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THEORY'For Women Only' - Providing - Chapter 5 (self.RedPillWomen)

submitted by girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor

First, check out the introduction post here before you get started. Also, if you haven’t read the summary for Chapter 2 on Respect, Chapter 3 on Insecurity, Chapter 4 on Thought Processes you may want to do that as well. This post will assume you’ve read them.

Disclaimer: this is a summary of Chapter 5 in the book For Women Only not my own thoughts, feelings or research.

Let’s get started.


Men are driven to provide.It weighs him down every step of the way, but he just may like it that way.

No matter what we think about the family income, a man believes that providing his his job as the man of the house. Even in cases where wives work and contribute, men tend to think

“I cannot depend on her to provide because that is my job”.

The author has this discussion with a few men while their wives sit listening. Wives, she says, were shocked to hear that their husbands thought this way. In this day of dual income households, we feel like we are contributing and we don’t realize that men feel the way that they do. Even if a wife makes enough money to comfortably provide for the family, men feel the mental burden to be the provider and it is unrelenting.

As women, we may have a vague notion that men think like this, however, we rarely understand that this isn’t an issue of wanting to provide. It goes much deeper than wanting. He needs to provide for his wife and family. Even single men feel a drive to provide, if only for themselves.

The surveys showed that 78% of men would feel compelled to provide for the family even if his wife’s income was sufficient. This holds true across most men regardless of whether they are married or single, old or young.

The author points out that this result goes against what we see in culture. That culture might not reflect our actual gender differences should surprise no one here at RPW. She cites the image of the man in his recliner with the remote as a trope of the lazy husband that is unfortunately prevalent. But that this simply isn’t the reality. The provision drive is so deeply rooted that almost nothing can relieve men of their sense of duty.

If you have trouble understanding this, she suggests that it is not dissimilar to women’s sometimes obsessive body insecurity. It’s there and it’s difficult to change.

Men constantly carry this mental burden and it is always in his mind. When asked: “Under what circumstances do you think about your responsibility to provide for your family? Men overwhelmingly answered (about 71%) that it is occasionally to always on their minds.

“A man won't feel like a man if he doesn’t provide, if you are going to be the man, that’s just how it is”

 

What drives this need?

And, more importantly, why is it unchanging despite our dual income culture?

Providing is at the core of his identity as a man and as a person of worth. Even single men feel this way. One single guy explains:

“You want to be in control of your life, and if you don’t provide for yourself, someone else will have to”

Men feel powerful when they provide and they want to be dependable and depended on. Providing for himself and his loved ones is an enormous part of who he is.

Consider that sex and money are opposite sides of a coin for men and women. When it comes to sex, men are utilitarian while women are emotional. On the other hand, when it comes to money,/work and providing, men are emotional and women are utilitarian.

 

Providing is Male for “I love you”

For a man, bringing home a paycheck is love talk. He does it because it proves that he can take care of you and he is worthy of you. He demands this of himself and he wants to deliver. Providing for his wife is a central way a husband expresses his love.

Women often make the mistake then, of complaining about a man’s work habits. We say “you work too much” or “you don’t spend enough time with me”. When we complain about our men’s work habits, it’s distressing and confusing to him. He thinks he’s saying “I love you” and we are turning around and complaining about it!

As an example, one couple discusses how they feel about the husband traveling a lot for business. The husband asks if his wife believes his constant travel is an indication that he cares more about work than her. Unsurprisingly to us, his wife answers “well of course I’ve wondered that”. Her husband, shocked, explains “it’s because I care so much that I work this much.” What she was viewing as a (potential) lack of care, he instead viewed as a sacrifice that he makes out of love.

 

Providing goes hand in hand with his need to succeed

But before you go getting a big head over this, it’s not all about you! Many men combine a selfless desire to provide with their equally important desire to succeed and find pleasure in their work. About half of the men surveyed agreed that while they had to work a lot to get ahead, they did it because that they wanted to get ahead OR they enjoyed working as much and as hard as they did OR in some cases, both.

“The one thing I wished my wife knew is that I enjoy my career and that being successful is important for me *and for us.*”

Just as we have multiple reasons for doing the things we value so do they. We should hope that our partners find themselves in the enviable position of doing what they love for a living. Don’t get upset if he’s working long hours, he’s doing it for both himself and for you. As long as his life remains balanced, be grateful if he has a career that he loves.

 

Providing creates the ongoing risk of failure

Providing also ties back to our previous discussion of men’s insecurity. Providing is the main area where men will experience the ongoing risk of failure. Biblically, it is said that a man who does not provide for his family is “worse than an infidel” We shouldn’t view this as a commandment but as a description. If times are tight and a man is not providing the way he feels he should be, he will feel insecure and terrible about himself, or, if you will, worse than an infidel. It is a statement of internal angst, not a command because no one needs to tell men to provide. They have an internal drive and they feel terrible if they cannot succeed.

