Tag Archives: men

Can You Trust Him?

DTS_Photography_Movie3Oh my gawd, I’m in love with a man who cannot be trusted!

Recently I’ve been thinking about a short Facebook conversation I had a couple of years ago with a male friend. I explained, in a post, the dilemma I always go through when I feel someone has broken/betrayed my trust.

I always wonder if I can trust them at all and to what degree or if I should even continue to put myself in their sphere—like I might just be asking to be betrayed again if I do.

I’d have no one but myself to blame, at that point, because they’d already betrayed me, and I’d just be setting myself up for more of the same if I continued to interact with them in any way.

I feel, when this sort of thing happens, that I cannot trust them at all—in any area. The distrust I feel extends to the entire person and to everything they do and say.

I went on to write about how I could still love that person without being around them and without interacting with them much—if at all, and how that might be much more healthy than hanging around being jumpy about if I’d be betrayed again or not.

My friend was amused by my throw-the-baby-out-with-the-bath-water approach and proceeded to explain how wrong I was. He used the analogy of knowing he could trust his dog, because he knew her from years of experience. He also knew, he wrote, that if he gave his dog a cookie and asked her to take it over to his wife, that his dog would eat the cookie instead of taking it to his wife.

Therefore, he reasoned, he knew he could trust his dog, just not with cookies. So why was I so ready to throw away a person and their friendship just because they couldn’t be trusted with one thing?

I followed his logic and even felt a bit chastised and kind of ashamed of my ready willingness to be so “callous”—especially since it had been such a public discussion. I reexamined my own logic long and hard, trying to find a way to adopt his way of looking at the situation.

But I just couldn’t. It didn’t feel safe to me. To adopt his way of thinking felt like not taking care of myself. It felt like I was putting myself in possible harm’s way, like I was not standing my ground and maintaining my healthy boundaries.

I have discovered, though, in the intervening time—and after much research—that we were really having a conversation about how men’s and women’s brains function so very differently. We just weren’t aware we were having that conversation.

His explanation and how he classified the trust experience is a classic example of how men’s brains work. Men compartmentalize. Each subject/person/idea has its own separate “box/compartment” in his brain. Men’s brains are, for the most part, single-focused—while women’s brains are considered to be multi-focused.

I envy men this ability. I wish I could turn off all but one subject and focus exclusively on that one subject/idea. I also wish I could compartmentalize the way they do.

Instead, with my female brain, when one (even small) thing feels not right, then my whole world feels not right. That not-rightness extends into everything I do and feel and say, etc. It colors everything in my life/world.

Mark Gungor explains it well in his video about how women’s brains connect everything to everything else.

Because our brains connect everything, if one part of our life is not going well, we tend to connect that to everything else in our life and conclude that really nothing is going well.

To men, this often looks like drama. To women, this looks normal.

This is especially true of trust in relationships. Women are all about relationship—of all kinds. We value relationship above most everything else—with co-workers, friends, lovers, our children, the volunteer committees we’re a part of, our community, the world.

Just yesterday when a client read off her homework list to me in my office, this was once again brought to my attention. She is coming to me for relationship coaching and after listening to her go up and down and around and back again about what she did and didn’t and might want in a relationship last week, I gave her the task of making a list of what she wants in a man/relationship.

I told her to simply write everything down that came to mind. “Don’t worry if it doesn’t make sense, or contradicts itself,” I told her, “just write it all down. Let’s start there.”

After she read off her items, I brought it to her attention that she had several items on that list that all pointed to safety/certainty. Most women rank “comfort/certainty” as their number one priority in life and relationships when asked to take a look at Tony Robbins’ Six Human Needs list. She had written: He walks his talk, he’s trustworthy, honest—among others.

Gentlemen, to feel safe in the world and in a relationship, a woman needs to know she can trust you. When you don’t follow through and do what you told us you’d do, we begin to feel like we can’t trust you and that makes us feel unsafe in our relationship with you and unsafe in the world.

We begin to think things like, can I trust him at all—with anything? Simply because that is the way our brains work; we connect everything to everything else and begin to worry that we need to paint the whole picture of you with that same he-didn’t-do-what-he-said-he-would-do brush.

When I explained to my client that because of the difference in the way men’s and women’s brains work, “trustworthy” might not look the same to her as it does to a man, she was stunned. She had never considered this possibility.

Gentlemen, we know that you just spaced out what you told us. We know that you separate everything into “boxes” in your brain and consider one little forgotten promise to be just that: little.

We know your guy friends wouldn’t bat a proverbial eye at the same space-out, because they categorize everything too. We know they’d think just like my Facebook friend did: I just can’t trust him with cookies; they’d shrug and forget it.

We know you’re a good person; in fact, we love you. And then our brain circuitry takes over and starts making connections (true or not) and we begin to worry that we have chosen an untrustworthy man.

Oh my gawd, I’m in love with a man who cannot be trusted! And I have to make good decisions for myself in my life, I have to take of me, and I know I need to be in a relationship where there is trust, therefore, I am gonna have to leave this untrustworthy man!

Ladies: Stop. Breathe.

Before you throw out the man with the bath water, put on your man-cap for a minute or two and create a few compartments. Just because he spaced out one little thing, does not mean he is not worthy of your trust. Maybe he doesn’t even remember promising you that, because he was distracted when you asked him about it.

One, learn how to really get his attention. Two, maybe you can’t trust what he says about that one subject or in that one area of your relationship. Granted, you will have to designate the worth factor in that one area of your relationship.

