Inside Marriage: How Men Deal with Feelings & 3 Reasons Women Don’t Trust Men

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Why women don’t trust men, how men deal with feelings and more. In these two essays, Steve Horsmon and Grace Cooley shed light on the complexities of marriage and what it means to be man and woman. 

Do you know why romance and sensuality novels for women are so popular?

Short answer: the authors know exactly how to give women that feeling.

That feeling has many facets and she loves them all. She tingles with the flirtatiousness of the conversation. She blushes at the boldness and sensual innuendo. She craves the unapologetic desire. She wants to be “taken” by her man. The sexual polarity and tension has her on pins and needles of pleasure. She is aching for the climactic release from this torture.

And he doesn’t quite get it. He can read the same passage and have a lukewarm response.

Sure, it’s a little titillating. But it’s not the kind of “romance” language he has told me he is longing for.

He is a long-time, married man who is just dying to star in a different scene.

Just as he struggles to understand her emotional reaction to those scenes written for her, she can also be clueless about his deepest desires. And it’s not a sex scene.

To him, it seems she just doesn’t understand (or doesn’t care?) why reading this scene will almost always bring a tear to his eye and a lump in his throat.

More than anything, he wants that feeling, and only she has the power to supply that.

The Romance Story That Can Make Men Cry

“They were finally alone. He had been looking forward to doing this for months and she finally agreed to a getaway for just the two of them. The kids were with grandma and they will finally have a chance to reconnect as a man and woman—not as dad and mom.

“Their truck was cruising west on the hot desert highway into a beautiful sunset as one of their favorite songs from high school came on the radio. They both started humming the song and broke into the chorus at the exact same time. They both laughed and smiled without talking as the song ended. After another few miles, she gently reached across the top of the bench seat and her hand her found the back of his head. Her fingers rolled and massaged through his hair as she delivered the most loving half-scratch, half-massage treatment he hadn’t felt in a long time.

“He caught her looking at him out of the side of his eye and said, ‘What’s that look for?’

“She kept eye contact and grinned as she said, ‘This was such a good plan. I’m so happy you’re my man. Thank you for making me go on this trip. We both need this, don’t we?’

“As they pulled into town that night, he realized he had not even noticed the last 100 miles. While his truck found its own way, he had been traveling on Cloud Nine.”

Many women reading this will think I’m full of crap. The men know I’m not.

Remember, the leading man in this story has been married for 14 years, has three kids aged 13, 11 and nine, and he lives in a rat race of work, relatives, friends, home maintenance, and weekend soccer tournaments.

Sure, his sex life could be better. He wishes it was better. He has even looked at some real porn. But that’s not what he longs for in his heart. It isn’t the loss of sexual intimacy that causes the tear and the lump to form. It’s the loss of his emotional and sensual connection with his only romantic partner in life. He craves her presence, respect and trust. She is the only woman who has the power to lift him up and make him want to conquer the world for her.

Yet he feels that she no longer wants to be that woman for him. She gives herself and her energy to just about anyone but him. And it makes him sad. It makes him fearful of his future. The sadness and fear show up in his life as anger.

The Truth Behind A Man’s Anger

Anger of this type is a secondary emotion. It is a reaction to the thoughts of what he believes he has lost and of the fear of where he thinks he will wind up.

The dream of “happily ever after” for most men includes the idea of a long-term, committed, romantic and sexual relationship with a woman who shares his values and desire to maintain a healthy, trusting, respectful, and intimate relationship. The dream is full of good feelings, supportive words and loving actions.

For many men, it feels like this dream is dying right in front of him and there is no way to stop it.

Can he be more supportive? Can he be more caring and sensitive? Can he take more responsibility for planning and getting things done? Yep.

He’s been working hard at being better. He wants to be a man that he can be proud of. He wants a woman who is outwardly proud of him and openly appreciates him.

Most days all he needs to keep working is a good head scratch and a loving vote of confidence.

What is she thinking and what should he do?

A Woman Responds: Letter to my Past & Future Lover. ~ By Grace Cooley

Why can’t we touch you in affection right now? Why does it take so long for us to open up to you again, to have sex again?

It all boils down to trust and safety. These are major needs for women.

3 Reasons Why Women Don’t Trust Men (Yet)

Reason One: Safety

Please keep in mind that from birth, girls are taught not to trust men. We are all taught, at a very young age, about how to dress and not dress, how to act and not act, where to walk at night, when it is okay to walk alone and when not, don’t “lure” men. Don’t trust men.

To make my point: I knew a young man years ago who was a cross-dresser, taking hormones and considering sex-change surgery. When dressed as a female, he very much looked like a very attractive woman. One night while walking home alone dressed as a woman, he was sexually harassed from across the street by a group of men. They followed him for more than a block, threatening to rape him. Thankfully, they finally gave up and left.

This had certainly never happened to him as a male. He told me it was the most frightened he had ever been in his young life. He had never had to think about whether he was walking alone or not, never thought about having to plan his clothes and his walking route differently because he was a woman. This is something, unfortunately, that all women have to think about on so many levels—safety. This is in the “DNA” of every female.

