Men used to bring home the bacon and work out their bad days with their buds on the racquetball court. These days, men spend more time with the woman they love, but expect more give and take now.
Men want help earning the salary that puts those delicious meals on the table. They might even prefer fixing dinner themselves, while you go out and conquer the job market.
We’re seeing sensitive men like this more and more. And while we, as women, say we long to date progressive, well-rounded men in equal relationships, as told to us by conventional dating advice, sometimes actually doing so proves more difficult than we realized.
Sometimes it’s not easy to let go of old-school expectations about “real men.”
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The new relationship rules aren’t written anywhere, so men and women are making them up as we go along. This gets confusing and complicated when we’re not sure if our guy is the old-school strong and silent type, or if he’s a modern, sweet guy.
More than likely, he’s a mixture of both! So here are a few things to know help you navigate a relationship with a strong man who is also sensitive.
1. He cares about animals and children.
Yep, he likes traditional “guy stuff” but he also enjoys hanging out with his nieces and nephews. He might also volunteer for the local animal welfare organization. Respect both sides of his interests.
2. He might pull away to hide feelings (but he still has them).
Men aren’t as likely to eat a pint of chocolate ice cream or talk to friends for hours about their feelings when upset. But that doesn’t mean things that happen (at work, with you) don’t hurt them deeply. They’re much more likely to distract themselves or isolate themselves.
3. He takes criticism very personally.
Does he stop texting after an argument? Does he leave the house if you’re critical? Just because he doesn’t sound off about the harsh thing you said doesn’t mean your criticism didn’t go straight through his heart, so choose your words carefully (just like you expect him to do for you).
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4. He might prefer a career in the helping professions.
Whether he’s a teacher or running a nonprofit, most men who work to serve others or who create (everything from paintings to houses) tend to fall more on the sensitive side. They also tend to possess big-picture thinking.
5. He has strong morals and principles.
Does your man have a passion for politics? Equal rights? Does he hate movies in which the nice guy loses? All signs that he’s sensitive, disdains inequity and injustice and has a more open mind than you might think.
6. Best of all — he’s appreciative.
Of beauty, of life, of you. Sensitive men remember your birthday, they want to please you in bed, and they care what you think and feel.
Mindlab founder and chairman, Dr. David Lewis, said, “We tend to oversimplify and exaggerate the perceived differences between men and women and are more likely to focus on evidence that supports our existing gender stereotypes.”
In fact, Mindlab’s recent study found that men are actually more emotional than women are at times, but they are less willing to express emotions openly due to societal expectations.
Yet, “Mr. Sensitive” can easily become “Mr. Right” if we recognize and honor how modern masculine strength and sensitivity merge.
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Sensitive men are often wittier, more creative, and more empathetic than the old-school alternative (you know, the man who drinks all your best liquor and then boinks your best friend). I’ve known a few of those, but I’ve never stuck around to see how it ended.
So, next time you meet a man who seems to express himself differently, take a second look. You might have to reciprocate more, take the lead sometimes, but that helps both of you grow as the relationship blossoms.
RELATED: Sensitive Guys Make Better Lovers, Says Science
Kathryn Ramsperger, MA is an intuitive life coach and award-winning author. If PTSD is causing a struggle in your life and relationships, email her for a free consultation.