Updated: Sep 11, 2022
This subject is sometimes controversial, it might even get me into trouble with my readers, but it is a relevant topic to be explored. Talking about love is difficult and even taboo for some men. Historically, men have been seen more as providers and protectors of their families. These roles are less aligned with caregiving, which is more associated with women, who are the mothers of their families. A man’s love language is viewed through the prism of the core activities that they undertake, such as cultivating the fields, constructing the villages, and fighting to protect their countries. For many Afro-Caribbean men, their hardened persona has been influenced by our hard and difficult history. Boys are taught to be fighters, as such, they take aggression for strength and sensitivity for weakness. They are laughed at and called a ‘sissy’ if they cry and show soft emotions. Many grown men will only show their vulnerabilities and emotions around their loved ones.
Provider and Protector
Most men convey their love in very profound practical ways, unfortunately, it is sometimes misunderstood and even unappreciated.
Many persons were taught to receive and express love in their homes. I credit my Mom for nurturing my sensitive and caring side, she expressed her love through her gentle deep hugs, her gospel-filled words, and of course her delicious cooking seasoned in kindness and affection. My Dad, the strong military-like leader, was the commensurate provider and protector, he taught us to work hard and support our families. Mom and Dad expressed their love differently. They were married for 52 years until the time of my Dad’s death. The most intimate moment I saw between them, was my Dad pinching my Mom’s butt, she giggled and quickly said “ole man yuh nuh si di kids”. They produced 13 kids together, which we joke about, it must have been immaculate conceptions. We truly have no recollection of them engaging in sexual activities!! I have never seen my Mom and Dad kiss. I also have never seen them “fuss or fight” with each other. What I have seen is my Dad being very protective of Mom. I once saw him lifting and throwing a man out of his shop for cursing bad words in front of her.
Triangular Theory of Love
Men and Love
Many scholars have attempted to discuss the diverse nature of love with varying success. The diversity of love is represented by the things we adore, such as our parents, partners, cars, sports, pets, etc. A quick google search revealed a large number of definitions of love, these include “an intense feeling of deep affection”, “strong affection for another arising out of kinship or personal ties” and “attraction based on sexual desire, affection, and tenderness felt by lovers”. The complexity of love is evaluated using different frameworks and synergistic factors by many researchers, they have explored the intensity of love using psychometric and neurobiology techniques. This evolving research perspective will continue to be interrogated by researchers, one area of interest to me is how men’s socialization impacts the complexity of how they love.
I think that all humans have the ability to love, however, a person’s socialization is a big determinant of how they love. Some boys grew up in a loving and caring environment, where family and friends nurtured and provided for their needs. In many instances, positive reinforcements were provided to them, like toys, pets, and other gifts. Additionally, others are provided with great role models that they emulate, such as their parents, other relatives and close friends. On the other hand, some boys grew up in very abusive homes and communities, this seems to impact the way they love and trust. The black man’s history of oppression and marginalization has created a generation of very aggressive black men, who are socialized to utilize protective aggression to reinforce their survival. In many instances showing soft love is hard to do for some men, especially those that grew up in environments that required men to display hardness and harshness.
Most boys have had at least one very bad experience with love early in their lives. We tend to fall in likeness with the sweetest girl in school, then create a relationship with her that is only known to us. In school, I was very shy, instead of talking to the girl about my likeness for her, I would opt to pinch her and run off, of course, she would be disgusted and upset with my actions. Unfortunately, men are shamed and dejected by women constantly as they seek their attention. For this reason, a lot of men operate in a hunter-conquering mode, where they are constantly hunting for women to conquer. This behaviour impacts how a man shares with a woman, sometimes he finds it very difficult to be focused and committed to one relationship. Some men are also of the view that when a woman has the upper hand she sometimes misunderstands and does not appreciate his feelings. Clearly, fear and distrust are at the centre of how men provide love to the women they desire.
