He’s a producer by nature. Results-oriented, focused, stoic or even brooding at times. She’s loving and nurturing by nature. She loves him and brings joy to his life. Seems like a great fit, right?
Then a few years in, this division of labor has become the biggest threat to relationship.
What happened? He’s the Provider and she’s the Nurturer. Isn’t that how it’s supposed to work, ideally?
In the long run, his role as the Protector/Provider isn’t why she’s with him. She graduated from needing him to be her protector a long time ago, and even if he’s still the (material) provider, that is not the basis of the relationship.
Meanwhile, by unspoken mutual agreement, she is the source and generator of all the good feelings between them. She’s the emotional epicenter of the relationship.
He’s outsourced his own emotional health and wellbeing to her.
It’s her JOB.
He’s entitled to it.
In a long-term relationship — healthy, happy, loving, supportive, fulfilling, resilient, intimate, connected — they will come to realize that they’re in it for the same reasons and they want the same things.
Precisely that which he has come to expect from her is the one thing she needs from him more than anything else.
He cannot afford to remain emotionally underdeveloped or shut down. And have her continually compensate for that.
He must do the work to meet her as an equal in the realm of intimate relating.
It is the hardest work he will ever face. Being a Provider, for all the drive and ambition it required, has become his comfort zone.
This new stretch will be harder for him because he’s getting a late start. He thought he could bypass it by outsourcing to her. In the long run, he cannot.
© 2017 by Ken Blackman. All rights reserved.
About the author:
Ken’s passion topic these days is how women’s empowerment intersects with intimate coupledom. A former Apple software engineer turned international sex and intimacy educator turned relationship coach, Ken is in his 20th year helping couples co-create, bond, have great sex, thrive, and live happily ever after. His work has garnered mentions in Business Insider, Playboy, Cosmo, Tim Ferriss’s 4-Hour series and elsewhere. Find out more at kenblackman.com.