Why It’s Time to Stop Blaming Men for Being “Emotionally Unavailable”
When was the last time you wrote a love letter? Better still, when was the last time you received one? Ask friends, family, or any regular person walking down the street if they write love letters and you might get some really funny looks. The kind of look given to someone barely known who just asked you for money. Definitely not a kind look to say the least. Some may even snicker at you for asking such a ridiculous question. The good old days of letter writing is pretty much dead. This tradition has shriveled up in a world where heartfelt affection is an emoji of a little yellow head with hearts for eyes.
Talking about emojis reminds me of a recent lighthearted moment. I was “talking” to this girl and I made a joke which elicited a “ROTFL” text followed by a bunch of emojis of the little yellow head with tears coming out of both eyes. I immediately responded with a smiling emoji since I was actually smiling. I then followed up with a question about what she was doing at that moment. “I am in the bathroom taking care of business!” she responded enthusiastically. “Hold up!” I typed back. ‘How can you be rolling on the floor laughing when you are in the bathroom taking care of business??!” Sometimes you can’t help but wonder; is someone really laughing out loud when they text LOL? Is someone really laughing so hard that they have tears coming out of both eyes? I often wonder :).
I did write my fair share of love letters back in the day. Mostly to girls in St. Roses Secondary School in Ghana. O Happy, happy days! Back in the day, I would pull out my stylish writing pad and actually go through the process of capturing touching words that would express my feelings for the girl. Love letters portrayed my heartfelt emotions in the most coherent way that I could elaborate. To get a girl to consider returning your affections, the love letter had to be filled with rosy language and emotionally-charged descriptions. Then came the customary picture that went with the love letter. The “Do Not Bend” on a corner outside of the envelope conveyed that I meant business. It was an exciting process, wasn’t it? Your heart sometimes did somersaults while waltzing to the post office to drop off your letter.
A couple of months ago, a picture circulated on social media of a man in tears at the sight of his bride at their wedding. I watched with interest as women gushed and swooned over the picture. Women were leaving “awwww” comments by the hundreds. A female friend of mine posted the picture on her page and stated that she will turn and walk away if her husband-to-be does not have the same reaction on her wedding day. All I could think of was the irony of the situation. Specifically, the hypocrisy of some women on how they actually react should they see their own man cry or display emotions.
Here is the reality, Ladies. If your man shed tears on any other day other than at your wedding, most of you will label him as too emotional, too weak, too sensitive and not manly enough.
My reverie for this piece is simple and it boils down to one straightforward question? Can women appreciate a man who expresses his love for them on an emotional level or do they prefer a closed off unemotional man who does not express his feelings? I’ve heard some women say, most of the time, that they prefer a man who shows emotion over a more stoic one. In reality, however, I don’t think some women really know how to handle an emotionally available man. One does not have to venture far to seek answers. We simply do not live in the Shakespearean era where men were required to be expressive of their love for a woman. Women are no longer wired to handle a man who is romantically expressive even though most wish to see some emotions from a man. This sad state of affairs, therefore, leads to some women saying they want one thing and run for the hills sometimes when a man actually displays some emotions. It is my opinion that we now live in a world where men risk expressing emotion for fear of being labeled too emotional or sensitive.
In the advent of advanced technology, cell phones, email, and text messages, to name a few, writing a love letter is lost in antiquity. The writing and receiving of letters will always offer an experience that cannot be paralleled by modern technology. Presently, an emoji is enough to announce that there is a love interest. Men do not court women anymore, we “talk.” And by “talk”, we mean texting for the most part. If Romeo was chasing Juliet in this age, he would likely be labeled as a wuss. Most women would probably call him weak, too sensitive and too emotionally available. What’s up with all the long and never ending dictation and expression of love for Juliet? Who does that? Who in their right minds declared Romeo and Juliet as the greatest love story ever?
The irony in this sad state of affairs is that women, at large, have accepted the unemotional man’s style and method of dating and finding love. This acceptance makes it hard for a man to respond when a woman asks him to open up and express his feelings. We are smarter and more advanced now. Most men have turned into lazy daters. You could argue that if a guy is not interested, he takes the shortcuts and becomes emotionally shut off, but I don’t think that is the case.
Even when a man is genuinely interested in you, he does not have to call, he can text. Calling a woman too much may get him labeled as clingy or needy. You have to balance texting with talking on the phone. Most men do not have to take a woman out on real dates anymore because the woman of today is fine with just a meet up. Most men do not have to carefully plan dates or show up at your door with roses in hand for a date night. The woman of today is perfectly fine with a last minute call to hang out at a coffee shop or catch a movie. Today’s man does not have to take notice of a woman’s brains and compassion. They go unnoticed because when we go out, all we see is an abundance of blossoming cleavages and big behinds in very tight clothes. Men do not need many words to express their love for a woman. “I think we should go together” is a romantic request that the woman of today is fine with. Today’s dating environment raises the question; do men really have to be emotionally available in the current dating circles?
To clarify, I am not referring to clingy, insecure and needy men. I am not talking about overly sensitive men who can cry on a whim.
I think it can be a trap if a woman should ask a man to become more emotionally open and available. Women can pressure their men to pour out their hearts and souls only to deeply regret it later. I have seen cases where women lose respect for men or see them as weak once they give in and express their feelings. This conundrum is really a prevalent issue in relationships and society these days.
In my 20’s, I was quite impassive and never expressed emotions. I never used the dreaded three words and I displayed zero vulnerabilities. I was the guy whose only interest was knowing what lay beneath the underwear. I did not even allow the number one emotion men exhibit all the time; anger. If I came after you and you were not interested, I was the guy who called you a bitch and walked away. I was emotionally unavailable and a hothead frankly.
Fast forward two decades later. I consider myself more refined, more classy, more in touch with who I am. Time and experience do refine a person sometimes. When I expressed my feelings for a woman, it was more along the lines of how they made me feel, how I could not stop thinking about them (which is true), and how I think I am falling for them. I feel hurt when things do not work out. I have allowed my frustration to manifest sometimes when a relationship fails. In my effort to be expressive, I have been labeled sensitive, emotional and too available by some women.
Ironically, I found more success with women in my 20’s when I was emotionally unavailable and a hothead than I do now.
That said, It is easy to draw the conclusion that perhaps I may be approaching immature women who do not know how to handle a man expressing his feelings. It may be possible that there is some truth to that sentiment. However, there is proof that when men express their feelings or say too much, they run the risk of instantly killing the attraction. Suddenly, you have become too sensitive and some women do not want that.
So fellas, should you tell a love interest, your wife or girlfriend about your feelings? My humble advice is to tread very lightly when the topic comes up. For us men, expressing genuine sentiments to a woman isn’t easy. When we do, believe that it is heartfelt. We are wired to hold in our feelings and so it is such a relief when it comes out. However, it may have a toxic effect that probably isn’t worth the catharsis.
The truth is, most men are emotionally available. After all, we are not robots. We have the capacity to feel. Men honestly do not know how to respond when a woman asks them to open up. Sometimes it is brazenly obvious when a woman looses attraction for you after you open up. In reality, the women of today are just are not equipped to handle an emotionally available man. No matter how evolved we become as a species, no matter how advanced our thinking becomes, we are still driven by the pressures of the society we live in. Pressures which makes it scary for a man to be too expressive for his love for a woman for fear of being labeled too emotional, too available or too sensitive.