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In heterosexual relationships, many males wage a constant battle between attaching and detaching themselves from their partner. Men engage in what Lynch describes as the classic masculine dilemma, "not too close, not too far away."
Here are some examples of the masculine dilemma of independence which hides their dependence on women. A man hits a woman whom he loves. Or a man who is viewed as strong and successful wants to commit suicide when his wife leaves him.
The Masculine Dilemma: "Not too Close, Not too Far Away"
Partner or Adversary?
David admitted, "Lately, we really just seem like adversaries. One of us always has to give into the other." David refused to acknowledge that he had any degree of dependence on Amy. The two had virtually no trust in their relationship. Imagine your male client. Would it be beneficial to ask him if he views his significant other as a partner or an adversary?
David might as well have been saying, "I won't let you tell me what to do. Whatever I choose will have nothing to do with depending on you." Whereas healthy, independent men make decisions based on important goals or convictions that may occasionally go against their partner's wishes, David, a counterdependent man, was doing the opposite of what Amy wanted.
This counterdependence is very damaging to intimate relationships. David failed to acknowledge Amy's emotions and constantly tried to minimize her influence. Amy often got frustrated, unable to exert any control over matters that were important to her as they were to David. Amy, like many women, was able to recognize some level of dependence in their relationship as necessary and good. She saw that a partner should be able to depend on the other to be faithful and supportive. David was able to see that if he did not have this emotional reassurance, the lack of trust would cause his relationship to fail.
What role does counterdependence and the masculine dilemma of, not too close, not too far away, play with a client you are currently treating? The next track will deal with emotional awareness to create self-empathy.
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