Big Boys Don’t Cry: Africa’s Emotionally neglected men

“The only time I heard about love
Was when mommy and daddy told me they loved me” ~ Lucky Dube, in Big Boys Don’t Cry, 1995


He was about 6ft 2 I could tell, even though he didn’t stand up the whole time I was there. He wore a khaki overcoat above his light blue shirt and tie, which was strange because It wasn’t cold. When I passed closer to his table later in the night on my way to The Club’s loos, I realised the jacket was to mask the logo of his workplace corporate shirt.  He appeared sterner than jolly, and cut a rather sombre figure that, were it not for his skin tone, I would’ve mistaken him for Peter Falk’s character in Columbo. He had downed 4 Whitecaps by the time I was on my second TuskerLite. Each swig on his fifth was followed by a single, visible tooth gnash that made it look like he was chewing a certain type of roasted hard corn that he washed down with his beer.

His partner, a younger, voluptuous woman in tight blue jeans and a white top with big JEEP letters emblazoned across her chest sat silently, mostly toying with her sleek smartphone. When she stood up to go to the ladies (which for some strange reason she did quiete a lot) I couldn’t help but realise I wasn’t the only one looking at her. And for a reason. She could’ve easily passed for a black Marilyn Monroe except that her date tonight was no JFK.  The whole time She sat on her barstool she clutched onto an irregularly shaped ‘UBER EATS’ paper bag. Her partner’s demeanour throughout the evening left no doubt as to whether she was his wife.

At 22:45, another man joined the couple, to Columbo’s visible relief. He too was wearing a flowing overcoat over his neat shirt and tie. The two all but ignored the woman who also buried her face deeper into her smart phone. After a while however, the two men stopped talking to each other altogether. They both passed time by slowly tearing the branding paper off their beer bottles, as if in a choreographed act. There was an eerie silence on the table.The second guy to arrive seemed lost in his own world and fixed his gaze towards one of the counters where I happened to be sitting.

Adjacent to the counter was a group of eight men, ranging in age from about 31-37, most of whom either wore denim shirts or leather jackets and sharp-nosed shoes as if they were fashion coordinated. All but one were smoking like old chimneys. A thick canopy of white smoke would occasionally form in the air above them, a canopy that nearly resembled the one that formed over Hiroshima shortly after Little Boy was dropped in 1945.

At around 00:30, a young, dreadlocked, leather jacketed fella walked in flanked by a string of young, skimpily clad women. No sooner had they properly sat down than 90% of them lit cigarettes, almost in unison. The group’s carefree demeanour reminded me of my own younger, ‘Catcher In The Rye’ days. The group leader’s swagger easily communicated that he expected everyone to know he was someone important. Even with the dim lights of K1’s band night, he was wearing pitch-black sunglasses. If I could barely see a few feet away, I wondered how he was seeing anything at all.

I had warned Denno not to bring me to K1 again for the simple reason that the boldness of its Ladies Of the Night had proved rather too much for my good ol’ Ugandan chivalrousness the last time I had been there. As my night guiding star every time I am in Nairobi however, Denno is someone whose instincts I trust, so when he said it was band night, I thought it was worthwhile to unwind there after a long day at our thankless gig.


Lady Dee was her stage name. Her commanding stage presence left little doubt as to who was boss over her mainly male backup singers. She was Billy Holiday without a drug problem. And boy did she go for those damn crazy ballads that would intimidate anyone, let alone a Kenyan nightclub singer! Celine. Tony Braxton, Whitney. Her limited range was evident alright, but she made up for that flaw with her sensual dancing, vocal delivery and other improvisational skills. Her guitarist, a swaggeriffic fella who must have thought he was Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana rolled into one, made the show even more entertaining with his clownish antics with the guitar.

Dee had barely opened her mouth when I found myself on my feet, no doubt urged on by the Tuskers that had started working my system. Surprisingly however, it didn’t look like many patrons shared in my enthusiasm. I would say 80 percent of the people in the club this particular day were men. And very few were joining the dance floor. Most were morbidly quiet, even those in groups, each one either into his phone, or gazing over the club’s ceiling, as if in some sort of deep reflection.

I asked Denno what he made of all this. Why this misery in a place, supposedly, of happiness and cooling off? “People gat problems my friend,” Denno blurted out in his eternally annoying, poorly imitated black American vernacular. “Some might have debts. Some have depression. Some just aren’t earning enough. I came with you here, do you think I am happy?” Denno surprised me with his impromptu monologue. This is a guy I thought I was having fun with?



