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How To (maybe) Keep The Man You Fell In Love With

I was having a conversation with a very close friend today and it got me to thinking about men and how we are perceived and treated by women whom we love. I began thinking about what it is that a typical woman wants in a man. More importantly, if she gets a man like she wants, will she remain satisfied in the long term or do relationships take a natural course towards un-fulfilling mediocrity regardless of the person she chooses?

My first inclination is that women want a confident, manly man who tends more toward masculine traits than feminine. Some feminine traits are probably acceptable and even welcomed (gentle, passionate, attentive), but overall, I believe the typical woman wants a mostly masculine man with healthy self-esteem.

And here is the problem as I see it.  In relationships, as time passes, men and women sometimes cease to put each other on a pedastal and begin shedding notions that our spouses are as wonderful as we once thought.  Later, when we disagree strongly about something, we might argue in such a way as to chip away at the esteem of the other person.  In the case of a woman treating her man in a way which degrades his self esteem, I suggest this is a no-win situation for the woman and I advise against it.  Allow me to explain.

Men are not as bullet-proof as we make ourselves out to be.  Yes we seem strong, sometimes arrogant and maybe even aloof to dangers and negativity. But trust me when I say that we are affected by the things women say to us even when we don't give an indication that we are.   What I am saying is, a woman might think her husband/boyfriend is so tough and strong that she must be extra harsh toward him to get her point across in an argument.  In reality, it is mostly just show.  

You see, women who we love are our kryptonite.  The love that we have for you makes us more vulnerable than even our strongest enemy could possibly make us .  And when you treat that vulnerability we have carelessly, you can damage even the strongest man's self esteem.  Doing so is to your detriment if you want the man you fell in love with to remain the same confident, masculine man you desire.  If you are not careful to give him the respect he so desperately needs, you may find that there is a stranger in your bed night after night, and you may end up coming to EP to join the throngs of people asking how they ended up in a passionless marriage.

No, I am not absolving the man of his own responsibility to remain strong and passionate on his own accord and yes, I do think some men can do similar harm to a woman's self esteem.  For the sake of this story, today, I am a man speaking from a man's point of view.  This is just something that came to mind today and so I wanted to share my thoughts here at EP.  If you have an opinion on the matter, I will appreciate you discussing it in the comments below.
deleted deleted 26-30 10 Responses Jul 22, 2012

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Thanks! I am guilty as I believe a lot of people are....no excuses, we all have taken another's love for granted.<br />
I am grateful for you sharing because I am in a new relationship and the opportunity to not screw this one up lies within my abilities to not degrade or talk down to my partner.<br />
I grew up in screaming, name calling, abusive, degrading home, and it has always been hard for me to recognize what you have described until the damage has been done. Once you kick a man in the ego, I don't think you ever really gain their whole self and their whole trust back! An appolgy just band aides crappy behavior, but can never fully recover what is lost when you brow beat, condescend, degrade, or be little your partner!<br />
See I have very little concept of what that means because that behavior, although unbecoming was acceptable growing up. I developed very thick skin and have found that because it was always the "norm" I have often not realized when I do this, it doesn't sound damaging in my head, but I have destroyed the very thing you speak of with words alone. <br />
Excellent words of inspiration and recognition! I have the opportuninty to change my behavior and create the relationship I truly desire with the man I fell for, not the one he becomes after being beat down by me. :( how sad am I?<br />
Thank you so much...you many have just sparked my inner voice to actually think before I speak!

As I women, I agree with you whole heartily. I think that when a man lets a women into their heart they become vulnerable to her whether they show it or not. The problem is sometimes a woman needs to see a touch of a man's vulnerability to understand they depth of their feelings. But relationships and marriage is serious. It is ba<x>sed on trust, commitment, communication and a lot of laughter. Both parties need to make efforts to understand each other. Sometimes women take for granted a man's strength. We forget that you have emotions because you dont' show them to us. Take a leap of faith and show us a just a touch of what you are feeling! Maybe we will respond.

Please excuse all my typos. lol But the content is what is important. I'm just suggesting that you show a little of your feelings. Perhaps you have already done this. I don't know.

You and me both thatguy1970! I wear my heart on my sleeves. It kind of makes me vulnerable so I have to be careful who's hands my heart ends up in. lol I think it's sweet that you show your feelings. :)

I find myself identified by this. I think I hurt my boyfriend so much with a lie I told that he wont be able to forgive me and I dont know how to fix things. Thanks for writing it.

Thanks

Excellent piece of writing.<br />
I wish my ex had read this before the problems started.

Yes you do have random thoughts. LOL. That is something my entire family does . It seems to be genetic. You can be deeply involved in a discussion with someone and this entirely fully formed question and or opinion come bubbling up out of your brain. Of course you forget what you are supposed to be focusing on and here comes your thoughts on a totally non related just thought up opinion.

