The Biggest Complaint Women have about Men
So many of the women who I work with complain that their partner does not lead them enough. They are furious and devastated that their man (or masculine-identified partner) doesn’t reach out to make plans for dates together, to help get the kid’s lunches ready, or know the directions to get to their planned dinner. But these same women have a nasty habit that so many women I know have, and that I myself have had to work hard (and continue to work hard) at undoing. This nasty habit is taking the lead.
So many women are deeply longing to surrender and be lead well.
But instead of letting our partner lead, we get frustrated and irritated that he isn’t doing it right or isn’t fast enough so we give in to that impatience and take over the reigns. We tell ourselves we need to do this in order to get our needs met. Our need for connection, for a clean home, for getting to appointments on time. But all the while we are resentful at our men because what we really want is for them to share in those responsibilities with us and we feel angry that we are “doing it all by ourselves.” But the reality is that we are castrating him before he even has the chance to try to meet us in these ways.
What we really want is for him to reach out to us and make plans for what needs to be done, but we don’t give him a chance to. We feel the pain of not having what we want and react by taking over then blame him for taking the back seat. Over the last two years in the Embodied Relationship Training with John Wineland and Kendra Cunov I have learned that this dynamic is created because the feminine and masculine in each person want to become polarized.
Each person has a feminine and a masculine within. The feminine is like a wild river: it’s our feelings, pleasure, movement. The masculine is like the banks of that river: it’s the structure, the containment, the silent loving presence that witnesses all.
When one of us takes the masculine in a partnership, the other person will automatically take on the feminine (and vice versa).
Because nature loves polarity, as opposites create a field of energy (think of the magnetic field created by the north and south poles of the Earth or the electricity created by the positive and negative ends of a battery). So when we as women take on the masculine by creating the structure of WHEN we will meet and HOW we will get there, our man drops into his feminine and simply receives the WHAT of what is happening. The feminine is in charge of the energy in an experience, the “what” of what is wanted or felt. The masculine is the master of time and space, figuring out the “how” it will happen.
So how do we switch this? How do we as women (or the feminine-identified partner in a given moment) create the dynamic we are really wanting, instead of just trying to get what we think we want and then becoming resentful? How do we support our partner in claiming their masculinity rather than psychologically castrating them?
As the feminine there are two things we can do that can begin to dramatically change this dynamic:
2-Reveal your heart's longing
What this means is
that when you are dying for him to call you, you do not call him or worse, tell him to call you. But you also don’t withdraw. You instead reveal your heart’s longing, or desire, or excitement to hear from him. Or your sadness and anger that you have not heard from him. Then you wait. You wait for him to take the lead in the next step.
It means when he asks you where the kids’ lunches are, you smile at him and give him some playful helpless energy while exclaiming you have no idea where in the world they could be.
It means when you are sitting for the umpteenth Saturday night in a row on separate couches fumbling on your phones apart from one another, you do not tell him you need to talk about this (for a practice that DOES involve talking things out in a healthy way see my blog on Intentional Dialogue) you do not shoot irritated looks at him, you do not sulk in the corner, or silently give up. What you do is wiggle over to him, brush his arm with your finger tips and as you look in his eyes let your heart soften and show with your eyes how much you want him while you gently say “I miss you”. Or perhaps you get up, put on your favorite booty shaking song, and dance around him playfully singing “Pay attention to me!” while you wiggle your butt!
You give energy, you reveal your heart, and you wait.
Yes, it sounds easy.
And, no it’s not easy at all.
It takes courage and practice to try these new ways of being when it’s so so easy to slip back into old patterns of blaming or withdrawing. But the payoff is tremendous.
The key, as my teacher Kendra Cunov says often, is to
“Be more committed to the dynamic you want to create than to the outcome in a particular experience.”
Are you more committed to your partner leading you? Or are you more committed to getting to that dinner tonight on time? If you can let go of the latter for just a bit, then you actually have a chance of getting your desire for a man who will meet you fulfilled. Otherwise, you actually cut off that possibility before it has a chance to happen.
And yes the waiting can be excruciating. In this type of polarity work we talk about “suffer the waiting”. That doesn’t mean you tighten and suffer in silence. What it means is that you do reveal all your pain and your heartache and your fear, but you do it from a place of softening the front of your body and exposing your vulnerability. You reveal in this way not as a way to get out of the waiting, just as a way to let what the waiting brings up in you move through your body. And that actually attracts men! They want to feel the feminine energy. They are dying for it, in fact.
So next time you find yourself resentful that you “have” to take the lead again, take a deep breath, soften your belly, feel your heart, and reveal your feelings and deepest longings. And wait. Wait with love, and patience, and playfulness if you can. Wait, with the knowing that you are creating a new loving and supportive dynamic, and that will take time.
If you are interested in exploring these dynamics in your partnership, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up an initial consultation.
Karen Wolfe, MFT offers depth therapy with practices to deepen your connection to your Self and to others for individuals and couples in the Bay Area and via video conference across California