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The Reason Men Fail at Relationships

“Men who were subjected to ‘nagging’, constant demands and worries from their partners, were 2.5 times as likely to die within ten years than those with less stressful relationships.”[1]

Why do women nag? They often nag because their partner is not living up to his commitment to her or himself. What was once a passionate relationship devolved to a nagfest. Men can be emotionally open in the courting phase of the relationship. It’s not just that we are playing our best game because we want something; it’s also because challenge and change encourages us to risk. In the case of a relationship, it’s being vulnerable.

Rather than keep stretching ourselves and using that challenge as a catalyst to stay excited and vulnerable, we start coasting. Eventually we just stop showing up. We sit on the couch watching our sports and drinking our beer. Then our partner goes from being our lover to our mother. We retreat and become one of the six million American men suffering from depression.[2]

In our defense, part of what we are up against is how we are trained to be emotional. After we left the tribe, our fathers stopped being home to teach us masculine emotionality. They were working the farm, then working in the factory, and now on their devices at work and home. Women stepped up to model and teach us how to be emotional—the problem is that there are key differences in how men and women process and express emotions. Men can only learn the masculine form from other men.


Don’t leave the relationship, men – leave the limiting model we were given. As men, we need new models. Stop relying on your partner to be your mother. It’s not her job to push you to do things.

After working with more than a thousand of men over three decades, I’ve learned that we don’t all need therapy. We need other men like us being themselves, modeling, supporting, and holding us accountable to show up as the man we want to be – the man our partner wants us to be.

Our men’s groups and men’s trainings reignite our instinctual masculinity so we connect and express in a way that is natural and easy. As men we often resist “emotional work” because we are directed to do it like a woman. A man in a committed group of men will discover feelings he didn’t know he had, find innate ways to express them, and joy from being his own man.

More than nine years ago I redesigned men’s groups to create a group that was not based on techniques, but based on showing up as yourself. That first group evolved into four groups where more than 150 men driving as far as a hundred miles each wa, participated. About Men is a documentary film on our group and our method of working. I formed a nonprofit, Men Corps, to support other men in starting free groups. From men wanting more, we formed Free to Win to train men how to show up with their full Masculine Emotional Intelligence. October 11-12, 2014, is our next training for men to experience the truth that being an emotional man is not an oxymoron.

Owen Marcus, MA, Certified Advanced Rolfer at – 265.8440. His work with men can be found at www.freetowin.CO. This article and many more health and wellness articles are at the blog:

[1] The Telegraph, 09 May 2014

[2] National Institutes of Mental Health

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