Men are practical caregivers
Providers and Protectors
Historically men have been taught to be providers and protectors of their families. Most men are socialized to work and create financial resources that are invested in their families. Speaking for myself, I had a Dad who saw his main mission as working for the betterment of his family. In our household, Dad made the tactical decisions to create the financial resources which were mainly utilized by my Mom for the growth and development of the family. There was no evidence of competition between their roles, there existed a great balance and respect for each other, which resulted in minimum conflicts. What was clear was that they both had responsibility for the success of the family. Like my Dad, a man’s standing and status in society are directly aligned to his ability to cater to his woman and children, this is important to most men. Unfortunately, the economic environment does not always create the same level of opportunities for all men and their families.
A man expresses his love for his family through the financial stability that he creates for them. For this reason, most, good men resist starting a family and getting married if they are not financially stable. These men feel compromised, sometimes inadequate, and even threatened if they find themselves competing for a woman with another man who is more financially stable. The unfortunate thing is that society has set high benchmarks for men. Men rich or poor are assessed against those that have the most in society. What exists is a very competitive courtship space, that allows hunters with above-average resources to flourish over those with less. The phenomenon of ‘Joegrine/Sugar Daddy’ is real and relevant. Joegrine/Sugar Daddy is no longer operating in the dark, they are more accepted, especially for their resource-sharing value.
Protecting one’s family has become harder and more difficult with the pervasiveness of crime and violence. The greatest dangers occur within our communities, especially those that lack adequate social and economic infrastructures. Many men have provided a home for the protection of their families, others have opted to secure legal firearms for further protection. In many instances, these interventions, plus the access to police and the army have still not been able to provide adequate security for their families. In other words, men have joined the police force and the armies of their countries to protect their families and countries. Men who are defenders of their countries are held in high esteem and are revered. Unfortunately, when men leave their homes to work or fight wars many families are placed at risk. In some cases, when these men lose their lives or status as heads of their households, other men are selected to take over family responsibilities.
Men hardly use material things to determine love
Givers and Takers
As cultures and customs transform worldwide, the roles of men have significantly changed. What has not changed is the expectation that a man will always be a man, a provider, and a protector. Most men accept the prevailing phenomenon called 'Givers and Takers', which is real and pervasive in our society and impacts the strength of the relationships between men and women. Simply put, most women, even feminists, expect that the man they are intimate with should always cater to their financial and material needs, without the same obligations being reciprocated. A man is judged to be average or below "par" if he is unable to meet these obligations. Men hardly use material things to determine if they love their women, the same cannot be said for some women, who have certain standards that a man must meet before they are given the "time of day".
The big irony is that all humans both men or women, love to be given gifts - be it financial, material or just pure love. There is a general assumption that women should be showered constantly with gifts, while men are occasionally catered for in that regard. The easiest way for a man to fall out of love with a woman is for her to be an absolute 'Taker', that is, she never ever gives, she only takes. As more women become independent and less domesticated, a woman who is just a ‘Taker’ becomes very unattractive. This anomaly, where a woman does not bring something to a relationship is very risky and is sometimes untenable. Most men are motivated to provide their frugally conscious spouse or girlfriend their hard-earned resources, without much apprehension that she will take care of the kids and yes take care of her husband in sickness and health.
There are some instances where some women have no desire to work. Instead, they prefer to secure a man who is well off and who can support her desires and wants. These women are into trendy clothes, expensive jewelry, and cars; many of whom can be seen ‘showcasing the sweetness’ on their social media platforms. These relationships eventually become strained, as the man becomes dissatisfied with the relationship because his sole value to her is to underwrite her lifestyle. Many of these women inherently figure that their sexy body is the most important asset that they bring to a relationship. Unfortunately, a woman's physical attributes are easily degraded over time, the fascination, allure and desire that the man posses are replaced by a lack of commitment. Most men are comfortable with their women providing love, care and affection in exchange for their resources.
