I have a really good boyfriend but he lacks masculinity and that turns me off so much about him. He just isn’t assertive. I could walk all over him. It is as if I am the man in the relationship when it comes to putting my foot down, making important decisions, and getting things done. We have been in public and guys will try to literally pull me away from him to get my number and he wouldn’t do anything! Can you give me some serious insight into how to make this work?

Dear Ms. Cavewoman,

I understand your desire to have a man that will “be a man”. You are not alone in your belief that the man should take care of things like fixing things around the house as well as be assertive in showing that he loves you and should protect you from these other men that find you desirable. Since we moved from the cave to the suburb, the traditional role of the man has been given a bit of a remix. We are no longer required to kill our food so that we can eat, and the man isn’t allowed to beat his woman for burning the chicken. 

Since the invention of the Playstation, men require less and less of a woman, and they have been neglecting the basic “man duties” in order to finish their game of Madden. As a woman, it is a blessing and a curse. The de-masculization of our culture has allowed you to seek work instead of being tied up with an apron and childcare duties but it has also created the sub-species of man called metrosexual and another variety called the good for nothing. A man back in the cave days might not have stuck around after sex with you to help raise the children or fix the air conditioner.

Your boyfriend has trust in your judgment and behaviors, and he hopes that you are strong enough in love and respect the relationship you have built together. By not confronting a man that is pulling you away to get your phone number he may be preventing a physical confrontation, or he may be testing you to see how you behave. The worst thing you can do is tell him to “man up” or that he is not a man, and you desire someone with more butch assertiveness.

When you do that, he will more than likely shut down and not respond in the way you want. What you need to do is watch him and praise his macho behavior when he has one. By giving him reinforcement of an action you desire you are letting him know you appreciate that and he will do more things that get a good response from you. Be patient with the man as he transitions from dud to stud.

It seems bad now, but look on the bright side; he isn’t beating you or forcing you to have sex with him.  He isn’t fighting people out of his insecurity in your relationship. There isn’t a lot of room in the relationship pants, so encourage him to put them on slowly. With the both of you sharing a leg, hope that they don’t split down the middle. Best of luck, remember that you matter most!

Dr. Ethan Gregory


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Author of I’m Sorry, You are Not a Pick-Up Artist and I’m Sorry, You are Not a Disney Princess

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