The One Thing That Women Are Afraid of in Men (It’s Not Aggression).

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I used to think women were only afraid of aggression in men, in all its forms: anger, rage, physical violence, verbal abuse, sexual aggression, rape.

I grew up with all kinds of conflicting social messages about the wrongs (and subtle rights) of violence against women. With three sisters and two mothers (married to my two fathers), I learned early there was something inherently special about women, that they were different from men not just in body parts, but in essence.

I knew they should be protected and respected.

In addition to the daily masculine aggression towards women I encountered outside my home, I also watched my alcoholic step-father terrorize my mother, me and two sisters with an explosive rage (he’s 21 years sober now, and a good man). Seeing these beautiful, brilliant women in my life routinely recoil in the face of a horrifying masculine aggression only reinforced my ideas about a woman’s singular fear.

I learned to loathe the thought of making a woman feel unsafe in my presence. I wanted to make women feel good, to like me, and I had seen how aggression made them not feel good, how it made them hate a man.

So I did my best to never express aggression with a woman. Even sexually. I shut down sexually towards women for fear that my desire would be interpreted by them as aggression. Throughout my dating life and well into relationships, until I was 100 percent certain a woman welcomed a next step with me, I would not proceed with a next step.

A woman had to practically stick her tongue down my throat before I understood that kissing her was welcome.

I castrated myself in countless ways to protect women from any hint of masculine aggression in me.

I often practiced what I believed was the most certain way to make a woman feel safe: I made myself invisible to her.

Whether that meant backing down, staying out of her way, leaving the room, or simply pretending I didn’t want to ravish her when I so desperately did, I made myself as non-threatening in a woman’s presence as I could position myself to be.

I taught myself how to disappear. To save her from what I thought was her primal fear of my aggression.

I was completely missing what was really happening.

In the last few years I’ve discovered something women fear even more in men than mere aggression. It’s something far more common in our everyday world. Something us men even fear in ourselves, though most aren’t even conscious we’re doing it.

A feminine woman is most afraid of her masculine man disappearing. She’s afraid of him failing to show up for her. Not stepping up. Walking out. Not staying strong and present, particularly when things get a little crazy and confusing.

A woman’s deepest desire is to be cherished. When a man leaves, even just emotionally if not physically, she is left completely un-cherished. Aggression is simply the extreme expression of a man not cherishing a woman. I checked out for years when my women got too emotional for me, especially when they were angry. I thought if they just saw things differently—if they saw things like I see them—everything would be fine. So I tried like mad to convince their minds to shift.

Which rarely worked. They weren’t waiting to have their intellects adjusted. So I would constantly give up and run, even when I stayed in the room.

If she fought me long enough, eventually I fought back. I thought that a feminine woman can’t out-masculine me. I would win that battle. And I did. Every time.

But I really only ever lost. So did she. Heartbreaking how blind I was to what was actually going on.

I realize now she was simply screaming out her fear, desperate for me to step up strong and claim her heart, to let her know without a doubt that I’m here, not going anywhere, that she’s safe in my love, to simply reassure her deeply that I got her and won’t let anything bad happen to her… like only a healthy masculine man could reassure her.

Women weren’t just afraid of my aggression. They were afraid of my leaving, which ironically I was doing in countless ways often to avoid my own innate aggression which scared me, too.

Had I known this deeper truth, I likely would have married my last girlfriend. Instead, I labeled her immature and mean, and I ran in every direction. I couldn’t stand in the illusory fire of her pain—a pain largely caused by masculine abandonment in her past. I was so triggered by her pain, so caught up in my own, that I couldn’t reassure her that I loved her and would hold her safe as she learned to trust again. I lost the woman I loved most in my life because I couldn’t see what was really happening; what she was really asking of me.

She was asking me to step up and fight for her heart.

Fight what? Fight myself. Fight my desire to run. To check out. To disappear.

She was begging me to be aggressive with my own inner demons, and perhaps hers, too, in the battle for her sacred feminine heart. I lost that battle. She’s married to another man now.

Oh what fine messes of hearts I helped create over the years. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I see now. I’m growing up. I’m a Man. Eager to share what I’ve learned through so much pain, with other men who don’t yet see, but who are ready to.

And I’m finally ready to step up and fight for a woman’s heart.

~

Relephant:

The Invisible Domestic Violence no one Talks about.

Bonus: How to deal with Negativity, Buddhist-style:

Joan Halifax on sexism and ethics:

 

~

 

Author: Bryan Reeves

Editor: Renée Picard

Photo: Bjorn Bechstein at Flickr

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Bryan Reeves

A former US Air Force Captain, Bryan Reeves has survived multiple dark nights of the soul, mystical encounters with pugnacious jungle medicines and many other untold wild and ill-advised adventures around the world that he’s learned a great deal from. Bryan now works with men, women and couples as a thriving life and relationship coach. His popular online course, Boundaries: Relationships Suck Without ‘Em! has helped thousands of people create healthy boundaries as a foundation for loving relationships. Connect with Bryan on Facebook and enjoy his blog on conscious love and magical living at www.BryanReeves.com.

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anonymous Jan 20, 2016 6:06am

Thank you for expressing exactly what I feel as a woman and why I felt I became that person towards the end. I hope this message gets out to more men & women and save them from a lifetime of hurt.

anonymous Dec 31, 2015 1:35pm

This was the exact thing I needed to see at the exact moment.

anonymous Nov 9, 2015 11:24am

Thank you for this Bryan. I just lost a man I love, and I’m pretty sure I lost him to this kind of inner conflict in him.

But it was so important for me to read this to understand him better. I only wish he understood it for himself too…

This part in particular said it all to me:

“I was so triggered by her pain, so caught up in my own, that I couldn’t reassure her that I loved her and would hold her safe as she learned to trust again. I lost the woman I loved most in my life because I couldn’t see what was really happening; what she was really asking of me.

She was asking me to step up and fight for her heart.

Fight what? Fight myself. Fight my desire to run. To check out. To disappear.”

anonymous Oct 25, 2015 11:54pm

Corey Fike: No, men and women are different and it is this kind of unnaturl thinking that has gotten us into the cultural chaos we are in today aided by High Technology. Equal = Feminism Ideology that is crippling our culture. That is the factual Truth.

anonymous Oct 13, 2015 9:53am

Feel free to use it if you can. You can re-post it or suggest a different intro since it is a response. I have tried to write before however I was a business major and not an English major so my writing lacks structure. It is best when focused on a certain subject. Relationships are so complex and fluid, it is hard to stay focused without ignoring something important.

I am outspoken on my FB page about abuse on purpose. Education of the facts and so it is not ignored. I am equally fair for men and women.

Because of this many men in certain situations will reach out and want to talk. I am not a therapist nor do I pretend to be. They need someone to listen to them, let them know they are not alone, that they are not crazy. I do not diagnose nor do I put blame. I simply listen and help them stay focused on the facts. I refer them to see someone professionally . I just listen, and let them cry, and reassure them they are not alone and it is a lot more common then society will admit.

