There is a rumor and it goes like this:
Men are afraid of getting involved in a serious relationship.
They are the “vagabonds.” The exasperating, peripatetic meat-eaters that won’t put down their clubs and stay for dinner.
Whatever will the cave women do?
Ladies. There is wisdom in the proverb that says: “Walk two moons in another man’s shoes and….” well, you know how it goes. Just take a look at the “oh-so-terrifying” serious relationship phenomenon from a man’s point of view:
Serious Relationship Phobia #1: The Breadwinner
In our society, until recent years, the male has been the provider of the typical American family. He won the bread and he brought home the goods. When the opportunity for marriage came along, it wasn’t always an entirely attractive opportunity for the male because he had tasted the working world and like most rational human beings didn’t want to become a slave to it. It was a leap of faith to marry because it seemed he had a lot of freedom to lose. For a woman however, marriage was an opportunity to gain freedom. Freedom from the burden of providing for herself and the opportunity to try her hand at something she had never done before—-have children. It’s no wonder that women want marriage and men think twice.
Serious Relationship Phobia #2: The Breadwinner Catch-22
Today, women value work, success and education, sometimes to the extent that they no longer seek the opportunities of family life. When a woman works for herself and can still have children (without the “burden” of marriage), this leaves a man without a role in the typical American family. What is he supposed to do? Sure, he can provide more good old fashioned dinero for the family but his role has become cheapened—almost unnecessary. The woman takes a physical role (breadwinner) and a spiritual role (mother) and leaves very little for the man. What is his physical role? What is his spiritual role? It’s no wonder a man shirks from his “responsibilities.” What are his responsibilities?
Serious Relationship Phobia #3: Men Love Playtime 1
Men seem to value play and want a playful partner. However, most men are well aware that marriage isn’t always about play. In fact, most of the time it’s not about play. Women who value friendship and companionship think, “Wow! Marriage is a lifetime or friendliness and companionship but men perhaps begin to wonder if commitment and children will force them to prioritize their values as they would prefer not to. It’s no wonder the male counterpart shies away from the serious relationship that is presented to him.
Serious Relationship Phobia #4: Fear of Failure
Underneath the fear of investing in a serious relationship is the fear of failure, and nothing offers as much potential for failure as marriage. Manon Chevalier describes why men might run from a serious relationship: “Love generates angst. It’s cruel. It’s dangerous. And its corollary, commitment, can be even more of a minefield. No wonder that when love rears its sometimes ugly head, many men hesitate – or flee in terror. Conditioned since childhood to pursue success at all costs, men learn to assess the risks and rewards of every undertaking. Eyes on the prize. The greater the fear of failure, the greater the perception of risk. It’s calculated. It’s a guy thing.”2
Serious Relationship Phobia #5: Lack of Options
Believe it or not, a woman living in the U.S. Today will have far more options than the male counterpart who shares her same economic status. She can decide she wants children, that she wants to work, that she wants to go back to school, that she wants to change her career, that she wants it all, etc. Women simply have more options than men biologically, and today-socially. Men in fact are still (even in a world where women can work) expected to step up and be the primary breadwinner and yet not respected nearly as much as they should be for the role they are expected to play. Still wondering why a man might shy away from a serious relationship?
It’s natural that a man would be hesitant to invest in a serious relationship but if it’s a serious relationship that a woman wants, she should stop and try to think like a man. She should logically weight the benefits and risks or how marriage would be with herself. She should be clear on what she really expects from her partner and then make it clear what she can offer him in return. A serious relationship, when done with respect, and very careful consideration can actually be quite pleasant for both sexes.