But that doesn’t mean he is totally untrustworthy. That just means when he promises you something in or about that category, you know that may or may not happen. You teach yourself to mentally shrug, to let it go and not use it against him.

You love him, remember? Let him be human. Humans make mistakes.

I’m not talking about a man who continues to betray you and lie to you and/or cheat on you. I’m also not talking about compromising your values and putting up with abuse or neglect or anything else that is abhorrent. Those men are a totally different subject for another post.

I’m talking about the man you love and with whom you have an otherwise great relationship—a man who has proven you can trust him in every other category.

That (usually) trustworthy man loves you and is hardwired to make you happy and might have been so dazzled by your sweet smile, or distracted by the lights, the crowd, the noise, (his erection, your body, that beer he had, a work problem, etc.) that he just nodded and said yes. At the very least, give him the benefit of the proverbial doubt first.

Don’t punish him for the way his brain works.

And gentlemen, when we bring this mess of connecting thoughts and fears to you in our pain and confusion, and when we are so upset because we love you and can’t bear to think you might have lied to us and we’re thinking we might have to leave you (!), please don’t punish us for the way our brains work either.

A version also published at elephant journal.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

Grace is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Ft. Collins, CO, USA. She gracethanx2013.3sees clients and facilitates Divine Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women. She’s a flaming, Earth-loving, tree-hugging, save-the-bees, believes-in-faeries, bike-riding, card-carrying, spiritual but not religious, hippie cowgirl liberal poet therapist—yep, they do exist. You can find her creations here. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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How to Invite Your Man Back into Love—the Techniques.

DeathtosStockSerenity9Getting your man’s attention, even though he is probably going to initially be irritated, grumpy or impatient with you, takes courage—and practice.

In my last post, I discussed the timing of inviting your man back into love. In the post before that one, I wrote about some differences in men and women’s brains and why it’s important to offer your gift of love, why it’s important to invite your man back into his heart and belly—back into love.

In this post, we look at some specific techniques to get your man out of his head—out of his driven, focused, “work” mode—and into his heart and belly, where he can share in love , where he can get a break from the driven, obsessive energy of masculinity and where he can notice and appreciate your feminine energy.

Not for Sissies

Getting your man’s attention, even though he is probably going to initially be irritated, grumpy or impatient with you, takes courage—and practice.

I had difficulty doing this at first, and I continued to feel like I was failing at it until I mentioned that to my man. He expressed surprise that I would think that and then informed me that he thought I was great at it.

At first it felt foreign and weird, and I was sure he was going to be (and stay!) angry with me for interrupting him. But I approached it, as best I could, with a sense of experimentation just to see what would work and what wouldn’t.

The same way we ask men to be brave and withstand our emotions and just stand strong and firm for us even when we say we don’t want that? Well, be brave for your man and give him your feminine gift of bringing him back into his heart, back into intimacy with you—even when he shows irritation at you for doing so.

“Your feminine force of life is your unique gift to your man, and, deep down, it’s what he wants from you, regardless of his resistance.”
~David Deida

Firstly, Get into the Feminine

Important! To be perceived and received as the woman you really are, you will want to make sure, first, that you are in your soft, strong feminine energy. Otherwise, you risk becoming masculine and domineering in your endeavor, so that your request comes across as a nagging demand instead of an invitation.

“The feminine force is the force of life. Your happiness is the heart of this force. Give him happiness the way you want to. Kiss him, hug him, hold him, tell him you love him, tell him how good it is to see him. Do whatever expresses your happiness. He might scowl and mumble, “I don’t feel like it. I feel horrible.” Don’t absorb his masculine refusal of life and energy. Transform the moment, literally, into a garden of life: music, loving affection, food and light. All of it is just an expression of your radiant happiness.” ~ David Deida

Femininity is about the body and the senses. Focus on your breath, and let it come from deep in your belly; feel yourself fully in your body—warm, soft. Imagine how inviting he will find you when you are soft and feminine and warm—think of how strong and powerful that makes you.

Be kind.

“Be mature. Be kind. Be honorable. You will never regret taking the high road no matter what happens.”
~Steve Horsmon

Speak in man. Keep it brief and to the point and use words that have meaning to him. For example, words like “help” call a man to action and therefore get his attention and get him instantly ready to assist you. Try something like, “Baby, would you be so kind as to help me with something when you get a minute or two?”

My Favorite Method for the Public Interruption

As I approach him, I focus on why I am doing this and what I want to convey.

For example, I might want to give him a break from work (men will continue to work in their minds even if they’re not working physically or at a desk). I love him and want to connect with him. I want him to feel how much I love him. I know he’s stressed, and I want to let him know I’m supporting him, that I’m here for him. I have important information I know he will want to hear, etc.

“The highest form of feminine radiance is love, which can be expressed in many ways. Men feed on this radiance. This love heals their hearts. When they receive it, men feel, Yes! This is the woman I want to be with!” ~David Deida

Get him into his love room/box. And to get him there takes a second or two—or more. Extend to him the respect of knowing that’s just how his brain works and be patient.

Touch him—gently, softly—and with power. Keep your voice soft and low—smile. Look at his eyes and wait for him to make eye contact. Keep smiling genuinely. Think of how much you love him and respect him, how proud you are of him, and let that come through your eyes and voice.

