Relationships

Why Being With A Passive Man Is A Recipe For Disaster

By Robyn Riley··  10 min read
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A crucial aspect of masculinity is assertiveness. It’s a trait that comes naturally to some men, while others require mentors and strong father figures to model it for them first. Not only does it fulfill men to craft their own expression of assertiveness, but it’s also a characteristic that the majority of women crave in a significant other.

Confidence is to a man what natural beauty is to a woman – available to all with careful cultivation.

What Does It Mean To Be Passive and Why Is It Bad?

Passivity is not to be confused with a quiet or reserved nature. There’s a difference. There are many men who have a reticent nature who are also assertive. In fact, this nature may even aid in a man’s ability to become more stoic. Passivity, however, is becoming more common among men for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the vilification of traditional masculinity by pop-culture. This has led to a lot of depression, dysfunction, and self-doubt among men in their personal and love lives.

Masculinity is productive, action-oriented, and protective, all of which are the opposite of being passive. It’s these qualities that women love most about men. I understand there will be exceptions to this rule, but all of the women whom I personally know and speak to on the subject universally desire a man who can make decisions without overthinking or falling prey to neuroticism. Women want a man who can take charge and trust their gut, rather than constantly looking for outside input from them. 

Camile Paglia rightly states, “A woman simply is, but a man must become. Masculinity is risky and elusive. It is achieved by a revolt from woman, and it is confirmed only by other men. Manhood coerced into sensitivity is no manhood at all.”

Masculinity is productive, action-oriented, and protective, all of which are the opposite of being passive. 

Traditional masculinity prescribes that men should be producers, explorers, protectors, and leaders. This is the natural role of men and what most women find irresistible in a prospective suitor. This doesn’t mean a man has to be the CEO of his own company, or achieve something beyond what’s within reach of the average man. A man can be all these things within the boundaries of his own home and for his family.

Men struggling with passivity, who have been emasculated from youth into adulthood, often find themselves lacking soul fulfillment. They know on some level they’re living like a domesticated animal. This impairs a man’s ability to ascend to his full potential and lead himself and/or his family with fearlessness. 

“Man is never so manly as when he feels deeply, acts boldly, and expresses himself with frankness and with fervor,” asserted Benjamin Disraeli. Without the ability to act this way, men know on some level, sometimes only subconsciously, that they’re not real men.

In a worst-case scenario, the shame and self-hatred men feel when they never learn to assert themselves in a positive manner is transmuted into self-destructive behaviors like alcohol abuse, pornography addiction, and excessive gambling. It’s a disaster for not only the individual men affected but also for our wider society. Civilization was build by strong assertive men, and it needs strong assertive men for it to function.

How Passivity Affects Relationships 

Men have become afraid to take their shot with a woman, or even follow through on a date if a woman asks him out. Men have become paralyzed by insecurity and the pressure of fulfilling every wish and dream of modern women. Our feminist pop-culture has made women very entitled, difficult to please, and given many impossible standards for men to live up to.

Men believe they don’t have enough money, aren’t good-looking enough, or simply don’t have what it takes to satisfy a woman, and therefore are hesitant to approach women. This scenario also creates a kind of phobia of rejection where remaining alone is just easier. So men don’t try. 

Women want a man who can take charge, rather than constantly look for outside input. 

Men are also fearful because of the aftermath of the #MeToo movement. #MeToo has had both positive and negative outcomes for the general relations between men and women. Men understand that the social and legal repercussions of sexual abuse are huge and heavy, which acts as an effective deterrent, and this is a good thing. However, it does also create the idea of “men” as a kind of boogeyman who’s inherently violent and a sexual predator in many women’s minds. This could also be part of the appeal of passive feminized men.

Furthermore, the definition of what qualifies as sexual harassment has become ever more vague and trivial. Therefore men have become afraid to be misunderstood as making unwanted advances, so they just stop trying to approach women altogether. This is a catastrophe for hopeful single people who are looking for love. Men and women have as a result begun to find it harder and harder to connect with one another. 

How a Lack of Masculinity Affects Women

Female-led marriages often find themselves in a state of crisis at some point for a couple of reasons. When kids become a part of the equation, women inevitably take on the burdens of sleepless nights and caring for little ones. In these circumstances, women often feel that they can no longer keep the ship afloat doing all the things a husband would traditionally take care of on top of the things women traditionally do. 

Women who work and pay the bills, along with doing the housework, childminding, etc. feel like they’re drowning and getting a raw deal because, well, to be frank, they are. They begin wishing for their husband to step up, but he resists this change because he either doesn’t know how to step up or has become accustomed to having things done for him (or he’s a male feminist). 

