“What is he afraid of?” I asked her.

“Everything,” she answered.

So, what are men afraid of? I will pull in some psychological data to demonstrate to you, dear reader, that men are actually afraid of many things. Research into the field indicates that men are actually much more controlled by the emotions of fear than are women. They feel fear more often than women, feel it in greater intensity and more often.

Are men afraid of women? Frequently the answer to that question is yes. Fear of what? Rejection, failure of the relationship, commitment, being taken to the cleaners by a woman, being used and primarily, being hurt. Men do not want to be hurt, especially ‘again’ if they have been hurt before. Why then is dating so ‘easy’ for the 19-23 year old group. A lot of it has to do with active hormones and energy levels, and a fair amount has to do with the fact that most people in this age group have never been married, never been divorced and never had long term relationships of any kind, married or unmarried. Because a guy is not divorced, does not necessarily mean he has not been in a (or several) long term relationships. We have certainly gone from a culture where all ‘respectable’ people got married to one where the social norms and rules for relationships have relaxed quite a bit.

All this means, to the uninitiated, is that public records of relationships may not exist for your current love interest. The best you may be able to do on that score is to listen to what he tells you about his past relationships. Also, pay attention to people that you know who know him and may have known him in the past. What do they have to say about him? Friends of friends can be invaluable sources of information. Does this mean you are checking out your current love interest for his past?

Yes, it does. And you should be. Past behavior is the best indicator of future actions.

So, keeping in mind that men are more fearful, especially of being hurt ‘again’ we can understand their more cautious and skittish behavior around women. When faced with cautious, colt-like behavior, being women, we frequently reboot to behaviors (roles) that are familiar to us. Such behaviors as: the Big Sister, the Nurse, the Confident, the Helper, the Guide and worst of all, Mom. The roles are familiar to us and also to men. They do recognize these attitudes/behaviors in women and do react to them. Frequently in a bad way, such as running fast in the opposite direction. So, what are the biggest fears if men in general?

1. Failing https://www.allprodad.com/the-5-biggest-fears-of-men/retreived Internet 2022

“Failure doesn’t define you; it’s just something we all experience on the way toward achieving goals.”

Why are we so afraid of failing? Are we afraid of living with the shame that comes with it, disappointing others or perhaps ourselves? Are we afraid of what it might reveal about us, namely that we have limitations that we’ll never get beyond? Perhaps we’re afraid failure will come to define us. 

2. Being Incompetent

We want to know that we have what it takes. We want to be useful, to feel needed. If we don’t have what it takes to accomplish a task, again, what does that say about us? That leads right into the next point. One of the triggers for this is when we lose our jobs and struggle to provide for our families. Know this, we all have certain talents. Find your talents and use them; pour into them in order to help others.

3. Being Weak (or Being Perceived as Weak)

For a man, being perceived as weak is probably as bad as actually being weak. And there is nothing worse, for a man, than being weak. Dr. Brene Brown says that the shame that comes from being perceived as weak keeps men from being vulnerable.

4. Being Irrelevant

We all want our lives to mean something when all is said and done. If you are struggling with this one I would suggest two things. First, find out what you do best and then use it to help others. People are in need of love and care and if you provide that to even one person, you will never be irrelevant.

5. Looking Foolish

“The more you step out and risk, the more you are going to misfire. But you will also have more success.”

This is that thing that keeps us from speaking up in meetings or taking on a challenge. Ultimately, it minimizes our impact in the world.

When fear grips you, remember this quote from Teddy Roosevelt and get in the arena:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”


 So, recognizing that men in general are afraid of looking foolish, incompetent, weak it therefore follows that they won’t want to look ‘stupid’ in regards to affairs of the heart. So, as women, we need to ‘lighten things up’ and to stop heaping expectations and demands on the men in our lives.

Additionally, we need to drop the helper role. They are men after all and it is important to keep that uppermost in mind. If you want a perpetual child, get a puppy. If you want a man, you will need to learn to behave as a woman and not as an overgrown nanny – care taker. More on that in the next chapter.