I like to bodily move in front of him and put my palm flat against the middle of his chest and make eye contact. I lean into him a bit. Smile. Wait to get his eyes and attention. Wait past his irritation, the impatience—I don’t take it personally (anymore). I continue to smile.

When he withdraws his attention from everything else and gives it to me, I so appreciate it, so I try to convey that appreciation—sometimes in words or maybe just with my gaze.

Once you have his full attention, tell him what you need to say—whether it’s something important, “Baby, check your zipper,” or something ‘trivial’ like, “You look really hot in that shirt. Wow, you are so handsome,” followed, perhaps, by a quick kiss.

Then back off and go your way. This entire exchange should never take more than ten seconds.

He may smile; he may engage you in conversation and want more of your attention; he may follow you and offer affection. He might give you a kiss in return. He may go back to his work. In any case, you have done your job. You have connected with him.

That was an invitation back into love.

If he paused and made genuine eye contact and acknowledged you—either in words or facial expression, and especially if he offered love back to you in the form of words, a smile and/or physical affection, a kiss, etc., then he accepted your invitation—and you can consider yourself successful.

If I need more of his time and attention, or if more information needs to be exchanged, I do all of the above and then say something like, “Sweetie, when you get a minute, can I get your help with something?” And by “help,” I mean: I need your help getting you this information.

And remember, when you’re in a public setting, there may be lots going on. It could be really difficult for him to shift focus, so be patient and kind.

From a Man’s Perspective

I asked Steve Horsmon, life and relationship coach, to send me his favorites. Here’s his top 10 list.

1. The head scratch and the “I’m so glad you’re my man,” comment in Married Man’s Tears makes men weep with feelings of being loved and accepted. That can be used almost anywhere.

2. Playfulness is key. Giggling at us/because of us. Teasing, poking, wrestling. Mock domination—up against the wall—quick flash of eye contact and a kiss. Nothing feels so great as being pursued and desired.

3. Mystery. “Hey, when you’re done with what you’re doing, meet me on the patio for a surprise.” (have some wine, cheese, crackers, whatever)

4. Playfully grab our belts right in front where the buckle is, letting your fingers slide down behind the belt, against the belly, make eye contact, lean in where only we can hear you with a, “Hey, I missed you today. Want to hook up later—after the kids go to bed?” with a wicked smile and a quick, but suggestive, kiss.

5. Men (and women) both love someone stirring “erotic energy” in the relationship. This includes mystery, adventure, danger, sensual touch, dirty talk, tension, distance, aggression, risk, competition, etc. Men love to be yanked by surprise out of their mind and into their heart with erotic energy. Not necessarily sex—just light, fun, tantalizing erotic energy.

6. Competition. “Hey, I bet I can hit that sign with a rock before you!” or “I bet I can walk on this rail farther than you,” or whatever. Playful, physical competition stirs us into our body and heart.

7. Handling conflict well. “Well sir, I tend to totally disagree with your opinion but I understand where you’re coming from. You’re kind of hot when you’re bullheaded, ya know?”

8. Not talking when we drive…or at most, “Gee, the chrome plating on that bumper looks a little pitted, don’t ya think?” (with a friendly squeeze on the back of the neck)

9. Purposely using the words hard, wet, slippery, slide, pump, pound, mount, kiss, lick, shoot, explode or turgid in totally “innocent” conversation.

10. See #9. 🙂

What are your faves?

Now that you’ve got his attention and focus, how do you communicate with a man most effectively? We’ll cover some of those ideas in my next post.

Also published at elephant journal.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

Steve Horsmon is a Certified Professional Life and Relationship Coach and foundesteve horsmon photor of Good Guys 2 Great Men. With a long corporate career in leadership and organizational training and development, Steve is a lifelong student and “passionate pursuer” of the communication and personal development skills required for healthy and satisfying relationships. You can connect with him via Facebook too.

Grace is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Ft. Collins, CO, USA. She gracethanx2013.3sees clients and facilitates Divine Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women. She’s a flaming, Earth-loving, tree-hugging, save-the-bees, believes-in-faeries, bike-riding, card-carrying, spiritual but not religious, hippie cowgirl liberal poet therapist—yep, they do exist. You can find her creations here. You can also connect with her on Twitter.

How Men and Women Do Relationships Differently.

DeathtoStock_Medium6

Women’s brains connect everything to everything—and we can’t help but throw emotions into the mix at all times too.

In her book, What Women want Men to Know, Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D. talks about an analogy that she uses to educate couples about how men and women function in relationships.

She pretty much sums up the difference between men’s and women’s brains and how they function, although that is not specifically how she presents it.

“Imagine a man’s consciousness and a woman’s consciousness are like houses, with different rooms for the different areas our mind focuses on in our life—a “work” room; a “body” room; a “recreation” room; etc. For most women, every room in the house of her consciousness is also a Love Room, even when it is dedicated to other functions. It’s as if all the space in the house of her consciousness is used for love. It’s a Love House!

“For men, however, there is only one Love Room in the house of their mind. Therefore, if the man wants to put his focus on love and the relationship, he consciously has to leave the other rooms and go to the Love Room.”
~Barbara DeAngelis

She says women put love first—not by choice; it just happens. Even though she doesn’t say it directly, she is referring to the way a woman’s brain functions vs. the way a man’s brain functions.

Mark Gungor goes further, explaining the differences between the physiology of men’s and women’s brains. He explains that women, if we borrow Barbara’s analogy, wouldn’t even have rooms in their mind house. It would be one big open floor plan of a house, where the entire thing is permeated by love and emotions.

