I’m tired of making men better people.
I can honestly say that every guy who I’ve dated has improved in some form or way because of having been involved with me.
The interesting thing about that is that I’m not alone. Women, and people who identify as feminine are always handed the brunt of emotional labor to sort out for men. It’s an expectation that’s not respected and rarely compensated.
I’ve been with boys who I find are mildly interesting, a little problematic but with good intentions, and prodded them with conversations about just being a better human, maybe examining casual sexist behavior, or even being the sounding board for the emotions that they have never learned to process. In relationships, it often feels like I have a romantic partner.. that I also happen to work as their therapist.
Little things that happen tend to add up, and when you’re constantly giving, guiding, counseling, yet not being listened to, or even worse, accused of nagging, an outburst of frustration is bound to happen.
I find myself constantly validating and pandering my words and vocal tone such as to not offend men. It comes out in the most frustrating ways, too. For instance, my boyfriend cooked me a meal as a valentine’s day gift, yet he made it with bacon, and I have been vocal about how I don’t eat bacon. To be nice, I tried to eat as much as I can, and when confronting him, I apologized for not eating bacon, but also asked him if he was aware. Spoiler alert, he was. Emotionally coddling someone as I’ve been taught is tiring. It’s also a learned trait from not only culture, but from safety. Unprocessed emotions lead to explosions that can be violent. Men not taking on the task of emotional labor for themselves negatively affect themselves and everyone around them.
It is of utmost importance that men start deconstructing the ideas of masculinity that has been traditionally instilled in our society, and stop it from being a tool to measure self-worth. It’s important that men start finding the resources, the communities to challenge toxic behaviors and to grow from it.