I’ve been noticing a terrible trait among many self-proclaimed “self-aware” men recently. These are the men who call themselves sensitive, egalitarian, feminist and open. Those are the descriptors I love to hear, love when a man embodies. But I don’t love when said man is so passive that he doesn’t advocate for himself or express what he wants.
An example: I was at a bar and met someone. He approached me and we chatted about the music. He asked me if I was on social media and wanted to friend me on Facebook. I accepted this, but thought it was a poor substitute for simply asking for my number. We messaged a few times and he asked me out for tea. I agreed. He listed his number under the body of the messages, and I thought, “cool.” I mean cool with a period. Cool as in I hardly noticed. In text lingo, that cool could be substituted for “k” or dull-happy-emoji, something as benign as him dropping his phone number in the text but not really asking for mine number or asking me to call him.
The day of our supposed tea came and went without a peep – he didn’t confirm and neither did I. A few days later, I got these messages from him:
Him: Kinda thought we were gonna hang out last week Friday… how’s your week going?
Me: Hey there! I’m doing well…I guess we both dropped the ball on that one.
Him: Yeahhhh…..I offered my number in hopes you would reach out…but social media works as well , I didn’t realize we would still be messaging through FB..I didn’t really think to come back and message you again on those days…but totally cool ..I’ll totally take the blame
Me: Oh I’m dense. I’d prefer people to be direct and ask for my number. I honestly didn’t catch that. Sorry for the mental delay. I guess I’m supposed to give my number now.
Him: Ok, I totally deserved that last message on FB:( You’re right, I should have been more direct. I’ll keep that in mind. How are you and how’s your day going? I really did want to hang out with you and vibe with you.
So… I believe this man is trying to be accommodating, and that’s something I totally appreciate. But, when it comes to dating and relationships, I want a man who makes me feel safe. As a side note, why did I put myself down? I didn’t do anything wrong. Why was my go-to response a one-down approach? Was it to soothe him for not picking up what he was throwing down (his phone number)?
Here’s another example: In a prior relationship, my boyfriend would invite me to events or activities like this: Hey babe, John is having people over for dinner.
And I’d reply: Are you going?
He’d say: Yeah, I guess.
What I was thinking: Am I invited? Am I wanted?
How I replied: Sounds fun, when is it?
Me: Ohhh, ok.
What I was thinking: Is he telling me that he’s going alone or is he inviting me?
What I said: Is this a friends thing?
Him: Of course not.
What I really wanted: Hey babe! John is having people over for dinner tonight at 7. Can you make it? I’d love if you could come with me.
During that relationship, I wanted to feel wanted. I needed a man who would take a stand for himself, for me and for our relationship by expressing what he needed.
You see, when a man provides security, leadership, vision, decisiveness – all traditionally masculine traits, he allows me to go fully into my femininity. I don’t want to always lead. I don’t want my man to ask permission. I don’t want him to be afraid to talk to me or walk on eggshells when it’s time to discuss something. I want him to feel strong in himself so he can express what he wants and needs when it occurs to him, not way after the situation has happened.
Additionally in my (romantic) relationships, when I, a strong woman, am left to make most decisions alone and am asked for permission to do everyday things, I feel annoyed and like I have to take on the masculine role. I also feel parental and it makes the man seem childish. I probably come across as curt and impatient. Not intending to be bossy or condescending, it’s that I want a partner who has an opinion and takes a stand. Then, we can agree or disagree on something. But the wavering — with both of us taking on passive qualities — doesn’t work or allow us to deepen our intimacy.
I see both sides: he’s trying to be communicative and team-like, but it comes across as weak and indecisive. So I get into the masculine aspect – needing to make decisions, feeling like I have to lead.
This boils down to communication — it’s something we all have to ask ourselves: how do we want to be loved and taken care of? How do we handle conflict and get more of what we want?
When many women experience a man who is direct and forthcoming, they immediately fall for him. He seems safe, trustworthy. In that moment, it seems like what you see is what you get. This is why you see women so often turned on by men in power, in leadership, in effect, men who are owning their masculinity. This speaks to a woman’s primal survival of safety.
I may not always be able to accommodate my man, but I’d sure love the opportunity to try — and need his help by standing up and being as clear as possible.