The Suicide’s soliloquy 

We all must’ve seen that BBC Africa Eye documentary. 70 men, in one county in Kenya, killing themselves in just one year. A question I expected the film makers to ask, after asking the obvious ‘why’ question was a follow-up one: Why are all the victims male? No one asked the question. I thought that was a gross dereliction of journalistic duty by the film makers. Something terrible must be going on!

Nyandarua county where the terrible events happened, isn’t very different from the rural villages of Western Uganda where I grew up. The green landscape, stinking poverty, the simple mud and wattle houses, the lousy men who seem to only summon their sense of importance and self-worth when they’ve galloped several pieces of sachet liquor… The scenes from the film were so familiar, the reason they were also shocking. It could happen in your village, in your town, to people you know!

The film opens with a hallowing scene. A group of villagers is chasing a fleeing young man so he could be forced to enter his brother’s hut and identify his body, an important act in the legal process by the government. Terrified to death, anguished beyond words, the young man takes for the hills. The agony when he is finally captured, soothed by an older man to take heart and perform that solemn ritual important for police investigations, is beyond description.

“We shall all die someday, Jose”, The older village man tells the terrified bloke, in a futile attempt to calm him down. The young man collapses to the ground, and bursts into quiet, painful sobs. ‘Why? Why?” He asks, a group of equally anguished women somberly watching from a distance.

Suspected to have been penned by a young, depressed Abraham Lincoln, ‘The Suicide Soliloquy’ is a poem, call it a suicide note if you like, published in the August 25, 1838, issue of the Sangamo Journal, an Illinois newspaper. The paper claimed that the note was found “near the bones” of an apparent suicide in a deep forest by the Sangamon River. As the poem begins, the anguished narrator announces his intention:

Here, where the lonely hooting owl
Sends forth his midnight moans,
Fierce wolves shall o’er my carcase growl,
Or buzzards pick my bones.

No fellow-man shall learn my fate,
Or where my ashes lie;
Unless by beasts drawn round their bait,
Or by the ravens’ cry.

Yes! I’ve resolved the deed to do,
And this the place to do it:
This heart I’ll rush a dagger through,
Though I in hell should rue it!

Hell! What is hell to one like me
Who pleasures never knew;
By friends consigned to misery,
By hope deserted too?

To ease me of this power to think,
That through my bosom raves,
I’ll headlong leap from hell’s high brink,
And wallow in its waves.

Though devils yell, and burning chains
May waken long regret;
Their frightful screams, and piercing pains,
Will help me to forget.

Yes! I’m prepared, through endless night,
To take that fiery berth!
Think not with tales of hell to fright
Me, who am damn’d on earth!

Sweet steel! come forth from your sheath,
And glist’ning, speak your powers;
Rip up the organs of my breath,
And draw my blood in showers!

I strike! It quivers in that heart
Which drives me to this end;
I draw and kiss the bloody dart,
My last—my only friend!

The author Joshua Wolf Shenk, in his classic, ‘Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression challenged a president and fuelled his greatness’, referencing the note above, writes of how Abe Lincoln was almost morbidly plagued by depression. ‘He was one of the most diffident and worst plagued men I ever saw’, a friend of the late president wrote of him after he had delivered one of his history making speeches as the republican nominee for president in 1860. How could such a moment of grandeur and success not make a person happy, people wondered.

Shenk wrote of Lincoln’s poem:

“This poem illustrates the complex quality of Lincoln’s melancholy in his late twenties. He articulated a sense of himself as degraded and humiliated but also, somehow, as special and grand. And though the character in the poem in the end chooses death by the dagger, the author—using his tool, the pen—showed an impulse toward an artful life. Lincoln’s poem expressed both his connection with a morbid state of mind and, to some extent, a mastery over it.”

Unfortunately, many are not as lucky as Lincoln to retain the equilibrium needed to beat depression and so take the most desperate measures to address their anguish.

Lincoln himself wrote that the reason he didn’t want to kill himself was because he thought he needed to leave a mark on the world.

The BBC documentary focused on one county in rural Kenya. The reality however is that Africa’s unequal growth, corruption, poverty and associated problems has left in their wake an isolated, unhappy, struggling people suffering under the yoke of mental health problems. A vast majority of these are Africa’s men.

