Don’t stomp all over his ego.
Many established and successful women who are used to taking the lead in the workplace, have found themselves doing the leading in their relationships, too. What they don’t realize, however, is that by doing so, they’re making their men feel emasculated — stripping them of their manly status in the relationship.
And when these emasculating behaviors go on for too long… poof! Without warning, their relationship suddenly crumbles, and these strong women are left wondering what happened.
That’s not to say that men want the women in their lives to stop being successful or to stay home and wait on them hand and foot, instead of running around the boardroom in sky-high heels. No, of course not. Men appreciate, love, and respect women who’ve realized their full potential and come into their own.
But in order to fix your relationship and stop making your guy feel emasculated, you have to strike a balance.
Just like in any relationship, the secret to balancing these two roles — one as a superwoman, and another his equal partner — lies in being sensitive to his needs, moods, and feelings. (You are after all in a relationship with another human being!) This is true not just in romantic relationships, but in any connection you nurture.
Here are 7 ways you may be unintentionally emasculating your man, and how you can fix your relationship dynamics before you hurt his feelings:
1. Acting like his mother.
You want to be his lover, not his mother. (And you really don’t want to attract the momma’s boy, the kind who expects you to prep his meals, iron his shirt, pack his lunch every time, and yikes, cut his food up for him.) You don’t want to be in this annoying relationship dynamic.
If you treat your partner like he can’t think for himself, then really won’t think for himself. You want a man in your life to be with you, not a boy who’ll depend on you.
2. Insisting on picking up the check or splitting the tab.
Remember your lesson in history, when our society was a teeny-tiny bit simpler and men were hunters and women were gatherers? Even in the prehistoric era, men were expected to bring home the “prize” of food, while women were at home in the base camp gathering and caring for the children.
Our gender-based differences do run deep. It would do your relationship good if you took this to mind and let your man feel like he’s taking care of you. (Yes, even if you earn more than him!)
3. Not knowing how to fully appreciate a gift.
“Honey, are you sure we could really afford this?” “You shouldn’t have.” “This is a waste of money!”
Hey, just thank him. Really. Men work hard to feel appreciated, and it takes so little from you to make him feel good about himself.
Worried about your finances and think he’s being too overly generous on you (and even on himself)? There’s a right time to bring that up, and the right time is not during the actual gift-giving when he’s looking at you with puppy-dog eyes.
4. Not taking his work seriously.
In olden times, people were known for their livelihood. Joseph the carpenter, Simon the taxman, Levi the priest. It’s still true today. A man’s sense of identity is often very deeply linked to their worth as productive members of society. So never, in any circumstance, belittle his job — even if he does it himself.
Is he a barista waiting to land his dream role in the theater? Don’t make fun of what he does. To a man, that’s an insult to his decision-making skills, his intelligence, his passion, and while he may laugh with you, resentment is sure to grow.
5. Being too close with his friends.
He has his own set of friends, and you should have your own set of friends. It’s healthier to live separate lives too, instead of constantly having overlapping interests.
And while most men usually appreciate a girl who gets along with their friends, you should draw some boundaries. Your man wants to feel special, and not easily replaceable by any of his mates. Sure, they’ve become your friends too, but you need to set aside things or activities, like watching movies or going to a specific restaurant, that only you and your guy do together.
6. Saying, “Why can’t you…”
Never, ever, ever compare him to anyone. Not to your dad, who treated you like a princess when you were growing up, not to your ex, not to your friend’s boyfriend.
Remind yourself of why you’re with him in the first place, and celebrate his uniqueness.
7. Reject his sexual advances one too many times.
It goes without saying that your body is your own, and your true needs come first. But if you don’t think that rejecting him hurts him sexually, a new research will surprise you. The more often rejection happens, the more his confidence wanes. His ego takes a hit, and it may even decrease his interest in sex.
Occasional rejection due to bad timing is totally OK — but habitual rejection, or using sex as reward and punishment, is not. This impacts not just your partner’s masculinity, but your relationship as well.
Could you be guilty of emasculating the man in your life without even knowing it? Do you unconsciously step in one too many times to help him “become his best self” — often without his approval? Are you carelessly making him feel small and insignificant?
Again, the keyword to balance is “sensitivity.” While you should continue being the queen that you are, and not adjust the size of your crown for anyone, a real queen also knows how to listen.