The reason I do it is several years back I had an acquaintance who took his own life. He tried speaking to me several occasions , however I was so immersed in my own situation, I really did not listen. His death is not my fault and I doubt I could have said anything to save him. I did ask him for forgiveness and promised him I would do better next time. And I am. Had a breakfast coffee yesterday with another man trying to figure it all out.

anonymous Oct 13, 2015 8:22am

I agree with what you are saying completely and like you I tried to provide a safe place. However, And I’m finally ready to step up and fight for a woman’s heart? Dude, you need to forgive yourself. Stop blaming yourself for not being man enough. These are relationship issues and women are just as responsible as we are. It is 50/50.

Your job is to do whatever you can, what ever you are willing to do to make her life better. Her job is to whatever she can, whatever she is willing to do to make your life better. Men and women are equal. We are both prizes that entitled to respect and consideration. How are you suppose to protect her from your Male privilege that is gained through power and aggression and fear. Yet you are suppose to fight for her heart. Did she really fight for yours.

Now the women are going to be angry about what I am about to say however we are talking about preceived ways that one person manipulates, takes advantage of another unfairly. We all know about men's privilege. To offset this idea of male privelige there is women's privlege. If I am understanding your article correctly, and it is how I identify with it through my own experience. Your idea that you failed as a man. You were not man enough for her and you did not do what it took to win her heart, how you feel is from female privilege

The use of male privilege to manipulate a women is abuse. It is not open for debate. There is nothing healthy about it. A man that does this is abusing a women.

The use of female privilege to manipulate a man to get what you want or not do what you do not want to do is abuse. It is not a shade of grey, it is not a moving line of when it is OK or not OK. Many women think it is OK because it equals things out. It only balances things in abusive relationships. Healthy relationships acknowledge the idea of privilege and refuse to do either.
Yes a man needs to provide a safe nurturing place for his woman to flourish. Yes a woman needs to provide a safe and nurturing environment for her man to flourish. Men and women are the same yet different. Not all men need the same and like wise for women. We are all equal.

What you are naturally able to give her was no longer what she needed, wanted, or possible she was not able to receive. You can only give and receive what comes naturally. She can only give and receive what comes naturally. This what relationships become after we stop convincing the other person to love us. You might have been right for each other years ago but not now. That is not your fault. You sound like an outstanding man to me.

Now you have learned some good lessons and bad ones. To fight for a women's heart is to constantly prove to her that you are worth loving, worth her affection, you are worth her time and investment. If you do not live up to her expectations you are worthless. I am sorry you felt you needed to do this. No man or women should.

The lesson you needed to learn is who you are naturally. There are women who need what you are naturally able to give. There are women who naturally able to give what you need. You are just as deserving. She will love you and cherish you for who you are and take pride that you try every day to provide her a safe, loving, nurturing place. That is how you fight for her heart and how she fights for yours.

I have three children. I hope my daughter finds a sensitive man like you and I am teaching her to appreciate it and it is hard with the messages she receives. I hope my sons do not end up with a women who believes female privilege is a right and uses it to emasculate them. I hope they find a women like I hope to find myself.

Every other Sunday I deliver donated food to a women's emergency shelter for women and their children. I see first hand what the effects of abuse are , and it breaks my heart that people can do this to each other. I see the effects that female abuse on men is like also. I hope that the future for our children is better. The lack of courage to address the whole truth about relationships does not help society. We need to be honest and not try for approval.

I am a good man for someone. She will appreciate me for my sensitive heart. She will appreciate my need to stand up to bullies. She will appreciate my need to help others and make their lives better. Most people will not and they are not right for me. There is a women who will see my 6 ft farm boy frame , who provides a safe encouraging place for his children, who appreciates that I encourage my daughter to be a strong independent smart woman. Who is fiercely a feminist and is encouraged to keep growing honestly and fairly. The man I am is right for someone, not just anyone, and I am willing to wait to meet her and when I do I will cherish and appreciate her because she deserves it because to the type of person she is.

    anonymous Oct 13, 2015 8:30am

    Corey,
    You have some good insight. I hope you're consider submitting your writing to Elephant Journal. <a href="http://www.elephantjournal.com/write” target=”_blank”>www.elephantjournal.com/write

    anonymous Oct 14, 2015 5:00pm

    Beautiful insight, Corey, thank you, brother … Bryan (I agree you should write your own article)

anonymous Oct 12, 2015 11:56pm

Wow, you made me cry with this!!!! So true! I have pushed the men of my life away because ironically I have been terrified of being left alone… it was a cry for help. “This time you are leaving, right? When you leave me… Are you angry at me? ” And so many phrases and moments like that… It all makes sense. Thank you very much for sharing this!

anonymous Aug 5, 2015 5:23am

One of the most on point articles I probably have ever had the privilege to read. So perfectly aware of what we need despite our inability to articulate or even understand our own need. I need a man that allows me to be feminine by being strong enough without the abuse of his power. A tall and confusing order for today’s man.

My 20/21 year old sons struggle with this confusion. They have observed exactly this dynamic where I was madly in love with a man who was afraid of his own aggression and would suppress it and then unfortunately explode with feelings of insecurity and bully and terrorize us all. My boys struggle to interpret my teachings or messages about “how to be a good man”. I have confused them I am sure. I have been proud and fierce at times to relieve them of the sense that they must protect me. I have probably inferred that for a man to “protect” a woman is almost an insult to her ability to care for herself. The sad part is that I crave deeply the man who is strong enough to say “I have got you. I won’t let you down. I am here when you are ugly and weak. It is ok to rest.”

THIS is TRUE WISDOM. I will do my best to articulate or translate this wisdom to my boys. I will try to share with my daughter that it is vital to be strong but true courage to let a man wrap his arms around you and keep you safe.

Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

Thank you.

    anonymous Oct 14, 2015 5:01pm

    Beautiful Jennifer I'm thrilled to hear that. Love bryan

anonymous Jul 28, 2015 7:33pm

So true, such loss for everyone.

anonymous Jul 28, 2015 6:28am

I just wanted to say that this is too true. All of it. I’ve never read something online and cried (not even when some say “have a tissue ready before you read or watch this”) but I did with this article. It is so spot on. I think this very problem is what’s going on with so many relationships (including my own). Sad but true. Thanks for clarifying so much with me though. Now just need more of a solution but none the less this is a great article. Best wishes to the writer & to everyone else.

    anonymous Oct 14, 2015 5:01pm

    Thank you Carrie. Your comment is beautiful. Bryan

anonymous Jul 21, 2015 10:54pm

Awesome. You’ve basically written what I’ve been experiencing for years. That’s amazing. ‘Aggression’ in a different way, but none-the-less similar. Now to change it.