Women’s brains connect everything to everything—and we can’t help but throw emotions into the mix at all times too—explaining why we women can remember everything (it’s the emotional charge on a memory that makes that memory stand out among others).

This is also why when one thing in our life isn’t going well or is bothering us, our whole world is affected by it. We cannot keep it separate from everything else in our lives.

While men, on the other proverbial hand, have brains that separate everything into boxes/rooms. And, he points out with much humor, none of the boxes are allowed to touch each other—meaning a man has the luxury of being able to concentrate on only one thing at a time.

Barbara goes on to explain the challenges this can present between men and women when she talks about women (who are essentially always in their love room) lovingly and romantically approaching their man, only to find that he is not, at that moment, in his love room.

He can react, therefore, to the woman’s approach, with confusion, irritation, anger, by seeming to pull away, etc.

This is usually when the woman will get hurt. We feel him not acknowledging, and pulling away from, our attempt at love/romance. We feel and see his reaction to our extension of love, and we take it personally.

In a reactive state to his pulling away, we pull away from our man, which he, in turn, does not understand, because in his own way of thinking, he didn’t consciously pull away from us. In this way, a barrier has been created between us and our man.

A very common, vicious cycle gets put into motion that neither really understands and that we usually don’t even know how to begin to talk about to gain clarity, because most folks, unfortunately, don’t know the differences in men’s and women’s brains and how they function.

Barbara coaches couples, at that point, to realize that the man is not in his love room, to acknowledge it out loud, and move on.

And while I can agree with her analysis and explanation, I think there’s more to be done with this knowledge other than just waiting until he gets into his love room.

In fact, I think it is our job, as women, functioning from a feminine perspective, to lovingly lead him—and at the appropriate time—a` la David Deida, into his love box/room.

First of all, ladies, do not take your man’s reaction personally. And even as I say that, if you are in your feminine energy at that time, I know you probably will—because you are a woman and any time your man pulls away or seems distant, you will react with pain and be hurt. That is just what the feminine does.

” A man’s safety is in production. A woman’s safety is in connection.”
~Alison Armstrong

Feminine energy is about love and connection. When we feel our man’s attention shift away from us—when he suddenly leaves his love box/room and enters another one, we feel it. It may hurt.

“If you’re with a woman and you suddenly turn away and begin to work, she feels it in her body. She feels your attention moving away from her. She feels hurt.”
~ David Deida

This is just the dynamics of the feminine/masculine interplay. So as I say “don’t take it personally,” what I really mean is educate yourself as to what may happen when you approach him with love and he is not in his love box/room and know that you may feel hurt when he turns away from you or seems to “ignore” you.

The remedy? Education. Educate your man as to what is going on in this type of exchange. And then educate yourself.

Know the way a man’s brain works, be ready with that knowledge and also be armed with what to say and do to avoid the, above, vicious cycle.

Does this mean you will never take it personally and it will never hurt? No. Sometimes I feel I fail miserably at this—mostly because of it’s newness to me. I usually don’t feel brave enough to do this as fully and confidently as I would like. But I keep trying and hope to one day master it.

He is not necessarily pushing you, your love and romance away from him. He is, rather, so focused on whatever box/room he is in at that time in his mind (remember, men’s brains focus on one thing at a time), that when you touch him or talk to him, he has to come from far away to find you.

He has to close that box in his mind in which he is currently. He has to make himself look at you and then listen to you and probably needs your comment/question repeated, because he was closing the former box while you were speaking.

Then he has to find the box you are trying to get him in and open it and get in that box in his mind.

All of that takes time. All of that takes his focus. And you can imagine how distracting and annoying that would be to him—especially when he’s working and in focused, driven, production mode (which is so very important to the masculine).

It’s no wonder he’s annoyed and angry when we interrupt him.

Some Differences between Masculine and Feminine Energy

What Mark and Barbara don’t talk about is what David Deida and Rachel Jayne Groover do talk about. They write about masculine and feminine gifts that we give each other—both consciously and not.

Masculine energy is focused and driven; it can be restless even, because it wants to be doing something, making things happen, driving toward a goal. Masculine energy is mostly in the head and unemotional; it is mostly predictable and straightforward.

Feminine energy is soft and emotional, allowing, flowing and flexible—full of the senses and the body. It is unpredictable, wild and anything but straightforward. Feminine energy is about creating, maintaining and improving connections and relationships.

Everyone has both energies inside him or her. And the gender of the physical body really does not dictate which energy is dominant in that body. Some folks walk around in a feminine body and operate most of the time from their masculine energy and vice versa. Some readily switch back and forth throughout the day and their lives, depending.

Each needs the other. Just like the yin-yang relationship, one cannot exist without the other. Neither is better or worse than the other. They just both exist.

The feminine needs the groundedness and stability of the masculine, and the masculine needs the flow, emotions and flexibility of the feminine.

The most important thing to remember about them is this: They will always polarize each other. Wherever you are on the spectrum from masculine to feminine, you will always attract the polar opposite.

There are reasons the Masculine and Feminine are constantly balancing, gifting and polarizing each other. Like the poles on a magnet, like repels like and opposite poles attract.

So we could effectively drop gender at this point and just begin talking about masculine and feminine energy, because no matter the body, the rules apply to the energy.

Giving the Gift of Feminine Energy

The exchange of gifts of energy happens automatically on a subconscious level, but it is also important to realize the importance of a conscious, chosen exchange.