Africa’s economic transition and the men that can’t cope

Kenya’s evident transition from a poor country to a middle income one unfortunately has come with the challenges that plague all countries in transition, whether political or economic. Depression, high levels of stress wrought by inequality, increased ambition and frustration is one of the problems.

But Kenya is not alone. I see the dejected men described in this article’s prologue in the dark alleys of downtown Cape Town, in fancy bars of Accra and Abuja, in slums and ghettos of Harare and Kigali.

Africa’s modest economic growth has left many behind. The high-rise buildings you see from Cairo to Johannesburg, the budding innovation hubs from Nairobi to Casablanca, the glitzy fashion industries showcased on CNN African Voices and the ‘wolf-of-wall-street’ type bankers you see interviewed on BBC Africa Business Report, all mask an un comfortable truth: That the beneficiaries of Africa’s economic growth are a tiny, largely kleptomaniac elite that have economic and political power, and its rent-seeking representatives. By and large most ordinary Africans still wallow in terrible poverty. The impact of this conundrum is excruciatingly more damaging for men than for women.

There is a terrible precedent to this:

The explosion in the rate of suicides in Russia after the collapse of the Soviet Union was blamed on the upending of the socialist order by the capitalist one. Men were drinking themselves to death with vodka. The life expectancy, especially for men plunged! Many former Soviet states are still reeling from this. Many Eastern European nations like Moldova today normally emerge on top as the most drunken nations on earth according to the WHO data.

Globally, Suicide is among the three leading causes of death among those aged 15-44 years and is the second leading cause of death among 15-29 year olds. According to the World Health Organisation, Men are up to five times victims of suicide than women.

I remember getting in a lot of trouble with some of my Kenyan workmates at the height of the terrible murders of women across that country when I said these crimes were likely committed by  men the Kenyan society is leaving behind.

With the confidence of the private office Whatsapp group, I let loose, knowing some were going to find my comment out of whack.

“Kenya’s middle income transition, high corruption and inequality is creating a class of poor,  angry,  hungry disaffected men who feel they are being rigged out of not just the economic game but also the romance one. These otherwise aspirational, hard working men are realising that despite their efforts,  they can’t compete in this dog eat dog society,  with the have it all class,  who, on account of political connections retain all the advantages,  including to pretty women (yeah, you heard me right! This is evolutionary biology) . So what does this poor male do? Try to use his KSh10k a month to also gather some social capital and climb the social Ladder, prove his worth, by,  among other things pursuing good looking women (who as y’all know don’t come cheap).  These young women in turn play Russian roulette by juggling their rich blessers with their less fortunate boyfriends, because who said you can’t eat your cake and keep it too? The miffed male, on learning of the con,  not having mechanical, chemical and biological skills to contain himself,  goes bonkers, and does the only thing,  absent a bank account,  that he can afford to do: exact revenge on the lover that jilted him. At last something is within his means to execute.”

My views here were not exactly new. As an ethnographic observer of the African Society and a student of history, I have always believed that men for whom income inequality and economic deprivation have rendered dregs of society would ultimately become violent, because their very pursuit of manhood as the patriarchy has defined it for them, means that their inability to ‘be men’ would make the weak ones go bonkers. Throw in the mix of beauty, romance and sex politics, which as we all know have come to mean that the richer you are, the better your odds of being desirable, and you have a perfect cocktail for a time bomb.

I can almost hear the backlash.

A feminist friend I put this theory to recently offered to ‘take me to school.’

“It is sickening to read about these attacks [against women]. Even more sickening that in our analysis we are reaching far and wide to understand and make excuses for these ridiculous crimes. Poor man, always the victim. Just like the apple…Eve gave it to me. Just own up to your mess and do right. It’s not always someone else’s doing or fault.”

She went on:

“Mental illness, rejection, and all that, are important, however they are not (in my opinion) at the core of these atrocities. It is people who believe they can get away with murder, and in the end get caught. There’s a difference between mental illness and pre-meditated murder. When someone travels for hundreds of kilometres with a knife and axe to go and kill someone I don’t get how that person is mentally ill. Maybe I’m missing the point here; are terrorists also mentally ill? Or someone has made them mentally ill through brainwashing? Just be nice! Teach your ‘boys’ at the bar, pub, club, SACCO, bible study, church groups about respecting women. Women are the counterbalance in society and guarantee equilibrium in a world.”

