Got this interesting letter recently:
I am in the midst of a separation initiated by my husband. I don’t want a divorce. He says the main reason we cannot live together is because of what he calls my “emasculating behaviors”. He claims I may not even be aware of when I am doing “it”, but when I ask him to specifically explain what these behaviors are, he can’t. So I came across you website and thought I’d ask you, what are typical emasculating behaviors so I might be able to explore and identify if I do them? Thanks for your time,
Well, funny you should mention that, Beth. Because I just so happen to have a whole section devoted to emasculating behaviors in The Tao of Dating for Women (straight out of Ch 11, Romance, or what to do on a date, pp 230-231). Although my expertise is not in already-established relationships but rather in the process leading to one, it’s safe to assume that these principles hold no matter which phase of courtship you find yourself in.
First, I just want all of you to know that you’re not an awful person if you’re doing these things. Chances are that you’re doing them unconsciously, meaning that you’re simply not aware of them, as Beth mentioned. So no need to beat yourself up for having done stuff like that up to know. Guilt, shame and blame are three of the biggest wastes of energy you can indulge in.
That said, now that I’m telling you what these behaviors are, you have one less excuse for keeping them in your repertoire. If you want your man to stay with you, chances are you care for him. And if you care for him, why would you want to make him miserable? You don’t. So quit doing these things. And listen to him when he says you’re doing them, because he’s the only person qualified to tell you how he feels.
As a general rubric, the highest value of the divine masculine is freedom. So anything that curtails a man’s freedom emasculates him. Also, if you believe that energy flows where attention goes, then whichever part of a man you give attention to will grow (quit the snickering already, ladies, but yes, that too). So when you give him the wrong kind of attention, you’ll end up with the wrong kind of man on your hands.
With that, here are the five emasculating behaviors:
1) Overly solicitous attention. When you give a man this kind of attention, you are encouraging the boy in him to grow, denying his mature masculine. Unless that is your goal, reserve overwhelming solicitude for children under 12. Mothering is smothering.
2) Jealous attention. Questioning a man about his associations questions his devotion to you. Jealousy always has the effect of driving him away from you — the opposite of what you want it to accomplish. Leave the cage door open, otherwise you have no idea if he’s staying of his own volition.
3) Critical attention. Playfully teasing and challenging a man is fine when done in moderation. Cutting him down is not. Cutting him down in public is pretty much a crime, punishable by breakup.
4) Competing. Competition is a very masculine activity, so when you choose to compete with your man, you are risking destruction of the masculine-feminine polarity between you. Now it has to be restored somehow. If he wins, you will feel put down; if you win, he will feel emasculated. You lose either way, so you’re better off avoiding competition entirely.
5) Correcting. Leave that for after you’ve started dating seriously. And even then, there are better and worse ways of doing it which are beyond the scope of this article. Okay, if he says ‘irregardless’ or ‘I could care less’, you need to set the boy straight, but do it playfully and lovingly. Generally, you have the choice of being either right or cherished. Pick one.
Alright, so those are the five behaviors you shouldn’t engage in. If you manage to clean your act up, you’ve basically stopped slapping him around — and that’s a great start. Heck, some guys may appreciate the new slap-free regime so much as to stick around just for that reason.
But if you have a Good Guy on your hands — someone who knows who he is and what he’s worth who treats you well — then mere lack of nastiness ain’t gonna keep him around (or bring him back, in Beth’s case). Now you need to go the extra mile, sister. What have you done for him lately? I’m asking you that question not to be a smartass (which I admit to being) but because that’s the question he’s asking himself as he’s packing his bags and heading for the door.
It turns out that it’s actually pretty simple: you just reverse the aforementioned emasculating behaviors, turning them into masculating behaviors (tada, just coined a new word — you’re welcome). I actually call them gifts, because that’s what it feels like when a woman does this kind of thing for us. We will go over those tomorrrow.