Once upon a time, I would write this list of all of the qualities that I wanted in a man, and boy was I naïve and all wrong. In all fairWHY I STOPPED SAYING I WANTED AN EMOTIONAL MAN.ness, as I looked at this list, I was 21 years old at the time, and that was all a very blurry year for me. However, the one that I think hit home for me today, was that I hear women who are my age now and older who say that they want a man who is emotional. I am not here to discuss what other’s do as I try to stay out of grown folks business, but I wanted to shed some light as to why I stopped saying that I wanted an emotional man, and what I shifted my thought process to.
The more that I educated myself on my relationships and the qualities that I did like, I realized that the thing that makes a man, a “man”, are kind of completely opposite from that of a woman. I am attracted to a man’s man, so to speak. I love the way that a guy carries himself, smells nice, well-spoken and intelligent. However, I found that in having had dated a couple of emotional characters, I was not attracted to a guy that had female characteristics.
Most men are not adept at expressing their feelings, but that doesn’t equate to them not having any. Men have a special way of expressing themselves, and more times than not, it ends up in different forms than what WE as women are used to. There is importance in meeting a person with a high emotional intelligence, but that is a skill that needs to be honed-in on and put into practice daily. Dependent on a person’s brain plasticity it is up for grabs if they have it or not. (sarcasm)
When my dealings with grown adult men, I have found that you have to be observant at the things that are not said, as they can translate the feelings that women have such as, sadness into pride. Most men will generally convert their emotions into ones that are more of societal norms so that they aren’t looked at as weak. There was a time when I was working with a couple who came to see me in crisis because they had learned that their daughter had been assaulted by her boyfriend at the time. There was a lot of tension because the husband initially expressed rage, wanting to kill the guy. It was a lot of worry surrounding this because the daughter and wife, didn’t want him to go to jail because he followed through on any of these threats. Over time, the husband and I had a one-on-one session, in which he was able to release his true feelings of vulnerability, which turned out to be associated with fear, disappointment and sadness due to his inability to protect his daughter. His reaction was completely justifiable; however, it was scary to see him in this way, and we were able to find more tactful ways to help him cope with this issue to support her.
This is a good segue into the fact that men are often held into a box as it relates to expressing emotions. Even though they don’t always know what they are feeling, but they do know that whatever they are feeling that they may not be able to say anything. Most times it is because they aren’t entirely sure how to say what they feel in a way that they will be accepted. Women, we want our men to express feelings, but not all of them- we only want the ones that look like “spoiling us or are associated with giving us pleasantries”. All of the other emotions that may seep out, we need that in doses because too much of a man crying or showing anger can cause some conflict. Most men who deviate from the norm of what is masculine in today’s society, by being emotionally expressive are instantly made into a viral meme and or looked at as a running joke or poorly adjusted. For example, the internet couldn’t get enough of the Michael Jordan or Will Smith meme. I have personally learned to, that as a woman if a man trusts you enough to show you these layers, that you must not bring it up in an argument, as it can violate his trust. If you are given this responsibility, you need to hold it close with your life, no matter how mad you get, because anything other than that can cause a traumatic experience for him.
I have learned to just accept a man for who he is, and then I just pay attention to the things that he says, the way he moves and try to decode it in a way that can help open him up to more conversation in intimate spaces. This takes patience.
As a woman, we get to dating someone and think that the first 6 months we should be hearing and seeing all of his emotional inhibitions, and we haven’t shown our responsibility and or patience yet to be able to gain his trust. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a guy that I can easily unlock and can easily watch him lose self-control. I want someone with balance, and we have to be patient in order to get that.
In my own training and experience, men experience intense emotions but, lacking the right support, patience and even some coaching or training to make sense of those feelings, they are left with very few options on how to express themselves, so they bury them deeper.
So, instead of saying that you want a man that is emotional, understand what your needs are as it relates to communication and love, then express that to your partner to see if he is capable of meeting those needs. If he is, give him time and then work with him through it. If not, respect the fact that he told you the truth and thank him for his time, and continue on with your process.
However, if there is anything that I know is that I don’t want a man who mirrors my emotions and how I distribute them, because I get on my own damn nerves when I am having my days. Be mindful, be attentive and be supportive to your guys ladies, because the world has put a lot of pressures on him as it is. Let’s not make it worse, by rushing his process.