There are snippets of truth in her rebuttal, ofcourse. Unfortunately, I also believe arguments like hers are part of the reasons we still struggle to solve the problem of gender-based violence: Letting emotion take over reason. When someone goes out of their way to kill their partner, something horrendous has happened to the whole biological, chemical, psychological, and social constitution of this person. Why is it that a lot of the recent violent crimes against women in Kenya, Uganda and other countries have involved  a love triangle?. The young slay queen girlfriend of this dreg of society has a richer man taking care of her. When he finds out, he has neither the emotional skills nor the educated world view of handling it as a gentleman. Because he is neither gentle nor a man. What does he do? He clutches to the only tool that gives him fleeting, vainglorious sense of power: Violence.

Analysing the root causes isn’t excusing the actions of the perpetrator. Why do you think the FBI constructs a full profile of serial killers and mass murderers? Because to understand their motives, you have to examine their socio-political, cultural, psychological, and economic characteristics /circumstances. Otherwise you will ignore the tell tale signs of a future murderer, at your own peril.

This loser of a man, this lunatic has no rationality that most of the other ‘good men’ have. He has nothing to loose. He sees the world denying him a fair shake. He knows that he’s the fall guy for all the world’s problems. He knows that the patriarchy neoliberalism says has privileged him, has gutted him too.

He has this warped view that since time immemorial, women have used their sexuality to gain leverage and power. Men have in turn used violence and their power to gain access to More women. This is why western societies banned polygamy centuries ago: To stop powerful men from gaining unfair advantage over weaker men in having access to women. He is wondering why, in this era of the ‘MeToo’ movement women using sex to manipulate men is a lesser offense than men manipulating women to get sex. He sees hypocrisy, otherwise the two deeds would be considered equally wrong. He wonders why, if sex is so sacred a treasure to extract from a woman, why women are seemingly permitted to blithely commodify it to gain leverage in life? He has neither the power, nor the means to turn this debate to his favour. So he goes bananas. As a natural consequence of this perceived double standard, many of these losers will act violently.

I have written before, that one of the worst feelings of deficiency among men of limited means is the constant inability to compete in the dating market, a problem I have mischievously blamed on president Museveni in the past – at least for Uganda’s case. (You will have to read it to believe it).  If this is a ridiculous assertion, can you tell me why there is this expectation, even among college students with no money at all (both the girls and the boys being dependent on their parents) that to be desirable you have to have money? Why don’t we all just agree that this is the reality of our world and evolution, and stop the faux outrage and accusations of ‘commodification’ bs?

That was a long digression, albeit an important one! After all, The WHO of late says Failure find a sexual partner will now  be considered a disability!


Tragic consequences

Emotional neglect of men is having horrible consequences. The tragic death by suicide last year, of the renowned South African cardiologist, Professor Bongani Mawethu Mayosi of The University of Cape Town, caused serious debate on the emotional state of black men. Then there was the highflying  PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) employee who jumped to his death from his 17th floor office in Nairobi’s Westlands. Why would such  seemingly successful black men kill themselves? There are never easy answers. And yet for those who care to know, it is undeniable that the mental demons that bedevil African men are way more dangerous than many care to let on. African men’s emotional turmoil is always concealed underneath an assortment of layers including an exaggerated bravado, drug and alcohol abuse, misdirected anger, and other forms of destructive behaviour. Most of it is related to economics, the psychologist Marcus Bright has written.

Professor Bongani Mawethu Mayosi of The University of Cape Town committed suicide last year : Photo, Internet

The unemployment rate is almost always skewed against men. Of the 25% youth unemployment in South Africa, majority of them are young men. The helplessness of a young, aspiring male who can’t even be able to take care of himself, let alone other people under his care as society expects him to,  is going to have violent implications for society. Many an African man has surrendered body and soul to poverty, squalor, alcohol, drugs, violence and depression to cope with these issues.

This quandary of ‘to be or not to be’  has also had direct and indirect effects on the physical health of black men. The high levels of stress and tension have led to young men suffering from diseases that were hitherto concentrated among people of more advanced age. Men in their 20s and 30s are increasingly being diagnosed with hypertension, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other ‘lifestyle’ diseases.

The economic malaise of most African economies is also making many men leave their countries and trek dangerous journey to Europe. A vast majority of refugees that attempt to cross the Mediterranean are men according to the UN International Organisation for Migration (IOM). Those that have drowned and died are 10 to 1 male to female.

