According to Trish

not worth reading since 2009

The Return of the Giant Man-Baby: A dude weighs in

Hi all! I know I said my next post was going to be all about the Irishman, but one of my brilliant readers derailed me! (Working on that next post now, peeps. Never fear!)

Remember the Giant Man-Baby Phenomenon? Well, one of my dudely readers took the time to write a very insightful comment on it from the guy’s perspective. I wanted to make sure you all got the chance to read it, so I’m pasting it below. As always, I’d love to hear your comment on his comments.

And now, I surrender the floor to TK:

I liked this story more than I thought I would. I was initially bristling at the concept of “man-baby” because the doofus male is such a stereotype, and deeply held among American women. Nonetheless, my ex-girlfriend told virtually the exact same story regarding her ex-husband, so there’s plenty of truth here. You’ve articulated a lot of things she was trying to say. (We’re still friends.) So thanks for that.

Regarding point one — ask yourself, “How did he act before he lived with you?”

For example, did he manage his own apartment just fine before you came into his life, doing his own laundry, tossing out the garbage, paying his bills, etc.? I have seen a tendency among women to confuse “not how I do things” with “wrong.” It’s a deeply ingrained tendency. Fight it.

For example, I bought a house and keep it clean, paying my bills on time, etc. My credit rating was over 800. I had been employed steadily for 25 years. My most recent ex-girlfriend once said, “I don’t know how you managed to live on your own.” As if I was a doofus. Meanwhile, she had a stack of unpaid bills three months back, I’d repeatedly bailed her out of those, and her house looked like a tornado hit it. But I didn’t do things how she would — so she “corrected” me until I told her to stuff it.

Excessive correction about non-important things will drive a man away. If he can’t do anything without a comment, either good or bad, as if you know the “correct” way and he needs to be “taught,” he’s going to think you’re a condescending jerk and you’re going to find he’ll spend a lot of time away from you. But he won’t say that.

Again, how clean was his apartment when he first met you? How did manage his life without you before you met? And if you don’t like the answers to those questions (i.e., the same before the relationship as he was in the relationship), why was his behavior with you a surprise?

That said, if you’re saying — I don’t care how the garbage is thrown out, as long as it is, fine. If you’re saying, don’t forget to spray Lysol on the bottom of the can each time you change the bag, you’re a nag.

I have found in general men are far more results-oriented about how things get done, as long as they are done and meet the agreed-upon specifications. I have found women seem to take a relationship-based approach to things, and so they read current-relationship-status into something like throwing out the garbage.

While I understand that female tendency myself, you need to understand that to your average man that thinking is unfathomable. So he shrugs his shoulders and you think he’s clueless, but as much as he’s missing how you think, you’re not understanding how men think. To him, you are taking the temperature of the relationship by how and when the garbage gets tossed out. To a man, it sounds narcissistic and paranoid. Hence, women think men are stupid, and men think women are crazy.

If you want to communicate better with the male gender, cracking the code on male thinking will help. Very few men actually understand a women’s relational approach to thinking. Similarly, very few women understand a man’s mission-oriented thinking, which requires detachment from emotions and achievement of goals independent of relationships. Relationships may be a part of how the goal is accomplished, but to a man, the achievement is key.

“I think I saw a rat/insects/children eating out of the garbage” should trigger a man to fix a garbage problem, if addressed not as nagging and “I told you so”. As women, give men problems to solve, and then let them go solve it their way. Once a man is in his thinking tunnel (e.g., working out a solution to a problem), he has detached and that’s a good thing. Thinking about what that means to a relationship simply sounds insane to a man at that point.

I once saw a woman ask a patient suffering from dementia to read off a list of financial numbers, rather than simply pass me the piece of paper with the numbers written on them. I asked what she was doing, and she said, “I was trying to include him.” The idea that such a task would bore him and slow down everything pointlessly, never occurred to her. She was trapped in relational thinking and interfering with accomplishing the goal.

Hope this perspective is useful.


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