I want to be very clear. I am not saying that every man is inherently violent or unsafe. I am also not saying that it’s okay for a woman to see herself as a victim of society. I am saying that in our world, out of necessity, women are taught about their personal safety. It is the world we live in. To women, touch not accompanied by emotional safety is scary.

Reason Two: We Need you to be Strong in your Masculine Energy

We need you to be consistent. We need you to be your own man, to stick to your N.U.T.s. We need you to be impeccable with your word. If you tell us you are going to do something, we need you to do that. If you can’t follow through, we need you to tell us as soon as you know that—even about things that seem small to you. Or not only will we lose respect for you, we will begin to feel unsafe with you.

And without that safety, we are closed to you—and often even to ourselves. We are waiting for you to offer us strong, directed, safe, Masculine energy. We need to know that you are in it for the long haul, that when we open up and let you see this Pandora’s Box of emotions, you are going to stand strong and not retreat.

David Deida puts it this way: “…if you don’t trust your man because he is undirected, scattered, ambiguous or otherwise weak in his masculine energy, this will undercut your relationship, reducing your passion, your sexual attraction and your trust of each other.”

Reason Three: History

It is not that we don’t want to touch you. We know it’s important. We’re afraid to touch you in affection, because we have seen in the past that you take that as a green light to sex. We don’t feel safe enough yet to have sex. We do not want to send you mixed messages.

When you keep touching us before we trust you enough for that and if you continue interpreting our simple affectionate touches as a sexual green light, you erode the trust even further. In fact, you risk destroying any new trust that might have recently been established.

Please take sex off the table.

Don’t get me wrong, we women love attention, touch and sex! That simple hand on the small of our back as we walk through a door tells us wonderful volumes about your love and respect for us, your desire for us. We women want and crave that too and will always want more of it—unless we are not feeling emotionally safe, unless we feel, even subconsciously, that we cannot trust you for some reason.

And are you only putting effort into the relationship when you think we’re leaving you? Some women don’t want to open up and “let down their guard,” because they know that if they do, you will stop being affectionate, or stop putting effort into connecting with us as soon as you think we have decided to stay.

One woman tells me, “I’m afraid to give in, because every time I do, he becomes an emotional child again and stops doing all the lovely things he was doing to woo me. He starts ignoring me again and taking me and the relationship for granted.”

The Proverbial Bottom Line: Women Are Afraid of Getting Hurt

Most women are afraid to open their hearts again to their man, because the only thing worse than getting our hearts broken by someone new, is getting it broken by the same man over and over again. It is too painful. (Read: We love you.)

We’re thinking things like: What if he really can’t (or won’t) stand in his Masculine energy for us? What if he can’t be impeccable with his life and his word? What if we open this huge dam holding back all these scary emotions, and he can’t handle all this emotion, all this anger, this fear, the doubt?

To try and open up before we feel safe enough and trust you enough to do that, feels like a self-betrayal. It feels like we are not taking care of ourselves, like we are compromising ourselves. Like we are just giving in to please you. We know that is not how you really want to connect with us. It is not how we want to connect with you.

The Solution: Don’t Take it Personally, Be Patient

Please be patient with us and don’t take it personally. We are working on our stuff, our blocks to opening to you. If we compromise our own safety by having sex with you before we are ready, you would lose respect for us on a very deep level. We would lose respect for ourselves—and for you.

We know you’re sad, fearful and angry. So are we. We know it took two to get us to this scary place. It is going to take two to get us back to trust, safety and love.



The Best Marriage Advice from a Divorced Man.

What I Learned From Having an Affair With a Married Man.

Bonus: How to be a man:

Mindful offering:

“You” (Are in my Heart) Token



Author: Grace Cooley & Steve Horsmon

Apprentice Editor: Kimby Maxson/Editor: Catherine Monkman

Photo: Wikimedia

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Grace Cooley & Steve Horsmon

Steve Horsmon is a Certified Professional Life and Relationship Coach and founder of Good Guys 2 Great Men. With a long corporate career in leadership and organizational training and development, Steve is a lifelong student and “passionate pursuer” of the communication and personal development skills required for healthy and satisfying relationships. You can connect with him via Facebook too.

Grace Cooley is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Ft. Collins, CO, USA. She sees clients and facilitates Divine Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women. She’s a flaming, Earth-loving, tree-hugging, save-the-Planet, believes-in-faeries, bike-riding, card-carrying, spiritual but not religious, hippie cowgirl liberal poet—yep, they do exist. You can find her blog here and her creations here. You can also connect with her on Facebook.

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anonymous Apr 3, 2016 4:39pm

i love the way this started… i love the way it ended… but at the end i felt i had read two different articles… i felt the first part hadn’t finished, i wanted to read more from the man’s point of view…

anonymous Dec 31, 2015 8:50pm

I loved this. I feel this so deeply. I wish I could send this to every man before I go out with him.

anonymous May 5, 2015 7:37am

Wow, an interesting article but I think the comments on here were even better. A lot of good ideas here…

anonymous Feb 27, 2015 8:01am


anonymous Feb 26, 2015 11:23am

Loved having your shared perspective on this topic. Beautifully written and perfectly co-ordinated. Many thanks.

anonymous Feb 26, 2015 6:50am

I get the while I can’t have sex yet because I fear…. But my experience is, the more scared a person is, the more they advance the issue of sex. Of course that the minority of women but it exists. I all it the putting the pants on syndrome. As if sex will settle the score. There are different people in this world. Just saying.

anonymous Feb 10, 2015 1:54am

I'll start with this:

"All that is good in human society depends on the opportunity for development accorded the individual."
[Albert Einstein]

I'm a healthy and happy heterosexual male.