Good article. Thank you.

anonymous Jul 21, 2015 4:19pm

Thank you Bryan, I have felt the same way. I have "castrated" myself in fear of harming the one I cared about. This has led to the relationship breaking down. In now pursuits to create a relationship the failing that I have is in unresponsiveness to the feminine. Thank you for putting words to what I have experienced. For being a teacher that directs me to what I need to do.

    anonymous Oct 14, 2015 5:02pm

    It's my honor to serve you, Josh.

anonymous Jul 21, 2015 9:39am

I can understand the intent of this post, as well as some of the criticisms (though not that the author shouldn't be worrying about this because his ex girlfriend is probably cheating on her husband… talk about projection and generalizations). I think the important take away here is that 1) men are beginning to realize that they've historically been given a pass to mistreat women, and thus women feel resentment but 2) aren't sure how to adjust their attitudes and behaviors to move away from that dynamic. I've seen more than one man claim that they just feel like they can't win, so why bother. The author is correct that women who desire relationships with men don't want them to be absent or distant; they want to feel safe and respected. Conflict in relationships that isn't outright abuse is often about fear of abandonment, and it can cause a lot of unsavory behaviors. We should all try to objectively love and cherish our mates, and not give less of ourselves for fear of making a misstep. It is tough to strike the correct balance, but something worth striving for. Love is a continuous process, not a static state.

anonymous May 16, 2015 12:56pm

Women are not sacred, they are human. And power corrupts absolutely, even with women.

anonymous May 15, 2015 2:35pm

Thank you so much for writing this article! If only my ex’es would have read it before I met them! Any woman will be super lucky to be with you- just know that, despite whatever haters or culture that is out there telling you otherwise. If a woman can’t take your loving aggression and true power then she is not courageous enough to be in her deep feminine-even if she (equally as you did) struggles with it here and there she will know and see that in you and give you the worship/honor you deserve. Polarity is an art of courage on both sides but it can bring out the best in both sides also. Hope more men take note of this! Women are not afraid of aggression (if done lovingly and in pure heart) but we are afraid of our hearts not being seen (and yes rape is a part of that- there is a thin line between rape and ravishment-and the thin line is the presence and care of the heart). This reminds me alot of David Deida’s way of the superior man. Evolving consciousness at it’s best! Keep doing the good work of the third stage masculine man!

    anonymous May 19, 2015 8:36pm

    thank you : ) I appreciate that. Bryan

anonymous May 15, 2015 12:16pm

I disagree wholeheartedly with this article – although honestly, at times, I'm not even sure what the point of it is.

I don't want to be "cherished" or have someone "claim" my heart. Words matter and these feel patronising and controlling. Ick. I'm sure if you identify yourself as a "feminine woman" or a "masculine man" (in the 1950s sense of the word?) then perhaps this article makes sense to you, as it obviously does for some here but if you don't then it leaves you cold and more than a little annoyed. It did me.

"I lost in the battle for her sacred feminine heart"?? C'mon! You're joking right? I mean, right?!

It's not a fight, you don't claim anything. Love is nothing to do with these things which are more like movie tropes of yesteryear and that's a train that don't ever come. Laughter, sharing, respect and a healthy dose of sexual chemistry form the basis of any relationship. Just stick with that 🙂

    anonymous May 19, 2015 8:38pm

    nope. I am serious in this article. she wanted me to "fight for us" … I had no idea what she was talking about. Until the insight I wrote in this article hit me. I'm as modern a man as they get, progressive to the marrow of my bones. And this hits me in deep, primal ways. If it doesn't suit you, I'm totally ok with that … but through these insights my orientation towards women – and life in general – has changed for the drastically better.

anonymous May 15, 2015 4:27am

Would like to know what makes a man finally realize this truth?

    anonymous May 19, 2015 8:39pm

    making all the mistakes and then asking, "what the hell am I missing here?" … over and over 🙂

anonymous May 14, 2015 11:28pm

Yepity depity. You hit the nail right on top! I mean you really hit it. In fact, you expressed something I didn't even know I felt. Now how to communicate to my beautiful (in many ways), but "stand back" husband of 20 years.

anonymous May 14, 2015 10:43pm

A man with a backbone who won't leave. Men disappear all of the time when dating, and it scars us forever. We lose a bit of our ability to trust every single time a man does this. Then men complain that older women are bitter. It's because we've been thrown away like trash. If a guy beats you, he's still there, still paying attention to you, and being ignored is the worst thing you can do to a person. Being ignored and outcast was death in tribes when we were hunter gatherers, and it's ingrained into us to need to belong.

anonymous May 14, 2015 6:02pm

it is a good article, not perfect, not adequate, but good. i don't think it is sexist. i could turn the words around, the genders, and the words would remain the same, almost true, and good words. being cherished, being understood, drawing boundaries, understanding needs and expectations, we have to talk about these things. otherwise, you see the things around us, revenge porn sites, fatal misunderstandings, and generalized ideas of violence. it is a good article, and worth the writing.

anonymous May 14, 2015 12:02pm

i wish my bf would read dis nw n realise his mistake

anonymous May 14, 2015 3:03am

I like the general message of the article. Although honestly if one had to choose between sexual abuse/violence vs abandonment, I still think most men and women would prefer abandonment.

I also don’t think that yin and yang are divided across gender. I know there are many yang women out there and many yin men. It would be better if instead of designating women as yin and men as yang we encouraged everyone to find their own personal balance. A lot of people think that women who are yang and men who are yin are made that way through society or whatever but I believe there are always those who naturally lean more towards being outgoing, expressive and extroverted or introverted, more thoughtful and introspective regardless of gender.

It makes things so much simpler for relationships once we realise both men and women can be yin and yang and can have different strengths of yin and yang, or be balanced or change over a lifetime (although I personally believe that most people have a tendency towards one and it usually stays that way through a lifetime (ofcourse they will learn the lessons of everything)).

By making things simpler it means we understand that men who are naturally yin will not like to be the ones initiating contact, making the first moves and that yang women like being the ones who like starting things, telling how they want everything to be etc etc. And usually people are attracted to their opposites anyway.

But when we make people confine into this whole men are yang (also called masculine) and women are yin (also called feminine), we cause all the men who are yin and women who are yang, subvert from what is natural to them. And there’s so many dodgy relationships and pain and grief because of this. E.g. men should initiate -> not when a man is naturally more laid back, and yang women won’t like being approached, they’ll be the ones doing it. So all these examples of women should be this, men should be that should all just be dusted and thrown away and people should first ask who am I and what do I want. If people knew what they are about it would make relationships so much easier.

