The Private Man

Attraction and dating information for all men

A Man Expressing Emotions

“A man should get in touch with his emotions and express them more.”

While far less frequent, that mantra is still being spoken, particularly by men and women over 40. Such a sentiment is a throwback to a time when men where supposed to be sensitive, new age guys (SNAGS). I felt the SNAG calling and successfully managed myself into the FriendZone over and over from late high school and into college by being a SNAG. Being a SNAG went part and parcel with my mother’s wretched advice of “be nice, be yourself.

During a sprint of first dates some months ago, I was struck by this common complaint from the women: “All the guys I’ve had first dates with bitch and moan about their ex-wives”. I found this quite troublesome. Such complaining is very off-putting to women and it’s very common advice for guys not to do this when on early dates. Why was this still going on with men? There answer is simple: They were told to through that old social expectation of men being in touch with their feelings.

Bitterness about an ex-wife is a valid emotion. Growing up with the social expectation to express emotions, a man showing such bitterness is simply doing what he was (is?) encouraged to do. Sadly, these poor schmucks didn’t get the memo that showing emotion to a potentially new woman in his life is all about the timing. Too soon, and the woman gets freaked. Too late, and it’s break up and/or divorce town.

Having emotions is an essential part of our humanity. How those emotions are expressed breaks down along gender lines. Women are allowed to express all emotions relatively early in the dating scenario. Men are allowed to express only certain emotions relatively early in the dating scenario. Here’s my sage advice to men – you are only allowed to express restrained joy and happiness when you start dating a dame. If any of you guys are bitching and moaning about ex-wives/girlfriends on early dates, I’ll send over my ugly dog to bite you viciously right on your buttocks.

Here is some astoundingly sage advice from Susan Walsh over at Hooking Up Smart:

Witnessing signs of a person’s humanity should be a prerequisite for exclusivity.

Gentlemen, this is gold. Just don’t overdo it and be alert to the timing issue.

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17 thoughts on “A Man Expressing Emotions

  1. susanawalsh on said:

    Thanks for the link, PM. Always happy to astound. 🙂

  2. Mentioning the ex is a symptom of a larger problem. When you get out, make some friends, and start having a life, you’ll realize you haven’t even thought of them at all. At this point your dates will be more successful however you choose to define success.

  3. just visiting on said:

    This reminds me of how women are careful about sex. Too early, you’re toast. Too late, same thing, lol. I suppose that’s why we’re leary of the advice on these blogs to escalate early into it. Just as men are leary about the advice to be SNAG early on.

    Susan’s advice is gold.

  4. Women have to recognize that when it comes to emotions, our coloring box isn’t as varied as their’s. And disproportionately negative.That said, and this is coming from a guy who hasn’t dated in 34 years, follow Cyndi’s advice: Girls want to have fun. Keep it light. Plus, when you are with a woman NEVER discuss another woman. You can mention your mom, briefly. Talking about your ex (any ex) is like inviting her over for dinner and then asking her to step in the laundry room and watch while you scrub out the skid marks and pee stains in your underwear before the meal.

  5. I don’t think anyone should bitch about anything on a first date! If you can’t put your personal problems aside for one evening and be an enjoyable companion, what does that say about your ability to control yourself and put your partner first in a relationship? Being bitter or po’ faced on a first date is a big red flag for either sex. As a woman, I’m telling you that you shouldn’t give women a pass on this.

  6. Does it cut both ways?
    ‘Cause you can’t have women bitching about their exes, while the man isn’t allowed to do so…
    after all, as we are also told, “Men and women are equal”.

  7. j24601 on said:

    “All the guys I’ve had first dates with bitch and moan about their ex-wives,” said the bitching and moaning women on their first date with TPM. Oh, the irony!

  8. I think the time, place and method is key. A man should express his thoughts, feelings and needs without being needy. Gotta pick your spots because like it or not, we’re supposed to be the rock steady, stable ones.

    Long story short, but a while ago my wife and I had money issues. I’m an aspiring comic, so I without thinking cracked a joke about it with a “Woe is me,” “What are we going to do?” kind of tone.

    She shut it down QUICK. Told me not to scare her like that and that we have to think positive. Keep in mind once again that I was JOKING. Imagine if I was actually serious? Me expressing my “feelings” at the wrong possible time scared the hell out of her, as it should have if I’m to assume my role as the rock in the relationship.

    • P Ray on said:

      A woman you can’t be honest with about your fears:
      How do you think she’ll do as your wife and mother to your children?
      Last I checked, dealing with someone else’s fears is an example of being nurturing.

  9. This is solid gold, from you and Susan.

    I’ll also just add as the dude, don’t you ever, ever, ever, dare to say I like you or I love you first. You may feel it in your bones, and you may feel like you’ll burst if you don’t say it, but don’t you frigging dare, if you ever have hope of an LTR or seeing that woman again. You must control yourself on this. After she says it, you can say it too, but not too much. Or you can pull a Han Solo, look her in the eye, smirk and say “I know…” Then tell her later that evening.

  10. atholkaymarriedmansexlife on said:

    I think you can have as much emotion as you like, you just can’t be overwhelmed by them to the point of inaction or negative action.

    (Bitching about ex-wife when you’re on a date being a negative action.)

  11. walderschmidt on said:

    Where on the timescale should you start being able to show emotions, and when is it too late?

  12. Pingback: Linkage is Good for You: Week of April 29, 2012

  13. I’ve been on a lot of dates with guys where they complain about their ex, mother, or whomever else has hurt them. It really doesn’t bother me at all, and in fact, I’m rather flattered that they feel safe enough to talk with me about it. The problem comes when they have to determine whether they want to let that hurt go from the past and move forward with a woman who is different and loving. Most men that have been hurt aren’t really willing to move out of that hurt place due to fear. There is nothing wrong with being human and showing the real side of yourself. If a woman can’t handle a man that’s real, then she’s not worthy of his time.

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