The greatest fulfillment in my life comes from creating more and better opportunities for men, women and especially children to develop, and helping (some) people to make the most of opportunities.

It sure as heck doesn't come from accommodating people's insecurities.

Here's the thing.

To rise above ourselves, we need to get over ourselves.

I do this for myself, and I help others do it for themselves.

Self-accountability, self-acceptance, self-respect and self-love are table stakes, and if you can't ante up, you're not in the game.

The greatest sorrow in my life has come from the realization that fewer than 5% of people are genuinely committed to personal growth, i.e., to being in the game. Such people are principally concerned with what they require of themselves. Their practice is to ask of themselves, rather than expect or demand of themselves. They are gracious and generous with themselves and with others, and when they require help to fulfill what they are asking of themselves, they readily ask and are careful to acknowledge and appreciate any support they receive.

These people recognize human life as a miraculous privilege that is simultaneously rich with beauty and opportunity, and fraught with tragedy and uncertainty.

They also recognize that they aren't entitled to anything.

At all.

It is a pleasure and a privilege to support these people, and when I require help they are happy to go out of their way to support me. We love each other as we love ourselves, which brings me to the purpose of this commentary. My policy is never to contribute to on-line fora, but I am compelled to make this exception.

Ms. Cooley claims that, "Most women are afraid to open their hearts again to their man, because the only thing worse than getting our hearts broken by someone new, is getting it broken by the same man over and over again."

These are not the words of a self-accountable person.

If I am too afraid to open my heart to a person, that is entirely my issue.

It would never occur to me to tell any person, least of all my lover, that I need them to stand somewhere other than where they are already standing to accommodate my insecurity.

Whatever the nature of my insecurity, it doesn't justify my burdening others with it unless I have asked them first, and they have agreed to bear the burden.

And whether I open my heart to a person or not, I am entirely accountable for whatever emotions I experience as a result.

Ms. Cooley's words cast her as a victim of men who have 'broken her heart'. That's troubling enough, but she also seeks to strengthen her argument by exaggerating that "most women" are victimized in similar fashion.


Every single one of us is just doing what we think or feel we need to do for ourselves, and if I have a broken heart it's because of choices I have made… not because of choices others have made.

I've been heartbroken a few times in my life, but never because a lover has broken my heart.

I am the only person who can break my heart, and it's a risk I take every time I jump heart-first into the unknown.

I'm either committed to something or I'm not, and even when I'm committed, the outcome is never certain.


If certainty is what you need before you will open your heart, you will never have it and you will never understand what it means to be an openhearted person.

It can be fantastically bountiful and beautiful, and fantastically painful and scary, but you can at least rest assured that it will be fantastically human.

We humans get to make choices and have experiences that no other living creatures get to have.

This includes breaking our hearts, which can heal if we let them.

What matters is that we get to love, if we let ourselves.

It's ours to give.

    anonymous Feb 27, 2015 7:59am

    Every once in a blue moon, I will hear or read the words of a fellow seeker and experience a very unique sensation… If there's a single word to describe it, I don't know it. It's the feeling that someone I've never had a single personal contact with has looked inside my mind or my heart and then written a detailed and error free diagram of what thrive seen. It's a curious thing and I pretty much always enjoy it (even when it occasionally really shakes me up). Your post here have me such a moment just now… and it's nice to know that another human being saw precisely what I saw and cared enough to compassionately but firmly say what desperately needed saying. Kudos to you my unknown friend!

    Don Boss

    anonymous Apr 29, 2015 9:53pm

    Couldn't have said it better James. The truth of the matter is are we living from cause or effect. Are we acting out the victim role in our lives or are we taking responsibility each and every part of our lives. Best most authentic response. Keep the dedication to self growth coming, ur killin it!

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 11:54pm

I trust the love of my Wife, because we have both been through some of the same abuses, and know what genuine unconditional love is. At least we think we do, and it works for us. The same need for trust and intimacy is in men as well as women. If the same inconsistencies exist in the female gender, a man is not likely to continue or trust enough to feel safe enough. I already had a lifetime, (to me) of a woman, (relatives included) telling me how much they loved me while continuing to abuse me. The tale doesn’t match the action. There was mention of young women being taught not to trust men and not to lure men. Perhaps that is true in normal circumstances, but the media and all of the entertainment world shows a lot different picture. In some ways, the media shows no one to be trustworthy, men or women, as both have their own wiles to flaunt. At least in my experience, a sense of safety, emotional stability, being able to trust someone with the gift of my intimacy, and my dedication to life, is not gender specific. Either gender is just as treacherous to me.

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 5:54pm

This discussion reminds me of my failed marriage and divorce. i married a woman whom I thought was my best friend and lover. I later discovered that she was very emotionally disturbed and couldn’t maintain anything other than a superficial relationship without it going to heck. I spent 4 years in an abusive marriage where I gave her everything I had and she gave me verbal and emotional abuse, neglect (which was better than the abuse), and physical abuse (once).

