The other day I was speaking to my friend about the realities of dating and relationships today. It only takes a glimpse into the interactions on any relationship article or Instagram love quote, to see there are far more women reading and striving to improve their relationships than men.
This isn’t just true in the realm of social media. Women are the consumers of far more articles and books regarding bettering themselves in love. Whereas, we as men, are more open and willing to read a book on how to be a better leader, how to pick up women or manipulate our way through life. Many of these books, I’m reluctant to admit, have had a comfortable life on my shelf.
The line between work and home and how we behave is vague at best. As men, do we not see that the way we behave in romantic relationships and family systems is a form of leadership and teamwork too? That the way we are at home can translate to how we show up at work, and vice versa?
In addition, women are often a much more accurate barometer of the emotional state of relationships. Just think about the percentage of times a man says, “I want to talk about us” or “Things just seem off, I was hoping we could have a chat about how we’re doing.”
Male-initiated emotional conversations are few and far between. And this is even further supported by the mere fact that about two thirds of divorces are set in motion by women.
If we were to survey most established romantic relationships, it wouldn’t take long before we would see that men can exist in a relationship that is not necessarily amazing, but not bad either. Kind of like a “good enough to stay and not bad enough to leave” situation. I don’t mean all men, but most men. And when a woman finally leaves that’s when he says, “Wait!? I didn’t even realize things were bad! You never even tried!”
Oh yes. She did. And we were not listening, and maybe she was not saying it the right way. Or maybe no one taught us how to maintain a great relationship.
In order for men to thrive in relationships, good men need to teach good men.
However, with women there is a belief that they have an inherent ability to thrive in relationships and there is a pervasive arrogance to the messages regarding their emotional intelligence and capacity for love. One needs to only survey a couple of women before you’ll hear the commonly uttered phrase, “There are no good men out there.”
It’s a provocative thought isn’t it? Are there enough good men for good women?
To move forward there is a need to define the idea of what makes a “good man” and what makes a “good woman”?
We could argue that a good man is one who shows integrity, honesty, the qualities of good fatherhood, supportiveness, empathy, and is kind in his words and offers fidelity. This is going to be defined a little differently by each person, but for sake of argument we can/will assume this is what makes men inherently “good”.
What defines a good woman? It’s likely very similar to what makes for a good man, except for the ever important caveat of women having different genitalia.
What makes a good women seems controversial to even discuss, doesn’t it? Because we usually just assume that on average women are the “good ones”, don’t we?
It sounds insulting to state “There are no good women out there” as it indicates that women on average are not good.
Then why is it ok to suggest that men are not good?
From what I have observed and read in the relationship world, I see that men are under the microscope when it comes to love and relationships, and women are told they are perfect at love, and that men need to step it up.
Have we truly invited men to be emotional?
Brené Brown’s research supports the idea that when a man breaks down and shares emotions with a woman, he loses her trust. His vulnerability reduces the safety his lady feels. This in turn, causes her to become angry and in some ways resent him for displaying a softer side of masculinity.
I thought we wanted emotional men? Is emotional equilibrium what we truly seek?
Based on the vast majority of literature and conversations I indulge in, the mass consensus appears to be that men should be to be able to talk about how they feel.
So what do women really want?
It’s no wonder men feel confused about what role they need to play in relationships. There is a disconnect between what is asked of them and what they are empowered and rewarded for being.
Now, truth be told, it’s not like men everywhere are shedding tears, opening their hearts, and losing their woman because of emotional transparency. Men do not tend to share their emotions, they do not tell the women in their lives that they are upset or don’t feel loved.
Men are lost, because no one taught them what being a man means, or what they are taught is patriarchal and “old fashioned”.
Brene’s research demonstrates men being their vulnerable selves may actually result in disconnection with their partner, which is the opposite result of the intention of sharing. So on each man goes, pretending that men don’t have emotions and are not good at talking about feelings.
Because if he is sensitive he is a “pussy”, certainly not emotionally intelligent and aware of his emotional state.
We can safely say that all those things which traditionally defined the masculine model for the last couple of centuries have been displaced, and women often find themselves making the money and decisions.
We are quick to point out where men can step it up, but we do not think or discuss the idea of where women can step up their game, do we?
Women do so many things well. They show up emotionally and they create community. Women, are inherently good. They are beautifully kind, empathetic, nurturing and supportive. They build amazing social programs and have rallied to create a female empowerment movement that is unbelievably inspiring, and unbelievably needed.
There is still much oppression of the feminine, and every country and culture has a lot of work to do to have women treated with equality, and empowered and supported by all men.
That’s why I think this conversation is important, because in order for women to thrive, men need to as well.
I think that we are all here for connection and to share our hearts, but we cannot do it alone.
It begs me to ask: Are we forgetting about men, in the effort to save women? Have we forgotten about all the good men out there through our desire not to disturb the feminine?
Celebration of men and the male model is uncommon. We tend not to talk about all the amazing fathers, and unbelievably stand up men who we can call at any hour and would do anything for all the people in their lives.
Because there are a lot of them.
I consider myself very fortunate to have grown up with, and really have only enjoyed the company of great men. Men of integrity and consistency in how they show up for the women and men in their lives. But, I do not think that it is rare, and it is not only my friends and athletic teammates who are like this.
Everywhere I travel I meet incredible men.
I can see and find good men, because they are who I look for. Just like all the women I know are incredible, intelligent, kind and have some of the brightest souls on the planet.
The truth is, we get what we focus on.
There are a lot of women who focus on their inability to find good men.
I hear “There are no good men out there” from women who have emotional wounds. Women who have chosen men and ignored red flags. Women who cheat and lie to themselves and others. Women who have their own work to do.
I’m not saying men don’t have work to do. We do. And women have work to do too. It’s a human problem, not a gender problem. We, as men, need to build from within first and create conscious communities where men can learn to support and develop together.
We need to teach each other, and even more importantly, we need to teach our sons how to become a good men and what that means. We need to be GREAT fathers.
We need to embrace and embody the emotional skills required of us to be amazing leaders in every facet of our lives.
We need to show up for the women(and men) in our lives and demonstrate kindness and empathy.
We need to remember and celebrate all of the men who are changing the world.
We need to create a space for men to thrive, and instead of trying to destroy each other, we need to build each other up.
I commend all the good men who push for change and equality. Who don’t see gender, and instead see hearts; hearts that crave connection and love.
I am so proud to be a man and to share this planet with such amazing and wonderful men.
To answer the question, “Are There Enough Good Men For Good Women?”: YES, I believe that there are more than enough good men out there. And if this is true, it begs the next question:
Are there enough good women who can hold the space for good men?