You’re the man” you tell yourself in the early stages of a relationship. And you are. The first stages of dating are full of masculinity: you’ve got the girl, you take her out, impress her, ward off rival males… you are James Bond.
After a while, however, you’ll find the relationship dominated by the more feminine emotions: what you feel, why you feel it, caring, sharing and quiet nights in… the alpha male days seem to give way to becoming her girlfriend in men’s clothing.
But your masculinity is important. It’s why she’s with you in the first place. She might think she likes a boyfriend who she can treat like a gal pal, but without that male-female dynamic you’re in trouble.
Control your emotions
The new sensitive man is a modern construct. Throughout history, men didn’t weep over flowers and sunsets; we used to be strong, rational and full of restraint. It’s worked for millions of years, and it still works now.
The key is to remember all that stuff your dad told you about being the man: Men don’t burst into tears; they don’t throw emotional tantrums when things aren’t going their way; they take life on the chin; they keep a clear, level head during the good and bad parts of the relationship; they don’t turn problems into insults thrown at each other; they don’t go all dewy-eyed whenever she kisses you.
Not that you should become an emotionless statue. Of course, you have to have feelings and romance in your relationship. The point is balance — it’s about keeping your emotions under control rather than letting them rule you.
If you’ve found that fewer decisions are being made by you, it’s time to take the reins again. You have to take the role of being the man. Being decisive puts you in the driver’s seat, and shows her you aren’t afraid to step up and look after her.
Being decisive is shown in both big and small ways. If she asks you which outfit to wear, don’t just shrug. The correct response is, “That one? You look great in it.” It can also be as big as booking a surprise trip for the two of you. Even if she makes the choice, some decisiveness can be retained by actively and enthusiastically taking part rather than just doing what you’re told.
Taking control is a way of showing her you aren’t a wuss. The appeal of the fact that she can order you around is short-lived, but a strong assertive guy will remain attractive in the long-term. This isn’t an excuse to become bossy, which should be avoided at all costs. It can even be romantic as you take control and tell her she’s having dinner with you tonight.
More on how to take the role of being the man…
Independence is a must. Remember how you hate clingy girlfriends? Or how someone whose own existence is so intertwined with yours that it gets on your nerves? That cuts both ways. Being the man means keeping your independence.
While sharing some activities brings you closer together, sharing everything is suffocating. She won’t want a guy who constantly follows her around, and you don’t want to be that guy. Keep your own independent existence by having activities that are separate from her.
The old cliché that absence makes the heart grow fonder is true. Balance your activities between shared ones and your own interests. Not having someone entirely causes attraction, which usually disappears when we do have them entirely. If you maintain private parts of your life, you’ll both appreciate the times together as well as build attraction rather than boredom.
Pursue male activities
Being the man involves hanging out with other guys in manly scenarios. Make sure you have plenty of time with the boys so you aren’t overwhelmed with feminine thoughts and hormones. Keep up the team sports, the stag nights, watching the rugby, playing poker… all those activities where guys bond with each other.
Another key is keeping some degree of masculinity to your surroundings. One day you wake up and your home has been taken over by cushions, cuddly toys and other frilly pink possessions. Short of banning these entirely, make sure there’s enough of your stuff to counterbalance this, so hang on to the PlayStation, that nice sound system and all that sports memorabilia.
you’re the man!
What we’re trying to say is: Keep some balance. A relationship can find itself drowning in female concerns and emotions at the expense of your masculine side. While these are a necessary element, being the man means making sure there’s room for your things too.
You. Are. The. Man.