Now, after years of therapy and being alone (which is vastly superior to an abusive marriage), I wonder sometimes if it’s even worth it. Am I lonely? Yes. Would I love a long term, committed, romantic relationship with a woman who is my best friend; an emotionally intelligent partner who is mindful, compassionate, has integrity, and takes responsibility for her own self; and a creative and passionate lover who enjoys intimacy in general and intimacy with me in particular? Heck yes. Do I believe that there is someone out there like that? Maybe. But it sure feels like “no”.

I’ve learned that there are no guarantees in life. Good people have bad things happen to them. There are people starving or dying of curable diseases the world over, and innocent people die in needless wars. My daughter will grow up not with the loving home that she deserves, but with my ex who slanders me despite the court reprimanding and citing her repeatedly and what time she has with me trying my darndest to be the best father that I can be and to not pass on my own psychological wounds to her because she deserves better.

I’m tired of being blamed for things that I have no control over. I’m tired of dealing with the profound pain and betrayal of an abusive ex who never dealt with her own traumatic history but instead took it out on me.

I’m willing to be as compassionate,mindful, and honorable as I can be. But I expect the same from my partner. If a prospective partner wants me to make them a priority in my life and to be mindful of their safety, I agree completely. But the same rules apply to her. I’ve seen too many women who feel that they don’t have to play fair because they feel upset/vulnerable/hurt/whatever.

If I had a magic wand that I could wave to make my ex happier, even if it didn’t change how she treated me or acted towards our daughter, I’d still use it.

Someday, when we’re all dead and gone, I think of what meeting my ex in heaven will be like. I thnik that all of our wounds, our grievances, our imperfections . . . will fall away as we awaken to our true/higher selves. I like to think that when that happens that she’ll finally tell me that she’s sorry for all of the suffering that she’s caused. I don’t believe that this will happen on this side of the grave.

Bottom line after all of my ramblings – both sexes need to take responsibility for their own emotional selves, and act with compassion and integrity. If you can’t do that, work on your issues so you don’t end up causing more suffering. There’s more than enough to go around.

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 3:02pm

(Addendum to previous comment) Sometimes wives are simply selfish, controlling, compassionless and just want the cash. I know it doesn't make as good of an article, but honeslty it probably accounts for as many or more sexless marriages than your theory.

    anonymous Feb 11, 2015 10:08am

    Hey nickels,

    This is true and it applies both ways, of course.

    "simply selfish, controlling, compassionless"

    Partners who consistently show up with these traits are at risk for being left behind. The empathy I have for them is that, while they can make choices, they have arrived at this place in their life due to a lot of difficult history – rough baggage. However, at some point a person must decide if they want to be and WILL be a partner who deserves romance, attention, affection, acceptance, support and approval. It's hard to expect those things if you refuse to BE those things. And if you GIVE those things without any response or reciprocation, you've got to decide if you will allow the rest of your life to be lived that way.

      anonymous Feb 12, 2015 9:04am

      Thx for the thoughts.
      I've seen it with a lot of friends too. Women often feel entitled due to the obvious power they have. But in the end only an equal and fair relationship will last. Power in courtship doesn't mean anything about 5,10 years of being together. It is certainly the woman's perogrative to give her own body or no, but marriage is a contract that says they do not have the right to abandon affection altogether, which happens all too often. And then the marriage fails and they are left wonder, "I did everything my girlfriends were telling me, why did my marriage fail?".
      Yes, it does go both ways and I am certainly not a saint.

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 2:19pm

^^^^ What Gabriel says.

I’ve been in a sexless marriage for a few years. If and when I finally get out, if I have anything left, I have serious doubts about ever dealing with another relationship. Its simply too asymmetric. What do women provide us guys (that we haven’t had already)? There’s too much about what we are supposed to provide, too much about how we are supposed to be some ideal stereotype.

And Gabriel hit the nail on the head. We are never allowed to be vulnerable, artistic, or interesting. We are supposed to be all manly, all serious, all tough guy all the time.

And on the other side we have the feminists coming at us who say our masculinity is a disease. Yet even those who malign masculinity in the end fall for it.

I like your articles, its just that they bring up some serious questions.

