I’m an 80’s child yay!
As a young 80’s boy in a family dynamic that was very new to the open world, I found it hard growing up with just my Mum. Those around me would cock their heads in disbelief and couldn’t quite grasp the concept of two parents falling out of love. It may have happened back then, two parents divorcing but it wasn’t the naturally done thing to split up and move on as you were. My friends accepted it, but didn’t understand it. As time moved on though, it became a thoroughly more common ocurrence; parents divorcing and carrying on as they were. Mostly the mother being the person the child lives with.
And it’s more regular now than I’d care to admit. People are getting Married left, right and centre and within a couple of years going their seperate ways regardless if they have children or not. It’s a sad state of affairs we are in when it comes to the sanctity of Marriage, and yet, I feel this is the way we will be going for plenty of years to come.
I see two things at play here, amongst other things, but women have progressed brilliantly over the last twenty years when it comes to equality and having an equal share within the relationship home. Women have just as much right as men when it comes to earning the bread for the home. And through that we’ve seen some new situations arise; stay at home fathers for example. Men making the choice to give up the work routine to be home makers whilst the wife is out earning the bread. We’ve seen a dramatic shift to the home dynamic within a family over the last 40 years. There has been a noticeable and progressive reshuffle.
Shift in parenting dynamic
The other has been the dramatic shift in the parent dynamic. Back in the 60’s and beyond it was the mans job to go out, work, and fix things with their hammers and take their sons out and teach them how to be men. Women would stay at home, maintain the house, cook, sow and make housewifes out of their daughters. This is how I understand this anyway. And since then there has been a turbulent rise in women led single parent families. And the woman has had to adopt the stance of breadwinner and fixer, and also home maker and parent. A tough job if you ask me.
From these two instances we’ve saw the rise of an integrated family unit. One where the man now does more than he ever used to. He now fixes things and feeds baby, whereas the woman you will find also feeds baby and works hard. Men and women no longer have strict social roles, which is actually a great thing when we’re talking about the evolution of humanity. We evolve to survive, and obviously we’ve began to dabble in each others previously strict gender roles and obliterated the term ‘gender role’ as a sexist ideal. That no longer do men just ‘fix things’ and women ‘bake cakes’. It’s a good direction if I’m honest.
So why is divorce through the roof? Why is depression through the roof? Why are we not lasting in relationships like we previously did? Why is everything going pair shaped for a lot of people?
Well simply put it’s not just as simple as ‘this is what we do’ because the system that ensnares us is so intertwined and neatly wrapped around the social constructs in which we abide by today it takes many years to untangle. But I’ll give you an overviewed and simplified answer as a pure idealist would give.
We live in a broken society
Our society is broken. At base we think of ourselves as an advanced species and our next stop will be the stars. But if you halt for a second and think back to the evolutionary tale of the human race you will see a long history of us making the same mistakes time and time again. We only rid ourselves of Fascism 80 years ago and yet, here we are again, giving way to right wing Populism that’s sweeping the planet in an underhanded Nazi-like way of thinking.
Anyway! If you’re like me and understand a bit of Psychology then you’ll understand that we are an outdated species living in a technologically advanced world. We acted the same when we lived in caves as we do now. Make no mistake, the brain and body still craves the same things that we did thousands of years ago. That’s why we stereotype and blanket statement people, because our brains aren’t designed to think on a global scale which the modern world has opened us up to.
Women and Men want the same things as we did hundreds of thousands of years ago.
YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT
We haven’t changed not one bit. No matter if he does the laundry and looks after the children whilst she has a well earned nap, or she dons the overalls and goes to unplug a drain. On a side note my wife is less afraid to get mucky than I am. But we still want the same feelings and the same things out of a relationship regardless of how you look at it. And it’s why people are dropping out of Marriages and long terms left, right and centre. You may think I’m crazy, or you may even want to scream at me and tell me that I’m wrong; but it’s tried and tested time and time again. Underneath that softness of new age man caring for their children there still needs to be a hard nosed fixer there too, and beneath the surface of the new powerwoman that works and brings home for the family us men still crave the delicate lady that needs protection.
Mum installed good qualities in me
I was raised throughout my life by my Mum who instilled all the qualities she’d love in a man. I really respect her for this because recently they’ve shown through. She taught me to be honest and trustworthy, to respect my partner, open doors for her, share the cooking, do the housework, let her work if she wants to. My Mum was quite the modern thinker in her time, yet with all this chivilrous behaviour that was instilled into me, my Mum always dated men that completely bucked that trend. I sort of noticed this as an older male and scratched my head at it.
