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From the Trade Paperback edition.
Real Lover or Hidden Lover
Which One Is He?
Lover. It must be the most misunderstood and abused words in the English language. Often we take the meaning of “lover” to be only romantic or sexual. But let’s take a new look at the word “lover.” When we do so, we discover that hidden within that word is a new meaning that we can apply to our relationships to make them better.
First, let’s look at the word “love” as defined by Webster’s dictionary.
Love—a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person. An intense personal attachment or affection.
Love—a devoted attachment or passionate affection for another person.
Note, the word “sex” is nowhere to be found in this definition of the word “love.”
Now let’s look at the definition of the suffix “er” as defined by the American Heritage dictionary.
-er -—“one that performs a specified action.”
Combining the word “love” with the suffix “er,” we get the true definition of the word “lover.” To paraphrase, a real lover is a person who works at a profoundly tender, passionate affection for another person.
Which brings me to my point and the purpose of this book. The real lover in so many men tend to show their affection through money, gifts, sex or doing things for a woman. Giving in these ways is good, but there is a deeper and more intimate place where women ultimately want to connect with us. Women want to connect with our feelings. That’s where thereal lover dwells inside of us. But when it comes to sharing the real lover inside, many men are in hiding. Unafraid or unwilling to put in the emotional work necessary to make a true connection to a woman. This book sheds light on the reluctance of men to be complete lovers by revealing what so many men are hesitant to discuss and the reasons for the silence. The issue is two-sided, involving both how men relate to women and how women view and relate to men. That’s why open and direct communication is needed on this issue—not as a matter of placing blame, but as a realistic and balance approach to the issues that cause men to “hide” their thoughts and feelings. I hope that through reading this book, women will better understand men. And as for the hidden lover, I hope it helps him take a step toward a “profoundly tender, passionate affection” for his significant other.
Easier Said Than Done
Being a lover is a 24-7, 365-day-a-year job for which the weak need not apply. It includes running errands, cooking, cleaning, doing things when you want to (and when you don’t!), communicating, seeing a woman at her best and her least, helping her, knowing when to listen and not help. In other words, it requires commitment. Look at the root of the word “commitment” and you find the word “commit.” To sum it up, one has to really put himself into the whole of a relationship for it to work, not just the easy parts. Many men (and women) opt out of the work part; they just want the romance, the euphoric highs that come at the beginning. Maybe that’s why there are so many people with the title boyfriend, girlfriend, husband and wife, yet not enough of them seem to be lovers. I’ll be the first one to tell you that this is easier said than done. But that’s where the commitment part comes in.
There are two reasons it’s difficult to overcome being a hidden lover. First, one must do an honest self-inventory. We must ask ourselves the hard questions about who we are. Also, we must reflect upon the events and people who contributed to making us who we are. Some people don’t want to look at themselves that closely because it isn’t usually a very comfortable process. However, this is a step that must be taken. Lack of self-reflection is one of the main reasons we go plunging headfirst into relationship after relationship not knowing what we want or should expect from that other person. Much of the time we don’t even know that much about ourselves.
The second obstacle to overcoming being a hidden lover is found in the societal role that men play. The traditional role of men in our society has given us all a mask to wear. The mask of superman: the man who must make big money, have all the power, know the answer to every question, etc. We feel we must be the man who gets a promotion every year at work, repairs the car, balances the checkbook and makes love all night. Starting from the time we are young boys in this society, we’re taught that such things are expected of us, and that those add up to our value as men. So instead of expressing ourselves when we feel the burden is too heavy, we keep a stiff upper lip. We wear the mask hiding how we really feel deep inside, which burns a hole in our souls.
Yet there’s a part of every man that yearns to take off the mask. Inside every hidden lover is a man who would love to have the freedom to be expressive and feel safe enough to share his vulnerabilities. Because this often conflicts with the role he feels he must assume in his relationship, many men rarely express their true emotions, even to the women they love. And as long as that wall is there, a relationship can’t reach its higher level.
Why There Is a Hidden Lover Inside Every Man
As I mentioned, from the time we are boys we men are taught to hide or suppress our emotions and feelings. Boys are programmed to define manhood by power and achievement. For example, observe some of the games boys play: arm wrestling, hard-hitting football, foot races, wrestling, king of the mountain. Boys are always testing each other to see who is stronger, faster and taller. They’re placing their worth in those things. Therefore, it’s easy for boys to slip into a mindset that views emotions and feelings as of secondary importance, if not altogether a nuisance. The reality is that men and boys do feel emotions and desire to experience that part of themselves, but unfortunately many of us feel we have to hide them in order to fill the role we perceive as being a man. To put it another way, men and boys learn to hide their humanness deep inside while presenting a game face for the world, a face that shows no emotion or vulnerability. It is that very hiding that creates the hidden lover. The hidden lover longs for pure open connection, emotionally an d spiritually, with his mate.
Now that I’ve defined what I mean by the term “hidden lover,” I want to elaborate on some of the things that create barriers to intimate connection for hidden lovers.
Major Challenges Faced by Hidden Lovers
1. Healing from pain in his past so it doesn’t ruin his relationship (See Chapter 3, His Hidden Pain.)
2. Explaining to his significant other why he feels communicating with her can be difficult. (See Chapter 9, Why the Hidden Lover Feels He Can’t Really Talk to You.)
3. Learning to feel comfortable asking his significant other for help. (See Chapter 5, The Hidden Lover Needs Your Help but Doesn’t Want to Ask for It.)
4. Managing the responsibilities of a relationship without feeling burdened. (See Chapter 6, How Fear of Losing Freedom Affects the Hidden Lover.)
5. His views on sex. (See Chapter 8, The Hidden Lover’s Views on Sex: He’s Not Like All the Other Guys.)
6. Overcoming rigid old beliefs about manhood that make it difficult for him to overcome being a hidden lover. (See Chapter 4, How Trying to Be Superman Creates a Hidden Lover.)
7. Expressing to his lover that he wants to be appreciated. (See Chapter 7, The Hidden Lover’s Need for Appreciation and Respect.)
Why Can’t Men Just Tell Women These Things?
There are lots of reasons men feel they can’t tell women the things that are in this book. Some men don’t know how to put these things into words. Some men feel their mate just couldn’t handle the truth, that she’d be hurt, overly sensitive or angry if she knew some of the things that are revealed in this book. For those reasons many men feel they should just grin and bear it. They take a “why bother” attitude and kee3p their feelings inside for the sake of peace. But it’s not healthy for a relationship to have issues that are rumbling just below the surface and threatening to ultimately rip things apart. When an issue stands in the way of a couple’s growth or cohesiveness, the “why bother” belief will only make the problem worse. It’s better to get things out into the open: the good, the bad and the ugly.
I’ve written some pretty bold things in this book. It rips the cover off political correctness in relationships and dares to expose the raw feelings that men have about some things. Please don’t take this as a whine fest or a gripe-a-thon; nor is it intended as a list of excuses men use to avoid being intimate and accountable in relationships. The men who are whiners and gripers are not hidden lovers; they’re just lazy and looking for excuses. This book is about the men who want to connect, but have serious and very real obstacles to doing so. To that end, I feel it necessary to be blunt and, when necessary, to got outside the bounds of political correctness.