Men are not great communicators
Men and Communication
It is accepted by most that men are not great communicators. It is generally felt that women are more outspoken than men, they tend to be more opinionated and direct about the issues they confront. They are not shy to articulate in very animated and passionate ways what is on their minds, even when they are not asked to do so. Men on the other hand tend to be more reserved, and mostly communicate about things that directly affect them. Most men don’t communicate openly about their emotions. They sometimes communicate cautiously about what they say to their woman, they also accept that it is difficult and virtually impossible to win a heated and contentious debate. Some women complain that men frequently don’t listen to them when they speak, however, this is a strategy employed by some men to reduce conflicts with their women by tuning them out “stonewalling”, and staying away from sensitive topics.
Every successful relationship requires communication, patience and tolerance. During courtship, most men use many 'sweet nothings' to engage with the women they are trying to entice. To make these sweet nothings genuine a man usually has to take time to know and build confidence with the woman he is courting. These sweet nothings are normally complimentary, but they also provide the opportunity for the man to reveal what about the women he likes and admires. After a man learns about a woman’s needs and desires he usually creates an advantage for himself by cunningly pandering to the vulnerabilities of the woman. Unfortunately, many women continue to be exploited by men using gifts and attention to win them over. Men will continue to use this very basic but effective strategy to get the women they desire. It is often through the courting stage where the popular question is asked, “what do you look for in a man?”, where men build the character that is sought by the woman he desires. It is during this stage that men make a conscious effort to become and remain the man of interest.
On the other hand, some women do not invest the same amount of time to explore the man that they are interested in. Women tend to invest less time in pursuing the man she likes and even less for the ones she shares no interest in. This creates a knowledge deficit that leads to an incompatible relationship caused by a lack of shared mutual interests. I think women should become hunters also, they should take time to expose themselves to a wide range of personalities before selecting a partner. They should also pay particular attention to their partner’s interests and desires. Many men would become enthusiastic communicators if their women would engage with them about the things they really like such as business, work, sports, etc. It might sound ironic, but the best communication is triggered by knowledge, not just of self but those we engage with.
Men place women in different categories
Types of Relationships
The strength of the relationships created by men is directly linked to the value they place on them. This value correlates with the type of woman and the level of commitment the man gives to the relationship. Most men place women in 3 relationship categories, namely The Wife, The Sweetheart and The Fling:
The Wife - This woman satisfies the morals established by society and the obligation that he has to carry forward the lineage of his family. This woman provides stability to the concept of a family, by giving him children and a home. She does not necessarily provide the most happiness in his life.
The Sweet Heart - This woman provides him the most happiness, based on the level of respect and care that she provides him. He resists making major obligations and commitments to her for fear of compromising what he shares with his family and her. This woman has the potential to become his wife.
The Fling – This woman is one he occasionally engages with and mainly uses for sexual satisfaction. He has no interest in having a long-term committed relationship with her. This woman also views him as a Fling, she takes the best value that she can get from the relationship.
Women are the custodians of these categories; she has the power to enter or leave these relationships. Understanding how some men operate and commit themselves, will ensure fewer conflicts and disappointment for women and men and determines the longevity of the relationship.
Start by loving you and life
Men are driven less by loving and more by conquering. Men are natural hunters, and yes, most of them are experts at it. Over the period of their lives, they have become highly skilled at exploiting women’s vulnerabilities to get what they desire. Their hunting strategy is very simple; take time to learn about the woman that they are pursuing and provide for her desires and wants. Some women on the other hand do not invest much time in learning about a man. The result is that most women are less exposed to the diverse and cunning characteristics of men who they fall for.
Most men that were raised well are natural Givers, they are socialized from an early age to be providers and protectors. Most men do not have a problem with providing for their women and family, however, they expect their women to protect the resources they create and care for them. Unfortunately, some women are only Takers, who have no interest in sharing or giving back to a man. These relationships are easily compromised. Eventually, men will fall out of love with a woman who is purely a Taker.