anonymous Feb 9, 2015 4:33am

I’m deeply moved by the text. Unfortunately, in the bad way. I’ll have to call my woman and talk to her just to check about all of this. It made me unsafe, uncertain of myself and my capacity of – even in the distant future – be an ideal partner. Brené Brown says something which seems to me to be very appropriate for the occasion. She says once she was called by a man who said: “you knwo, all this stuff you said about vulnerability, that’s wonderful. But these four women there? (wife and three daughters), they’d rather see me die on top of my white horse than see me fall of it”. He meant for us, men, vulnerability is a closed door. We cannot be vulnerable. And, sadly, sadly, sadly, the second half of your text just reinforced that.
But there is the thing. I am vulnerable. God-damn-cracking-and-full-of-holes. I’m also a tree, a stone and firm floor for my woman, but God knows I’m distant from anything like what you suggested we need to be.
I don’t usually comment on texts. Only when they touch me deeply. I’m not invalidating what you say. No. I don’t think it’s right, also. I think, sincerely, that all of us are worth of love and belonging – and we can be worthy BEFORE being perfect. I don’t know if you intended to pass that image, but unfortunately that is what stayed with me: you seem to say to me that, in order to my life partner care for me, and show me that, FIRST I have to be perfect and be there for her all the time, without one single failure. I’m not that guy. And, well, I’m not happy about that, you know? I’d like to be that guy. I’d love. I just can’t. I wouldn’t be human at all. I’m sorry, really, for just coming here and vomiting all this. But I just couldn’t – I tried, I even turned off the computer. Thank you for the moment of reflection, but please, please, try to reconsider just some of what was written. It is important for those of us who know, for real, we have failures, and for those among the women who are willing to accept ours WHILE, and not IF we accept theirs. Sorry.

    anonymous Feb 9, 2015 8:27pm

    I may be completely off base, but it seems you maybe a perfectionist who's being a bit to hard on yourself. No one is perfect. Someone who is always looking to better themselves is perfect in my book. I believe Grace and Steve were giving insite on what men and women need from eachother. When our needs are not being met or we aren't meeting the needs of someone we wish to do so for it can feel frustraiting and confusing. As a woman what I took in short from reading the article is remember to let my man know I appreciate him and to work on that. I don't as often as I should. I think a woman should be a mans rock and stability just as he is hers or as needed with lifes ups and downs and though both may fall short it should be a common goal! 🙂 hope this helps you go a little easier on yourself!

anonymous Oct 15, 2014 3:53pm

I am in tears of heartache, realisation, sadness, and love all at the same time, but mostly I feel the shame of not trusting my husband of over 11 years and the divide that keeps on growing due to it. We have tried many things over the years, but you are right on with my needing him to keep his word, and that doesn't happen. I have an inherent distrust of men, backed up by a peeping milkman, a mother's remark about men not being able to help themselves when I look at them and my own lack of understanding of my potency and power to protect myself. I work on myself and take full responsibility but it never occurred to me before that I actually have trust issues.
Thank you for posting this article from both perspectives, I truly recognise both including my heartache at not being able to give him what he needs.

    anonymous Oct 17, 2014 10:55pm

    Thank you for your heartfelt response, norfolk_lass.

    I think the self-awareness and willingness to work you show is an inspiration. We're all work in progress and that means we are a success already as long as we keep talking and moving forward.

    Peace to you and your journey.

    anonymous Oct 18, 2014 6:25am

    Norfolk Lass,
    My heart is breaking for you – and probably for me too, when I look back at my own, similar journey. Your words are so familiar to me. Nearly everything I've written for ej has been about my journey from childhood abuse to where I stand right now – which, thank God, is a good place – a place I love.

    Bravo you! that you are doing your own work. It's all we can ever really do, I think. I hope you will take heart that transformation is possible, and I can feel from your words that you are ripe for transformation. Be good to yourself, please, too – be gentle – while you suss this out. If you would permit me to be so arrogant as to suggest: Find your own Feminine power, that authentic, vulnerable, beautiful Self and let it inform you about how best to live from there.
    That's where everything begins.

anonymous Aug 12, 2014 5:15am

Thank you Steve and Grace for explaining the "dance" that goes with every relationship. Those calling for equality in all miss the beauty of the contrasts between the sexes. Demanding equality in all aspects is useless because we are all so different and the "scorecard" can cut down a relationship fast. I am in the process of leaving my 28 year old marriage and although I could choose to blame all men for how they are….I know that is not right…every person is different, with different proportions of male/female energy and traits. I refuse to blame half the population for the wrongs of my husband, I know I contributed to our relational demise, I have HOPE that at some point I will meet a solid man that I can be a solid woman for…

    anonymous Aug 12, 2014 12:28pm

    Thanks for sharing about the very ouch-y situation you're in. I wish you well in it. I know from experience that it is not easy or fun to go through. Thanks for the kind comments too. I too am working on becoming more clear about my own energy to be able to attract situations and people into my life where that "dance" can be more beneficial for all involved. Godspeed.

anonymous Aug 7, 2014 6:27am

Hi Bob,
I had sent a very detailed response that didn't seem to post.

Bottom line buddy, your hope is NOT lost. My marriage ended after 28+ years and I felt the same. Our chronic illness was ignorance, fear, resentment, and walled off hearts. There is always hope and a solid man of value like you has many options to take his purpose forward both inside and outside of your relationship. Karma? The universe, god, the divine, etc. WANTS you to move forward, be happy, and give your gifts. I don't know your specifics…but THIS I know.

anonymous Aug 6, 2014 11:03pm

Hi Bob,
Your pain oozed through your keyboard and caught me right in the gut. I'm sorry for the pain you both have been suffering. Chronic illness can hit any of us at any time. I was together for 28 yrs. when my marriage crashed around me. Our illness was chronic ignorance, apathy, and emotional pain – both of us. Sounds like you've given your heart and soul to your relationship which is commendable and loving.

