The Disposable Dad

A family were killing time waiting for a plane.  While the kids played on the germ-infected play structure, mom and dad passed the time playing a somewhat bizarre game of “Would you rather?” about life and possibilities…

The wife suddenly asked her husband, “Suppose we are all in a hot air balloon, you, me, and the kids… the balloon is in trouble and we need to throw someone out to save all the other passengers.  Who would you throw out?”

The husband is understandably uneasy at the very prospect, and also knows there likely isn’t a right answer – every answer will be wrong and he will be somehow be a jerk anyway (akin to “Do these pants make my backside look big…?)”

The husband suddenly smiles as the correct and perfect answer emerges from his brain… he triumphantly declares, “I would throw myself out and save you and the kids!”

His wife smiles and says, “I feel the same way!”

He smiles, “Really? You would also throw yourself out?”

“No, I would toss you out!”

This little story, inspired by a great article by UK writer Jim Keeble, illustrates the simple fact that, in most cases, a man needs his partner MORE than she needs him.

Women tend to receive affirmation, perspective, and positive feedback from multiple sources in their life.  While their partner may provide the majority of that support, women also tap into family, best friends, coworkers, neighbours etc.   Men do not.

Women are natural communicators and have bigger support systems.     So you, as the man in her life, may be just one of many great sources of comfort, encouragement, and affirmation.

For us, baby, it’s you and only you.

That is why the movie, “I Love you Man” hits home for so many men.   The lead male character is getting married and doesn’t have ANY good groomsmen candidates in his life to match his fiancé’s bridal party– so he goes to try and find one.    The task of finding a dude you trust and can confide in can prove tougher than you think.

While today’s man may be more willing to talk about fears and feelings, we will still choose our partner to be vulnerable with.   Men may have great guy friends and acquaintances in their lives, but it’s YOU we come to when we are down and need help.   You are the only one in our “Circle of Trust!”

What tremendous power our women possess if it’s ever fully realized…   You are our confidante, cheerleader, emotional supporter, and sounding board.    When in doubt, we turn to you.

Women may have delegated those roles to multiple people in their vast beehive of support.   This simple fact is why I believe men take longer to rebound following the severing of a relationship.

As I touched on last week in, “Who do you put first?  Spouse or Kids?”,  men will seek counsel with their partner first, but if they are disconnected from their partner or their partner is emotionally unavailable, then trouble and stress will result.   We feel we have no one else to turn to.

I am not reporting a problem, just reporting what is.  

The man in the hot air balloon story was devastated at his wife’s response.  Not so much at her actual response but at how certain she was – no pondering or thinking needed.  He was disposable. 

Should he work at being indispensible to his wife?  No, his time and energy would be better spent broadening his own support system and enlarging his “Circle of Trust”.

However, the biggest task is to always keep the needs of our partner at the top of the ladder, so that our key relationship, the one that gives us the majority of our self-esteem, remains strong and true.

That is a WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN situation – Great for dad, mom, kids, and the family unit!

But I do need to ask, who would you throw out of the balloon?

Until next time!

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