And because of this drive, men have anxieties about failures at work, business downturns, and layoffs. Surveys showed that 61% of men feel unappreciated at work. They really do feel at risk. Since we see our men as talented and effective, we might not realize how strongly they feel this anxiety and how much of a burden it is on them. They feel the need to do whatever is necessary to protect their job. And when the family encounters financial problems, a man will feel like a failure even if the cause of the problem had nothing to do with him. If the result is that you will have to adjust your lifestyle, he will suffer emotional torture.

One man, while going through a rough patch, described it like this:

“Every day, with every step I take, I feel like my skin is being flayed off”

Men can also wrestle with the feeling of failure if they aren’t bringing in most of the family income. Many men said that they struggled as the primary caregiver or as the partner earning less money. This internal struggle happened even when there had been a mutually agreed upon decision to structure the relationship in that manner.

When a man isn’t the breadwinner, he has a stronger need to be respected or appreciated for what he does provide. This can mean being seen as a great dad or covering as much of the bills as possible.

 

Providing feels like a trap

And no, not like you are trying to trap them. But men feel a tension between wanting to be depended on and feeling trapped by the very virtue of the fact that they are depended on. Many men work long hours because they feel that there is no other option. Not infrequently, we are contributing to this pressure to some degree.

Because you see, it’s not about just about meeting the minimum bills. It is also important to a man that he is making his wife happy. He’ll often try to do this by getting her the things she wants, or claims to want. We must then do our part by not send signals that we care more about the things than about him and how hard he has to work to provide them.

  • “I feel confused, you want me home more, I want to be home, but you want a new house, nice things, this is a catch 22…”*

Men can hear pressure when none is intended. This happens because they are trying so hard to make us happy. As a result, what we see as venting can be interpreted as a critique that he is unable to provide. The RPW advice to STFU becomes more understandable in this light!

Outside of creating financial pressure, we can pressure them by complaining about their long work hours. Women are inclined to think that our men should just tell their bosses “no” from time to time. Other women misinterpret their men’s hard work, thinking that he doesn’t want to be home with her. In actuality, only 5% or less of men thought those things.

More commonly (85% of men) felt that if they didn’t work hard they’d let down their families or organizations. Most men don’t want to be away from their families; they are away because they have to be. Their priorities are their families, but this sometimes means working long hours.

The best thing you can do it to try and put yourself in his shoes. See things from his side and understand how he might feel trapped. If you can see where he is coming from your concerns will be more likely to be viewed as supportive rather than antagonistic and nagging.

 

How should we respond?

After reading this chapter, reconsider existing areas of conflict in your relationship with your new perspective in mind. Our men feel caught with few options on provider issues and probably deeply misunderstood by us. We have to look at where this is impacting our relationships.

  • a refusal to stand up to his boss ... is a drive to continue paying the mortgage.

  • seeing you coming home with shopping bags every day may put pressure on him to work harder

  • out-earning him might make him feel insecure.

Understanding where he is coming from is essential to any productive conversation.

 

Help relieve the pressure.

We all face difficult financial seasons. When we nag him to “do something” we are simply adding to his burden and potentially demotivating him. Instead try a steadfast belief that he will solve the problem. Then offer to do what it takes to stay afloat. This can come in the form of encouragement and faith that he will pull your family through the tough times. You can also show excitement about lower cost alternatives. And it’s important that it be excitement, not willingness. If you indicate willingness, he’ll internalize this as disappointment and feel as though he failed. Alternately, show you understand his burden by refusing to spend when things are tight.

 

Finally and always, thank him regularly for providing. Let him know your pleasure so he knows all the hard work is worth it.


[–][deleted]  (2 children)

[deleted]

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Thank you for the confirmation. Even though it's not my own thoughts, I hold my breath a little bit with each of these posts, worried that the men will come in and say "no, it's not like that at all". :-)

[–]clemangerine 8 points9 points  (1 child)

My father was up and out the door at the dead of night for most of my life to make it to work. He put up with a boss he had a bad relationship with for 7 years, never conplained and only revealed a little bit about it after changing settings, that he had even feared for his life once working the night shift with that man. His voice and words when recounting the experience still makes me feel like someone's squeezing my guts. Even in his 60's now, he's not slowing down. My little brother asked me once how and why an individual could live such a life. He just loves us that much, I told him. He's not affectionate, not the most even tempered, not so personally involved with his 4 children, but I wonder if any of us will ever be so loved again by someone else.

