Why Men Stop Helping — From The Mouths of Men — Part 3 of 3

Caribbean Sea near Cuba trimmed
Photo Credit — Lois Henrickson

This is the 3rd article in a series about a sticking point in many relationships — how can women get what they need from the men they live with, work with, and meet?

In the first article, I quoted two female writers followed by three readers who commented on one of the female writers.  It was pretty brazen stuff.  I asked a question about blame.

In the second article, I reported your comments and gave more information.  I also asked why you think men stop helping in a relationship.  The ladies had a wide range of views on the subject.

For answers, I thought, “Who would know better why they stopped helping than the men who actually stopped?”

So I asked men.

What Men Say

Copyright Joe Sohm/Visions of America. Posted with permission.
Copyright Joe Sohm. Visions of America.

One man said, “My wife never celebrates the wins with me. There is no pause button on the honey-do list.”

Another said, “I can’t do anything right according to her. So it is easier not to get involved.”

Other Men Said:

  • “She micro-manages.”
  • “She’s always looking over my shoulder to see if I’m doing things her way.  Never mind my expertise.  It’s gotta be done the way she thinks it needs to be done or I never hear the end of it.”
  • “I’ve stopped asking for her input about most everything.  I just don’t talk.  I do what I do and that’s it.  Last year, I attempted to do a renovation project with her.  I’ll never do it again.”
  • “She comes behind me and fixes what I’ve done. Why do anything?  I can’t even play with her daughter right.  Why can’t her daughter learn how men play?  We’re pretty good at team sports!  On a Sunday afternoon, we play a game — soccer, basketball, touch football — and sure that’s rougher and tougher than my girlfriend having tea on the veranda.  But nobody gets damaged and if there’s a bump or a scratch, we fix it or brush it off and keep playing.”
  • “What I offer is not ‘good enough’ so I might as well not do it in the first place.  It’s not worth my time or my attention.”
  • “You can either have what you want or tell us how to do it, but not both.”
  • “I can do twenty things right without being asked and when she arrives on the scene, all she notices is the one thing I missed.”

That’s honest feedback.

Ladies and Gentlemen, what say you?

In Care of Relationships, relationship, relationships, Terri Crosby, why men don't help, why men help

Comments (4)

  • All of these comments by the men are spot on. For me as a man I gain satisfaction for completing/winning each project or task. Its how we as men are built. A little Atta boy or pat on the back will get you very far. Its the acknowledgement of the effort of a task well done or attempted that means a lot to me.

    Its like when you were a kid and you fell down and got scraped and bruised and your dad helped you up, brushed off the dirt and blood gave you a pat on the back and said…. You can do it. I believe in you. Its powerful. Words of encouragement are powerful.

    Luckily I have found a partner who tells me how grateful she is for the things I do, the work, the chores etc. Am I perfect… Hell no. But the acknowledgement makes me want to run through a brick wall or slay dragons for her. Its the little things, the acknowledging. Sometimes I think women are afraid to give it. As if they give up their power if they acknowledge.

    Ladies……Little bits of encouragement will get you far.


    • Gary, thank you for writing! I appreciate your comments and I’m glad to hear you’ve found a partner you would slay dragons for! I agree that women are sometimes afraid to give acknowledgement, but I don’t think it’s because we’re afraid of giving up power.

      It’s more like we can’t give approval if it’s not perfect every step of the way (the thing, the person, the situation), and nothing’s ever “perfect” according to our inner critic, inner slave-driver with a whip or whatever. Or the chore you did was too small, really, so why bother saying anything — I mean why do that? What’s the big deal? We wouldn’t expect to be thanked for that… we might brush it off as silly, or not important. Or often we feel thankful, but don’t put it into words. We keep it to ourselves.

      I think not giving acknowledgement to someone else is more about how we treat ourselves. Eric has taught me a lot about giving myself more approval. I didn’t really know how to do that until I met him. Seriously, I didn’t. So I thank Eric for that!

  • From my experience with anyone it works the same way, appreciation will always get you more of what you appreciate. If you need it done a specific way, be clear and then allow. If you want it done and you do not have some specifics, same song, allow. NO ONE enjoys being micro managed or finishing one task only to be handed 3 more without acknowledgement of the task completed.

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