Piyali Dasgupta
17 Jul 2016 . 1 min read

5 Reasons Why Most Indian Men Are Emotionally Unavailable

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Are Indian men emotionally unavailable? This is something Indian women are always battling to understand. These insights are necessary in a world where women today are grasping for an equal footing in love and relationships.

This is how the inner world of Indian men works.

1:  Social conditioning

“There are various factors which make some of us emotionally unavailable. Firstly; it is social conditioning. Since childhood, we are brought up and told ‘boys don’t cry’. In a football field, if we fall down and pain rips us apart, we are advised ‘don’t show that you are hurt, just man up’, ” says Suraj Aiyer (real name withheld), partner at a leading law firm.

It is a procedural inculcation of a mindset that happens over a period of time, along with exposure to multiple influential experiences. Our society, from my observation, is one that celebrates staunch domination of one's senses and emotions. This is also the foundation of psychological warfare,” says filmmaker Anurag Sikder.

How boys are being raised has become a philosophical dilemma.  “As a child, growing up in a house with a stay-at-home dad was counter-intuitive for most people. In fact, my parents were called for a special meeting because my Hindi teacher accused me of lying in an essay. The essay was on homemakers, and in my case, it was my father who did the laundry, organized our lunch and took care of us. It was, according to my teacher, "lies" and (I was told) that no one's father did this. What struck me was that the gender role wasn't just assigned by patriarchy--it was also perpetuated through a victim of the same system,” narrates Shamsher Singh, partner at a leading architectural firm.

Gender-neutral parenting has to be a conscious effort. Unless we allow young boys to feel, express, vent and communicate their emotions, they will eventually be numbed down forever.

2: Indian men are brought up to be “providers”

Since ages, it had been earmarked for the men to be ‘providers’ and the women ‘nurturers’. Men need to provide for food, finances, security and protection. Previously, this ask had them dealing with a series of factors like hostile environments, external threats, physical barriers and opponents. Emotions and sentiments needed to be locked up deep inside when they were dealing with such elements and factors.

“Indian men are emotionally unavailable because traditionally they are raised to be providers and not companions for their partners. Their ability to succeed in life and in their relationships has had nothing to do with their ability to tap into their emotional side. However, that is changing now that women and men don't have such sharply defined roles. Being a provider is neither enough nor even expected in many cases,” says Shagorika Heryani, a marketing consultant.

Now men feel confused about breaking through these lines because they are very muddled and blurry about their roles in current times.

In our country, “being settled” signifies getting married. A successful and economically independent woman is still not considered settled if she is single. In her quest to find a husband, the key criteria she focuses on is that man is economically more well off than her.  Men are pushed to become “money jackpots”, but never work on their own emotional well-being.

3: Poor coping Mechanisms

“Honestly, men are emotionally available, but, under heaps of trust issues and fear of being eventually being walked over. Paraphrasing a one hit wonder, it is better to cop it with a lonely heart, rather than a broken one," says Nikhil Pandey, senior creative director at a leading advertising firm.

This is a tried and tested laceration technique for men. Emotional distance helps them avoid being hurt easily; it protects them from experiencing trauma, loss and heartbreaks. They believe life is much more in control and easier for them. It lessens one’s need for expectations from others, diminishes chances of being disappointed by others and getting broken easily.

4: Bad boys are wanted.  

Look at our celebrity poster-boys; they all work hard to build that bad boy image. The “bad boy” is averagely more famous with the girls and also the preferred option. Lot of times, women feel a great kick in supposedly taming such a man.

“Indian men, in general, have a very strong ego. Many-a-times, it is founded on ill-conceived family values, masculine peer challenges and male-dominated, female-demeaning general conversation vocabulary. All of these are reinforced on a daily basis, thus adding impetus to men to have a supposed high hand on the opposite gender. It gets worse when in our mainstream media communication, acts and statements on male superiority are not just made, but also condoned by the general population as it comes from thought and opinion leaders in our country. Our society that thrives on grey values, hypocritical gender rights and immature mass media representations is an escape route that allows men to forsake responsibility and blame it on the television, internet and their own kith and kin,”adds Sikder.

5: Emotions are crutches.

“A guy who shows emotions, affection or vulnerability is friendzoned to either being a sissy or gay. They are not considered by women as boyfriends or husbands material.” says Aiyer.

“Much like Harry Harlow’s monkeys, humans too need affection and warmth. Somehow we've convinced ourselves that this is only for clingy monkeys and the female of our species. I have felt this throughout, when I cried in front of my first girlfriend, because I felt emotionally secure to do so. All she could say was I was being a sissy. That I should be a man and do what needs to be done. Bear the brunt, square my shoulders, look down and walk straight. No questions asked. Rage/anger and violence is justified, because I am a man, tears are not. It's with these values that you go out into the world.”

“From childhood to adult life, with all the complication, the hormones and patriarchy tell us it’s better to be the stoic and quiet tragic hero. Your emotions take a back seat. Every discussion is an argument; you reach into your pockets and pull out all the old cards; indignant wrathful anger. Logic is out the window because you see everything is black and white and there is no accountability on your part. So you see, we're not emotionally unavailable, we just think of emotions as a crutch,” adds Singh. 

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Piyali Dasgupta
A writer and an educator with expertise in experiential learning,capacity building, counselling & content development. A feminist, wit addict and time/life traveler. She loves trees, water bodies, vintage,cooking and arts

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