AWESOME!! I love recipes!! :D

Is there any more that can be said? <br />
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Men are people. Women are people. Words can hurt; Words can heal.

Respect <br />
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That is the bottom line. I don't think it is gender specific. Everyone needs to be respected. The pain that follows realizing another person really doesn't respect you can deeply damage the connection that holds a relationship together. Wanting to "keep" someone is a notion that may be counter productive to repect. Noone can be kept really. People should be love and enjoyed and realized. Just when you think you can "keep" someone they remind you they are a person to be respected. <br />
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"If we lose love and self respect for each other, this is how we finally die".<br />
Maya Angelou

"No, I am not absolving the man of his own responsibility to remain strong and passionate on his own accord and yes, I do think some men can do similar harm to a woman's self esteem."<br />
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I think that your little disclaimer above says it all. As I was reading that I could almost hear a chorus of female voice saying "but what about how men make us feel" as if their own sense of entitlement excuses them from courtesy & consideration to their mates. <br />
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I think this was very well said, & I agree absolutely. :)

I noticed the same thing. :( &amp; I agree entirely.

I think you express this very effectively indeed. I am in very strong agreement with it. I hope the ladies out there are reading it. The suggestions you make I think could be strongly supportive of many relationships, and lay bare preconceptions that aren't helpful, but aren't really the fault of any individual, more to do with unquestioned expectations that seem to have just appeared in society over time. The same could equally be said about misconceptions men may have about women.

People can disagree all they want, but I'm with you on this one, 100% :)

Guy, I can....beyond a shadow of a doubt, support what you said here 110%. We are ALL subject to damage from the words and actions from the ones we love!! Not one person is bulletproof when dealing with a person they have given their love. <br />
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I have some real strong thoughts on this so I am gonna jump in and share. I talk with a lot of folks in here and in real time about their relationships and I see couples fall apart all the time....It's sad, but there are some common themes I see in a lot of the break ups.... :( You hit on a bunch of them....<br />
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I think people do change over time and it is both partners responsibility to be open and honest about what they think and how they feel. It is up to the other to listen and share their thoughts with equal honestly while being respectful to the other person. Without this sort of communication I think most couple are doomed over the long term. If only one tries to communicate and the other doesn't... they're still doomed because successful relationships happen when TWO people are on the same page, or at least in the same darn book. <br />
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Folks have different opinions, even in a good relationship but when they do differ, they need to address the issue and NOT go into attack mode at each other. Even when I'm mad at hubs, I still remember how much I love him and know I only want to resolve a certain issue and NOT leave permanent damage to him. He does the same for me. This is just very basic common sense in my opinion but a lot of folks take any excuse to go for the jugular on their partner and that starts wounds that end up being the terminal cancer that eventually kills a lot of relationships.<br />
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All folks have flaws, faults and weaknesses. My hubs is as masculine as they get but......he is honest enough to let me see and care for the weak spots in his armor. That is where our trust comes in, so even if I'm mad at him, I'm NOT going to throw those in his face and use them as a weapon cause that will kill what we have. He shares these thoughts and never throws my faults back in my face and in all honesty I think I have a bunch more then him. :O<br />
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In a healthy relationship folks build and nurture each others self esteem...NOT cut it down.We all need to spend some time on the pedestal you mentioned and it's important we put our partners on one for an equal amount of time too...<br />
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Sometimes folks get in relationships and let it become routine and boring. Jobs, kids and outside stuff can keep folks busy but if the relationship is a real priority you gotta put time, care and creativity into that too!! I always tell folks you got to do "maintenance" on love with as much care as you do your cars and houses...Sadly a lot fo folks are way more careful about taking care of a machine or building then they are the person they love. <br />
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We need to nurture each other and that is the fuel that keeps love and interest and LUST alive and thriving!! I am a girl and relate as a female but I have just as many guy friends as girls and see them hurt others and be hurt too, so I can say BOTH sides need to follow the same rules!!<br />
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Love is one of the strongest and most enduring emotions we have...but it can also be very fragile and priceless and requires a LOT of care and attention..... ♥ ♥ ♥

I think there are a bunch of reasons too but one of the most frequent ones I see is that folks don't even try to dig deep and get to know a person. Some just latch onto any warm body, or online it's only a bunch of words... that is handy just so they can tell other folks they're in a relationship. I see it in here and in real time too..... They have no clue who the person is behind a possible line of BS because they're passing off a line of BS too...It's part superficiality with a load of materialism, and pointlessness thrown in. Some folks think the show they put on is more important then the life they actually lead or the precious person they are with and could end up hurting so badly.....It's sooo sad... That's why I LOVE it when I see folks like yourself express deeper and more meaningful thoughts....It might make others dig a little deeper and that's always a good thing!!