Men And Fear Of Commitment In Relationships: Where Do We Go Wrong?
It is not easy to be a boy, as it is not easy to be a man. The arrival of a child to this world is usually preceded by the expectations of their parents and family. The kind of upbringing this child will have it is determined by the feelings, beliefs and traditions of each family, environment and society. The element that doesn't vary is expectations. In most cases boys wear blue, girls wear pink and that's that. A suit for life. Only a few challenge this encapsulating tradition.
As a child, a boy is expected to follow certain predetermined rules and a behaviour appropriate to his gender that will eventually make him a man. It is not a choice, but a must. Children are taught to function either as a boy or a girl in order to be an accomplished and functional member of society by the time they become a man or woman. Only in exceptional cases children are never taught to be a person, a well functional human being. This unchallenged educational process causes a split that separates most individuals either from their masculine or feminine side even before the moment of birth.
The expectations of our parents have an energetic influence on children which is later on reinforced by education, the environment and society and that generally will prove impossible to break from. We are either this or that. The unquestioning of traditional education has a rather devastating effect on most people and society as a whole. As young boys we are taught what we are allowed to do according to the established norm. The rest is what girls do. I have a very vivid memory of playing kitchen with my sister and cousins, all girls, as a very young boy. I must have been about 5 years old then. My uncle entered the room and mockingly told me that this is something only girls do. I stared at him without uttering a word. At that age I already knew that adults don't listen to what children have to say, so a disapproving stare and my silence was my only response.
There were numerous episodes like the one I described in my childhood and throughout life. Fortunately I never listened to anyone who wanted to determine what I could or couldn't do; not even at that age. All boys are eventually going to be playing with girls, so the sooner we begin, the more we are going to integrate and learn about each other. It escapes any rationale that any man can praise himself for being an excellent chef, but that he couldn't play kitchen as a child. There are of course an array of consequences when someone does not follow rules and the natural curiosity of a boy is coerced. It is not easy for a boy to stand up for what we like and enjoy.
As boys are more physical, reprimands tend also to be more physical. Whether these reprimands are physical, verbal or psychological, they are intended to break resistance and to indicate the path boys have to follow. Most, follow this path. This kind of educational behaviour, for thoughtless creates a breach of trust. Fathers are usually 'in charge' of directing and shaping their sons into the men they have been born to be. Let's remember that this boy is part of a plan. Our education is reduced to the limited scope of our fathers. Boys also see have our mothers stand on a second raw watching and allowing fathers to educate us as they wish. At this moment we lost trust in both. And if we cannot trust our parents who else are we going to trust.
Although there is a new generation of young boys growing up with single mothers, the majority are still influenced by fathers and patriarchal society. Childhood for a boy is like a boot camp, which in turn creates unfeeling men. We are teased by parents and educated not by parental wisdom, but by stereotypes. "Boys don't cry" or "tough men don't dance" are an every day song. In their attempt to shape us into responsible men, parents ignore a fact, we are children, with neither voice, nor power to make decisions.
Any young boy who is submitted to this kind of education will grow to be an unfeeling man. Childhood is a training ground to learn not to feel or cry. Men have been taught for years that feelings, emotions and tears are signs of weakness, things girls do, as well as the erroneous belief that men have to be strong at all times. A man is supposed to provide, protect and every other etcetera that patriarchal society has led us to believe. These stereotypes are so powerful when consistently repeated that a large number of men still believe that women belong in the kitchen, while the man is hunting. The truth is, there is no hunting any longer and anyone can make a sandwich. As a result, most men don't know the difference between feeling and emotion, and if fact, the majority don't know a feeling from a thought. There is a very simple explanation for this, men have been taught not to feel.
Peer pressure is equal for each boy regardless of their personal circumstances. Each reality is experienced in different ways, and what it might not affect one, affects the other. What it could be traumatic for one, might not be for someone else, but trauma works its way through into each man one sooner or later. Every boy is expected to behave in a similar uniform manner. Do something different and you are going to get it. Try and be emotional or cry and you are going to get it. Wear a different football shirt from the rest and you are going to get it. Try and do anything and you are going to get it. There is no way to avoid it. The worse part is that one action already defines you. There is no room to change or rectify, -once you're tagged, you remain tagged- unless one is prepared to endure challenges and take actions which in most cases are dangerous and humiliating, or both. The truth is that boys are not educated, but disciplined and it comes from all angles. Violence and bullying or both a is a substantial part in a boy's education. We are educated not to be functional men, but angry unemotional adults that missed a great part of their childhood.
