First let’s understand some of the aspects that create a feeling of safety in a relationship. A man’s unconditional acceptance of a woman means that there is no judgment and criticism. She can communicate honestly, be herself, and feel emotionally safe. There are also physical and financial factors that can appeal to a woman’s sense of safety. Sometimes a woman will trade one of these comforts for another in her relationship. It is emotional safety that I want to address. It is the one that creates a great deal of confusion.
…a confident man creates the feeling of trust with a woman.
A woman will feel emotionally safe with a man who is emotionally available, honest, trustworthy and authentic. These are emotional character strengths she can respect and admire in a man. A man of character and emotional depth is a man who knows who he is and likes himself. His love for himself is so strong he does not need to gain the acceptance of others by trying to be something he is not. His strength is not physical so much as it is in the clarity of his mind and emotions. These are character strengths that a woman not only admires, but feels safe with. He is not a weak man that will bend to the whims of other people. She can trust him to be who he is. I describe this kind of man as being in his emotional integrity.
…a woman feels safe if she believes the relationship is going somewhere.
A different factor for women that creates safety is her trust that the relationship is solid and will work out. When a man spends time doing activities as simple as cleaning house and cooking together it sends a message that he is committed to being with her. It is wasteful to invest her time with someone that may be gone soon. You want to know if your prospective partner has the capacity and willingness to match you for a deeper emotional commitment.
There is also the fear that if after getting emotionally invested in a man there will be a break up. It makes sense for us to wonder where the relationship is going. Sometimes a woman wants to be “safe” from the potential pain of a broken heart. She wants to avoid the emotions associated with being alone. This kind of safety is really about protecting herself from the painful emotions that come from her fears of break up and being alone. When a man is distant emotionally or physically from her it may bring up feelings of loneliness, or fear of a break up. Seeking this type of emotional safety can lead to emotional drama.
…feats and insecurity in relationship takes a woman out of her emotional integrity.
In order to avoid her fears of being alone the woman may make efforts to keep her man close. It might be a criticism for going out with the boys for an evening. By discouraging him to do other things she is increasing their time together. A critical comment is a means to reject his behavior so he would avoid criticism in the future. Becoming sad is a way for the man to notice her and get what she wants. If there is a lot of emotional charge the dynamic might include anger or jealousy. It is possible the man ends up feeling guilty for having done the “wrong” thing that caused her to be upset. The man may want to avoid the night out with the boys just so he doesn’t have to deal with her emotional reaction.
…the downside of getting what she wants
If a woman engages in such efforts and is successful in controlling her man she will have influenced his behavior by her emotional reactions. With influence over his emotions she will have influence over what he does with his time. He will learn to avoid the activities that bring emotional reactions and criticism and do the things that she approves of. They will spend more time together which will help her to feel solid in the relationship. It also distracts herself from the fear of being alone. In one part of her mind she has helped their relationship, but she has unknowingly created a separate feeling of not being safe.
When a woman see’s that she can modify her man’s behavior she might perceive him as not being as strong. She will see him as someone that gives up his interests, runs around trying to make her happy. He has stopped being his authentic self and started being what she wants him to be. At some level she perceives him as no longer being his own man. She could perceive him as having weak character and could lose respect for him. More importantly she will not feel safe with a man she sees as having a weak character. Some women will conclude that if they can influence or control their man then other women will also be able to control and influence him as well. All of this adds up to losing respect and trust in the man.
Question of the Day: Does the men in your life, help you to feel emotionally safe?
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