I do strongly agree that your partner should not become absent in any form … otherwise there’s no relationship, its just an empty ship. 😀

anonymous May 14, 2015 1:17am

This hits very close to home with me. I have the same upbringing. Same relationship problems. Thank you so much! Good to know someone else feels how I feel. The struggle is real.

anonymous May 13, 2015 11:16pm

Bryan, just want to say that a few things you said about what you learned about women really touched my heart. Although I normally shy away from sweeping generalizations about men and women, as if there is no variation within each sex, what you said about women wanting to feel cherished ultimately really rings true deep in my core. Same goes for how my man withdrawing for any reason feels to me. What you said about your lost love wishing you would fight for her also hit a chord. While I strive to be conscious of not making my partner pay for tripping on fears and old wounds not of his making, I do want him to take an unequivocal stand that tells me, “I’ve got you, babe. I’m here for you especially when you feel vulnerable.” So, thank you for writing what you did.

    anonymous May 19, 2015 8:40pm

    yup. you're welcome 🙂 thank you for sharing your insight. bryan

anonymous May 13, 2015 9:02pm

YES YES YES YES YES!!!!! thank you. are you single? 😉

    anonymous May 19, 2015 8:40pm

    why yes, actually I am … I am committed single until it is a "hell yes!" to commit to relationship with an exquisite woman 🙂

anonymous May 11, 2015 3:49pm

I am a grown up woman, mother of two and considered by others to be quite formidable. I don’t need to be nurtured (it would be nice though!), I do the heavy work physically and emotionally in my family and in my job. In true martyr style I stuck through my husband’s emotional and practical absence from our relationship. What made me leave was fear of violence, albeit that no blow was ever landed the atmosphere became laden with first disrespect and then malice and it was very clear to me that violence was going to be the next step. I was physically scared, I was scared what my children would learn about relations between men and women. I didn’t fear him leaving. Still bruised and not ever going to look for a man to ‘step up’, just looking for one to ‘step in’ just enough for us to learn to ‘step in time’.

anonymous Apr 12, 2015 12:11am

I generally consider myself a "nurturing" type, being generally emotionally receptive, and gentle towards women, children, and animals. As such, I don't really represent an "aggressive" male, and sometimes have a hard time connecting with men who have more dominant personas. However, I recognize the crucial need for positive male affirmation. Also, my field of work puts me around a majority of women in vulnerable situtations. This requires a balance of not being overly aggressive, but being aggressive enough to deter men who seek to exploit them.

anonymous Mar 25, 2015 7:59am

So very true. A woman wants the man to fight for her heart, not run away when there's a conflict, but to talk it through.

I have been called "The love of his life", "his great love", and he's talked of marriage, but then he shuts me off with silence when I say something he interprets as critique, or if he thinks me demanding in some way.. My heart breaks again and again, despite trying to get him back, it now seems he won't come back…he's retreated into his cave, unable to hold me and secure me and my emotions like a real man.

    anonymous May 19, 2015 8:43pm

    men need to learn how to hold paradox to be with women … to care deeply about what you say, think and feel .. and somehow not care at all. That's the only way we can stay present and loving with you when you point out all the ways we still have to grow (often unskillfully, unfortunately, but women are just as ignorant as men in how to do relationships well, albeit in different ways. We're all ignorant in our innocence. If we knew how to do this stuff better, we would do it better! : )

anonymous Feb 13, 2015 7:45am

That is true to some content. women ARE afraid of aggression, that's why they are in a relationship with you, both parties have to be cherished, not just women. the fear of women about you leaving is her fear that you cant protect her from this aggressive and hostile world, that you cant defend her from the aggression of other men, that you cant stand up for her and your values.

anonymous Jan 20, 2015 6:31pm

My last partner and I loved each other deeply and really had a beautiful love, but he was so afraid of any kind of conflict that it caused him to completely shut down and eventually leave the relationship. My heart is still broken but reading this is healing for me. Thank you so much for learning and sharing.

    anonymous May 19, 2015 8:44pm

    you're welcome Frankie : ) I'm sorry for your pain but I'm glad this articles is offering some healing.

anonymous Dec 21, 2014 2:52pm

I just wanted to quote this passage back at you, sorry if I do..

"If she fought me long enough, eventually I fought back. I thought that a feminine woman can’t out-masculine me. I would win that battle. And I did. Every time.
But I really only ever lost. So did she. Heartbreaking how blind I was to what was actually going on.
I realize now she was simply screaming out her fear, desperate for me to step up strong and claim her heart, to let her know without a doubt that I’m here, not going anywhere, that she’s safe in my love, to simply reassure her deeply that I got her and won’t let anything bad happen to her… like only a healthy masculine man could reassure her.
Women weren’t just afraid of my aggression. They were afraid of my leaving, which ironically I was doing in countless ways often to avoid my own innate aggression which scared me, too.
Had I known this deeper truth, I likely would have married my last girlfriend. Instead, I labeled her immature and mean, and I ran in every direction. I couldn’t stand in the illusory fire of her pain—a pain largely caused by masculine abandonment in her past. I was so triggered by her pain, so caught up in my own, that I couldn’t reassure her that I loved her and would hold her safe as she learned to trust again. I lost the woman I loved most in my life because I couldn’t see what was really happening; what she was really asking of me.
She was asking me to step up and fight for her heart.
Fight what? Fight myself. Fight my desire to run. To check out. To disappear.
She was begging me to be aggressive with my own inner demons, and perhaps hers, too, in the battle for her sacred feminine heart. I lost that battle. She’s married to another man now.
Oh what fine messes of hearts I helped create over the years. I didn’t know. I’m so sorry. Please forgive me. I see now. I’m growing up. I’m a Man. Eager to share what I’ve learned through so much pain, with other men who don’t yet see, but who are ready to.
And I’m finally ready to step up and fight for a woman’s heart."

I just wanted to say that this is exactly, what happened between me and my ex boyfriend.. How I wish that he, had known this, not that it might have changed anything, he might not have loved me.. But these words here, that you have thought and written, are exactly the thoughts that I wish he could have thought about us.. And I wonder, does he ever think these thoughts? He is with someone else now, and I am the one still alone. He might be in love.. But I wonder, does he ever think as you have, here.. There was someone else, who was the love of his life, but she was his brothers girlfriend.. But they never had that dynamic, between them, he knew how much I loved him, deep down and I knew he loved me and after we split he realised he made mistakes.. But I don't think he has ever really thought about me like you did your ex.. And I wanted to thank you, for wishing that you could have changed things and for becoming a man.. <3

anonymous Sep 27, 2014 9:27am

In my last relationship, which was a 17 year one, I was the disappearing one. I’m also a woman. My ex husband was the fighter. This dynamic is really typical of relationships- one partner will fight, the other will flee. Learning about these patterns and how to recognize them and practice inhibition in the moment of either fighting or fleeing gives both partners the opportunity to remain present to the needs of each other and the relationship. Although my marriage didn’t work out, I learned a lot about this dynamic through EFT (emotionally focused therapy.) it sounds as if people who are interested in exploring the fighting/fleeing dynamic further that this article touches on might want to check out EFT. Thanks for writing this! I enjoyed reading it. Personally, having a man disappear on me is terrifying, so I get it.

anonymous Sep 27, 2014 8:59am

I am happy you found out.

