. If we cried, many of us were chastised, or even punished. We were taught that men don't openly talk about their inner feelings with others, especially someone you are dating, or even married to. Many of us were taught, that wearing your heart on your sleeve, somehow made us less manly.
Contrary to what many of you ( men ) may have been taught in this area, being a man's man, is not about keeping all your feelings to yourself. Being a man's man, is not about only showing some of those deep, and inner feelings, when it is a special occasion. Being a man, is about being who you are, being proud of who you are, and sharing who you are emotionally, with the one(s) you are with. There is absolutely nothing unmanly about crying, or being open and expressive, when it comes to sharing your thoughts and feelings with the lady you are with, whether those thoughts are focused on romance, or on something completely different.
That special lady that you have, or would like to have in your life one day, needs to know, in word, and in deed, that you are secure enough in who you are as an individual, and as a man, to be open, and vulnerable with her emotionally, and not just physically. As I said in my previous article on intimacy, making love with a lady, starts long before you arrive in the bedroom. If the lady you are with, has appeared to be uninterested in making love with you lately, it very well may be, that you are the one responsible for the disconnection in that area. Making love to a lady, is about much more than whether or not, you, or both of you, had an orgasm. Making love to a lady, is about sharing with her each and every day. Making love to a lady, is about being open and vulnerable with her, each and every day, as best we know how, and can, each and every day. Making love, ( as in the spirit of love ) is not something you turn on and off, like a light-switch. There is no YOU in love making.
The final area of societal bias and myth, that I would like to address in this article, deals with the the male mindset ( that many may have, and suffer from ) that what the man says, is always right, and thats that. Contrary to what many of you ( men ) may have been taught growing up, men are not always right in what they say, much less in what they do. Contrary to what many of you ( men ) may have been taught growing up, telling the person you are with, your already 'decided on' opinion, and one that has no desire for any further input, or comment, is not equitable to communicating with your partner. If that is how some of you have been talking to your wife, or significant other, it should be no surprise to you, that your partner may be treating you like a roommate.
Most of us, have heard the expression, "It is easier to ask for forgiveness, than it is permission". I believe that far too often, men ( as a whole ) try and use this thought process, as some kind of justification for their selfish actions. If you are saying to yourself, "many ladies do the same thing". You are right. However, this article is about us men, it is not about the ladies.
As I have already stated, being in a relationship, is a two-way street. Just because you are the man in the relationship, that doesn't give you the right to do whatever you want, whenever you want, without any regard to what your partner thinks, or feels, about a particular issue, or purchase. If you are a man, who frequently makes plans, and or purchases, without communicating with your partner first, don't be surprised if she appears aloof to you. Don't be surprised if she doesn't seem to pay attention to you at all when you do talk. You have shown her time and time again, that what she thinks, and what she feels, is not important to you. By acting in such a manner, you are saying to her, through your actions, that you don't acknowledge, and appreciate, who she is as an individual first, and as your partner. Would you be inclined to want to make love to someone, who does whatever they want, whenever they want, and only tells you things when they have to, or worse yet, after the fact?
If you have struggled in the area of intimacy with your wife, significant other, or someone you would like to get closer to lately, chances are, that you are struggling with, or completely out to lunch on, one or more of the areas of societal bias, and myth.
None of us men are perfect in all of these areas. We all struggle with some of these things from time to time. I hope that after reading this article, you see yourself, your relationship, or soon to be relationship, in a whole new light.