Why You Don’t Believe In Your Husband/Boyfriend’s Crazy Idea
“He’s got this incredible vision for the future, but the problem is that I just don’t believe in it. It feels like a pipe dream and I feel like I can’t tell him that.”
Her face was so earnest and I could tell how much she loved her Fiance. He was a good man and she wanted kids. Because she was pushing 40 she was reluctant to find too much fault or take the risk of trying to start over with someone else.
She wanted to believe in him, but the vision he created (while inspiring) just felt unreal.
She told me about how he was struggling to get clients for his practice, how he’d sit on the couch for hours, how she had paid for coaching programs and consultants but despite her support he was floundering.
Of course she was already successful in their shared field which made his stuckness even harder to bear.
This wasn’t the first time I’ve seen this. A powerful, confident woman who loves a man who disappoints her and yet with all of her heart she wants to love or believe in him.
Why does this happen? Here’s what I’ve noticed . . .
1. Men Are Encouraged To Dream Big Before They’ve Really Grown Up
The heroes in the world of men are big thinkers. Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Tim Ferris to name a few. They have these iconoclastic playboy images that makes them the poster children for freedom and power. But they also embody a perpetual adolescence that can seem incredibly appealing.
For all of it’s problems, earlier times celebrated the stability and reliability of the common man. The man that provides for his family, works a stable job, coaches baseball, and fixes cars. Yes this image of men was also sexist, racist, and privileged, but in our desire to modernize masculinity we have also infantilized it.
Today, what gets left out is the need for men to be mature adults in their relationships. While it’s a good thing that men have been dethroned as the dominant providing force in their families, men have managed to toss off the need to be mature and capable adult partners in many cases staying as perpetual man children for an indeterminate amount of time.
And the ‘men’ that most men hold as heroes only perpetuate this problem. Men tend to focus on Big Dreams goals and ambitions or reject the idea of responsibility altogether, and the result is the same: they avoid this simple, mundane, and powerful practice of creating and/or co-creating a life of integrity, depth, and partnership.
2. MEN HAVE CONVINCED THEIR PARTNERS THAT THEY ARE FRAGILE
Part of this rests on the reality that masculinity is actually a pretty fragile construct. While our society has expanded to accept femininity as being expressed in many forms (from Britney Spears to Sheryl Sandberg) masculine status is easier to lose. Men are brutal on one another in the realm of using threats of lost masculine status as a tool to bully and control other men and many women are no different.
With all the progress we’ve made with women in the workforce, men who stay home with their kids are still looked at sideways. Of course this doesn’t equal in any way shape or form the disadvantages women have to face, but men are very present to the fragility of masculinity. Combine this with the BIG THINKING obsession many men hold and you get men who feel pressure to be iconoclasts while at the same time being secretly terrified of being castrated.
Then, they bring this whole rats nest of BS home to their partners by asking them to treat them as fragile little boys for whom the slightest criticism will cause them to collapse. They will revert into boys playing video games and getting stoned. The resultant numbing that shows up becoming the punishment for their partners expressing exasperation at how immature and unrealistic they were being.
Anyone in partnership with this kind of man will find themselves in a bind. Do I go along with their pie in the sky idea that I know is doomed to failure? Or do I criticize them and risk having to clean up the pieces of their delicate egos?
The result of all this is that many women and men relate to their masculine partners as fragile making it hard to criticize or talk about their dreams and purpose in any meaningful way.
3. FAKING BELIEVING IN BIG DREAMS CAUSES PARTNERS TO NOT REALLY TRUST THEIR PARTNERS
Faced with these shitty options many partners choose to pretend or fake belief in their partner’s bad ideas for a while until their belief reserves are totally depleted. What ends up happening is that their belief in their partners also falls apart.
Now not only are you humoring your partners crazy ideas but you start to humor them as well and usually start looking for the door.
BUT IT CAN ALL BE PREVENTED or at least stopped if you make a small shift.
STOP BELIEVING IN YOUR PARTNER’S STUPID IDEAS
Women and other partners of these kinds of men, it’s not your job to believe in their stupid or even great but unworkable ideas. Your partners aren’t really that fragile and they do have greatness within them.
What they really need is someone who believes in them. Who stands for the greatness, maturity, warriorship, and leadership within them. Not at the expense of practicality and equality but in alignment with it.
The trick is to simply focus your belief on them, their capability to vision and create a life for themselves. Encourage that, speak to that, and if you’re lucky they’ll start to step into that.
The alternative: lying to them until you’re exhausted and disappointed beyond repair OR coddling them by taking control of their lives like some weird co-dependent mother figure helps no one. Men don’t have to go back to being weird, dominant, sexist, jerks to be powerful.
They are (despite the evidence) capable of being both powerful, sexy, leaders and also conscious, deep, woke leaders.
It’s not your fault you don’t believe in their stupid idea. It’s also not totally their fault they’re concocted one. You’re both playing a game invented by unconscious men who managed to create some success.