anonymous Aug 18, 2014 11:20am

wow, I am so afraid of myself of what I could do if I ever became enraged, I never truly open up, becoming the 'safe' or non'threating option, tI completely identify with this article, because I feel like I can't take the next step unless I get permission to. Seeing my father's example growing up, I never wanted to be like him, and today I'm not yet I'm so frustrated with myself when I am not able to be assertive with myself or even ask someone I like out.

anonymous Aug 18, 2014 10:42am

Bryan, I want to thank you for sharing this. I love reading the articles on Elephant! Its a rare gift for men who are going through the same and a raw insight for the women they leave behind or who leave them. Brave are the souls who step up to meeting and dealing with their stuff, its what we are here for, the difference between living and just surviving.
Namaste. Lisa

anonymous Aug 7, 2014 9:56am

That 'woman' who got away is probably cheating on her husband as we speak, thru the countless 'cheat' sites that exist just like most 1st world women are doing these days (men too). You're beating yourself up for no reason man, while reading too deeply into the situations you went through. I feel bad for you guy, but not for the reasons you want me to feel bad for you.

anonymous Aug 1, 2014 9:20pm

For what it is worth, I'm gay, and even before puberty I wholeheartedly supported the arguments of the women's movement as soon as I heard of feminism. And because I was this sensitive-smart gay kid, more into arts than sports, and incapable of even faking an erotic interest of the opposite sex, my older, aggressive, macho-womanizer brother took to bullying and harassing me about being weak and effeminate (though I wasn't), and this went on for years, almost obsessively. Though I came out to my parents at 20, because my brother was such an asshole I refused to talk about my sex life at all with him, though he continued to pester me even after I got my BA, left home, and entered the working world.

Long story short; after so many years of holding a deep resentment towards him, I sent my brother a long email letting him know how angry I had been, and for what reasons. Three days later I got a response — from his wife. It turned out when he read my letter his reaction was to forward it to her and ask her to respond on his behalf, which unbelievably she did, claiming her husband was innocent of all the charges I leveled at him. Talk about WTF?!

They have two young adult children. Appropriately enough, their daughter graduated suma cum laude in psychology and is off to graduate school, while their son has dropped out of college. So much for oppressive patriarchy.

anonymous Aug 1, 2014 8:11pm

"They see a powerful woman that they can equate to a mommy and then they behave as such." Bingo! I remember when feminists howled with outrage over Robert Bly's claims that men had become infantile in their relationships with their wives or girlfriends. "No!", they cried; "Women are hostages to oppressive patriarchy, they have no freedom, men control everything, and do so through force and fear!" As a young man, I agreed, but as I left the theoretical environment of college, and entered the real world, I found that my classroom indoctrination was often at odds with what I witnessed directly. Well, I did send my brother a copy of "Iron John", but it may be up to his wife if he reads it or not.

    anonymous Aug 2, 2014 9:04am

    Rick, "Iron John" is an extraordinary book. I'm reading it now, and I'm blown away by all that Robert Bly illuminates. Thanks for your insight.

anonymous Aug 1, 2014 4:58pm

I’ve been watching the whole feminine/masculine energy debate for some time now and it’s astounding how hurtful, sexist and debasing it is.

In response to the points you’ve raised in this article: A woman should be cherished for losing her shit? Why? Why should any man become a punching bag for his partners past traumas?

I’m sorry girls, but your man only has to answer to his crimes. If you’re blaming him for others sins, then he deserves a checkout and you deserve to be abandoned until you’ve fixed your own issues. And if they are his sins that see you losing your shit in a such a spectacular fashion, then maybe this guy just ain’t right for you and you should high tail it the hell out of there.

Why do we keep glorifying the sins of the others gender?

And Bryan. Why can’t YOU just be YOU? Who says that you need to be changing anything? Why can’t we be empowering each other to be exactly as we are? Why must we define ourselves by anything at all? Why can’t we just be?

When will we understand that for those of us who care enough to wonder, we were made exactly perfect?

    anonymous Aug 2, 2014 9:03am

    I didn't say a woman "should be cherished for losing her shit." Nicola, I agree with you in the fundamentals. We were all born perfect. Nothing to change here. However, there are patterns of behavior that, when unexamined, lead to continued confusion and heartache, which is what I see happening over and over and over in my life and in my greater community. Having coached over 80 people in just the past two months, I see this dynamic playing out everywhere.

    I agree with you that women have their own maturing to do, as well. I wrote this article for the sake of men who are attracted to feminine women, and men who have feminine daughters, that there's a critical component to that relationship that, again, if unexamined, will lead to unnecessary suffering.

anonymous Aug 1, 2014 8:26am

"A feminine woman is most afraid of her masculine man disappearing." Perhaps that explains why some women will remain in abusive relationships, and even make their children suffer them, even when they have the opportunity for a better life. Otherwise, I wish I could nod my head in agreement with you, Bryan, but I can't. I only have to look at the pathetic example of my brother and his doctor-wife, who is not only the principle breadwinner and more-educated, but dominates all facets of his life, including who should be his friends and how he should relate to even his blood relatives. The last thing this woman wants is for my brother to grow some balls. Alas, I have this latter example of willful self-emasculation much more the norm among American men in dealing with their wives and girlfriends.

    anonymous Aug 1, 2014 11:58am

    As the principle breadwinner in my relationship who always has to plan every thing I can certainly say I would LOVE it if my partner grew some "balls" and stepped up to help and fucking be there. There's been an interesting gender shift in this last generation and it's left women with lots of power and men blindly giving all of their away. We never wanted that. We wanted to stand equal with you, both in power. Maybe your brother likes being pushed around and told what to do. All the men I've dated have and it's annoying as fuck. They see a powerful woman that they can equate to a mommy and then they behave as such. Maybe you're brother would serve well with some support to grow from you, rather than you just calling him pathetic.

    anonymous Aug 2, 2014 10:00am

    I agree with Aryiel … I bet deep down in inside, IF his wife is genuinely a feminine woman at her core, she's DYING for him to grow some balls and step up and take ownership of his own balls. She's probably just so resigned to the likelihood that he never will, that she wears the balls because SOMEONE has to for the family to survive and build! They surely have a well worn pattern of this dynamic over many years, which, when coupled with ignorance about what's happening and a lack of desire to do anything about it, makes a meaningful shift unlikely, at least without a lot of pain and confusion. Then again, maybe the dynamic really does work for them both, and they're genuinely happy? Are they?

anonymous Aug 1, 2014 7:56am

I had to send this to my first real boyfriend in twenty years( lesbian for twenty years), so he could understand just what I need from him. Your article articulates my thoughts and are on point. I’m grateful, cuz sometimes you need the mind of others to articulate your own…

    anonymous Aug 2, 2014 9:56am

    I hope he took it in a good spirit!

anonymous Jul 31, 2014 4:59pm

Ahhhhhhh this is so spot on. I love how all the men think it's sexist and all the women think it's right. I've always wanted this in a partner but have never gotten it. I dream about it though, someone fighting to claim my heart, taking a stand, being a man fully so I can be a woman fully for him. It's hard to be a powerful woman when weak men are intimidated by you constantly instead of celebrating and cherishing you. I thank you for writing this. Hopefully we will all grow and get what we need.

