Men are taught to be tolerant. To be strong in the face of challenge, and most importantly to ‘suck it up’ and not complain - especially in the relational world. 

It’s an interesting disparity that I have seen in my work. A woman might say, ‘one strike and he’s out’ - their tolerance for bad behaviour is often quite low, almost unreasonably so - perhaps that makes for a woman with ‘high standards.’ Men on the other hand, especially men that are loyal and kind-hearted, will often let their significant other get away with a multitude of second-chances, accumulating over time at their own expense. 

Many men I work with often ask themselves, ‘Why didn’t I turn away at the very first red-flag, instead of the 101st?

These men ARE giving and loving and feel somehow implored to take on the role of ‘strong, protective, providing male.’ Their tolerance for unreasonable behaviour is extraordinarily high - which is not in fact a sign of weakness, but often a sign of a high level of self-criticism. They are so hard on themselves, that they place others on a ‘pedestal of acceptability’ that they would never allow for themselves. Often if we are extremely self-critical, we will let others get away with murder, most especially if they are dear to us.

Of course, ‘tolerance’ itself is not a bad thing - acceptance of other’s ‘humanness' in the name of meaningful connection is vital for any viable healthy relationship. But not if it causes our self-worth damage in the long-term. We need to be clear on our own boundaries and keep them clean. For some of us, perhaps this tolerance of other's bad behaviour is a little higher than it should be, especially if you have to work to seek that person’s affection. If this resonates with you - perhaps you grew up in an environment that wasn’t as much about your needs as it should have been, or that you had to put up with a lot of difficult or very critical people where you had to make yourself small - you learn to become tolerant of other’s bad behaviours. Perhaps you choose to overlook certain things because, ‘Yes, it is sightly a problem, but I can manage it. I should manage it.’ The problem with ‘managing it’ is that it communicates to them that you are okay with it, when in essence you are not.

Having to adapt yourself into a chameleon to meets all of their needs IS hard work, because you aren’t being accepted for who you are. You aren’t allowed to be true to your own needs, because you forever put theirs ahead of yours. My recommendation to you? 

Find people that don’t feel like work to be around. The best relationships don’t take ‘work’, and healthy respect and acceptance is a naturally reciprocal thing. You make them feel good by simply being yourself and your chemistry ‘just works,’ without all that effort to prove to them that you are loveable. 

Men deserve to have boundaries too, and they often do not deserve what they are made to endure. You are not expected to always be tolerant. Put your own needs forward for a change. 

Author: Dr Kassi Klein from BLOKES IN MIND

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