It’s really not fair on men.
Women spend their entire lives learning about relationships…
While men are expected to show up, win a woman over, and live happily ever after with no relationship training!
The next time you feel frustrated with a guy, think about that difference.
Compared to you, how much does he actually know about relationships?
Could it be that he actually thinks he’s doing everything right—even though he’s not?
It’s Not His Fault, But It Is His Responsibility
We get so frustrated when a man is insensitive or rude or thoughtless.
He should know better. He should be able to read us better. He should have a clue!
We jump to the conclusion that his failures as a boyfriend are a result of his personal flaws. He’s too focused on himself. He doesn’t care about other people.
What we don’t ask ourselves is how he came to be this way.
Did anyone ever sit him down and talk to him about relationship skills?
Did anyone ever teach him emotional intelligence?
Or was he taught that success in life comes down to being better than everyone else, dominating the competition, and impressing the right people?
As it stands, emotional intelligence and relationships skills aren’t part of the curriculum for becoming a man.
Whereas a girl would face criticism for not being nice or not wanting to be social, a boy gets excused for rude, antisocial behavior if it helps him win.
Which means that most young men start their love lives with a HUGE disadvantage.
Their emotional and relational skills haven’t been nurtured.
They may know how to impress girls.
They may know how to play the part of “cool boyfriend.”
But they’ve never learned how to be intimate, connected, and supportive.
Is It Your Job to Educate Him?
If you’re lucky, your guy had a girlfriend or two in the past that taught him the skills of making a life with someone.
But it’s not a woman’s job to teach her man how to be relational.
It shifts the dynamic when you’re his teacher as well as his girlfriend. Not in a good way!
It’s his job to educate himself.
Just as you are actively learning about relationships so that you can be a better partner, he can do the same.
Many men experience incredible personal transformation when they begin this work.
They attain new levels of self-awareness. They start to see dynamics in their relationships—with you, at work, with family—that they never saw before. They begin to understand the power they hold in their hands.
They discover the truth that relationships don’t just “happen” to us.
We create our relationship dynamics through what we say and how we behave. If we created something we don’t like, we can change it ourselves rather than waiting for our partner to change.
That’s a familiar idea to most of us, but it can be a revelation to men.
They don’t just have to tolerate the stuff they don’t like. They don’t have to feel attacked and criticized when a partner asks for something. They can change the way they respond.
5 Relationship Resources for Men
So where should he go for his relationship advice?
Not the same place you do! Men need different advice to women.
Unfortunately, the internet is the wild west, flush with opinion and pseudo-science. He needs advice he can trust, not advice that makes your relationship even worse.
Here are 5 resources I love and highly recommend:
- THE PODCAST
The Man Enough Podcast
Hosted by actor Justin Baldoni along with Liz Plank and Jamey Heath, this podcast about what it means to be a man is in the top 1% of the most followed and shared podcasts on Spotify. Baldoni even got President Obama to answer his signature question: “What does it mean to be ‘man enough’?”
- THE MASTERCLASS
Effortlessly Connect with Women Masterclass
What do men want most in their relationships? When licensed professional counselor Terah Harrison asked men this question, she got a clear answer: “More sex, less fighting.” This online masterclass helps men connect with women in a way that gets them more sex and less fighting. Can’t say no to that!
- THE BOOK
The Mask of Masculinity
If your guy admires elite athletes, then this book by former professional football player Lewis Howes breaks down the masks men wear to be perceived as tough, stoic, unbeatable winners. It’s a heartbreaking read for women, too, as it lays bare the pressure men feel to live up to a deadly ideal of masculinity.
- THE NEWSLETTER
Neil Strauss’ Inner Circle
Neil doesn’t email often, but when he does it’s worth the read. Neil Strauss is a journalist for Rolling Stone who became a highly successful pickup artist to write his book The Game. He deals with the fallout in his tormented memoir The Truth, which starts in a clinic for sex addicts and culminates in his marriage to the woman of his dreams. Though that marriage ended, Neil now teaches men the importance of doing deep inner work. If your guy has some dark stuff in his past, Neil is a reliable guide.
- THE WEBSITE
Good Men Project
This site bills itself as “the conversation no one else is having.” It’s a collection of voices unified by one concern: the wellbeing of men. I’ve been published on this site, as has men’s therapist Jed Diamond. If your man wants to hang out in a healthy space online, this is it.