    anonymous Aug 2, 2014 9:55am

    Hi Aryiel, I promise there are some men who are learning, maturing, deepening in their capacity to be a strong stand for themselves, first, and thus for an intimate partner, as well. Keep the faith. I'm single myself, longing for a woman who can meet me in this conversation. I figure though if I just keep creating an awesome life everyday, following my highest excitement in every moment, inevitably an amazing woman who can sink into this conversation with me will just pop into my awareness one day, without me having to do anything to bring her to me. That's my working theory anyway. 🙂

anonymous Jul 30, 2014 1:50pm

Great article and so true, i get what you are saying, its been my greatest trigger, abandonment, when my man checks out emotionally and therefore physically, I got this after nearly 50 yrs and found a way to ask him to step up countless times
with love and commitment to us being more emotionally connected through the tough times, he was so used to checking out and i also see that in the past i had been too in other relationships and got what i was doing, i persisted and it did take well
if you can't step up find someone with the same vibration, he got it and stepped up, his walls came down he started to see
what he was doing owned it and said hey i see I'm shutting down when it gets tough and relating is sometimes fun and good stuff and i see that the tough times with presence with each other , hearing each other can and does bring us closer builds trust and we are travelling in a much more diverse way with a beautiful depth, Im grateful that we both got to sit and feel our insecurities be totally raw and vulnerable and stay with it.

    anonymous Aug 2, 2014 9:52am

    beautiful. thanks for sharing tanoushckha

anonymous Jul 30, 2014 11:17am

Beautiful, thanks for sharing. It is extremely painful for a woman to have to decide to let go the man you love. It is hard to understand why even when you know he loves you, for some misterious reason he is unable to stepp up and be there for you. I can see how your childhood experiences totally relate with my ex-husband experiences.
We both knew he had a wound that was tearing us appart but none of us knew what to do … I know that you can not take responsability for other's previous wonds, each one has to do its own work, that's the reason I left after many years of marriage. But I have a question for you … from your perspective and experience, what would be your advice for a woman on this situation?

    anonymous Aug 1, 2014 12:02pm

    For serious. I'd love to have some advice on what to do aside from just leave.

    anonymous Aug 2, 2014 10:08am

    Tata, without more information on your specific situation, it's difficult to be sure I'm offering relevant perspective. However, one piece of wisdom that has really stuck with me over the years came from author Iyanla Van Zant. She said, "stop loving on potential. Stop taking on love projects, expecting that the person you're with is going to change because you simply love them more, harder, deeper, better, etc.." (I'm paraphrasing)

    Point is … it took me years of committed self-inquiry and deep inner work – fueled by too many painful failed relationships – to shift my awareness on this subject. I'm still single and so as yet completely untested in my newfound awareness. Hopefully a woman won't have to take me on anymore as a "love project" because I've been doing the work on myself for long enough. If a man isn't passionately willing to do that kind of work with you (or on his own), then either take him fully as he is right now … or run out the door!!

    That helpful?

      anonymous Aug 2, 2014 6:26pm

      Yes thanks it was helpful. Beautiful quote. I can see how my whole mariage was a love project …I was in love of the potential of the relationship, something that never happened. I can also see my flaws and how I took the mommy role (which I hated and resented … it was exhausting) but at that time it seemed to me the right thing to do for the sake of the relationship.
      This is long gone now, pain is a wise master. I am single and very happy to see my life unfold and flow in ways I could never have expected. Im trying my best to do my work with myself now, and hope to find someone who is willing to do his own work …. to truly connect, communicate and share so both of us can grow together 🙂

anonymous Jul 30, 2014 4:19am

Brilliant thank you so much Bryan !!!! Only when men step up as men can we women really be true to ourselves as women allowing our softness and our Divine feminine qualities to emerge both for ourselves and for our men, the ultimate gift.

    anonymous Jul 30, 2014 1:34pm

    indeed, justine. thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts on it.

anonymous Jul 29, 2014 9:18pm

I am still healing from my ex divorcing me and adding to all the fear and pain I was trying to get through during our marriage. He just kept telling me he was 'in it for the long haul' and 'had my back' and after 11 years he dumped me without any warning, then 6 months after the divorce remarried a blonde 10 years my junior. Well, now he gets to go through her menopause, too. I just pray he doesn't damage her as well. And that someone who has learned the lessons you have will be willing to gently take my hand and walk me through the real thing one last time. May Yah bless you for sharing these desperately needed insights.

anonymous Jul 29, 2014 4:27pm

Thanks Bryan. Great insight. What you wrote may not apply to every relationship because there're all individually unique. But there's a lot there for men like me to learn from. I've made some of the same mistakes. Thanks for sharing. We learn as we grow.

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 11:17pm

Wait? What is this whole masculine/feminine thing?? Instead of "A feminine woman is most afraid of her masculine man disappearing. She’s afraid of him failing to show up for her. Not stepping up. Walking out. Not staying strong and present, particularly when things get a little crazy and confusing." ——– why not "Most people are afraid of those they love absolutely disappearing. They are afraid of their most cherished people failing to show up. Not stepping up. Walking out. Not staying strong and present, particularly when things get a little crazy and confusing." ???? It's not a masculine/feminine thing, it's a basic human thing.

    anonymous Jul 30, 2014 1:34pm

    B … I appreciate what you're pointing out. Of course, none of us want to be abandoned by a partner, even when that partner stays physically present. Please understand that I'm really referring here more to "masculine / feminine" energies here than simply "man / woman." We all have both energies, and some men are genuinely feminine-core men, just as some women will be more masculine-core people. The feminine energy in all of us wants to be cherished. The masculine energy in us all wants to be respected.

    In all the coaching work that I've done around this – with over 100 clients in the last few months – the pattern I've seen over and over again is that a feminine woman will hang in there and stay present. Maybe she fights or submits or nags and complains and pushes and provokes, but she generally engages. The men they're with, on the other hand, are always the first to check out, whether that means leave the house, go watch TV, work more, dismiss her as crazy, look for escape, etc. The masculine gets frustrated and checks out. The feminine gets frustrated and digs in.

    I think this is simply an opportunity to reflect on where are any of us might be checking out in our relationships, and consider that life may actually be inviting us to sink in even more deeply.

    anonymous May 16, 2015 5:25pm

    B is correct, being cared for and protected is what all creatures want, not only humans.
    I think what we need is not pigeon hole all women in a simple statement.
    We all want love, understanding, forgiveness for our faults, kindness and protection from those who mean us harm. Most notably RESPECT from the one you love!
    This is true for all creatures!!!
    The article seems smug and pretentious to me.

