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Toxic masculinity—and the persistent idea that feelings are a "female thing"—has left a generation of straight men stranded on emotionally-stunted island, unable to forge intimate relationships with other men. , but she does remember neglecting her own needs to the point of hospitalization.“I talked him through his aspirations, validated his opinions, and supported his career.
“Men are taught that feelings are a female thing,” muses Johnson, whose husband often complains about her wanting to "talk deep." Though Johnson brags about how wonderful her husband is—grateful he doesn’t exhaust her with his neediness like a lot of her married friends—she does wish men were encouraged to examine and explore their emotions in a safe setting, like therapy, before they boil over.
Forced to question long-held masculine ideals, therapy can be a meaningful and transformative process, even for her most reluctant patients.
“No one has ever asked them what masculinity means to them, and they’ve never asked themselves,” says Beard.
Kelly’s story, though extreme, is a common example of modern American relationships.
Women continue to bear the burden of men’s emotional lives, and why wouldn’t they?