I’m starting to worry that I’m hurting my husband because I can’t stand to see a man cry

I’m starting to worry that I’m hurting my husband because I can’t stand to see a man cry…

My Dad was a big crier. He cried about how lonely he was (it started when I was three when my parents divorced and I spent the weekends with him), how unfair life was for him, how I didn’t love him or care enough about him. He cried about a lot of other shit too.

I hated him for it then and I can’t honestly say that I don’t resent him for it now.

Probably, part of my problem with dad’s tears is that he never allowed me any.

When it came to me, it was all always “suck it up” and/or “don’t be such a fucking pussy”.

“By helping young men and boys understand that they don’t have to conform to archaic aggressive stereotypes of masculinity, we can reduce antisocial behaviour, mental health struggles, suicides, gender-based crime and domestic violence,”

- Christopher Muwanguzi

My father is a healthy, white, straight, educated (PhD in Geology), attractive, middle class, successful, well off American man who craves, seeks and consumes himpathy.

He uses tears to manipulate me and knock me off balance whenever I get too “cocky”.

The double whammy of his toxic masculinity (he was a marine, considers himself a “man’s man”, catcalls women, carries a gun, and hocks a powerful loogie.. ) and his tearful demands for my himpathy fill me with disgust and fury. My father weaponized tears and terrorized me with a constant threat of them.

I tell you this because I know how unfair it is of me to see my dad’s crap in my husband’s unshed tears. I’ve only seen Morgan cry twice in twenty-nine years. Once in college during a family upset and then years later at the ending of the movie A.I. My husband is the exact complete total opposite of my father and both times I’ve seen him cry I wasn’t disgusted or angry. But, It was unsettling (and in regards to A.I., weirdly amusing) and I was desperate for him to feel better. And for him to stop.

“ ‘Men don’t cry!’, ‘Women can’t handle money!’ What limiting ideas to live with…”

- Louise Hay

I love to cry. It feels so achingly good during and it’s such a sweet relief after. I tell my daughters that sometimes a good cry (and a nap) is just what the doctor ordered. Crying heals. Crying releases sadness, disappointment and anxiety. I tell all my women friends to go ahead and “cry it out” - often on my shoulder. But I’ve told my husband hundreds of times in a hundred different ways how much I hate to see a man cry.

It seems that although I rail against toxic masculinity constantly, I am also the perpetrator of it. I don’t have sons so I don’t know how I would have handled a boy child’s emotions and tears but I fear that my experiences with my father and the conscious and unconscious absorption of societies patriarchal macho culture would have made me less tolerant, patient and sympathetic than I was with my daughters. I might even have, in a bad mom moment told them “to suck it up.”

“I'm not sure how old I was when I was first instructed that boys don't cry – at a guess, maybe six or seven. Once it began, it came at me from all angles: family, teachers, friends, the myriad voices of media and culture. Like pretty much all boys, I learned that tears and sobs were markers of failure… the rules of the game were simple: if you cry, you lose. As little boys begin to construct the identities of grown men, the toughest lesson to learn is toughness itself. Never show weakness, never show fragility and above all, never let them see your tears.”

- Ally Fogg

So I am going to let my husband know that he can cry when he’s frustrated, hurt, sad, moved by something tragic or lovely and in victory or defeat. BUT I would prefer that he does not cry about shit not being “fair” or because he feels like a “victim” or because he is looking for forgiveness.

But I may cry when I ask for his….

Article by VERVE Founder & CFO (Chief Feminist Operative) Anna Quick-Palmer

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