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 4:57pm

Bryan: Love your sensitivity and thoughtfulness. Any man who thinks a woman should be cherished- gets it 100% right. What a man gets in return is the same… and then some. Thanks, Arlene

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 4:42pm

Wow- gorgeous writing, lovely words and I wish you all the very best with your new intentions! I understand how incredibly hard it is to not just make a new decision, but to actually be able to create new behaviours in the intensity of the relationship, so I truly hope you can find someone to walk this beautiful road with you.

And, as a fellow writer, no, we can't speak for everyone. BUT, we reach out with our hearts, with our minds, with our words to seek to understand and connect that which is not us.

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 4:34pm

Bryan,
Thanks for the article. I am working on one very similar right now – funny. 🙂 And yes, this IS what we women fear the most. I broke up with this same man in the article just a couple of years ago, b/c he was too passive, too "gone". I did not feel cherished. I did not feel wanted. Funny you should write, "A woman had to practically stick her tongue down my throat before I understood that kissing her was welcome," b/c that was one of my actual complaints about him – when kissing, our tongues never touched unless I made that happen. It is so not flattering. I have since done a lot of work on myself, knowing I need to be more feminine to call up and polarize the masculine, so things are changing for me too. Thanks for the insights.
grace 🙂

    anonymous Jul 30, 2014 6:29pm

    wonderful grace! I look forward to reading your article. please let me know when it's posted.

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 4:27pm

Thanks for sharing your reflections, insights and regrets about your own experiences.

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 12:39pm

Well, you're right that I can't possibly speak for everyone, Phoenix. It's unfortunate this article triggered such an angry response in you. Clearly your experience is different from mine and a lot of other readers who seem to have been deeply served by what I'm pointing to (including many women). Nothing resonates with everyone. I'm simply a man trying to offer perspective on a profoundly confusion dynamic. Maybe I got it wrong. But at least we're talking about it. Which by itself I think is a good thing. Thanks for your feedback. Bryan

    anonymous Jul 30, 2014 10:22pm

    Obviously, you are not going to be able to define or solve all of the world's gender issues in one online article. I think it is unreasonable for anyone to assume you can. As a woman who has feared both male aggression and abandonment, I appreciate the article you wrote. We are all just trying to figure out how to love, respect, and honor the people we cherish. Sometimes we have brilliant moments. Often, we totally mess things up. I appreciate a man admitting he is conscious of these complex issues, even if he doesn't have it all figured out.

      anonymous Aug 2, 2014 8:41am

      Thanks Tricia, indeed, I do my best to not pretend I have it all figured out, even when I write with a strong assured voice. I know I have no claim on any absolute truth. Just trying to shed a little perspective to hopefully move us forward an inch : )

        anonymous Dec 4, 2014 5:20pm

        Love your work xxx thank you and you nailed it for me.

    anonymous May 14, 2015 11:01pm

    Bryan, I think the difficulty comes largely from the rhetorical device of speaking in absolutes. "Women" want men to be a certain way; not "some women," not "the women I've loved," but "women." Makes for a dynamic read, but it leaves you in dangerous territory as far as reducing the vast diversity of women to a single stereotype. If nothing else, the title is very wrong: Most women fear more than one thing, and for many women, male aggression is high up on the list. For some, much higher than male absence. Beyond that, you tread very close to a well-worn misogynist meme, the idea that what women really want is a man to take control and show them who's boss. Reading closely, it seems that that's not what you're saying, but the tunes are similar enough to cause some uneasiness (also, that asshole quoting Warren Farrell above is not exactly helping your case).

    All that being said, I agree with what I interpret the central message of your article: It takes more than just non-aggression to make a relationship work (this goes both for men and for women, and is equally true of straight and queer relationships). In addition to being non-aggressive, one has to actively seek to understand their partner's wishes and fulfill them. For some people, as the comments on the article demonstrate, those needs include taking risks and "walking the walk" of being invested in a relationship, not just talking about it.

    I hope you're enjoying good luck in your newer relationships, and finding the appropriate balance that allows you to check your aggression without removing yourself entirely from the relationship. From my own experience and others that have been shared with me, I think it can be tricky to find that balance, but if you always make respect for the individual and desire for a deeper understanding of them paramount, you'll likely be on the right track.

    anonymous Jul 2, 2015 11:50am

    Beautiful… I needed to read this at this time in my life… I am fighting back tears to know that at least one man gets 'IT'

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 9:50am

This is an awful and incredibly sexist article. As someone who is not female it is insulting for you to speak for women, and as women are not inanimate, animals, or idiots, it is impossible to speak for "A woman's greatest fear." Presumably a woman who has been abandoned may fear abandonment from her partner more than aggression. A woman who was sexually assaulted by a partner may fear rape more than abandonment. Cool commentary on not being overcautious with regards to affection, but involving "A man's innate aggression" or "aggressive nature" and women's "Delicate femininity that needs to be protected" distracts from your narrative of your experience by trying to speak for the experiences, feelings, and thoughts of ALL WOMEN YOU'VE EVER INTERACTED WITH as well.

    anonymous Dec 21, 2014 2:59pm

    It's not sexist, it's damn well spot on!

    anonymous May 14, 2015 9:24am

    I disagree, this article totally spoke to me and made sense to me from the respect of my experiences too as a woman.

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 8:58am

Thank you. Awesome!

anonymous Jul 28, 2014 8:31am

Thank You! Thank You! Thank You!

    anonymous Jul 28, 2014 12:35pm

    You're welcome! You're welcome! You're welcome!

anonymous Jul 27, 2014 11:29pm

Spot on!

anonymous Jul 27, 2014 5:08pm

Thank you Bryan. Reading your article was like reading a description of my past failures.

    anonymous Jul 28, 2014 12:35pm

    I hear you, Scott. Good to know I'm not alone on this one 😉

anonymous Jul 27, 2014 5:08pm

Yes! and thank you, so very much.

anonymous Jul 27, 2014 4:56pm

Thank you Bryan. Reading your article was like reading a description of my past failures.
A lack of wisdom on my part, being misunderstood as a lack of motivation by past partners perhaps.
I found your article very helpful.
Thanks again.

    anonymous Jul 28, 2014 12:34pm

    Thanks Scott. And you're welcome. It's an eye-opening journey for all of us, no doubt.

anonymous Jul 27, 2014 3:41pm

Bryan, I generally agree with your words, but have some problems with the "cherishing" of women. I am reminded of Warren Farrell's book, "The Myth of Male Power", where he points out that men are objectified as assertive brutes, useful to fight battles and do the dirty, dangerous work in the world. . In psychology there is a phenomenon called "social loafing", where people will not take personal responsibility to help another if others are around to off load the responsibility to. I believe we have "gender loafing" as well, where men (I am guilty) allow women to do all the social heavy lifting, and women fain helplessness to allow men to do the aggressive, dirty work.

In the past, human society was highly segregated along gender lines and young men and women were schooled in the responsibility of their gender roles. In our metrosexual world today, there is great confusion as to the responsibilities of either sex and I observe the most confusion among males, who are shamed away from traditional aggression, as you describe, yet are not very good at being open and receptive.

