You know the Wall.
That’s when a man slams the door on you emotionally and acts like this relationship doesn’t even matter to him.
He acts like you’re at fault for everything going wrong in his life. He gets verbally aggressive with you. He stops playing nice.
It’s like he’s activated self-destruct mode, and he doesn’t care what goes down with it.
Why do men do this?
Don’t they realize they’re destroying their relationships? Don’t they even care?
To understand what’s going through his head, you’ve got to stop seeing this situation from your perspective as a woman and start seeing it through the perspective of the Man Code.
Men play by different rules in relationships than women, and you need to know what those are.
The Man Code
The first thing you need to know is feelings matter to you in a different way than they matter to him.
Although boys are born just as emotional as girls—some research even indicates that boys may be MORE emotionally sensitive than girls—they learn from a young age to separate themselves from their feelings.
Boys learn that it’s not “manly” to feel. Feelings are weak. They’re vulnerable. They’re untrustworthy.
Boys learn that men don’t let their feelings get the better of them. Men don’t let their feelings show. Men don’t let their feelings guide them.
Boys learn that it’s not okay to depend on anyone emotionally. It’s not okay to need help. It’s not okay to be weak. It’s not okay to fail.
This set of beliefs is known as the Man Code or the Man Box.
It’s a box because it forces these beautiful, messy, creative, inspired boys into a box that limits and constrains who they can be.
The older your guy is, or the more he sees himself as the “average guy,” the more he’s conformed by the Man Code.
He may WANT to be vulnerable with you, to open up with you, to depend on you, to stop being so strong….
But the Man Code is stronger than he is.
Going against the Man Code is like going against his religion.
He CAN do it… but at great cost to himself.
Why He Chooses Himself Over You
One of the differences between men and women is that men tend to externalize while women tend to internalize.
When something goes wrong, a woman blames herself.
When something goes wrong, a man finds someone or something to blame.
For us, blaming ourselves is a way of taking responsibility. If it’s our fault, we can fix it.
For men, blaming someone or something else is a way of maintaining his self-esteem. A man cannot be a failure. If he admitted that he was at fault, it would be like admitting he failed.
Can you see how that plays out in relationships?
A relationship gets rocky. She looks inside herself and tries to figure out what she’s doing wrong. He looks outside himself and blames her or claims that the relationship has run its course.
She doesn’t understand why he isn’t taking any personal responsibility, and he won’t admit that his behavior contributed to their problems.
Some men would rather leave a relationship than take responsibility for fixing it. That would mean accepting some fault. It would require them to change. And why would they change, if they’re perfect just the way they are?
It’s so much easier just to blame her, or claim that the spark has faded.
Whereas you still have strong feelings for him—feelings you can’t just turn on and off like a faucet—he experiences it differently.
He’s used to disconnecting from his feelings. He’s been doing it since he was young.
Besides, feelings aren’t important. If his logical, reasoning mind says that you’d be better apart, then he will listen to his logic.
He won’t fight to save the relationship just because he has feelings for you. Feelings aren’t to be trusted anyway.
If you’ve ever wondered why men act just fine after a breakup, like it was no big deal, this is why.
They’re disconnecting from their feelings. The Man Code demands it.
They may feel desperately in love with you, worried they did the wrong thing, and horrifically alone, but they will lock those feelings away in a box and throw away the key.
It’s more important to “be a man” than to be loving.
So what can you do?
The first thing is to acknowledge that “manly men” aren’t always the catch they’re portrayed as.
Alpha males make some of the WORST lifelong partners, because they lack the flexibility to adapt to changes in the relationship.
Alpha males live their lives by the Man Code, and the Man Code was never set up to keep families together. It was set up to protect a man’s reputation.
If you are single, look for men who are open-minded, flexible, and emotionally intelligent.
Emotional intelligence is the single most important quality in a lifelong partner. The research proves it.
If you have a manly man in your life, encourage him to talk about what being a man means to him. Here are some ideas.
Men who engage in those questions are more likely to see where the Man Code is leading them away from the kind of man they really want to be.
When you’re in a better place, you can also talk to him about the Wall. How it makes you feel, how it makes you worry about your future.
Remember that the Wall isn’t an accurate reflection of what he’s feeling inside.
It’s a defense he’s learned to put up, and he may feel terrified of taking that wall down. The Wall is proof that he can overcome his emotions and achieve a purely logical state. Feelings, to him, are feminine.
You can’t compete against the Man Code, but you can give him food for thought.
AND you can consider whether this is something you want to be dealing with for the rest of your life.
There are plenty of men out there who are aware of the Man Code and its dangers. The Good Men Project is a great resource. Get informed, and get talking.