First off, I’m so glad you decided to write this. It’s just the kind of thing that’s needed right now, although I’m sorry for the unfortunate circumstances that precipitated it.

“We can be sad together, and that way neither of us will be alone.” I was just trying to explain this to a guy recently who was insisting that what his partner would want in the aftermath of a trauma would be that he “be strong” for her. I had told the story of losing a baby in highly traumatic way and since there was nothing my partner could do for my physical or emotional pain and there was nothing he could do to stop the loss, he tried to just “be strong” for me. We spent the night in the hospital but the next day he was so physically sick from all that pent up emotion that I ended up having to drive us home.

I think that the way most men are socialized tends to have them not realize how bonding and beneficial it is to go through something hard together and that not everything needs an action step. Once we got home we both really leaned on each other and that is what got us through that. If he’d held himself apart, trying to prop me up in some way, neither of us would have healed as quickly.

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Dispelling cultural myths with research-driven stories. My favorite word is “specious.” Not fragile like a flower; fragile like a bomb! Twitter @ElleBeau

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