Men have a reputation for suppressing their emotions because they believe that to be emotional is to be feminine. Yet when men suppress their emotions they often destroy their relationships.
My wife has been reading the book ‘Getting To “I Do” – The Secret To Doing Relationships Right‘ by the well-known relationship expert Dr Patricia Allen. She has been reading excerpts to me and I have been getting increasingly agitated.
There is one quote that I find particularly difficult to take,
Maleness is the pragmatic, functional way in which we handle work, the initiator of action. It is the verbal, the left lobe of the brain.
Femaleness is the passive, the receptive, the emotional; it can be represented by non-verbal energy. Its function in traditional terms is to serve as an outlet for emotion and as a moral brake; it can be seen as the stable center that allows a relationship to develop and be maintained.
Although both male and female elements are vital to the make-up of both men and women, I believe that for a relationship to be healthy and successful these must be reconciled and become complementary to each other. In other words, there can only be one male and one female in every relationship.
No wonder men do not know what to do in their relationships, which are, as a result, not working.
I feel that it is not so much that Dr Allen is wrong, but that she is confused.
Dr Allen is saying that both men and women are both male and female, but that in a relationship there can only be one male energy and one female energy.
As far as the relationship is concerned I agree with her. Sexual polarity is critically important in creating a joint energy that makes a relationship exciting. It does not matter how this polarity comes about, but it must be present.
As for being both male and female, I do not agree. She is basing her ideas on the psychologist Jung, who talks about anima in men and animus in women. She says that to be a whole person we need to have both male and female energies. My experience of men and women does not support this view.
In practice, I believe, we are infinitely more complex. We are made up of many characteristics, some more male-oriented, some more female-oriented and some that are neither. We develop our own masculinity or femininity based on a complex matrix of characteristics.
I think the problem with Dr Allen’s approach is that it can cut both men and women off from being whole human beings. It suggests that to be the male or female energy in a relationship you need to let go of essential parts of your personality because they belong to the other energy.
If this is true it would suggest that to be in a relationship you need to suppress parts of yourself. If this is how she sees sexual polarity then I am concerned.
For example, she suggests that femaleness is, “an outlet for emotion and a moral brake”. To follow this argument would insist that men, in their male energy, cannot be an outlet for emotion. But for me that is the problem in many relationships, masculine men suppress their emotions.
In my view, even in their masculinity, men need to get in touch with and express their emotions. If they are being told that that is a sign of femaleness, they will, of course, never do it.
I believe that when a man is emotional, it does not have to mean that he goes into his feminine, it does not have to mean that he loses his power and strength. When a man is emotional he is often being vulnerable and showing increased inner certainty and a greater ability to be a force behind the relationship.
He is being more of a man.