As a boy, you had your work cut out for you.
You knew what to aspire to in becoming a man.
Then suddenly you’re in a relationship with a woman, and she wants something completely different!
What society expects you to be as a man (the go-getter, the competent, the problem-solver… all this stuff) stands in stark contrast to what is actually needed in adulthood.
You’re not late to class.
You were excluded!
To boys, tender-hearted soft skills are only modeled as if it’s child’s play.
Good for childhood/motherhood.
- Not for winning.
- Not for bread-winning.
- Not for passing exams, negotiating, or forging a passionate marriage.
But soft skills are needed. (You’ve learned that the hard way.)
So now what? Ask your ex for advice?
As a tall, thin, able-bodied, white, cis woman, I’m privileged by a culture where
- I’m allowed to emote openly, expecting me to have a full range of emotions
- people immediately entrust me with their precious offspring
- I’m viewed as approachable and non-threatening – desirable and exotic, even –
- people expect little of me and are impressed when I know more
- people show me kindness without a second thought
- men don’t subconsciously compare themselves and size me up for a pissing contest or a fight,
but rather, will do quite the opposite just for the chance of a second glance at my smile.
I know it’s not like that for you.
I’ve had more encouragement, support, and practice in realms you were forced to abort.
And many women walk around advising like it’s their job. Don’t you just hate unsolicited advice? My favorite way to learn (and teach) is by osmosis.
You can be treated like an adult, without leaving aliveness behind.
You can be yourself, without getting left behind.
Nobody can “kiss it and make it all better,” but there are things you can do that have almost as immediate an effect.
I write this so you keep the faith… in yourself.