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Worried I'm emasculating my BS

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regret12 posted 1/19/2014 22:52 PM

My BS is admittedly not a self sufficient person. He doesn't cook, doesn't do laundry, isn't mechanical, etc. He is extremely helpful around the house and always has been. He is very organized and pays all of our bills on time, makes sure he keeps all of our finances in order and he loads/unloads the dw, folds laundry, dusts, vacuums, etc.

Last night he said he felt "pathetic". He said that he's a grown man who can't take care of himself and isn't outgoing socially, so when he goes out with his friends to try to get his mind off things a while he just ends up feeling depressed and lonely like the old guy at the bar who is just sad. I hate that I've done this to him.

I've been so worried about his health and just trying to take care of him as best I can while he is sorting thru his feelings (we are S, but living together still and he is trying to "find himself" before he commits to R). I cook nice meals for him (this is nothing new, I've always taken care of him and enjoy nurturing him) and keep the house clean. Today I made him breakfast and dinner, washed his bed sheets and helped him put up his new speakers his family got him for Christmas.

I'm more the mechanical one of the two of us. I have tools my dad will buy me for holidays and buy my H a sweater. I like stuff like that. The weekend of DDay we'd just bought a new dishwasher and I installed it. My H played video games while I did to stay out of the way. And he's typically not interested in this stuff and I've tried to show him stuff before. But today I worried as I was splicing and wiring, that my H was frustrated more with himself. He wanted and needed my help. We both knew this, but I didn't make a big deal about it.

However, I think that given where we are right now I worry anyway that he appreciates the nurturing and the help, but he also feels worse about himself bc he knows he needs it in addition to appreciating it. And I worry that I'm doing more harm than good. We've always had this running joke that I'm more the man in the relationship and he's the woman.


Brandon808 posted 1/20/2014 00:01 AM

Some of what you described would have applied to me and my relationship with my 2nd wgf. I quite simply have never been very mechanically inclined and I value my limbs too much to attempt to use power tools. My wgf even wanted power tools for Christmas one year. No joking. With her, and any other woman for that matter, I never felt emasculated by the fact that I was the less "handy" of the two of us when it came to fixing things/using tools. When it becomes an issue is when you feel your SO somehow questions your manhood because of that. I am a hard-working, honorable, decent man who was raised to believe that my values (i.e. integrity, work-ethic, putting my family first, etc) was what defined me more as a man. However, it is easy to find yourself questioning that after an A has happened. I don't think you are directly emasculating your BS. I think that on some level he worries about self-sufficiency because he a) fears maybe that was somehow a motivator in your A to begin with or b) may be afraid of you coming to view him as "needy" which would be a turnoff to you.

regret12 posted 1/20/2014 14:08 PM

Thank you for the insight Brandon808. I've never been concerned that my H is not a "handyman" and he never seemed to worried about it until a few years ago. As we've gotten older and own a home, he gets frustrated not being able to fix minor things.

I think your assessment of the "needy" feeling he may be experiencing is probably the key to remember. I know that my H feels "needy" and gets self-conscious about it. I always try to assure him that I am "needy" too, just in different ways. That's what a true partnership is all about. His emotions are running high so it's all amplified. I just want to be as sensitive to this as I can be.

Mrs Panda posted 1/20/2014 19:30 PM

My thoughts are that words like emasculating should not exist.

The world will be a better place when we are not defined by our gender, but our value as human beings.

It sounds like both you and your BH are uncomfortable with your somewhat atypical gender roles. So get to the heart of that. And if you are to stay together, you will need to both be more secure in who you really are.

[This message edited by Mrs Panda at 7:31 PM, January 20th (Monday)]

Aboilman posted 1/20/2014 21:23 PM

I was here during the worst of the aftermath as Monsterslayer 5 yrs ago. I've felt compelled to come back with a positive spin as my FWW and I are R. While I have always been the fixer/mechanic/hunter/hockey dad in our marriage, I too felt emasculated. I felt I had to learn to cook, do the laundry, clean the house etc. You see, I never did those things before my spouses A. I felt that was the reason she strayed. So in the beginning, as I learned how to do all these things I felt emasculated because I was changing my role in the marriage because she had an affair?! Now, while I still do those things, we share the responsibility.
For me the feeling came from my assumption that I needed to do these things to "win her back". I understand now that while she did need to see a willingness in me to change for her to recommit, I put most of that pressure on myself. Hope this helps...

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