JOHN J. STATHAS, Ph.D., LMFT
Most men are pretty stubborn. I don’t think I’ll get much disagreement on that statement from the majority of women. Why does such a phenomenon exist?
Men typically come from a competitive posture, where win-lose is the name of the game. Most men with testy testosterone, can’t stand to be the loser. Another related factor is that men do not like to be vulnerable in any sense of the word. Included in this profile is that most men like to be in control, sitting in the power seat.
This article began with the word “most” for a reason. There are other stereotypical varieties of men that have a different modus operandi. I am profiling a particular type of man who is probably in the majority and who present some of the more significant obstacles to women. These are the men who have the strongest defenses and go through the ugliest divorces if they don’t “get it”.
These men generally are successful professionally. The above characteristics lead to positions of leadership and responsibility where the big bucks beckon. There is a lot of emotional payoff in such recognition. It often is hard for these men to realize that what works in the boardroom strikes out eventually in the bedroom.
Oftentimes a woman early on accepts this type of partner because:
a) he is bringing in the big bucks, therefore, a comfy life style.
b) she is a “pleaser” who does not like confrontation.
c) she has young kids who consume her time and energies.
d) she is not in touch with her feelings.
e) she is not aware that she deserves, and can have, a better relationship.
Once a woman deals with the above pertinent factors she is more ready to challenge this type of man to create a different type of relationship. She may start by withdrawing, withholding sex, spending more time with girl friends, joining organizations, watching more Oprah and Dr. Phil – and reading more articles like this one. She will ask for what she needs. Then, hopefully, with this knowledge and behavior she will be able to assist her man to “get it” and, thus help him to be more appreciative, thoughtful, and romantic.
If the above doesn’t get the desired change then relationship counseling is called for. Getting a good fit with a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist is important. Some therapists and pastors can offer quality advice and cosmetic corrections, but only a trained professional in marriage and family issues can be of real help here. Understanding emotional wiring is critical in this process. Too often when a woman suggests counseling the man balks. If such a situation arises, I encourage the woman to see me for I usually can find a way to get the man to come in to try counseling.
The very last resort is to see an attorney to help the blind bloke see that he must change or he may lose his wife, accessability to his kids, half his net worth, and his home. Too often these type of men don’t realize what they will lose until it is too late and the judge has issued the final decree. (There is a popular country song that features a man saying “ who’s that man living in my house? Who’s that man raising my kids…?”)
The song DESPERADO speaks to this type of man who hides behind the defenses of power and control, so as to not be vulnerable and let a partner in.
Desperado, why don’t you come to your senses?
Come down from your fences, open the gate. …
You better let somebody love you, before its too late.
Thirty three years ago that song, sung by Banks & Shane at the Steak and Ale in Tucker, hit me between the eyes and helped me let in the one I was with that night. I never let her go and we are still together – happily. Had some “fences” that needed to come down. How about you?