This sounds completely counterintuitive. How is it that so many men need deeper, stable ties in their love lives, yet historically they have been the ones fleeing to literal and figurative “man caves”? Time and time again, both gay and heterosexual men I interviewed spoke of a paralyzing fear of appearing “weak” (that was the most common one) or “small” or “too insecure” if they opened up and shared their fears, sadness and need for emotional succor with their love partners. They feared that airing such protected feelings would lead to rejection or abandonment.
More often than we care to believe, these fears are well founded.
Andrew Smiler, a psychologist based in Winston-Salem, N.C., whose practice is devoted to boys and men, told me that one of the main skills he helps men with is learning how to access, process and articulate their deeper emotional lives as a way of