Without feminine energy to occasionally extend the invitation back into love, bring him back down into his heart and belly, masculine energy will take over and become obsessive and too focused and driven.

He will become stiff, automated and will always be operating from a mind/head/thoughts perspective.

Without masculine energy to occasionally extend the invitation back to Earth, and bring her back up into her head, feminine energy will take over and become too “out there” and flaky, and she will be too unfocused and be unable to complete tasks and get the business of life completed.

She will become too wishy-washy, unable to make decisions and have difficulty in this very masculine-based world.

Look for the next post where we will explore some tried and true, specific methods for inviting him back into love with your femininity, as well as other details.

Photo courtesy of Death to the Stock Photo.

Also published at elephant journal.

Men Pretend to be Vulnerable

First published at elephant journal as What if He is More Vulnerable and Feminine than I am?

Many men pretend to be vulnerable so that we women don’t kick the emotional shit out of them, according to research by Brene Brown.

couple-stoneI brought this topic up in my last women’s group.

Men repeatedly told Brene in interviews that their women couldn’t handle their true, deep vulnerability. So they pretend to be vulnerable and only tell us what they think we can handle. My first thought was: how masculine of them—how very chivalrous and protective.

My second thought was the same one Brene had: Oh my gawd, I am the patriarchy, the oppressor.

We ask, even beg, men to tell us what’s going on inside, what they’re feeling, what emotions they are experiencing. “Please let me in,” we demand of them. We get upset when they won’t share with us.

But according to her research, when men do share the real emotions, the real pain, doubts and fears, we women very often can’t handle it—and men know this.

I related to my group the story of how it showed up in Brene’s life. She came home and saw that her husband was upset about some extended family issues. She immediately got angry and wanted to pick a fight with him. 1stphone6

Instead, and because she had done so much research about this very thing, she pretended she was in a movie taking direction, playing a character that knew how to handle that sort of situation without anger.

As a woman, I value safety over almost everything else. When a man admits to me that he is hurting, he’s sad and afraid, it scares me; I begin to lose my sense of safety in the relationship.

Because who’s in charge if he isn’t? He is the Masculine, the directed, focused, goal-oriented part of the relationship that normally keeps us on track.

I am not much of a picker of fights anymore, myself. I have learned to remember, and stick to, my third rule: when angry, don’t say anything. Tell the other person I am angry but need to cool down. Excuse myself. Wait until the anger subsides. Really think about what I want to say. Write it down—even practice saying it out loud.

coupleThen, and only bloody then, do I confront the other person. It might take minutes. Sometimes it takes days, weeks, months; it depends on the issue.

Anger is very often fueled by fear.

I do experience the anger Brene spoke of, though. It shows up for me as a kind of irritated impatience. Instead of hearing my man, I find myself listening to the questions in my own mind, “Why can’t you just man up and deal with this? Why are you telling me this?”

I try and drown out not only what he is saying, but also the fear it brings up in me.

I suggested to the group that they take a serious look at their own reaction in that type of situation. Do they close off? Do they go into anger, impatience and fear? How do they talk to their men at that point? Or, like me, do they run from it?

I know I want the men in my life to keep their hearts and ears open when I am expressing those vulnerable secrets I carry in here bumping around and bruising me from the inside—those very real-to-me, scary thoughts that I’m not enough, that there’s something so flawed in me that if anyone knew about that, they couldn’t possibly love me.

So it has become important for me to make sure I am doing the same for him—for all the men in my life—even if I must, like Brene, pretend I know what I’m doing until, hopefully, one day I really will. statue couple

That’s when one of the women asked me, “But what if all he ever expresses is vulnerability? I feel like I am always supporting him by listening to his fear and uncertainty. I don’t want to always be in that role. I feel like I always have to be the strong one in the relationship. Sometimes I really need him to Masculine-up and support me in my vulnerability.”

I admitted I didn’t know the complete answer to that question.

I probably told her to call Steve Horsmon, my go-to relationship coach to whom I send clients. That is usually my answer to questions of this ilk.

And seeing as how I want (and need!) the answer also, I contacted Steve and asked him if he would be so kind as to answer that question right here in this post.

Steve answers:

Many of the men I work with are working hard to step-up and provide a more positive, supportive and leading role in their relationships. One of their biggest complaints when they begin providing this energy is that their partner pushes back immediately.

They will say, “I want to be stronger and to support her, but she won’t let me. It’s like she wants it but doesn’t trust me when I try, so I just give up.”

Some women make the mistake of adopting the “strong one” role just because he isn’t doing it. They value their persona of the competent caretaker above all else. Their M.O. is to give, guide, organize, and lead their way to feeling in control of their life. couple holding hands

And they quietly stew in resentment for not getting more leadership and support from their partner. Receiving, accepting, allowing and following are very scary for these women.

But the only way to inspire a man to step into a stronger role is to consciously make room for him to do so.

Making room for him is very different than trying to change him. Making room for him and inspiring him to move into a stronger, more masculine role means you must outwardly and deliberately appreciate his masculinity.

The best way to do this is to get out of your own masculine energy. When you give a man sincere, feminine approval and praise for his unique strengths and ability to make you feel cared for and protected, you can inspire his confidence and willingness to do just that.

Affectionately invite him to liscam1sten to your feelings. Ask him to hold you tight. Tell him how his arms make you feel. Intentionally “soften” into his masculine energy and consistently help him feel safe in giving you this gift.

