It seems over the last few months, working with men of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds that an overarching theme has emerged. Men are still mystified by the concept of romance and intimacy. My clients tell me, “I don’t know why she is mad at me.” or my favorite, “I just stay quiet and don't say anything. That way I stay out of trouble.” The reason that I use those quotes in reference to romance and intimacy is because of the next quote. “She just doesn't ever seem to be in the mood.”
I don’t believe that it is a far stretch to say that most men are not taught the fine art of romance let alone intimacy. Intimacy is all about being able to be the truest version of yourself, and that is some scary stuff! Locker room talk does little to help the situation as it encourages men to focus more on how they appear around other men rather than being genuine. So, what do I say when a guy comes into my office for counseling and is struggling with their relationships?
The following are a set of skills I like to give to my clients:
Open Honest Communication.
I was told once that a closed mouth goes hungry. If you don't communicate what you want, need, or ask the other person how is anyone to learn.
Be willing to step out of your comfort zone.
I am not talking about anything crazy here, or maybe… Primarily I am talking about being willing to experience what the other person wants and vice versa.
The Little Things Matter!
It might be telling her how beautiful she is.
Opening the door for her.
Flowers on a day other than an anniversary.
Who doesn't love a massage?
OPEN HONEST COMMUNICATION
Just in case you needed a reminder.
I looked over Webster’s definition of romance and intimacy, but I have to say, they are vague and offer little help. A great homework idea for couples would be to sit down together and actually have each person define these terms. Then, switch papers. See what the other person is thinking. Have a great conversation about how the other person is thinking, and how to make those things a reality. This is guaranteed bonus points for any guy that tries this.
Stereotypical guys' ways of expressing love are often to “do stuff” or “buy stuff” for their partner. This might work sometimes, but lacks the intrinsic value of a conversation, a look, or even just listening. Partners of men can sometimes feel distant when they want someone to listen without problem solving or communicate love instead of “showing” love by buying something or doing something. In the end it is all about connection and these skills can help you connect with your partner.
How can counseling help?
Counseling is a private, confidential space where men can openly connect to what matters to them. While it does not have to focus explicitly on “men’s issues,” Counseling can assist with awareness of taken for granted, learned ways of expressing emotion, and assist with more effective ways of being.
At Mind Works Counseling Services in Lubbock, TX, we specialize in men’s counseling and work with men on all sorts of issues related to relationships and intimacy. IT is important to know you are not alone, and we are here to help in any way that we can. If we can be of service, please reach out.
To learn more about the Men’s Counseling services we offer.
Contact us to make an appointment or to let us answer any questions you may have.