Not too long ago, a friend confided in me that she has never seen her significant other cry, and that if he did cry in front of her, she thinks she’d feel uncomfortable and hope he would stop.
I was shocked. My perspective is the polar opposite. Until I’ve seen a man I’m dating cry, I don’t feel as if I truly know him or could fully love him. It’s not that seeing a man cry will make me fall in love with him, but not seeing a man cry could definitely prevent it.
Seeing someone cry is a very intimate experience. Sometimes moreso than crying in front of someone yourself. Crying usually only occurs at times of peak emotion. People cry when dealing with intense grief, frustration, empathy, and even joy.
Crying together with another human being might be one of the most intimate experiences in existence. It’s much rarer and more private than laughing together, arguing together, and in many cases, even orgasming together. I personally only have two people in the world who can say they’ve laid in bed with me as we both cried openly for as long as we needed. Those are the only two people I’ve ever been in love with. That is not a coincidence.
Sure, during times of illness, death, or great tragedy, friends or family members might cry together. Although still cathartic, from my experience there is still an effort to keep oneself composed in those situations. It is people crying because the situation is so intense they can’t not cry no matter how hard they try to hold it in rather than people crying because they’ve removed the barriers between themselves and those around them completely.
I view seeing a man cry as the highest possible display of his manliness. Traditionally, crying was for women or children. As the saying goes, “Boys don’t cry.” People who cry too much are “cry babies,” or “girls.” Because of this, a man crying is an even more beautiful thing for me to behold. Not only is he authentically displaying raw emotion, he is simultaneously rejecting society’s gender expectations placed upon him. By doing the least manly or “weakest” thing possible, he displays his strength, honesty, and self-confidence.
If I dated a man for a lengthy period of time without seeing him cry, I’d probably suspect he was closing off major parts of himself from me. I’d feel as if he was refusing to make himself vulnerable and was holding back from the relationship. I enjoy allowing myself to cry when I’m feeling strong emotions, but I’d feel self-conscious if it were always one-sided.
That said, everyone communicates and relates differently. While having a crying-free relationship would feel shallow and worrisome to me, it is comfortable for my friend. To her, being with a man who cried at all let alone regularly would indicate a problem, not the absence of one. Perhaps she (and her man) would find the title of this piece silly, or even insulting. I have only discussed this with a few people and it doesn’t appear to be a thoroughly researched topic. I have no clue what is “normal” when it comes to crying within romantic relationships.
What are your thoughts? Will you cry openly in front of the person you love, or would you rather save that for when you’re alone? Does crying feel good, or are you embarrassed by it? Women, how do you feel about seeing your man cry? Men, how do you feel about seeing your woman cry? Is crying in front of your significant other more or less common in homosexual relationships? How often is too often, and how often is not often enough?
[Photo: Anders Ljungberg]