One correction, though. There IS hope. Plenty of if. Working out your karma doesn't mean you deserve to be sad or lonely. The universe, God, the Divine, etc. does not want that for you. You've done a great job of living so far and from a strong place of love. You can continue that effort for the rest of your life in other ways. Assuming you plan to stay together, there is much in this world a solid man like you can do to give, love, inspire, receive, and grow. Whether you believe it right now or not doesn't matter. The truth is you deserve to be happy and fulfilled and if you really want it, it is there for the taking.

I know. I haven't a clue about your specifics. I do know without a doubt that there is plenty of hope left for you – fulfillment, happiness…the whole thing. Nobody in your circle of love should want less for you. If they do, perhaps they should not be in your circle.

anonymous Aug 6, 2014 8:39am

My wife and I have been married for over 30 years (together longer than that). She has had a chronic illness for the last twenty. I have been impeccable with my word the whole time. It has been very difficult, very. Loneliness has been my lesson in this life. I figure I'm working out my karma. Thank you for sharing this. Although there is no hope for me it will do good in the world.

    anonymous Feb 16, 2015 6:45pm

    I had been with someone for 26 years when he started fighting cancer. He died shortly before our 29th Anniversary together. He was 49 years. I know the loneliness. But I know the love. It sustains me.

anonymous Aug 5, 2014 10:39am

Steve, thanks for the heart felt and simple story. Yep, most guys would really appreciate " good head scratch and a loving vote of confidence." Sadly, that is about all the emotion many of us can tolerate. But I am having a real "Men Are From Mars, Women From Venus" flashback here. So Grace believes females are taught "from birth" that men are not trust worthy, that we are weak and wimpy and, god forbid, we like to have sex mixed with our emotions. "Take sex off the table", indeed. While you, Steve, are all heart, Grace is all head, demanding that men change before deemed worthy of women's affections. What a strange pairing. It just goes to reinforce your words, Steve, "he feels that she no longer wants to be that woman for him." Listening to Grace, I see that it is all about her needs and fears. I am sad she is so distrustful and victimized, but I'm angry that she transfers the responsibility to men in general. If she would follow her own advice and develop her N.U.T. s (non-negotiable, unalterable terms). Then she might not feel like such a victim and quit looking to others for her power.

    anonymous Aug 5, 2014 1:43pm

    Hi John, I appreciate your thoughtful response. Grace can surely speak for herself, but I'd like to share my view.
    Just as I tried to reveal the truth in a man's heart which is craving her touch and appreciation, Grace is revealing the truth in the hearts of many women. While her explanation was from the head, a woman who feels untrusting and unsafe in a relationship is feeling from her heart. I coach men on why that can happen and what skills they need to be able to empathize and give her the energy she needs to overcome her fears. This is where people either love or hate my horse training analogies. In our story, it helps a man to know that she wants to give him what he desires, but often, she needs him to go first. Emotional safety is, above all else, what she seeks.

    Love what you said about looking to others for her power. That's exactly what Grace does for women and helps them understand that sometimes it is THEY who must step up and go first. Their power is undeniable.

    Thanks again for your input! SO appreciated.

      anonymous Aug 5, 2014 2:38pm

      Possibly so, Steve, but therein lies the conundrum: he is waiting for her to appreciate all the things he does and she is waiting for him to slay all the dragons before she will appreciate him. Sounds like a checkmate to me. Most men haven't got a clue as to how to provide "emotional safety" particularly since that can change with the woman's mood! I appreciate what you are doing, but we men generally are pretty low on the "emotional intelligence" scale and have scant societal impetus to change. I find it ludicrous to expect men to take the initiative to create safety for others' emotions when generally they are not even safe within ourselves! What kind of deal is it that men get a pat on the head and an "attaboy", while still being expected to do all the heavy lifting and decision making in the relationship. Women are not that fragile nor victimized. I do not like the relationship power balance being presented here and thoroughly resent the assertion of male "original sin" of being innate predators. Why should a woman expect to be "wooed" continuously and why should a man not be able to take his relationship for granted? Isn't that what feeling emotional safety is all about — that I can feel secure enough to take security for granted? Why must men always be in reaction to women's whims? I am reminded of the song in My Fair Lady, "Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?" Jeez, at least meet us halfway and yes, sex is on the table!

        anonymous Aug 5, 2014 7:12pm

        Boy, John, you covered a lot of ground there.

        Why can't a woman be more like a man? Because she's a woman. In our hetero case, she wants to be cherished by a man. She wants to feel his respect and adoration. She wants him to WANT her, but not NEED her. She wants to feel emotionally and physically safe in his presence.

        AND, she wants him to be operating by his own values, within his own purpose, and not give a flying crap about the "hoops" she may or may not be hoping he jumps through.

        When I work with men struggling with their woman (just ONE woman, not all of them), I emphasize the importance of knowing what FEELINGS he is intentionally trying to create within her. Feelings are her romantic language with him. If he helps her to feel good feelings, great. If he helps her to feel bad feelings, not so great.

        But THAT assumes he is a man who genuinely holds an unalterable value (Value #1) of consciously choosing thoughts, words, and behaviors that create GOOD feelings in that woman.

        If he does not choose to hold that value, I highly recommend he pursues a romantic relationship with himself. This doesn't make him a bad man, a loser, or a pussy. It just makes him irrational to be hanging around and complaining about women. He can easily live a great life without them.