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 6 points7 points  (0 children)

This gave me feelz :-)

I wonder how many "distant" fathers are really loving hardworking men with children who have wildly misinterpreted their intentions and love.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor 6 points7 points  (3 children)

Even if a wife makes enough money to comfortably provide for the family, men feel the mental burden to be the provider and it is unrelenting.

This is very true! I remember when we were newly married and my wife was earning a full salary while I was working part time and I was still a student. As much as she reassured me that it's no big deal, to me it was a big deal that I wasn't providing for our new family. I didn't talk about it after I realized that she simply can't relate to my feelings on the matter. Every man I know, feels this way too.

Even single men feel a drive to provide, if only for themselves.

In the book of Genesis, God tells Adam - by the sweat of your brow shall you eat bread. It's in the male DNA to need to toil.

Men feel powerful when they provide and they want to be dependable and depended on. Providing for himself and his loved ones is an enormous part of who he is.

I disagree with this man's explanation. I don't think it stems from power at all. Rather, part of the dynamics of men and women is that men are the givers and women are the receivers. One of the things that emerges from this is that a man is a nobody if he can't give. Providing is the ultimate form of giving.

Women often make the mistake then, of complaining about a man’s work habits. We say “you work too much” or “you don’t spend enough time with me”. When we complain about our men’s work habits, it’s distressing and confusing to him. He thinks he’s saying “I love you” and we are turning around and complaining about it!

Bingo! 👌

Men can also wrestle with the feeling of failure if they aren’t bringing in most of the family income. Many men said that they struggled as the primary caregiver or as the partner earning less money. This internal struggle happened even when there had been a mutually agreed upon decision to structure the relationship in that manner.

Can't change biological drives. What a shocker! 😱

Men can hear pressure when none is intended. This happens because they are trying so hard to make us happy. As a result, what we see as venting can be interpreted as a critique that he is unable to provide.

Same is true with regards to fantasizing about the addition you want to add to your home or other things that will cost a lot of money. Watch his reaction, if his face drops, it's best not to discuss it again. If it gets as far as him asking you to stop talking about it, you can be certain that he feels immense pressure as a result of the discussion, even though in your mind, you're just fantasizing. In his mind, you're making a request and he's about to start working towards that goal.

Another point in this whole discussion is that men take responsibility. The man can't work less because he feels a deep sense of responsibility towards his family and towards his company/customers. I find that women often have a hard time relating to this deep sense of responsibility.

You can also show excitement about lower cost alternatives. And it’s important that it be excitement, not willingness

It also says "I love you" in male, loud and clear!

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 4 points5 points  (2 children)

I don't think it stems from power at all. Rather, part of the dynamics of men and women is that men are the givers and women are the receivers.

It's the only time in the chapter that this word comes up and I went back to it a few times. It's a loaded word given the Oppression Olympics that our culture engages in daily. I sort of have to think that it's intended to mean "masculine, in control, or competent." I'm presuming to understand what an unknown man in a book thinks so I may be way off, but I found it to be an odd word choice.

I find that women often have a hard time relating to this deep sense of responsibility.

My current working theory is that men become Men when they take wives and women become Women when they have children. Those are the experiences that force us to take responsibility for others and truly consider the future. Plus, having no children myself, it lets me pretend to be young as I sit in my lawn chair on this side of the wall sipping a margarita and watching others jump off.

That said, I can think of at least one mother I know who is far less responsible and forward thinking than I and her eldest is about two years from college.

In his mind, you're making a request and he's about to start working towards that goal.

One of the more impactful things mom said was: "sometimes you just want to want something" (meaning, you don't actually desire the item, it's just pleasant to fantasize). So it surprised me a good deal to learn that my husband was stressed by expressions of desires that I considered generally unimportant. Now I choose not to want things, but that's just me and I'm weird.

[–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Men feel powerful when they provide

I didn't find this explanation weird at all! My father is a classically dominant man, and takes such clear pleasure in buying my mother (and his kids) creature comforts. It not only defines his status and importance in our family structure ("Without me, they'd struggle"), but also externally ("Everyone knows MY wife will have everything she needs"). He's quite old school and though he'd never say it, I suspect he takes quiet pride in the fact that my mother's friends have always been jealous of how well he takes care of her.

[–]loneliness-incEndorsed Contributor 1 point2 points  (0 children)

When men marry, they have to assume responsibility. Practically as well as biologically. When women become mothers, they need a degree of responsibility for practical reasons. Biologically speaking, they'll still fall back on the husband for help, support, responsibility and to take charge when the child is being super difficult.

This difference is much more pronounced in the case of single mothers and single fathers. Single mothers are some of the most irresponsible parents out there and their children are more likely to engage in just about every bad behavior conceivable! OTOH, single fathers tend to be much more responsible parents. (I know this will be triggering to some people. Please research your government statistics before blasting this comment).

Now I choose not to want things, but that's just me and I'm weird.