I’m reminded of a quote by Elizabeth Elliott, who once said, “Stand true to your calling to be a man. Real women will always be relieved and grateful when men are willing to be men.” 

“Real women will always be relieved and grateful when men are willing to be men.”

Other times husbands gain the courage to want to step up and have their wives stay home with the children, but the wife has issues relinquishing power in the dynamic and feels that her quality of life will suffer if she’s suddenly forced to give up her work life. 

These unnatural and unbalanced divisions of labor in the home can be rectified by making sure needs are being communicated and negotiating a gradual shift in responsibilities that aim for a common goal between man and wife. Not every relationship will look the same, but what’s important is that man and wife are working in unison with one another and in a complementary fashion.

Sometimes it’s necessary for a couple to reach out for marriage counseling to cushion airing and negotiating these grievances. These issues are much more common than most think, and having the benefit of a third party who can guide both sides of a marriage to a more harmonious balance of roles cannot be understated.

How Personal Trauma Can Damage a Man’s Masculinity

Passivity in men can stem from mother and/or father trauma which happens in childhood. Trauma that relates to your relationship with a parent can be considered a core wound which is identity shaping. They strike at the heart of who we are and can have long-lasting influences on our mental health and emotional stability well into adulthood. 

Young men and women who witnessed infidelity and divorce in their parents’ relationship really struggle to grieve and digest these experiences, and they can lead to long-lasting issues. Men and women alike struggle to establish healthy relationships when they themselves experienced the breakdown of their own parents’ relationship as children.

Trauma that relates to your relationship with a parent can be considered a core wound which is identity shaping.

The same is true for women who find themselves repeatedly choosing passive men and don’t know why they’re always ending up in unsatisfying relationships. Men can become passive if they never witnessed positive masculinity modeled by their fathers or if their mothers were too overbearing and never allowed them to mature and assert themselves. 

Women often find themselves repeatedly choosing passive men when they have trauma related to their mothers. When women have deep wounds relating to their mothers they feel, “Well, if I can’t trust my own mother to protect me, then I can’t trust anyone,” so they go into a defensive survival stance of taking care of themselves. 

These women struggle with their femininity and can’t feel free of the need to be in control with anyone, man or woman. They then have a tremendous amount of trouble ever allowing themselves to trust that a man can and will protect or provide for them. It’s important that women who have this kind of trauma identify how these scars continue to impact their choices and release themselves from the vicious cycles caused by it.

How To Not End Up with a Passive Man 

To heal these wounds and to avoid ending up with a passive man, the solution is simple. Women must know that they deserve to be pursued. They will only be treated like a high-value woman if they value themselves highly. This means not giving men who disrespect you or your time multiple chances. This also means not sleeping with men merely because you’re lonely, or feeling like you have low self-esteem and want the dopamine rush of a sexual encounter with a stranger. It means not proposing to your loser boyfriend of eight years because you’re tired of waiting for him to do it.

Women will only be treated like high-value women if they value themselves highly. 

Women must learn to be comfortable being alone. They need to learn to cultivate their solitude and be deeply peaceful in it. When you approach dating from a place of not needing anyone to fill the emptiness you immediately elevate your worth, and as a result, your options. A man needs to bring something to the table that’s better than “I’ll make you not lonely,” otherwise he doesn’t get to be in your life. This can be the hardest challenge for women who struggle with ending up with passive men. It’s easy to find and become attached to a passive man as they’re a dime a dozen. It’s hard to work on yourself while you wait for an assertive man to pursue you. 

You can be sure that a man who sees a woman and decides he’s going to go make her his girl is not passive. This kind of man will honor, cherish, and lead you rather than placate and pander to you. Being willing to hold out for the real thing while making yourself into the kind of woman who deserves a masculine husband is the key to finding him.

Closing Thoughts

Men must realize that being assertive is something that they need to do for themselves. Women loving strong, confident men is just a bonus. Being assertive isn’t something you do to get a woman; finding a woman is a by-product of ascending to who you are meant to be and thriving in place of self-embodiment. This can sometimes require healing old wounds and seeking out spiritual fathers who can guide you on your path. 

Men must resist being swallowed up by the modern culture which neuters them figuratively and literally in exchange for acceptance and good boy points. They must look deep within and remember their wildness, who they are and who their forefathers were. We must be unafraid to imagine the ways men have always been, in every culture around the world – it’s no secret: “Men want a battle to fight, an adventure to live, and a beauty to rescue. That is what is written in their hearts. That is what little boys play at. You just see it. It is undeniable.” – John Eldredge

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