It took me years to learn how to be present with the full range of my woman’s emotions. It’s still difficult at times. It’s something that never feels any easier, no matter how skillful I become at showing up to those moments.
I’m not just talking about the occasional outburst of anger, upset, or criticism. I’m talking about being present with those deep wounds, those heavy sadnesses, that feel as if they have no end. I’m talking about becoming masterful in one’s relationship to the feminine heart—a sensitivity to life that tends to perplex and overwhelm the masculine psyche.
These are the moments that make or break our relationships.
There are 4 masculine archetypes that commonly show up in these situations. The first three tend to get even the most well-intentioned men in trouble. The fourth has the potential to resolve the conflict while simultaneously amplifying intimate attraction. 1. ENTER THE TOUGH GUY
The harsh, rigid asshole within every man has little capacity for his woman’s emotional fullness. He operates on a zero tolerance policy. At best, he will look like a stone wall. His strategy is to completely shutdown, deny or reject whatever his partner is throwing at him. He will go to great lengths to make her feel irrational, illogical, even crazy—desperate to convince her that she is “too much.” At worst, he will manifest as a violent storm—fighting fire with fire—doing anything he can to bring the emotional discord to an abrupt end, even if that means causing harm or leaving all together.
As insane as this may sound, many men and women tend to confuse this archetype for a strong “alpha” male. When, in fact, this behavior is nothing more than an expression of fear. Make no mistake about it, his facade of strength is a desperate attempt to protect himself from something that is far beyond his own emotional intelligence. For the Tough Guy, outside of the bedroom, virtually any level of authentic feminine expression is too much for him to handle. He has no capacity for love, relationships, or emotional life. Not just his woman’s emotions, but even his own, represent all that threaten the delicate illusion of “peacefulness” in his life. This small, terrified part within himself believes it is fighting for its very survival at every turn. And it is. If a man is serious about experiencing authentic connection in his lifetime, this part of himself must die—and no one can kill it but him. 2. ENTER MR. FIX IT
With some cultivation, men develop the capacity to no longer react with anger, but instead respond with the part of themselves that loves “fixing problems.” The “problem” in this case being his woman’s emotions. I call this guy Mr. Fix It. He wants to know what the problem is and how he can solve it, as fast as possible. His objective is to bring the emotional disturbance to a swift and victorious end. He expects, even demands, that everyone should be “happy” all the time. And if you’re not, he’s got the solution.
While it’s an improvement from the Tough Guy, his every attempt to “fix” is fully loaded with the presupposition that his woman’s emotions are a problem to be solved. Even though he may have the best of intentions, constantly being on the receiving end of his fixing can’t help but make one feel as though, “I must be broken.” Where the Tough Guy fuels the fire of women feeling they are “too much,” Mr. Fix It has a way of subtly suggesting they’re “not enough.” So if he is serious about finding true happiness in his love relationships, evolution beyond this point is required. 3. ENTER MR. EMOTIONAL
With further cultivation, men begin softening their hearts and developing the ability to feel their partners with greater sensitivity. They discover the place within themselves that is capable of empathizing with their woman’s emotions. They develop the ability to restrain their tendencies to react or fix, and offer themselves as nonthreatening as possible. They become the nurturer, providing a kind of tenderness that is a salve to the wounds of a woman’s broken heart. And yet, while it feels loving, something still feels off.
There are certainly times when this type of emotional sensitivity can be a beautiful gift, particularly when it’s offered to a close friend, a family member, or even a complete stranger. But at a certain point, for many women, when it’s coming from their (current or potential) intimate partner, attraction either never develops or begins to fade quickly in the presence of this archetype.
She may feel seen. She may feel heard. She may even feel loved. But he feels so soft, so sensitive, she cannot help but think to herself, “Can I really trust this man to be the banks to my river? Can I trust him to be strong when I am not? Can I trust him to protect me? Can I trust him to take care of me and my children? Can I trust he won’t be thrown off course, drift into doubt, or lose his center of gravity?” Mr. Emotional can be a lifesaver to a best friend’s broken heart. But when it comes to developing a deeply passionate love relationship built on trust and authentic sexual surrender, a new orientation towards life and relationship must be developed. 4. ENTER EQUANIMITY
As men journey further into the depth of their masculine core, their ability to love others evolves beyond all personal strategies for “getting what they want.” They no longer see their partner’s emotions as a problem to be solved. And they see clearly how being sensitive is crucial, but how softening themselves is not the deepest gift they can offer the ones they love.
The man of consciousness cultivates the capacity to be completely equanimous in the midst of his woman’s fullness. He allows her sadness, her tears, her pain to penetrate every cell of his body—feeling Her fully—letting her emotions wash through him like a heavy rain. He doesn’t run. He doesn’t resist. He doesn’t collapse into his own emotions. He meets her storm with the depth of his breath, the solidity of his body, and the clarity of his consciousness. He is sensitive, yet unflappable. Present, yet un-phased. His presence becomes the ground beneath her feet. He becomes the constant in the midst of Her chaos.
This man is just not standing there quietly, taking some emotional beating. He cuts through her chaos with the clarity of his consciousness like a sword, and confidently calls her back into presence. Not explaining that she is safe or that he can be trusted—demonstrating it.
Through the skillful embodiment of conscious presence, his woman experiences, at the deepest level, that no matter what emotion she shows to this man, he is an unflappable force of love in her life. No matter what tone, texture, or shape she takes, she feels his love for her is unconditional.
The “problems” may persist, but the conflicts are transcended. Attraction is preserved, and intimacy is deepened.