When a woman consciously allows her man to be more assertive and to be a source of comfort for her, he can more confidently ease into his masculine energy and will find out how much he likes being there for—himself and for her.

A woman’s power to inspire this in a man through her words and her touch is phenomenal.

This legendary form of feminine leadership is a critical component of a healthy relationship and a key skill in all aspects of a woman’s life.

 

Steve Horsmon is a Certified Professional Life and Relationship Coach and founder osteve horsmon photof Good Guys 2 Great Men. With a long corporate career in leadership and organizational training and development, Steve is a lifelong student and “passionate pursuer” of the communication and personal development skills required for healthy and satisfying relationships. You can connect with him via Facebook too.

Grace is a Certified Hypnotherapist and Registered Psychotherapist in Ft. Collins, CO, USA. She sees clients and facilitates Divine gracethanx2013.3Feminine Hypnotherapy workshops for women. She’s a flaming, Earth-loving, tree-hugging, save-the-Planet, believes-in-faeries, bike-riding, card-carrying, spiritual but not religious, hippie cowgirl liberal poet—yep, they do exist. You can find her blog here and her creations here. You can also connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

everyday karma at Everyday Joe’s Coffee House

Also published at elephant journal as The Karma Cafe

I continue to listen to him, but mostly I am just letting his voice soothe me.

We talk, and I watch him from across the table—but mostly I feel the energy coming off him, out of him. I know him as a very authentic person—have known him for some time now. He is calm and not about the drama, but the more he talks, the more I can feel the slow, small everydayjoes1twist of the hurricane he carries inside his chest. And I am so glad not to be a part of that, selfishly glad not to be in his shoes. I can hear those waves crashing from all the way over here on my side of the table. When he speaks, I love the heavy, watery weight of his voice, his laugh even more so: deep and gravely and calm. I ride the waves of his voice, and willingly let that undertow pull me down and under. From somewhere deep inside of myself, I sit and listen.

He talks of the books he’s read to help explain his situation. He thinks he must somehow ‘ride it out,’ ‘see what lies beyond this,’ ‘pass this test.’ He keeps pulling all those platitude cards out of his deck and placing them on the table; he talks a nice talk.

Maybe it helps him—him thinking he is actually accomplishing something. I can feel him wanting to stay in integrity, wanting to do not only what is correct but also what is right. But it spins slowly, and as I move away from the eye of his hurricane, it begins to get sloppy. This place of heaviness is home to him now. I can sense the thick brownness of it, how it feels congested, unhappy and weighty and sad. Still, he is calm. I can also feel the uncertainty there that has become his certainty. This is his way of living now, but I know it has not always been so. He has let it become his obligation, his world. karma1

I don’t feel sorry for him; he has choices, and he decided somewhere along the way to take this on. Mostly, it feels heavy. It feels like a burden he picked up or that maybe built up slowly over time. And now he doesn’t quite know how to put it down, doesn’t know if he wants to. It might seem unnatural to be without it now. I feel, behind his words, a question; he’s wondering if there is a resolution, a completion to be peacefully navigated.

It feels a bit surreal and out of sync—like that dream that wakes you before the end. And you wonder if that was the dream or if, like an unfinished movie, it is continuing to play somewhere and you just woke up too soon—before the end.

beancycle4Karma is like that. I burn mine until it’s gone, but there seldom seems to be a real conclusion. I’m always waiting for the cosmic credits to roll, to clue me that it’s over. I don’t recognize the end because I’m usually too busy wondering what happened. Where did I go wrong this time? My mind stumbles around, shell-shocked, glassy-eyed, mumbling to itself, trying to find solid ground again. But nothing ever really can go ‘wrong’. It goes according to the karmic plan. That’s how karma works.

My karma is like low-budget, artistic, independent foreign films that end abruptly and weirdly, leaving a strange, unsettled taste in my mind’s mouth.

So I continue to listen to him, but mostly I am just letting his voice cradle and soothe me. At 1stphone2one point he asks for my advice, and I reluctantly bring my mind back to the table, pause too long for social propriety (because I don’t know quite what to say), and finally try this, calmly:  “I cannot give you an unbiased opinion …” At which pause, and with perfect comedic timing, he interrupts and says, “I don’t want your unbiased opinion. I want you to be on my side!”

We laugh a few bars, and in some back room of my mind, I use those precious seconds to scrape together the cokarma7urage to start again, “I can’t give you an unbiased opinion on what to do with your insecure, controlling girlfriend, who is making you very unhappy, because … I am too attracted to you.”

And everything stops.

And we stare at each other.

Across the table.

Over the coffee cups.

His eyes become watery—and with that, mine want to also, so I let them. “Me too,” he says.

Careful, this is what happens, Mr. MW, when you know/love a writer. 🙂

the first phone conversation, or the fine art of penis thrusting

In which I continue to reveal what I learned from a dating website scam

The First Phone Conversation

The first thing that was obvious was his very thick accent. He had already told me, via the dating site, that he was originally from Poland (and yes, this sparked some suspicion). The accent was so thick, in fact, that I had a horrible time understanding him. Which made me want to giggle, 1stphone3both because I was so bloody nervous and also because that was a classic situation, right? You know how when you are talking to someone that, for whatever reason, you can’t understand, and you’ve asked “what?” and “say again, please” and “excuse me?” so may times that it becomes embarrassing and you just end up saying nothing, smiling and nodding knowingly? Only there was no way that would work, because it was a GD phone conversation. Gawd! What to do?! And besides the accent, he was mumbling. I kept wanting to tell him to speak up, but resisted the urge. Instead, I muddled through as best I could and tried to be polite.

