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On Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness

Why Do Relationships Between Men and Women Get Complicated?

Robert Manni - Wednesday, April 11, 2012
  
Image Courtesy of Glamour Magazine

On the surface, it looks like men and women are finally getting on the same page. But are they? 

Things happen quickly these days, especially the evolving roles of the sexes. But, unfortunately there are two major hurdles that keep getting in the way of men and women being simpatico. Today’s women are more educated, and as a result they are ascending in the professional world. Liz Munday’s book, “The Richer Sex”, states over forty percent of working women out earn their partners. That’s progress. But how are they doing when it comes to interpersonal relationships? Money changes a lot, but there are some areas in the relationships between the sexes that have not shifted as rapidly as the changes the workplace. 

Ever wonder why it’s so difficult for men and women to sustain friendships?

In many instances men show a lack of an ability to maintain simple friendships with women. There’s a reason for that. Actually there are two reasons two gigantic, overarching reasons. Drum roll, please. Men are driven by their egos and sex. These two go hand in hand like Lennon and McCartney, Abbott and Costello, and Andrew Zimmerman and a platter of fried bull testicles. 

We know about men’s egos and inner-horn doggie, but how about women?

Ladies, men’s ego and sex are not just a big deal.  They are the deal for guys, and in many cases they become deal breakers to building healthy relationships with women.  It’s very different for the women I spoke with. Women have a wonderful ability to compartmentalize the men in their lives. Whether it’s the mentor at work, their financial advisor, personal doctor, gay friends, Zumba instructor, or the cute guy in the wine-tasting class, it’s not all about sex.  Women can simply carry on an engaging dialogue and friendship with men without having it lead into the bedroom. Sure, maybe she may have wondered about that dude in the wine class a few times, but for the most part, women can holster their sexuality when interacting with the opposite sex. This is wonderful.

What about the guys? Haven’t they evolved also? 

There’s a big difference with how men have handled the recognition of women. Until recently I wrote about the ascent of women, but the difference is that they are finally being recognized. They have been here doing their thing as long as men have. The difference is that they are finally being accepted. On the other hand, many men have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to accept the resulting ascent in women throughout culture. And unfortunately, too many dudes give lip service and not much else to women. And that’s wrong. Many men are like porpoises. They have no shut off switch in their brain so they keep consuming. Ego and the id control their lives. Maybe these sound like fighting words from your Guy’s Guy, but it’s true. Most men cannot look at a woman without sizing her up sexually. And regardless of a “friendship” in the making, the male ego continues prodding him to view women sexually. In many ways, it’s not about the sex. It’s about consumption. The male ego works to prevent him from turning off the sexual switch. This is not about love or romance. It’s about sex. But, sex is only the result of the behavior. Ego is the driver. I want what I want when I want it. And this really gets in the way of men and women forging bonds as people. Even if you’ve been friends with a guy for some time, most ladies instantly feel it when the guy’s ego unsheathes that sexual vibe that he has done such a good job of keeping burbling in his consciousness. Sure, nowadays most guys have learned probably from a woman how to maintain female friends. That’s great. We need more of that. 

What to do. 

Identifying the issue is easier than solving the problem. Of course women play a major role in managing these platonic relationship, but ultimately the solution has to come from the guys. Males need to be educated at an early age to treat girls and then women as equals and always with respect. That’s a great place to start any friendship. 

Is it possible for a man and woman to maintain a platonic relationship?
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