Understanding Men in Loveby Annie Mueller
Understanding men is a challenge in and of itself, even though they claim we're the complicated ones. A man in love is an even more complex being; so complex, in fact, that sometimes he may act like a woman. All those strange things he does make sense, somehow, if we can step back and look at him not as a man, primarily, but as a human in love, subject to emotion, passion, self-doubt, ecstasy and sappy poetry.
Too often we divide the genders by a great emotional chasm: the women are on the emotional side, and the men are on the insensitive, anti-feelings side. While women, in general, may tend to be more aware of their own emotions, when you throw love in the equation, you end up with a whole new set of rules. A man in love is a man on fire with feeling just as deep and overwhelming as what a woman in love experiences. Strong emotions can motivate strange actions, and they don't stop to ask if you're male or female first. If a man in love is whistling love songs one moment and sunk into the silent depression of self-doubt the next, it's just because he is riding the emotional waves as they hit him.
Men are often blamed for a deep-rooted commitment phobia, and in some cases the accusations are well-grounded. But the fears experienced by a man in love don't always stem from cold feet at the thought of making a commitment. In fact, it's often quite the opposite. A man might worry about being worthy of the one he loves, being able to meet her needs, live up to her expectations, make her happy. He may feel inadequate in general or in specific areas such as education, experience, age or social status. Whatever the fear is, it may cause him to act defensive and brusque rather than tender and affectionate as he tries to sort through all the possibilities and plumb his own soul for the certainty that he is enough for the one he loves.
Sexual desire, certainly, is a large part of the equation when a man is in love; beyond physical desire, however, a simple desire to please the one he loves can motivate a man to strange behavior. In an effort to be what his beloved wants, a man may seem to shun friends, drop lifelong habits, and morph into a different person within days. Though the motivation may be noble, a desire to please someone else is seldom enough to cause permanent change; with the desire to please can also come resentment. Until the man in love learns that being himself is enough, he may swing back and forth on a personality pendulum.
Entering a serious relationship means agreeing to a certain amount of change. The focus shifts from simply having fun with groups of friends to having focused time with the partner. Making plans requires consultation with the other person in the relationship. A man may resent the need for increased communication even as he desires the time with the one he loves. Change can be difficult and confusing even during the most passionate romance. For a man in love, some changes may be unimportant and easy for him to step into; others may seem unnecessary and cause him to question why there's a need for change at all in a particular area.
Men tend to be problem-solvers, fixers, action-oriented people who translate thoughts and words into tangible movements. If a man in love seems extravagant in gift-giving, conversing, letter-writing or simply overall obsession with the one he loves, it's simply because he is looking for a way to translate the intense emotions into something doable. Not all feeling is easy to translate directly into action; a man in love may flail around looking for a way to do what he feels rather than simply express the emotion.
- Hamed Parham on Flickr.