By Katherine Ryan on March 29, 2021


Men is the topic for this month.  I must admit I have delayed writing this blog…  I have checked my email, (all accounts), voicemail (both), got Nina fresh water, checked FB and FB messenger and then decided to make lunch, which since I already had my lunch is my dinner…  Luckily, I asked myself why I was avoiding before I ate tomorrow’s breakfast (haha).

I was avoiding due to a lack of wisdom, insight and confidence about “men’s health”.  Sure, I can spout research about how the stigma for seeking professional mental health is greater for men than it is for women and even greater for black and brown men.  I can tell you about how our society has created toxicity around how masculinity is defined.  I can go on and on about how we do a disservice to our boys when we tell them to “man-up” “don’t cry” along with discouraging them from talking about feelings or even admitting that feelings exist.  I can be quite adamant on the importance of fathers and how it is harmful to children for their parents to have anything less than an amicable divorce with shared custody (except, obviously, I hope, in the event of extenuating circumstances, domestic violence, for example).  I can show you how men are overtly and covertly shamed and how the harm caused is as equal to the harm shame causes women.

I can suggest that if women want an equal partnership with men than perhaps, we need to examine our definition of an equal partnership and ask our male partners how the define “equal partnership”.  Men, do you feel safe in unravelling with your significant other?  Women, do you expect your male partner to be both strong and vulnerable?  Men, do you feel as though you have your needs and wants taken into consideration in the making of such decisions as the decorating of your home or even the selecting of the home and other domestic decisions?  What decisions in your relationship require both of you to say “Yes”?  Men, do you feel as though you are required to be a pillar of strength?  If so, what happens when you start to crack, or feel the earth shift underneath you?  Men, do you feel that love and acceptance from those you love is conditional?  Do you often feel as though you are expected to read minds?

Women, how have you responded when your male partner has lost a job, or made a mistake?  Women, let’s realize that men are people with emotions and sensitivities just like us.  Women, let’s create safety in our relationships with men and welcome their vulnerability and stay engaged in tough conversations.

Hmmm… seems like I did have stuff to say.  I was reluctant to write this blog because I do not have personal experience with being a man and that was making me feel as though I did not know them well enough to write about them.  What I do know is this; men want the same things women want ~ to be valued, validated, heard, understood, seen, connected and accepted for all they are and all they bring to the relationship.

Women, let’s try harder or more to make being with us a safe space.

Men, what don’t I understand?

What didn’t I get right?

What do you want me to know about your experience?

Help me help you.

~Katherine Ryan is a LMHC (Licensed Mental Health Counselor) practicing at Harmony Counseling in Topsfield, Massachusetts where she enjoys helping adults, children and teens become unstuck.

~Nina is a 6-year-old Standard Poodle who enjoys playing catch with her pink racquetball, hiking, belly rubs and going to work with Katherine






239 Boston Street, Topsfield, MA 01983