        Now. Let's say this same guy also has an unalterable value (Value #2) that the woman he chooses to have in his life will also be "conscious" enough to understand his needs. His value may be, "I will choose to stay with a woman who consistently demonstrates that she is willing and capable of understanding and meeting my needs in a relationship."

        This guy doesn't have to woo anyone. He doesn't have to jump through any hoops not of his design He doesn't have to react to her whims.

        He simply chooses to consistently think, speak, and act in accordance with his value #1 no matter what she does or doesn't do. Value #1 is HIS hoop, his whim, his expectation of himself.

        It's only this guy who deserves to adopt value #2. We don't meet women half way. We give them 100% of who we are and who we will be. Then they have the choice to do the same with us. We invite them. We don't beg them, plead with them, bend over backwards, or EXPECT them to do anything.

        That's the guy Grace is referring to. He is the one with whom most women can feel safe and trusting and attracted.

        Guess what ladies, when you are able to adopt this same energy in your unique, feminine way, you've got us is the palm of your hand…so to speak.

          anonymous Aug 5, 2014 9:09pm

          Wow, what a lively discussion. I love and appreciate such depth from you John, and also from Steve – thank you.

          I have found in my own personal journey into the Divine Feminine (DF) energy/aspect, that I have had to give up my ideas of what used to constitute/define "masculine" and "feminine" for me.

          So what I started doing was really getting in touch with my emotions – which is a very DF thing to do (the DF IS the body, is the emotions – that is one of the DF gifts to the world). When I got in touch with my emotions, I found I wanted a "groundedness" to polarize/balance that – which turns out, for me, is masculine energy (b/c that is one of the gifts the masculine gives the world). When those 2 energies are polarized well, I feel safe and grounded and more trusting of the world, in general.

          B/c masculine and feminine polarize it each other naturally, automatically. And it doesn't matter who holds which energy, as long as it feels right and good to both. There are couples out there in which the man holds the feminine energy most of the time while the woman holds masculine energy most the time. There's no right or wrong either way. Most couples switch back and forth some.

          And I love the way it feels to stay in the feminine energy most the time. I love the fluidity of it, the way it is like living in poetry. 🙂 So if I am groovin' in DF most the time, it is the DM that will balance/polarize that – that is where I will feel best/safest.

          And the masculine, in this case, will also feel better polarized by the emotions and whole-heartedness of the DF energy. They both feel complemented by each other.

          I ask my clients a couple of things: Do you love yourself as you are right now?
          Do you love your life/relationship status as it is right now?

          Many women love themselves – mostly. But many of them do not like their relationship status. That's when I start asking them to take a look at their own energy and how that may be affecting their relationships. And knowing that no one can change anyone else, it becomes time to change the self. So I begin by teaching them how to get into their own DF energy.

          Because in order to "call up" the strong masculine in a man (or anyone), it takes the DF energy. I teach my women clients to get in touch with that DF energy, to learn to live in that energy, b/c when they do, it calls forth that polarizing energy in their man. It gives him the opportunity to step into that. That is how I teach a woman to "go first" in making changes in the relationship, without necessarily waiting for her man.

          She begins to know and feel, within herself, the value and beauty and power of remaining in her DF energy most of the time. When she does this, with love for herself first (N.U.T.s) knowing she is living intentionally, she allows and then accepts her man's energy as it moves toward the masculine end of the spectrum. In that way, she is helping him help her feel safe, b/c she is allowing (simply by being in DF) him to polarize into the masculine aspect. He is gifted by her emotions – to allow him to go from his head into his heart, just as she is gifted by him and the safety and groundedness she now feels from him.

          It is a beautiful thing how polarization works! 🙂

          As she is improving and changing herself, she is experiencing all the emotions that have built up over the years, maybe, in this relationship. B/c the DF is about emotions and she may have been blocking that before now to protect herself and take care of herself, she may be overwhelmed with all these emotions. All the pain and sadness, loss of trust, etc. She has to work these out for herself and in her own time (N.U.T.s) before she can be available for the relationship. She's got to do her own work and change herself, while he is doing his work and changing himself. Sometimes it takes time.

    anonymous Aug 5, 2014 8:04pm

    Dear John… Interesting thought you have there..
    However..David Deida puts it this way: “…if you don’t trust your man because he is undirected, scattered, ambiguous or otherwise weak in his masculine energy, this will undercut your relationship, reducing your passion, your sexual attraction and your trust of each other.” exactly my past rel/ship broke than … yes do woman have like you said "If she would follow her own advice and develop her N.U.T. s (non-negotiable, unalterable terms). Then she might not feel like such a victim and quit looking to others for her power." your words. Never felt a victim but did and stuck with my guns on the none negotiable sign… he did the chopping and changing after while one does give up… Regards….

      anonymous Aug 6, 2014 9:34am

      Thanks for adding a thoughtful note! I love David Deida and just used that very quote last week in another post of mine. Thanks!

