Men Being Emotional

February 7, 2014

in Uncategorized

I have mentioned I am not a football fan. However, when you live in Washington and the Seattle Seahawks are in the Supper Bowl, not watching can get you run out of the state; so we went to a Super Bowl party on Sunday.

In addition to watching the game, I was watching the dozen other folks at our two-room gathering. I watched the men go crazy, urging the Hawks on and celebrating when they made a good play. One fellow in the other room came running and jumping into our room each time the Hawks scored. I have known most of these men for a year or more, and I have never seen any of them show as much emotion as they showed on Sunday. Had the game not gone well for our side I would have seen just as much emotion – of another sort.

Clearly men are able to show emotion – when it is socially acceptable.

Man Crying © David Castillo Dominici| freedigitalphotos.net

It is easy to say, “Just get over it” but control of emotions has been engrained in us for our entire lives. Most of us were told, “big boys don’t cry” from a very young age. During our school years, many emotions were seen as a sign of weakness, and showing those emotions got you teased – or worse. It was not just other guys who were doing the teasing, plenty of girls joined in. I suspect this is similar to body image for women; even if we decide it is wrong and we should not follow what society tells us, we still struggle with the issue.

If you want to help your hubby with this, be wise about it. Telling him how awesome it is he is not afraid to cry while he is crying may be a bad plan. If he is already feeling exposed, pointing it out will just make it worse. It is much better to tell him you find his willingness to show emotion attractive when he is not crying. If you really want to make an impact, tell him that and then seduce him!

~ Paul – I’m XY, and I worry what others will think of me if they see me shed a tear.

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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Dr Richard Norris February 7, 2014 at 4:11 am

Here’s a thought based on what you shared about the men going nuts when the Seahawks scored. If men showed as much emotion and passion for their wives and families (daily or at least at key milestones) as they did for their favorite sports teams (on whose lives they have little or no impact), there would be stronger marriages, less divorce and stronger society to name a few. I think there would be a lesser need for marriage and family counsellors!

When coaching leaders on the importance of passion I often compare the passion they have for a sports team that has no real impact on their lives with that of their team, business and/or family. Sadly, most of them just don’t get it.
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Paul Byerly February 7, 2014 at 11:25 am

If there are enough voices, the message will be heard. Thanks for your voice on this.

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Chris February 7, 2014 at 5:21 pm

My husband has always said that the only socially acceptable occasions for men to cry are when watching Old Yeller or Brian’s Song. Our sons agree. When we put our dog down last summer, all three of them shed some tears, so apparently it’s okay to cry for both pets and football.

I completely understood the whole post about Ginger and Mary Ann, Paul, but this post has me really puzzled.

Why isn’t it considered acceptable for men to show emotion? Is it the showing of the emotions, or is it having them in the first place, that is considered unacceptable? How much of this is cultural and how much is universal?

And I don’t understand this: “Telling him how awesome it is he is not afraid to cry while he is crying may be a bad plan. If he is already feeling exposed, pointing it out will just make it worse. It is much better to tell him you find his willingness to show emotion attractive when he is not crying.”

To me, it is logical that when a man is exhibiting the vulnerability and behavior you want to praise and admire, that is the time to comment (and seduce). Wouldn’t this help connect that feeling of vulnerability to being desired by his wife in his mind? Why is it better to wait until he isn’t crying to comment on it?

And they say women are complicated. ;)
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Paul Byerly February 8, 2014 at 11:40 am

I’ve seen some suggestions that men actually feel more than women, but are also better at repressing feelings. I need to do some research on that. If men do feel more, then being able to repress feelings might be important to daily function.

There are times and places where suppressing certain emotions can save your life. War for example. For much of history a man who allowed his fear or sorrow to show was an impediment to much of what men did. That is perhaps how we got the idea, which we then enlarged past what was really necessary. There are cultural variations, so it is not universal.

If a man is choosing to show emotion, then commenting on it is fine. If he would rather not, and it is leaking out, then commenting on it will make him feel even worse.

BTW, they say women are complicated for a reason ;-)

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