As men in this culture, I feel that we are often trained not to express our full range of emotional responses, (anger is sometimes acceptable) through the fear of "being a fag", "not being a real man", "being pussy-whipped" etc and I think that this can have serious consequences when it comes to relationships.
If a man is hiding his deeper-self, expressing only socially acceptable emotions through fear of vulnerability, then there can be no real intimacy in the relationship. He becomes infinitely replaceable, interchangeable with any other man from the same mould.
Our relationships with other men are often flawed and somehow competitive (who is "harder", has the better clothes, car, job, wife etc) or competitive against others as part of a team. Respect is often given through fear of violence or power (eg. in the workplace) and genuine respectful, intimate, unflinching relationships between men as equals are rare.
Through all this men are trained to turn to women for our emotional needs and often we go into a relationship without the tools we need and do our growing up (if we are lucky) in that relationship. This adds a tension to the relationship and sometimes leads one to question the equality of the partners in the relationships one sees. How equal is a relationship where the majority of the emotional needs are being met and the majority of the emotional work is being done by one partner?
I feel that it is vital for us to break away from the competitive and emotionally crippled model of manhood and develop a more whole and truly healthy model. Authors such as Steve Biddulph, Sam Keene and John Lee have written about this much better than I can and are well worth a look.
As Poly men, I think we have to address our issues concerning communication and intimacy so hopefully we will be capable of maintaining genuine intimate unflinching relationships with one or more partners. This is entirely possible and hugely rewarding, after all, being a whole man loved as an individual and respected as a truly equal partner in your relationship is what it is all about.
Adapted from a post written by Kester on SisterWives Yuku