There are a few elements to take into consideration to understand men's phobia of commitment to relationships and not all of them are so obvious. The lack of trust in the father figure reflects in tensions between fathers and sons, as well as in the competition with other men and any form of authority. At this point, every man is a threat and every woman who tries to assert her authority or overt expressions of love turns into a mother. Let's not forget that love is a very powerful feeling and boys learn to detach from feeling. There's nothing less appealing to a man than a woman who reminds him of his mother. This perception is usually subconscious and a man sensing this energy would remove himself from the situation, often not knowing the reasons. As most men are not in touch with their feelings and emotions, they will not be able to interpret this feeling or be able to express it. The reaction is physical detachment from a particular woman and relationships altogether.
By the time a boy reaches manhood, he has been teased and instructed so often to separate from all things female, that even the most superficial reminder of these episodes would trigger in him a reaction similar to those experienced in childhood. He might love the woman he has in front of him, but he will separate again and again looking for that woman that does not bring in him memories of shame which are deeply ingrained in him.
Lack of commitment is also a form of self-expression. A man is also looking for love and even if he cannot rationalise it yet, he knows what kind of woman he wants to be in a relationship with. If a man states that he's not interested in a relationship, he does mean it. It's up to each woman to try and start a relationship at their own risk. He might convince himself for a while that he does, and a woman might be able to seduce him into the idea, but eventually this man will leave. Even if the relationship last for a lifetime, this man will continue looking for that other woman. This is perhaps one of the most common causes of infidelity. Regardless of how unfeeling and detached a man may appear, he is looking for love and to be loved. He is also looking for freedom and self-expression and he will seek this through love. The quest for love could take a lifetime, but let's not underestimate man's ability to love and seek for love.
From an early age, men are taught that they have to be independent, while girls and women are dependent. A relationship is therefore seeing as a trap, and love, well; love is something girls do. We want to go on an adventure we never had.
There is a paradoxical element that explains best why a man would be most afraid of commitment and which I also believe is widely unknown. As you read this part, see and try to feel if you recognise it, as this applies to both men and women, even though it is more prominent in men for obvious reasons.
Every human being is born with a memory of who we are, which eventually we lose to education, service to society and an unfeeling pledge to a set of beliefs, rules an ideas in which most of us don't believe. Humanity's dissatisfaction with the state of the world is so overwhelming that no one cannot longer deny it, unless one, of course, belongs to the ruling elites.
Each individual is a soul. We don't have a soul; we are souls. The duality is most significant in men than it is in women. Whilst men somehow know, and reject the feeling at once; women in this sense are more in touch with the soul, hence love is an easier feeling to express. The soul is a adventurer, a drifter. In the quest for love, what men really want is to find self-love by expressing themselves in the freedom that adventure offers and that childhood didn't provide. This is a journey of self-discovery breaking from the oppression of a system endured for so long.
Men want to travel, see places and, create in order to find themselves. By the age of 18 and after a lifetime of training the self not to feel, a man wouldn't know that the journey is within, not around the world. And yes, both can be achieved, as there is another reason why a man would go around the world and back as many times as it is necessary, and this is the love of a woman. But this is; a very particular woman.
Part of the memory we are born with includes the connection with at least one other soul which we must find at all costs. I will expand on this concept in another blog post in the near future, but for now, a man knows who this woman is through memory and will do almost anything to find her. Modern society does not promote adventure, but stagnation. Men are no longer adventurers, but functional tools within a dysfunctional system. This lack of adventure, moving from one place to place in a journey of expansion as the soul would love to experience, is suffocating. Many relationships are born due to geographical proximity. We give up looking eventually, as we cannot find the woman we want, we somehow settle for the one next one door. Having learned not to love, we have most definitely learned not to love ourselves. In most cases we simply settle, but that memory lies within. It is unsettling, and yet misunderstood. Escaping a relationship is somehow a sign of freedom and self-love, even though it is a very unhealthy expression of it.
In order to overcome such duality, men have to relearn to feel and rediscover who we are. I also intend to cover healing through feeling and other matters that due to lack of space cannot be covered in this blog post. I have used the example of heterosexual relationships to explain this, as it is the most common, but this is not discriminatory of any other form of sexual expression. Deep down, we're all souls.
Men have been misunderstood for so long that it is not surprising that we have also learned to misunderstand ourselves.
Before I finish this blog post I'd like to break a lance for parents. Parents do their best in the education and upbringing of their children. We must forgive our parents for everything we believe they have done to us. If we had it rough, you can be assured that they had it worse and that with each generation the quality of education and awareness towards becoming a healthy human being are improving.
Finally, what it is understood as separation, and in most cases an insulting lack of loyalty and affection, it's nothing but the misinterpretation of reality and the true causes for men's lack of commitment in relationships. Deep within each man there is a soul wanting to come out, and one true romantic looking for love and self-love. It's just that we don't know how to do it yet. And instead of not listening to others, we have to learn to listen to ourselves.
Posted by Manel Blanco