Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Men: Emotional Cripples?

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


  1. I think you are right, why should our emotional happiness fall on just the women. In a mono or poly relationship. This then makes for a disaster if it all goes wrong it is all her fault. Men are adults to and perhaps as a mother is should be my goal to raise my little boy into becoming a much more emotionallyaware adult. Thank you for your insight. It is refreshing to know that men can break the mould.

  2. Very true indeed - the whole entry. Although, I'm finding it easier said than done in my particular situation. I mean, the men are cordial enough, it's just we keep dancing in circles, sizing each other up - while giving each other subliminal middle fingers. Neither of us wants to be subordinate toward the other yet neither of us want to say/do anything that might come off as offensive, audacious, 'going for the crown', etc. I don't know, maybe we should just put on some boxing gloves and get it over with. Just kidding...I'm kidding.

    Anyways, good post Kester.

  3. Thank you Marco.

    As I have said in the post, relationships between men are unlikely to be easy in this culture.
    I think that it is esssential however, especially in the context of a long term relationship to be able to step beyond the competetive and emotionally withdrawn models of manhood. Genuine comminication and emotional honesty are essential tools for this.
    It is important to remember that there is no winner and if your relationship with Ramon is no more than cordial, then it threatens your overall relationship and you both lose out.

  4. I'm not here because I want to be a sister wife. And I want to see the abuses in groups like Warren Jeffs and other closed communities stopped. The children there seem to be devalued, and are not encouraged to pursue higher education, and dreams of their own. Having said that, I found it ludicrous that Kody Brown determined his family had to flee Utah. What were they hiding? How many of us know of people who live together without the bonds of state sanctioned marriage? It seems as if their legal issues were in check, they'd have nothing to hide, but, it's also been reported that they've had bankruptcies, and food stamps in the past. Now, I'm not against that per say, since I'm liberal enough to believe in universal health care, and I do find their children well adjusted and partially healthy. Partially because they encourage morbid obesity amongst their children, and Kody allows his children to bully and pick on Robin's children. That seems to be okay with him. I think if sister wives can benefit from one another, then go for it, but make sure your ducks are in a row before you decide to do this, because the kids are going to eventually take the beating for it. And what about towns where men out number women? And why are the LDS so pissed off, since THEY started this whole FLDS concept? I say, if you can pay your bills, then by all means, have 20 children. But, if you cannot, then don't.

  5. Hello Pollypinks,

    Thank you for taking the time to respond to the blog. I am a bit confused as to where the connection is to this particular post though, which is about emotional maturity in men and their need to become able to communicate effectively to become able to handle the emotional honesty required by Poly relationships. Of course many men can experience Poly and not be emotionally mature and relationship models based upon Patriarchy enable some men to operate with authority on the basis of being male, rather than being able.

    I am not sure why you base your opinion on Kody Brown on gossip and suspicion about his motives? Surely it would be better to know facts, than make assumptions, besides, we know that they were being investigated ‘because’ they were on the TV. The law in Utah was clear, we won’t prosecute you as long as you don’t abuse the system, commit fraud, marry underage girls AND keep your head down…..the Browns crime was being too open, we knew their names and their locations and people called the police to insist they were investigated, the Lehi Police dept. did not have a choice except to investigate.

    To be quite honest your jibe about the weight of the children is unkind and uncalled for, many American kids are overweight, what has their relationship model to do with it?

    I knew a monogamous couple who had about 14 children, they could not afford or even handle all those kids, they were obsessed with babies. Once the kids could walk, they grew bored of them, this is a far cry from the Brown children, it seems they are suffering from two major problems at the moment 1) feeling resentful about leaving their home and 2) being teenagers. At least fundamentalist Mormons have a spiritual reason behind child rearing. You may not agree with what they do, but it certainly makes a bit more sense to curb your criticism and try to see things from another persons point of view.