“Why did she raise me one way and date the opposite of what she raised?”
I understand it. She didn’t want for me what had befallen for her, so I was raised by all the qualities she admired in men, and through that I’ve managed to make a friendbase mostly of women throughout my life. Yet what it didn’t do was help me in the dating arena. She raised me to be ‘liked’ by women but not be craved by them. You see, every failed relationship I fell into, my partners mostly became bored and called it off. I always jumped two feet in, and whilst that’s not a bad thing in itself, allowing them to walk all over me wasn’t good.
I’ve always said men don’t need to be arseholes to find good women but they DO need to be strong.
There has been a dramatic shift in society beyond all recognition in the last thirty years, and those that survive will have to adapt. And what do I mean by adapt? Well, Marriage isn’t an end game for men and women anymore. It’s a continual process. Women are more free than they have possibly ever been. They can express themselves freely and not be shunned from society like they did in the archaic days. They are free to express opinion and ‘most’ men see those opinions as perfectly valid. As a modern man in the UK I think women have just as much rights as anyone else. And I think that’s great. Yet on the other hand men will have had to adapt, and quickly.
Sixty years ago – a mans world
I presume it was much easier sixty years ago sitting with our pipe and slippers dictating to the household our orders from a long standing victorian era, but all that has changed. Even MY parents are outdated in what they’ve taught me about life and relationships; they stem from a relatively cushy time in human interaction albeit slightly backward.
And as men begin to get softer and express their feelings and open up it’s a really nice change. I’m the same. I’m now an open book and I’m not afraid to be vulnerable, I’m blossoming into a lovely man. But it seems we [as men] are ditching our strong willed habits for a more touchy feely life. I’m not saying this is true for all men but it’s doing us a big disservice in the long run. If you look at the absolute hoardes of men right now in counselling or with dating gurus teaching them ‘how to be men’ – it seems silly right? A man going to a specialist to be taught how to be a man?! But this is the case, and as it was for me too. I had to learn through various combinations of counselling, psychotherapy and mentoring on how to be a well balanced man in todays society.
From what I’ve witnessed on my travels, is that to survive in a modern society as a man there needs to be a balance struck between his primal side and his modern side. I technically call it striking a happy medium between soft and hard. Directly translated into a modern term example that would be hugging and kissing your young child whilst at the same time standing your ground in an argument. I’ll say it again. You don’t need to be an arsehole to be successful in relationships but you need to be able to stand your ground, and more importantly you need to be able to admit that you’re wrong when you realise that you are.
Women are bored
Think of it this way. Women are sick to the back teeth of living in a mans world; owned and powered by testosterone. They are sick of their opinions being invalidated just because they are female. Terms that used to be held as a valid excuse for an argument ender are deemed highly sexist now; “are you on your period? Is that why you’re mad”, and so they should be held as sexist, but I understand women as looking for a change. No longer do they want to be hushed like the little girls they are deemed to be. They want to be respected and heard, so it’s only natural that a man who respects women in every way seems like a good catch.
But we as men, or at least a lot of men I have met miss that all important ingredient:
I’ve met men who sit there and tell me that they’d “smash her back doors in” looking at the teenage waitress at my kids party whilst his kid and wife were there, letching at everything that resembled a pulse walked by. Similarly, I’ve met men who are scared of women, and wouldn’t know what to do if one were to start shouting at them; they’d run away and hide. I’d love to meet more men with ‘the balance’. Think of the balance as openly crying at Britain/America ‘s got talent and later standing up to the school headmaster that’s trying to bully your child.
And we, as men, need to learn that. No, you don’t need to be an arsehole and walk all over her and treat her like shit, but you definitely need to stand your ground and respect yourself. You need to be able to stand up for yourself, you need to defend yourself when you think she’s wrong; and believe me I’ve been married nearly ten years, you’ll think she’s wrong at least once a week. But more importantly you need to be able to be vulnerable in the sense that your pride shouldn’t matter with your significant other, and if you realise that you’re wrong, bloody well say so.
Thank for reading, I hope you enjoyed this. It’s took me nearly a whole day to write and I’d love to hear what you think!