I was complaining about the widening gap between men and women the other day to a male friend and said that men are such strange creatures. His response bought a smile to my face when he replied, And you women are so easy to read and understand.
I sorrow over the ever widening gap between the sexes. Its not good for any of us.
When I married my husband and had our first child it seemed that my husband went into an operational mode within our marriage that could only be described as something from the 1950.? Drawing on his own experience from his parents relationship, I found myself immersed in a household divided by outdated roles, a power struggle about whose job was more important and the stifling reality that he had decided nothing would change in his life now the children had come along. Meanwhile my life was as unrecognisable as the distraught face I looked at each day in the mirror.
Our relationship resembled a game plan of outdated stereotypes which ignored my values, my need for support and help, and the very core of my personality.? I was drowning in a dictatorship that even now he cant acknowledge.
The ensuing story that was our separation and subsequent divorce, leaving our children between two homes, two sets of clothes and different parenting styles, are things which many will relate to and don’t need to be shared here. But the important thing to note is that my husbands reference point, about how to deal with his position in a family of his own making, was one that hadn’t evolved any further from what he remembered from growing up. And it was traditional beyond belief.
We women have been mentored on many levels as we worked to change our lot. Desperate to find more inclusive, equal lives, while trying to get enough space to keep working, nurturing and finding time to be ourselves, our role models were bountiful and encouraging. Meanwhile men were often left on the sidelines.
There has been an ongoing argument in feminist circles that men have been on top for too long and now it is our turn, the women of the world, to take our place; regain our position.? While I see the merit in this, and yes, agree with it, the dogma leaves me disconnected from the other sex.? Since I share the planet with them (You!) I see this as totally untenable.
As a woman, who runs her own business, is financially secure, is fulfilling her role as a mother and is part of a bigger community and social sphere, I have all the things I need.? But my quest to find a partner, someone who is my equal and friend, who is at my shoulder, is something much more difficult to achieve. This is what I want.
Lets step back and look at the bigger picture. It’s a world where many Western men have not had the support of their fathers, let alone any meaningful dialogue with them about what it is to be a man in this modern world. It is a world with mixed messages about the role of men with regard to money, fatherhood, sensitivity, masculinity and sexual expectation. Throw in a few other factors such as online dating, a global recession, pornography, portrayal of the sexes in the media and you have a Molotov cocktail of confusion and chaos. Where in all of this is the modern man? Where are his true signposts and his markers of confidence?
And here we sit, in our female time and space, yes busy, yes challenged, but even more resolute in having not just any relationship with any Tom, Dick or Harry but one with an equal.? Who is teaching modern man that sometimes it is just enough to be respectful, loving and caring; that these simple things will get you the girl?
Despite all the changes in the world, those three things have remained constant.? And the reason they are so important is that they apply to any inter-personal relationship, not just those between lovers and partners. If they are at the centre of the man/women equation then the power struggle can remain obsolete.
There is no great mystery to be solved.? Men just need to be themselves; be aware of what they know and what they don’t know, seek to find their answers, listen, be involved and accept that appreciation can come from the simplest of things. To be yourself you need to explore who you are, spend time learning and talking with others. This type of pursuit is often at the core of the feminine journey and this inherently makes it more difficult for men to go there.? Growth is a personal thing for both men and women.? We all find our way in our lives, sometimes in more tragic circumstances than others.? But it’s no reason to stop trying.
Many women no longer need men to save them nor make them whole. They just want their men to be their own person.? That is what many of my generation are working hard to teach their sons along with the fact that you need to be a participant in all things including the chores, the parenting and breadwinning, just to name a few.
It’s true that all humans have their idiosyncrasies which make them unique but start at the beginning with the simple things and set a course for slowly allowing the female to reconnect with the male through basic values.
In a world where a woman can practically give herself all the things she needs, including children, it is the thing she still desires which is the most difficult to find.? That is the opportunity for the man; looking for an opportunity to seek the esoteric realm of the beautiful female, to just be himself and enjoy the journey.