Monday, 19 August 2013

Husbands who are Fathers: A Forgotten Species?

Sometimes, if I am truly honest, it really gets me down when I feel that I am coming second to my daughter as far as my wife is concerned.  I can easily rationalise this with a host of reasons as to why this is how it should be and that it is only natural for her to be putting our child before her husband, yet I still feel a great deal of disappointment from time to time.  If one were to reflect on the notion in some detail, I guess it is more a feeling of insignificance than merely feeling a sense of disappointment.  Fighting for your wife's affection and attention is often a battle rarely won when you are up against those cute little things; but is it okay to undermine these feelings of insignificance just because one is able to rationalise the situation?  Don't get me wrong, mothers have busy lives, but a little more time focused on her man...surely that won't go amiss?  

Sometimes I see posts posted on facebook feeds where wives are wishing their "amazing husbands" happy birthday and happy anniversary, yet I've noticed something!  These wives are usually the ones who don't have children.  Is this an indication that before baby and children come along, women have more time to announce to the world what an awesome man they have in their life or is it just that women are more focused on their men before the children arrive?  It is easy to turn this on its head and say that perhaps I am reading too much into these posts, but it gets me almost every time; is this passion for one's husband substituted for children once they arrive, or is it merely a coincidence that I've read too much into?

Perhaps a feeling of insignificance can also lead to a feeling of disrespect.  For many men, their top priority is to be a pillar and a support to both their wife and children.  If left to feel overlooked or insignificant, can this be misinterpreted and lead to feelings that he as a provider is not respected?  I wonder if this feeling of insignificance leads to a feeling of being unloved, or whether that can stand independently?  I once read a very powerful sentence:  it is very difficult for a man to see his wife cherish the children, yet treat him in a casual manner.  Admittedly, I feel this sometimes.  My wife will constantly tell our little one how much she loves her and is extremely demonstrative towards her (and rightly so), but could you please pass some of that sweet sugar in my direction?

Love, to many men, is displayed through signs of physical affection, so when those actions are displayed so abundantly towards the children yet sparingly towards the husband/father, what other option does he have but to feel unloved or insignificant?  Yes we are old enough to rationalise it, but sometimes this lack of attention to detail on the part of the mother does cut rather deep.  

As time passes on, and less and less time is dedicated to the forgotten species, he may become more and more lonely.  As humans, one of our primary needs is companionship; the need to feel loved and appreciated.  Many men will argue that as his wife pours more and more of her time and energy into being a mother, she pours less and less of her time into being a wife, in fact, the pour becomes more of a trickle.  A major concern here is that the lonelier a person becomes (in this case the man), the more vulnerable (s)he is to outside temptations.  A feeling of being wanted is a primary need, if neglected in one place, surely it'll seek fulfilment in another?  This is not to suggest that men who feel insignificant and unloved will find another woman at the "drop of a hat", but as time chips away, so too does ones ability to rationalise and sustain the level of commitment one may have once enjoyed.  

I know I like to feel appreciated, and perhaps extrapolating that to the greater male population is a slight misjudgement on my part, but I'm going to assume that this is the case for most males out there. Being valued as a man is so vital and I guess some fathers feel far less appreciated by their wife if she shows appreciation towards her children, yet neglects to do so when it comes to her husband/partner.

So ... one question springs to mind; what value will this have to the various parties, and who, if anyone, is more inclined to identify with the latter?  Mothers?  Fathers?  Husbands?  Wives?  I don't really know where the answer lies.  If you can relate to this as a man, great, please know that you are not alone out there...and, if you are a wife reading this, then hopefully there is something in here which may help you to understand your man (and his needs) a little better.


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