Exhausting Men

On behalf of myself and the other men out there who have made it your responsibility to validate us and ask us to grow up, I want to say I am sorry.

We, I, exhausted every bit of energy you have with the constant pressure to tell us we are enough.

We contribute the bare minimum to the relationship and want, no demand, you to tell us how important we are to you. How we are better than any man you have ever known. And it is not enough, we want more.

More praise.

More notice.

More enthusiasm for our paltry contributions to the needs of the relationship.

However, if you ask us what we need, we say “Nothing.” We wouldn’t dare ask for what we really need. It is much easy to be passive and then go silent or get angry when you don’t figure it out.

And really, we don’t know what we need, we just want more.

More of your time.

More of your presence.

More of your attention.

Unless we don’t, then we ignored you. We don’t have time for you right now, because we are gaming, watching sports, or hanging out with our buddies. Then you are a disruption or a nag. We won’t say this to you, but you will feel it.

We don’t accomplish much in life, but we want you to notice every little thing we do. Like a lost little kid waiting on a gold star at the top of his homework, that isn’t even completed.

We offer vague dreams and ideas for the future and rarely work for them. Then we want you to make us feel better when life doesn’t make it easy. Your dreams lie in the dust, waiting for us to grow up. Hoping we pursue our dreams, but we want you to make us feel better about our half-hearted attempts.

It is like we don’t even know you are there until we have a disruption in our world. When you are sad or hurt, we pull away because we have nothing to offer. We want you to get over whatever is going on for you, so you can be there for us.

What makes this hard is very few people see this behavior from us. They see a nice guy trying to do his best. You see a guy expecting you to wait on his needs and his troubles.

It all seems so confusing. We either bug you for attention or treat you like a tremendous burden. You never know who you are dealing with. It is draining.

You’ve become a little trinket. We keep around so we don’t get bored, using you up in a never satisfied need for validation and approval. Our constant message to you is “make me feel special!”

And when you look around, you notice most of us are like this. We don’t seem to have a purpose or passion. We spend our days at work, if we are working, and our nights on the couch. The dishes and chores pile up and we leave you to deal with all of it.

It is a funny/not-funny joke when you hear “man-baby” or “kidult.” You know exactly what those words mean and how much you wish they weren’t actual descriptions of us. You wanted a partner and got a project, or worse, a parasite: slowly sucking all the life out of you. We hover over you, wanting you to make life better.

And while the TV casts us as passive and weak, you know the reality of how angry we are. You confronted our behavior and begged us to change, only to get yelled at, belittled, or dismissed. It is anyone’s fault but ours. We have enough challenges without you needing something, too.

You wish we would find something to bring us genuine joy or happiness. But, nothing seems to satisfy our hunger for more. We cannot be content with an hour of gaming, or whatever, it has to be unlimited. And still we whine about not getting to do what we really wanted.

I am so sorry we have lived our lives and yours expecting you to fill a place in us. We took all you could give and demanded more. We kept expecting you to make us whole.

And when you couldn’t, as no one could, we rejected you. We blamed you for not doing your part. We pursued anything else (porn, money, women, etc.) to fill the emptiness that you never could.

You are not crazy. We, I, expected you to do something for us which we were unwilling to do for ourselves: give our lives meaning.

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