Repairing Relationships

Building intimacy and joy into your relationships

Why Do Men Put Up With The Short Leash?

Is she your wife or your petulant Mommy? Read More

The discussion begins!

Excellent topic! As a 29 year old man currently on the quest for the perfect mate, I can possibly give a little additional insight on this topic. The first problem with the modern courtship method is the monetary one. Most men feel like they must impress the women with expensive outings and gifts in order to gain her attention. In doing this, men are concentrating solely on what the women want and not what he wants. Women, on the other hand, promote this method by using the outings and gifts as a badge of honor when discussing the men with her friends thus creating a litmus test by which men must pass. The second problem is men being afraid of rejection. By men trying to meet all the criteria to avoid rejection, he denies his basic, primal, instinctive nature. The denial of this nature results in the women sensing that something isn't quite right; which, then causes the women to distance themselves from the situation.

At my age, the majority of the dating pool already has kids and/or has been married and divorced. Much of this is a result of the problems previously mentioned. To me, it seems the choice is either impress early and fail late or fail early and hopefully succeed late. What do you think?

Or a third way

Avoid the sick method of modern love and opt for Healthy Dating and Mating.

This article would make more

This article would make more sense if it wasn't implied as being an issue unique to women. Many a man has kept his woman on a short leash too. A bad relationship is a bad relationship regardless of gender, and I'm always suspicious of the motivations of psychological "gurus" who seem to forget poor behavior isn't defined by either sex.

It makes perfect sense Anon.

It was in response to a question to Dr. Helen Smith on why MEN allow WOMEN to keep them on the short leash. Now you go run along and write a blog on why women allow men to keep them on the short leash.

Woman good, man bad.

Woman good, man bad.

Many Factors

Many males today are ill-prepared to assert healthy boundaries with women in a relationship. Why? Firstly, many are either raised by a Single Mother or raised in such a manner that they are primed to please the female. This continues in school, where most teachers are female. Not surprisingly, such males - who live in a WAW (Women are Wonderful) meme society, are going to continue to be deferential to their "love" mate. Unfortunately, such males tend to make for subpar husbands and fathers.

Absolutely - the woman winds

Absolutely - the woman winds up being the mother in the relationship.

Behind every great man is a great woman!

As the old adage goes, and is true, most of the time.

You mean myth.

You mean myth.

Articles like this really

Articles like this really reenforce the idea that whenever there's a problem in relationships, it's always the man's fault. It's no wonder more and more men and withdrawing from marriage. Stand up to your wife and you'll likely be regarded as a man who "can't handle a strong, empowered woman." Go along to get along and you'll be castigated for being "wimpy and compliant." Either way, the message is pretty clear - women can be as they are, it's men who constantly have to be adjusting.

Renzy, your straw man argument is familiar but unpersuasive.

"Whenever there's a problem in relationships, it's ALWAYS the man's fault"? How about 50% responsibility? Were you walking along minding your own business and then blinked and found yourself standing at the altar with a complete stranger and you decided to make the most of it? Henpecked men don't want ANY responsibility for their sorry lot in life. They gather in locker rooms and bowling alleys, card rooms and breweries to commiserate with one another, rationalizing that this is the best they could do because, after all, this is the way all marriages and cohabitations end up. Sadly, there is a bumper crop of bitter self-absorbed henpecked men who are oblivious to their role in creating miserable marriages and cohabitations. Our message is clear: why don't you consider having a healthy relationship instead of the two extremes of "going along to get along" or withdrawing from the very concept of marriage?

Well Doc, you need to read

Well Doc, you need to read some of the other articles here on PT -- its always the man's fault and we're getting a little sick of hearing that.

Its amazing how you completely ignore the idea that the women in these relationships could possibly be nasty jerks.

Pander, pander, pander -- good job.

We aren't responsible for other authors on PT, Anon.

Our message is unique. And if you had read our blog over the past three years you would know that we emphasize that as men we can't possibly write about what women are thinking and feeling. We can only write about the 50% of the relationship that is the man's responsibility, or in the case of hen-pecked men, their abdication. It's amazing to us that hen-pecked men still refuse to own up to their role in miserable marriages and cohabitations when they are easily lampooned nightly on shows like Two and a Half Men and Everyone Loves Raymond.

Is that an option?

jbruns wrote:
Our message is clear: why don't you consider having a healthy relationship instead of the two extremes of "going along to get along" or withdrawing from the very concept of marriage?

Is the option of attaining a healthy relationship open to these men, given that only they change but the general arms race of courtship continues? Or will the act of toning back the courtship to a sustainable level be a de facto retreat of the man from the marriage market?

My guess is that many men believe, correctly or not, that hyper-courtship is the only way they'll ever be able to compete in the market. That includes men looking for committed relationships.

(Notably, there's an arms race among the women as well - what is a more common wish among men than the wish that their girlfriends or wives remain just as they were when the couple met..?)

That's no arms race Andy.

That's a bunch of lemmings running off the cliff.

Need some science on the issue?

"As part of an unusual experiment, the husband was instructed to “agree with his wife’s every opinion and request without complaint,” and to continue doing so “even if he believed the female participant was wrong,” according to a report on the research that was published Tuesday by the British Medical Journal.

"Enter the intrepid husband. Based on the assumption that men would rather be happy than be right, he was told to agree with his wife in all cases. However, based on the assumption that women would rather be right than be happy, the doctors decided not to tell the wife why her husband was suddenly so agreeable.

Both spouses were asked to rate their quality of life on a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being the happiest) at the start of the experiment and again on Day 6. It’s not clear how long the experiment was intended to last, but it came to an abrupt halt on Day 12.

“By then the male participant found the female participant to be increasingly critical of everything he did,” the researchers reported. The husband couldn’t take it anymore, so he made his wife a cup of tea and told her what had been going on.

That led the researchers to terminate the study.

Over the 12 days of the experiment, the husband’s quality of life plummeted from a baseline score of 7 all the way down to 3. The wife started out at 8 and rose to 8.5 by Day 6. She had no desire to share her quality of life with the researchers on Day 12, according to the report.


Whether you believe it or not, this was how most of my early relationships ended up... I would acquiesce to her every need and want because for some stupid reason I thought that was exactly what I needed to do to keep both her and I happy and to keep the relationship long lasting. Obviously, that isn't at all how it worked out and within a week or two the ladies would be giving me the tried and tired "I'm confused.. I don't know how I feel, I think we need a break". I was just as confused as they were but it's all starting to make sense, slowly but surely.

Our culture is systematically destroying and emasulating men

I'm going to take the psychological approach to describe some less obvious situations. Our modern culture, second wave feminism and domestic violence/family laws that are egregiously biased against men have imprisoned men in dysfunctional relationships. It is estimated that 1 in 10 adult women are personality disordered. These emotional vampires and abusers have been weaponized by VAWA and feminist "default female victim" narrative to trap men in a cycle of abuse. "Either you do exactly what I say or I will - take the kids and all your money and /or escalate physical and/or emotional abuse". If a man tries to defend himself he is automatically labeled the aggressor. No one cares about the back story or believes male victims because of the myth of woman=victim and man=abuser, despite CDC statistics that show gender abuse running about even.

Female narcissists present themselves as victims early in the relationship, and entrap nice guy white knight types, who later become their victims when they have no way to escape. What people see on the outside is the "short leash", but abuse is probably lurking behind closed doors.

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J.R. Bruns, M.D., is co-author of The Tiger Woods Syndrome, a book about repairing relationships.


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