If You Love Her… Should You Let Her Know?
By Ronald Yates
In today’s modern world it is rare for people to express their true feelings… no one wants to feel vulnerable and tell their partner how they feel about them just in case their partner does not share those feelings. For men, it is doubly hard to show our emotions. From the time little boys are able to understand, we are discouraged from expressing our feelings. We are told “Not to cry,” which sends self-destructive subliminal messages to bury our feelings deep inside and share them with no one, not even the women in our lives.
Many young men are from what was once called “Broken Homes.” Today they are referred to as “Single Parent Homes.” But whatever term you prefer the situation is the same… young men growing up in homes without a father and, in many cases, no father figure. Many of those young men have never heard Dad telling Mom how much he loves her” or saw mom and dad hug or kiss. For them, the vast majority of what they will learn about relationships will come from “Street Philosophers” who will only serve to reinforce the dysfunction they’ve seen and been a part of their entire lives. Young men learn early that expressions of emotions are an indication of weakness; and let’s face it, in this world we live in, no one can afford to be weak. The “Laws of the Jungle” are clear… the weak fall prey to the strong and in America there is no shortage of predators. How that translates in relationships is simple, you cannot expect a healthy relationship from a person who has never seen one, or who has learned about relationships from people who have never had a normal one.
I was talking to someone the other day and she said something that was very profound, “To fix the multiple problems in this country the first issue we have to address is that of restoring the nuclear family, as the family is the basic unit of every community.” But how do we do that when we have, seemingly, lost all respect for one another? Many Black men refer to women as “bitches,” and there is an equal number of women who refer to Black men as “niggas.” There was a time in recent history when Black men and women called each other “Brothers and Sisters,” when Black love was not yet on the endangered species list. For those of us… of a certain age, we can still remember the music of that era, and how it made us feel. It was not unusual to see brothers and sisters walking down the street arm-in-arm or holding hands. Today simple expressions like that are few and far between. Today’s music reflects the level of dysfunction that is consuming the Black family. Five generations ago the music was an expression of love and desire. Today it is about hatred and blatant disrespect of the women we once called “Sister.
I wish I could provide a simple answer to the complex problem of how to get young men to open up and share their feelings… not just to their partners, but in general. Young Black men need to be able to talk about the things that bother them and are perpetuating and supporting the continued cycle of violence that is destroying our communities, block by block, street by street. For this generation of young women how many of them will experience a healthy relationship? For young men who have their choice of women, how many will even consider a committed relationship? How can we form healthy relationships when we are not able to express our true feelings? For women, this has been and remains an issue. If I were to offer advice, I would suggest that we revert to the old ways when tried and tested methods were the glue that held us together and kept us together.
Ladies, let the man do the pursuing! As strange as it may sound let the man show his level of interest. While I am fully aware that it’s not as easy as I make it sound, the reality is what other options do we have? Young men need to be made to feel safe, so safe they are willing to open up and share their feelings. They live in a world of predators, view everyone as someone who could potentially hurt them, and use any sign of weakness to their advantage. These young men know only one emotion… anger and the result of that anger is evident, from the violence on the streets to domestic violence within our homes. The violence that goes on behind closed doors takes on many forms, sometimes it is emotional and physical violence, other times it may be neglect. But whatever form, it is just as destructive. Sisters know this, no one has a greater ability to influence young black men than you.
My sisters, you have something Black men both want and need and only you can provide. If you place demands on them and stop allowing them to treat you in inhumane and unhealthy ways, they will eventually adjust accordingly. Yes, whether you choose to believe this or not, you have the power. Practice using it to your advantage.