      anonymous Aug 6, 2014 11:00am

      Thanks for your personal story of empowerment and standing up for yourself. I agree with what you have to say. Yes, being in relationship with anyone, male or female, who is "undirected, scattered, ambiguous or otherwise weak" is an energy drain and will not end well. What I am reacting to is the hidden agenda we live in our society, which is very evident in this article, that men are to tolerate or even provide protection for women who are "weak", as described by Mr. Deida. While men, for whatever reason, who might be adrift are shamed and ostracised both by females and other males. The guy gets a "neck rub" while the woman must be "cherished". I am not an economist, but I don't like this balance sheet. Grace, I want you to be aware of how often you mentioned the Divine Feminine (DF) in your reply and how few times the Divine Masculine (DM) is mentioned and when it is, it is only to react to, "balance" the DF. I realize some historical inequity is being played out here, but swinging to some sort of Amazon Goddess counter imbalance is probably not wise. I am challenging you two to come up with a more equitable scenario where yang and yin are entwined and balanced. We've got polarization down. It is balance and unification that are obscure and foreign to us.

        anonymous Aug 6, 2014 11:16pm

        I get what you're saying, John, and it's honest and vulnerable. If I've learned anythings so far in this life it is that "entwined and balanced" is a result of conscious effort – constantly. Especially in a LTR, couples must understand their power to GIVE to each other choose to do it without expectation. There will always be imbalance. We don't stop giving at the 50 yard line. No such thing as 50-50. It's 100-100.

        We balance each other when we accept the mutual responsibility to understand, respect, and attempt to meet each other's needs. With this energy present, there is no need for scorecards or balance sheets.

        anonymous Sep 16, 2014 10:38am

        Thanks for the honest and vulnerable comments, John. I enjoyed reading them and I feel that I can relate to you. Some of us are very observant and analytical. Some of us have gone very deep into self analysis, and by virtue of that effort, have mined and cultivated both the DF and the DM. I feel that you have met women in your life on many many levels, and you see what these two writers don't want to address. The modern woman in this culture is, by and large, sociopathic. She takes responsibility for little, blames her partners for a lot, and expects most things to be given to her. She can not stay satisfied with her partner. She leaves him early in her mind and heart, and is always eager to fill her time with a new romance, from a new partner. She refuses to see herself as the common denominator, and her wealth of emotion waiting to burst forward is the emotions of an autocrat that wants all things, and all pleasures. It's a sort of brimming rage, and men are the easy focus for their blame. In their eyes we can't get it right, and there are always plenty of people to help them perpetuate their mistake. Partner after partner, relationship after relationship, the sociopathic woman will forever miss the point: all her relationships, with all of these partners, end the same way, in the same pattern, but the only common denominator is her. For myself, I have taken dating off the table, John. I can not be a strong man and a puppet at the same time. I need to live with an open an non judgmental heart to appreciate all aspects of life. I'm not judging women, nor do I desire to classify them. I love women and spend most of my time thinking about love…missing it. But my position is the result of a massive amount of effort and contemplation. I wanted to take this time to respond to what I think you are jiving at: most women today are sociopaths, and take little or no responsibility for themselves. They are incapable of valuing you. They can't SEE you, and they can't honestly MEET you on any deep level. What they give, they call deep, but is very conditional, fleeting, unsustainable, and they have an easy escape plan to initiate the next thrill. And thrill is the mantra. You should be loved unconditionally. The damage from your past is as valid as anyone's. If loyalty is natural for you, and being vulnerable is easy, it should be recognized as divine…enlightened. We have to accept that by simply being a woman, a person is in no way gifted with the things that come with hard work, loss, and sacrifice. Because it is so easy for a woman to gratify her next thrill, she is often denied the benefits of great sorrow – learning and growing. This is why I regretfully postulate that by and large, women today are sociopaths. Good luck.

          anonymous Dec 31, 2015 12:30pm

          It is ''funny'', I have to say I enjoyed John's comments too; and I have very similar experiences to you Joe, but with men… or rather boys. I am a young woman, but early on I had to take responsibility for myself – and that includes my feelings. Being strong, but also vulnerable, I have attracted vulnerable boys, who struggled with boundries. It's almost as if they felt so strongly, that they forgot I am just the same… They did not see me, couldn't meet me at the deeper level, so focused on what they wanted or rather needed from me. I like to think it is a matter of emotional maturity that isn't gender specific. As long as someone NEEDS another there is little space for seeing the other. I do WANT a man in my life, but coming across a mature one, capable of unconditional love… is just as rare as meeting such a woman. Best regards

anonymous Aug 4, 2014 9:00pm

Gulp. Loved this sensitive, vulnerable article. Beautiful romantic story. Patience, compassion, time and trust will fix a lot of issues.

    anonymous Aug 5, 2014 10:49am

    Thanks for such a personal response, Amy! It's that "gulp" I think we can use to our advantage when we want to touch another person's heart. Maybe it's the "gulp" that we too often run from?

    anonymous Aug 5, 2014 9:17pm

    Thanks Amy! Glad we could get a gulp out of you. I had a difficult time writing my part, b/c I really had to get into my past when these things had happened to me and look at my own crap – yikes! So I had a lot of 'gulp-y' moments while writing it. I also talked to several of my women clients (who, unfortunately are living this right now) about this in one of our groups to get their feedback on this. So this letter/response was mostly from them – and there were a lot of gulps and tears in that session, for sure, too.