My personal experience, being a rather typical male in today's world, was being raised in my mother's view of what a man should be with very little input from my dad. It took many years of somatic psychotherapy for me to develop a personal sense of integrity around my masculinity and to ground it back into a heart-centric core. The problem, as I see it, is the lack of male initiation by other males to give a basis for young men to delve deeper to the sacred receptive nature of our core being. Many spiritual growth programs shame the assertive tendencies and open the vulnerable core without adequate protective reflexes. Our pagan ancestors worshiped the balance of powers including weapons and skills to effectively handle life's harsh realities.

"Intimacy must be earned." The price of intimacy is a mastery of assertive skills and an intuitive ability to reflexively meet any threat. After initiation of the first lesson, then it is appropriate to work on the deeper journey to discover the sacred core of receptivity that the assertive skills and energies are marshaled for. There is a delicate balance to maintain. To over stimulate the assertive and shame the receptive leads to much of what we see today in the Muslim world. To shame the assertive and over emphasize the receptive leads to much of the passive aggressiveness seen throughout the Western world. In summary, I question your genderizing the yin and yang (receptive and assertive) energies. Yes, biologically humans tend to embody these energies along gender criteria, but each of us possesses access to the full energy spectrum. Women, just because they are naturally more yin-like, are no more deserving of adoration than men who tend to be more yangy. Both ends of the spectrum are sacred and to embody a balance of these energies appropriate to our environment is a state of grace beyond gender identification. Are we ready to do the heavy lifting and social re-engineering necessary to build a balanced society? I am not so sure. My guess is we will continue to loaf around in our gender roles because it is easy and comfortable, but glorification of these roles is probably less than helpful.

    anonymous Jul 28, 2014 12:47pm

    Great commentary John. You point out some dynamics that I wholeheartedly agree with you about. And certainly women have their work cut out for them, as well. I'm simply writing from the perspective of being a man, having acted so unskillfully in my relationships, looking inside myself to see what was motivating me, examining more deeply (post-relationship-mortem) to what it seems my past girlfriends were actually wanting from me … and drawing conclusions.

    While I agree we have access to the full yin-yang circle within ourselves, I also know that there are certain things, behaviors, gifts, experiences, etc. that clearly light up most women that don't actually light me up as much (and vice versa). Seems to me that if I continue failing to really get that, then I am almost surely destined to continue creating troubled relationships.

    This is the best I've got for now. I know my perceptions will continue to evolve, and I appreciate you adding another perspective to the conversation.

      anonymous May 16, 2015 9:20am

      I think you hit the nail on the head, especially from a woman’s point of view. Cherished and respected is certainly what I want and most men don’t understand that. They are usually so wrapped up in themselves and what their needs are. I forwarded this article to my significant other. Hopefully he will have a breakthrough as you have.

    anonymous Jul 28, 2014 1:30pm

    Beautifully expressed , John–Thank you. Any particular resources that you might recommend along these lines? If it's easier you can always email at [email protected] Thanks again.

    anonymous May 15, 2015 2:45am

    Nothing wrong with being cherished!

Shayna Michelle Aug 19, 2017 4:50am

This is such a beautiful and rare expression of vulnerability about a truth that is so incredibly profound. Thank you!

Jen Smith May 5, 2017 4:09pm

Thank you, thank you! I 100% concur, Maxime.

Yvonne Winnie Sep 21, 2016 3:32pm

This article describes perfectly what women go through. You really have some issues with words!

Tim Adkison Jul 10, 2016 1:48pm

It felt like you had been inside my head and heart with this article. Wow. It helps me understand my own issues better now. Thank you for writing about this.

Lucky Winner Jun 5, 2016 4:05am

So, why do they do it? Actually, marriage is the most beneficial to men. Check the happiness scale, married men top it and married women are at the bottom. You're basically entering a contract to be someone's slave ...oops I mean "wife".

Maxime Zahra May 16, 2016 4:20pm

Provocative offering here and I have a couple of thoughts to share - first, the word ravish bugs me because it has 2 very different meanings, one of which is violent and the other delightful (unless you find delight in violence - I don't). Which is meant when this word is used, and why does David Deida and his ilk prefer this word, which ties aggression to delight? (Aggression shuts me down, personally.) So what frightens me most is this unspoken duality, the unconsciousness I deal with in others, and myself. Because it is our unconscious material that bites us in the ass again and again. So let's get conscious about our languaging. Let's be sure that this is the very best word to use. The part you're not sure about, notice it. Get present with it. Is it what you mean? Is it in alignment with your deepest heart as a man? Or is it the deep wound expressing, leaking forth, seeking attention and healing salve? The 2nd is that a woman is not left un-cherished if a man ceases to cherish her - IF she has a relationship with herself. She simply loses a man who is incapable of meeting her where she is. She moves along. I cherish myself. It is icing if a man cherishes me, if he meets me at the level of consciousness that I am at, at the capacity to confront love and fear with courage - then this is where it gets fun, this is the dance, we can play! The divine, the power, the pure love meets itself! The confusion meets itself! (Ha!) But the author gives too much power to men. It is the work of brave lovers everywhere, men and women, to do as the author describes, but a little differently: to confront (not necessarily be aggressive with) our own inner demons. When we are fiercely present to whatever arises, when we can find the love-light through the darkness and call it forth in ourselves, and in one another, that is the work that ultimately nourishes, cherishes. When two of us are engaged in this work we are truly co-creative. And as a woman, this is the greatest attractor.

Jeffrey Jay May 3, 2016 7:48pm

I feel nothing but pity and sadness for this pathetic, self-hating Mangina. Watching this simp debase himself whorshiping at the alter of the almighty vagina is truly a sad sight to behold. To think that there are actually men out there like this pathetic soul who actually believe the only reason they were put on this earth was to "cherish" and whorship women makes me sick and grateful that I discovered M.G.T.O.W. I absolutely despise this female whorshiping gynocracy we have created.

Tisa Ellis Apr 29, 2016 9:26pm

This rings so true with me. Married twice to men that have checked out emotionally. I just wanted to know they were there and would be there. I walked away from the second marriage. Hopeful I can find someone that fits the bill in the future. Great article!

Zoë Irvine Apr 27, 2016 11:03pm

This is absolutely beautiful and so true. You have written this with an honesty that I feel throughout and a sincerity I really appreciate. Thank you for your words and for doing the work, from a woman who's doing a lot of work of her own. Much love and light coming your way. Zoë.

Florin Cernătescu Apr 22, 2016 9:44pm

#MGTOW

Feminists make great compost Apr 22, 2016 8:26pm

This would be an excellent article except one small thing. There is no benefit at all for a man to enter into marriage or a long term relationship with a woman. Men risk more then they gain from a marriage or relationship.

Sunny Forest Walker Apr 17, 2016 4:45pm

Sorry I did just that and ended up beaten and in jail. Good luck.