Governments have no clue!

Mental Health in general is not  among top priorities of governments across Africa.

In April 2001, African Union countries met and pledged to set a target of allocating at least 15% of their annual budget to the health sector. Only one country, Tanzania, has reached this target.

When it comes to mental health, the neglect is worse. Many countries simply aren’t interested.

In Uganda for example, the health sector receives just 9% of the National budget. Only 1% of this money goes to mental health care. The country only has 40 psychiatrists, meaning only 1 for each million of its 40 million population. Mental health facilities across the continent are in squalid conditions. The stigma with which mental illness is taken means that the mentally ill are subjected to despicable conditions including being chained, branded mad or demon-possessed and taken to churches to be prayed for.

Male victims especially bear the brunt of this policy and societal incompetence


Him, too?

The Current global Metoo movement has rightly brought a spotlight on the terrible injustices women have faced when it comes to sexual harassment, discrimination in the workplace, and other evils of historically misogynistic patriarchy. For a while, the neoliberal women’s movement and the broader human rights movements have always prioritised the girl child, and women, because females as a gender had to be protected, for obvious reasons. Systemic discrimination and violence meted against women, some routed in male chauvinism and the patriarchy, are undeniable.

Unfortunately we do not seem to realise that men and boys suffer challenges that need addressing as well.

In his recent Netflix special, the comedian Chris Rock captures this double standard rather succinctly:

 “ I know women have it rough, but men, especially black men are terribly bad. Only women, children, and dogs, are loved unconditionally. A man is only loved under the condition that he provides something. I’ve never heard a woman say, you know, since you got laid off, we got so much closer! I once heard my grandmother say, A broke man is like a broke hand. Can’t do nothing with it. What kinda gangster sh***t is that? These days Nobody cares about men, man!. You see a homeless man with a dog, you feel sorry for the dog. Oh, we gotta get that dog into a shelter and give it some food.”

The ‘Kill The Messenger’ Star goes on:

“Fellas, when you meet a new gal, What do your friends say? ‘how does she look like?

Ladies, when you meet a new guy, what do your friends ask you? What does he do?

What the (expletive) does that nigger do that can help you out?

Guys have you ever been going through a hard time and you tell your woman , baby I am having a tough time now but we will go through it.

…and the Woman tries to console you and says, hey baby, we gonna go through this. She’s talking about YOU! Guys, if you loose your job, you gonna loose your woman! She may not leave the day you loose it, but the countdown has began!

We have to be concerned at what is happening to our boys, and to the men in our lives. They are hurting too. Their cry for help is destroying the world. You would have to be so simple minded to ignore this reality.

I understand when some men feel that the ‘woke’ feminism that has exploded on social media, the ‘Men are trash’ clicktivism that blames all women’s problems on males is naïve in its lack of nuance, context and understanding of the emotional state of the African male.

The irony of the ‘men are trash’ movement is never lost on these guys. How can you have this misguided label on the universe of men, and  still expect this ‘trash’ to look after you, pay for expensive dinners, most times on ‘foodie calls’ (a study recently found that 1/3 of men go out with men just to get free food), open you doors and, be the typical strong, protective, chivalrous creature, the very expectations the evil patriarchy you despise bestows upon him from the time he is still a boy?  Or like Malcolm X put it, “…These women wanting men to pick them up and carry them across thresholds and some of them weigh more than you do, [and] some expecting bouquets and kissing and hugging and being swept out like Cinderella for dinner and dancing — then getting mad when a poor, scraggly husband comes in tired and sweaty from working like a dog all day, looking for some food.” (Malcolm was a virulent misogynist, like most people of his ‘Mad Men’ generation. And yet, and that was his genius, this black militant always dished out some truth even in his most extreme commentaries).

No, sisters. You can’t cherry pick attributes of the Patriarchy you would want to enjoy, while castigating the others. You can’t have your cake and eat it at the same time. This kind of thinking is not unreasonable at all, especially for the deadbeats I describe above.

The Patriarchy is toxic for men, too!

There is no doubt that history and patriarchy favours African men and there are serious societal challenges of African males abusing women and failing to support and acknowledge their children, “absent fathers” etc. The question is why do we think and behave as if this history impact woman and girl children only and ignore the fact that these similar undue societal expectations on men as “providers”, “caregivers and or “leaders” devastatingly affects men too?