You may be weird, who knows. You're definitely wise 😉

[–]sailorcrystal 4 points5 points  (5 children)

Call me foolish for a question such as this, but what about the guys in society who are looking for girls to split the bills with? I see a lot of men who claim to want to build WITH a woman and want her to carry some of the financial burden. I’m not against contributing, especially as someone in California with an astronomical cost of living, but would a lack of interest in being the sole provider (either mentally or physically) indicate a more blue-pilled thought process? For me, when I see guys like that, it automatically detracts value because I don’t get the sense of a strong and willful leader who wants to Captain our ship.

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 6 points7 points  (1 child)

Because respect is as important in a relationship as it is, if you feel this way:

I don’t get the sense of a strong and willful leader who wants to Captain our ship.

Then you should (ideally) be looking for a man who is willing to take on the sole provider role. Because if you can't respect him otherwise, you will self destruct the relationship.

what about the guys in society who are looking for girls to split the bills with? I see a lot of men who claim to want to build WITH a woman and want her to carry some of the financial burden.

Personally I don't think it indicates a BP thought process because dual income is almost necessary in a lot of places these days. I also think that it's important for women to be able to step up and care for the family if something happens to her husband - this can be death, divorce or disability.

I didn't marry an older man (well, 2 years older, so I don't really count that) and we did build and grow together.

Some men probably have internalized BP thinking but others just have their eyes open. A wife who is entirely dependent may not be who he wants to be the mother of his children, it may make the risk of losing his shirt in a divorce even greater, it may indicate a woman who doesn't want to uphold her end of the relationship agreement, he may want a women who can provide as a back up plan if he cannot. I can see a lot of reasons that men would want a contributing wife/GF that isn't specifically BP but rather a response to the world around them.

It's really something that you'd have to judge each man as an individual and try to understand his reasons before you can say that he's not a leader.

[–]sailorcrystal 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Thanks for your insight! I agree wholeheartedly with what you said, but the respect factor is what got me...the men I’ve met who push splitting bills have several viewpoints that I don’t respect. If I can’t respect him then he definitely won’t be my captain, for sure

[–]PackDJ 4 points5 points  (1 child)

If you offer to split the bill, some men will take the offer either because they want to save the money in their own wallet, or because they only want a women who genuinely offers what she is willing/wanting to give. Some men will try once or twice to offer to pay the whole thing in the face of a woman offering, but out of habit (form dealing with a "strong independent woman") will only insist so far.

On the other hand, if the guy is expecting you to pay for your half, it may indicate that he is not captain material. (if he was "broke" he could just plan free activities instead.)

(On a side note, I've heard California is more left wing in it's politics and ideology, so that might make your search a bit harder.)

[–]sailorcrystal 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I think it’s definitely the left-wing mindset of California, haha. Extremely hard climate when it comes to looking for Captain Material because all of the women want to be their own Captains 🙄

[–]tempintheeastbayEndorsed Contributor 0 points1 point  (0 children)

to build WITH a woman

Every truly ambitious "Captain" type I've ever met wants to build with his woman. The question is, how can she best help him build? Where is his first mate best deployed?

Do they envision having lots of kids? A big role in the local community? If that's the life they want to build the best way you can contribute may be staying home.

For my (strong and willful) BF, what he envisions building requires a different kind of assistance.

[–]Ezaar 2 points3 points  (1 child)

This helps me understand myself and my father better. Thank you for posting.

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 3 points4 points  (0 children)

You are welcome. :-)

[–][deleted]  (3 children)

[deleted]

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 5 points6 points  (2 children)

I don't believe you should ever lie, in general or to your SO specifically.

Is this a hypothetical or is this really your situation?

In a hypothetical, I'd be searching for a man who brings masculine qualities to the table that are beyond money. And I'd make sure my respect game and my femininity were on point. Life will never be exactly as we want it to be and we must play the hand we're dealt. If you are making more than him, recognize that it may be a sore spot and be sensitive to that. Don't act like you get to make all the decisions because it's your money. Or consider saving more so that your incomes (and therefore what you can afford) are closer to balanced. Saving is never a bad thing. If you are married, consider having him control the finances.

But mostly, make sure that you are building him up and appreciating him for everything he does bring to the table, and downplaying this area where he might feel less secure.

[–]puffink 0 points1 point  (0 children)

It was a hypothetical example :) this clears things up, thanks!

[–]velvetcade 0 points1 point  (0 children)

This is a real possibility for me, so I'm saving your comment to look back on if it does happen. Thanks.

[–][deleted]  (1 child)

[removed]

[–]girlwithabikeEndorsed Contributor[S] 1 point2 points  (0 children)

Yes. This is a helpful contribution to the conversation. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to add your wisdom.