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Why it's important for men to have strong authentic relationships

November 6, 2018

Hello everyone from Sydney, Australia! Before moving to Australia a friend of mine connected me with a man named Kim Everson who started an organization called, "Brothers".

 

Brothers is a global movement that seeks to empower and inspire boys and men to create authentic and wholesome friendships, as well as combat damaging cultural influences that can hinder them from doing so.

 

I reached out to Kim a few months ago and wahoo we finally were able to meet last week for coffee at the Opera house cafe. We could have stayed there all day talking about this subject of why men need strong authentic relationships. Kim expressed the reasons why this is difficult for men. We all want human connection, to be heard and seen for what we are. I'm not saying all men don't have these kind of friendships but from the many I have talked to a lot of them don't. Kim expressed how if you get too close to a mate people will think you are gay. If you say, "I love you" to a close guy friend it can come across the wrong way. That you don't call a man your best friend because there is the concern that the other person will not consider you also their best friend so no one get's hurt if you don't say best friend. 

 

Many men will spend time with their friends but feel uncomfortable to talk about deep stuff.

 

They don't share when they are actually not okay and hide their hurt with the need to be a man. When they do get in a relationship with a partner that puts a strain on the relationship if he has no other outlets and only relies on their partner to express what's going on inside. Men need someone to talk to and to know that it's okay to not be okay. 

 

What if your partner is the only one you talk about deep things with and then you break up? You will feel as if you have lost everything if you don't have self love and you only share with your partner about how you feel. 

 

Brothers talks about the, "Three roadblocks in creating deep male friendships" I've taken this information from the brothers website. www.wearebrothers.org. One being the perception of Masculinity. "In Western culture, there are well integrated and strongly embraced beliefs about what manhood and masculinity is like. These mindsets are, according to physiotherapist Robert Garfield, some of the most common roadblocks to emotional intimacy in men´s relationships.A “real man” is often portrayed as someone emotionally restrained, competitive, physically tough, self-sustaining and independent. Men are instead taught not to express emotions, show vulnerability, be affectionate, give or get support... The list goes on and on.As a result, many guys embrace the belief that they aren´t wired to handle emotional intimacy in their relationships. The "emotional intimacy qualities" that are vital to the flourishing of any human being are considered as feminine, and are separated from manly. Since these qualities are being neglected, many men experience difficulties connecting with themselves and the ones around them. The consequences of this can be devastating, And if that is not detrimental enough— it can cause many unnecessary relational challenges in his friendships, marriage and family." 

 

The second being, "The sexualisation of love", "The words ´love´ and ´sex´ have been used interchangeably, and without being aware of it, we have formed perceptions about love and intimacy that aren´t true or helpful. Brothers believes that these perceptions have become a roadblock in creating worthwhile male friendships, and is one of the reasons to why several men (in this case) have the belief that love and intimacy in deep male friendships has to be sexual in nature. Many guys believe that they are not supposed to express or receive admiration or love from other men— and if they do, it must be considered sexual. Even worse; that other people will misunderstand it as sexual. As a natural response, they tend to avoid closeness with other men. They keep a "safe distance" between themselves and their male friends, to make sure that no one, including themselves, would assume that the their relationship is sexual. The sexualisation of love has become a massive roadblock in creating intimacy within male friendships. As a result, many men in today´s society starve themselves from male closeness, which they very much need and want, but most likely won´t admit to— or even be aware of."

 

And the third being, "The sheer neglet of Male friendships", "Genuine friendships between men has in many cases been neglected, ridiculed or dulled down to a shallow hang-out." They hang-out but are not talking about the deep stuff inside that needs to be let out. 

 

It's important for men to have healthy outlets and males that they can talk about what's going on in their life. The male suicide rate has only gone up and men are more likely to commit suicide over women. It's equally important for women to have strong authentic relationships and I do feel that it's easier for women to get closer in our relationships. We can have sleep overs without it looking weird to society. We can get away being closer with our ladies because that's normal in society. But why is it weird for men to get close to their mates?   

 

Men you do not have to act tough and pretend you are okay when you're not okay. It's okay to get close to your boys and important for you to have someone to talk to when you are having a tough day. To share all the details and not be judged. I came to Australia mainly because I felt a calling to work with the men and boys here. Suicide is the number one cause of death in Australia according to

 (Kim and I in front of the Sydney Opera house)

 

.org and there are eight plus suicides a day here. Why is it that males are the ones committing suicide more then the women? How can we change this? Maybe if males had more close authentic relationships this wouldn't be the case. 

 

Even just giving a male friend a hug to some feels weird or uncomfortable. Again I'm not saying this is the case for all men just the men I've talked to and I want to share this information incase you are one of those guys that feels this way. For this message to have impacted one person then I have done my job. As many of you know I lost my cousin John last year from suicide and since then I have fully dived in to spread awareness in any way possible. Since coming to Australia just in the first two days I met a twenty-one year old woman who lost five male friends to suicide in the last three years. One who she said was out with friends that night, a mate walked him home and he did it soon after arriving home. Another man I met here lost a male friend from suicide three months ago. My best friends dad received news of his male friend committing suicide when he was driving Lucy and I to the airport. A few days after that another one of his close male friends committed suicide. 

 

What is going on? Why are our men committing suicide? What can we do to stop this?

 

This is only a few of the male suicides i've heard of recently and doesn't count the others i've heard of this past year. I encourage you all to talk to your men about this and make sure you are creating a safe place for anything to be talked about with each other at any time. To let your boys know it's okay to show emotions other then being happy and being okay. That we are all human and we all need someone to talk to. 

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