As Phapano Phasha, Founder and Director at Anti-Poverty Forum has written: “It is argued that the manner in which black boys have been raised and continue to be raised creates men out of boys, boys are expected to transcend into manhood way before they have even reached a level of maturity. To take over as Breadwinners in the absence of fathers, to work at a very young age, boys in the main are not given an opportunity to embrace their childhood or their emotions. Whilst the poor black male also suffers under the barrage of feminists/ neoliberal’s ideas imposed by the new global order without also recognising his unique and dehumanising condition.”

You can’t even talk about the challenges facing men in today’s neoliberal order without being cast as ‘Men’s Rights Activist’, misogynist, sexist, or even worse, anti-woman.

The problem with this narrow reaction is that unless men are truly doing better, the outcomes aren’t good for anyone. Not even for women. So we need to all work together to help this man out, too!


What can we do to help our boys and men?

Dr Jacintha Kabeega is one of the veterans of Uganda’s mental health care sector and one of the 40 psychiatrists referenced above. I reached out to her to try to find out why men are disproportionally affected by mental health issues including stress, anxiety, depression, among others. A mother of 4 boys herself, aged between 27 and 34, Dr Kabeega gave me reassuring answers:

  1. Most men fear to ‘be ashamed’, she told me. Part of this macho attitude comes from their biological make up. The hormone Androgen produces testosterone in men and is responsible for the production of male traits including ambition and impulsivity. Men want to feel superior. They want to prove their manhood at every opportunity they get.
  2. The social engineering caused by society’s expectations of men worsens these innate tendencies, she said, making some men to behave like robots.
  3. The poor health seeking behaviour among men for example is a result of this misguided belief that they are strong, that ‘men don’t cry.’
  4. Men loose self-esteem when they fail to provide as society expects them to.
  5. Women actually suffer from depression at higher rates than men, Dr Kabeega said, but men successfully commit suicide more, because they use more lethal methods like guns, hanging, jumping off buildings or throwing themselves into oncoming traffic
  6. Dr Kabeega, who owns a practice aptly named “Body and Mind” and has counselled and treated many men, says sometimes men develop what she calls ‘pathological jealousy” towards their wives, partners and girlfriends especially those that are more successful than they are, as they feel even more underserving and inadequate. They develop unfounded suspicions of them and end up becoming violent towards them.

The Solution?

Dr Kabeega has advice for these Emotionally hurting Men, their relatives and friends:

  1. Yes, men do, can, and should cry: Dr Kabeega says she always knows she has got a breakthrough when a man breaks down into sobs in her office. “Crying is a great reliever of stress. It’s like carrying a heavy luggage and after reaching your destination you dump it on the ground. It’s a relief. Men should speak out their problems with family, friends, community, without fear of being judged.
  2. Social support: Dr Kabeega says mental health in general is not just individual responsibility but family, community, and the entire society issue. Workplaces should provide avenues for mental health services to employees. ‘Man doesn’t live in Isolation,’ she says.
  3. Go easy on yourself: You will never do everything there is to do in this world. It’s useless to try to do it all.
  4. Talk it out: speak out. Yell. Anything that will make someone else know of the underlying pain that is eating you up. It helps
  5. You can fix this. You can be much happier than you are now. You can feel more connected, you can feel more love. You can feel more. Open your heart to the people who love you most: your spouse, your children, your siblings and friends. Allow them to care for you as you care for them. Let your loved ones help you break down your wall.
  6. Note to Family Members: If you have an emotionally neglected man in your life, husband, father, brother or friend, there are things you can do to help. Watch out for suicide ideation (if they speak often about dying, that’s an emergency. Get them to hospital right away). Give the men their space to be men but don’t neglect them. Don’t be too harsh in criticism, try to understand them from their point of view. In this way they will feel loved. If the man rarely speaks of his challenges either in his life or at work and always pretends as if everything is alright, that’s a red flag. Prompt them into talking about their life outside the home. Find out if they have any issues, debts, laid off, etc.
  7. Stop heaping pressure on men to provide heaven and earth for you when they are barely living on the planets themselves. Your incessant requests for material things, expensive stuff places enormous pressure on men of limited means and can drive them over the cliff, in which case he may grab you and goes over that cliff with you if, say, he feels cheated and exploited following say, a break up or otherwise.
  8. Listen and talk to your men. Ask them whether they are ok. Make them feel they are more than provider machines. Surprise them. They need these small gestures too; they are human like you are!

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