“How was your day?”—finally! Something I could understand!

“Well, I was pretty nervous all day, knowing you were gonna call, so I had a good, but nervous, day, I guess.” I laughed at the memory of my day, making fun of myself. He laughed gently too, which scored him some points in my book—both the laughter and the gentle part.

I had been alone in the small office where I work downtown, which happens sometimes and which I like, being the introvert that I am. I get my work done much more easily when no one is around. I like being alone much of the time. (Okay, don’t even get me started on that conversation. The one about why, if I love being alone so much, I’m on a dating website.)

I love being alone because I can be myself, which, especially at my no-longer-a-Spring-chicken age, is often just down right goofy. I have a lot of fun. I laugh at myself out loud—at my own wacky, creative thoughts, w??????????hen I mistype on the keyboard and type some crazy, significant, subconscious, synchronistic thing. When the solution to some long-standing problem suddenly pops into being inside my universe and it was so GD obvious, but I couldn’t see it until now. When I’m typing a word at the same time a song I’ve never heard is saying that same word, etc.

I also cry a lot when I’m alone—with joy, with sorrow, with whatever is happening around and inside me at that moment. Being alone gives me the freedom to live right in the present moment and be able to react to it and experience it out loud.

One minute I’d be laughing at myself, the next minute I’d sit and make myself breathe deliberately and calm myself for a few seconds. Then I’d think of his promise to call later and jump up, yelling obscenities, and laugh, “Oh my gawd, what am I doing?! He is actually gonna call me today! And what the hell are we gonna talk about, anyway?!” At which point I would make a flustered mental note to get back online to the dating site before the call and check out his profile again to see what common interests we had so that I could make notes and use them during the call.

“Oh my gawd, what are you doing, Gracie!?” was the theme of that day, and I laughed at myself each time, knowing this was exactly what I wanted and had asked the Universe for. “So just buck up, my dear Gracie, and do it,” I told myself repeatedly, loving and hating, at the very same time, that nervous, anticipatory stomach flutter.

I kept the phone close to me when I got home, not wanting to miss his call. I changed clothes, ate something and began checking emails, as usual. A friend who was aware of my Divine Feminine (DF) journey had sent me a link to a blog post by a woman who was explaining—in 1stphone4hilarious and all too-familiar detail—why she couldn’t fuck spiritual guys—or rather, she explained, why they couldn’t fuck her. I recognized almost every man I had ever been with in that post. I clicked around her blog and was totally groovin’ on it so that when the phone rang, I was reading an awesome—and extremely well detailed—post directed at men about penis thrusting techniques during sex. 1stphone5

“Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit! Oh shit!” as I fumbled the phone a few times and dropped it on the bed where I was sitting with my laptop. I finally got it answered and to my ear. I glanced at the laptop screen and, oh shit!, slammed it shut and tried to focus on the call.

“Crap, how bloody desperate do I look?” I thought, sitting here alone getting horny reading a blog about thrusting techniques. (Although in my defense and to be fair to her, it was a great post, was right on, and everyone really does need to know these things. I had been thinking how I totally agreed with everything she was saying and wishing I could send this link to everyone everywhere without it seeming too weird. Plus it had some super hot photos to go with it.)

When I first got on the dating website and men were requesting I talk to them, I nervously admitted to my friend Jo that I didn’t know if I could do this or not. And I meant do it differently than I used to. She had been privy to my DF journey, to my realization that I wasn’t happy with my life and then to the decision to change that. The last two years had been filled with learning,  1stphone2practicing, relearning, research, practice, tears, laughter, practice, be around men, practice, be a vessel of praise for the masculine, practice, allow, change my energy from defensive and combative and masculine (practice) to allowing and feminine—still powerful, but now open too, and practice.

Did I mention the practice thing?

She watched me struggle, cheered me on when I got stuck or angry or depressed. So at some point, one day when she was at my house, I clicked on the dating site and showed her the three bachelors. That one, she pointed at Bachelor number two, confirming my own feelings about the three main choices.

So here I was, sitting on my bed in sock feet, fumbling the phone, trying to decipher the thick (and quickly becoming, sexy) accent of a possible gentlemen suitor, having just closed the laptop on a blog about sexual thrusting techniques. So when he asked quite innocently, and really, the perfectly good getting-to-know-you, conversation-generating question of, “What were you doing when I called?” I had to roll my eyes.

ilovelucyThat was a perfect example of my life. It generates endless opportunities for me to laugh at myself. Most days I feel like I am living in an episode of I Love Lucy.

“Fuck me, how am I gonna get out of this?!” was my instant, panicked thought. It should be known right here that I am a sucky liar. It is not that I lack imagination; I have plenty of imagination—I’m an artist. I just can’t pull it off. I feel guilty, and it is always obvious.

And, I am no prude when it comes to love and sex. In fact, in my exploration of the DF/DM polarities, I had made a point to study everything I could that was related to sex and relationships.

As a Hypnotherapist and months ago, I had even begun facilitating workshops based on the information I had uncovered. I knew it would propel my own DF journey swiftly forward to be surrounded by women doing the same thing. But Bachelor number two didn’t know any of this 1stphone1about me, and I reasoned that the first conversation with someone is probably not the best time to dump all this info on him. And being an introvert doesn’t necessarily mean I’m shy. I am not shy. I can talk to just about anyone about just about anything—including sexual thrusting techniques.

But the fact that this was the first time I’d ever talked to him and that I’d met him on a dating website to begin with and because it was just too much of a cliche’ that a no-longer-a-Spring-chicken woman who already had those two things happening in her life right now, at this very moment, was on what anyone (admit it, you’re thinking it too) would call a “soft porn” (and totally awesome!) blog site at the time of his first call, was just too much—even for me.

I tried to lie. I really dchurch of the dogid try. I have dozens of books on my bedside table—To Kill a Mocking Bird; The Secret Life of Bees; The Green Pharmacy; Eat, Pray, Love; Bach Flower Remedies; The Portable Walt Whitman; Church of the Dog; Hold on to Your N.U.T.s; the list could go on—all in varying categories of having been read, reread, skimmed, dog-eared, underlined, underlined with notes, etc. I could have been reading when the phone rang.

I could have said I had been reading poetry—ee cummings, perhaps; he’s there too. I even have several movies on that same nightstand. I could have been watching Eat, Pray, Love for the thousandth time, You’ve Got Mail, Practical Magic. I tried to come up with something pithy and funny that would be distracting and amusing (at which I am usually very good)—something to change the subject.

Instead, what came out of my mouth, in my usual just-spill-your-guts fashion was, “Okay, I’m busted,” as calmly as possible and in a I’m-busted tone of voice, “I was looking at a blog post about…” my mind in its nervous state was still valiantly trying to save the situation, “…sex,”—and failing. Okay, so I’d managed to save a bit of face there, though, because I hadn’t mentioned the whole “thrusting techniques” thing. Good job, brain! Even for that little bit of a reprieve, I was relieved and happy. But still…

To my extreme relief, and after a too-long-for-my-comfort pause, I heard laughter hit my ear—loud and plenty of it. At some point in there, I joined him, because that’s what I’d wanted to do in the first place anyway. And that’s what I’d have done if I’d been alone with the situation. In that laughter, I felt a bond forming between us, uniting us—because he understood why that was so funny—and so ridiculously human and real.

His laughter finally slowed to a chuckle, “I like that you are so honest with me,” that sexy accent thing again. To which I could only answer with another eye roll, “Yes, I am honest.”

He had no idea about my type of honesty—the type that when someone asks, “What are you thinking about?” I just start in and really tell them. I liken it to mentally/emotionally/verbally throwing up on people. And to be clear, I am always kind in my verbal throwing up. I’m not the type to say things that might be hurtful. In fact, when I know I’ve got to have that type of 1stphone6conversation, I revert to Rule #3: Don’t throw up on them. Don’t say anything until you’ve thought about it very carefully, Gracie, to find a way to say it kindly, calmly and in an adult, assertive but not aggressive, way. I am so careful about that.

So I added, “But I’m always kind in my honesty.” And then silently cringed because as that was spilling out of my big mouth, I remembered one of his emails where he’d said he was looking for a woman who was gentle and kind. So now it was sounding like I was trying to tick off all the items on his “perfect woman” list. And gawd damn it! I’d forgotten to get back online before this call to see what our mutual interests were and make that list, anyway!

Message from me to him via the dating site after our call

May 30th
Hi Michael,
Thanks for the phone call. It was enjoyable talking to you. Here is my email address.

where I offer my gratitude to men and the Masculine

I am opening such powerful, beautiful, sacred doors in myself. I am working hard. Looking at things in myself that used to define me. I am changing a lot of things about me and my life.

sad-man-silhouette-on-benchAnd I really want to thank men, the Masculine, for your patience and strength – patience with your women, with me, the Feminine process, etc. and the strength to endure it. B/c that patience and strength means everything to me, as a woman. My women friends and I often talk about how frustrating it must be for you to watch us processing, growing into ourselves, knowing you can’t really help us in any way except to just be there for us. We talk of wanting to make it easier somehow – for you and for us, but how we just can not grow in any other way – it is part of who we are as women. Your patience while we figure it out for ourselves is so very precious to us.

As women on our path to embrace the Divine Feminine, when we have been masculine all our lives as protection, when that masculinity insured our survival, sometimes literally – both mentally and physically, it can be so very difficult to surrender and let the masculine way of doing things go. It may be just a habit now instead of a survival technique, but it is, nonetheless, hard-wired into us. When we come to realize that instant rejection of any masculine gift offered to us is an automatic, defensive response – and we begin to look at changing it – it can send us into the proverbial tailspin.bigstock-helping-hand-18402752

When we do let go and give that up and give that role back to men and begin to look for other ways to be, it is so very scary. And sometimes that fear is so great that we feel stuck – like we are in limbo, waiting. B/c who am I now if I give something up I’ve done all my life? What defines me now? Where do I fit in? What is my role now, what does that look like, and how do I figure that out and BE that? What is the definition of a “strong woman”? Can I figure out what that means for me and then live that?

There is also, many times, that period of morning/grief that can happen when we let go of what has been, what we were comfortable with, and venture into the unknown. We mourn the loss of comfort, the familiar, even though it may have been stifling us and holding us back.

heart openingSo the patience and strength part, the part where you, in your firm Masculine energy, just step up and hold us – you are just here for us as we figure all this out for ourselves – without pressure – that is such an amazing, life-giving, loving gift.

Thank you.