Flow fostering positive men and women relationships

TEAM members at Flow Jamaica were treated to a spirited discussion around several issues impacting relationships between men and women, as they joined the rest of the world in celebrating International Men's Day.

Flow hosted the virtual rap session with the tag line 'Fostering positive relationships between men and women'.

Flow's Vice President and General Manager, Stephen Price, noted the importance of having candid and helpful dialogue around interpersonal relationships. The session covered topics such as promoting healthy men and women relationships, promoting male emotional health, what women want from men and conversely, what men want from their women. Scores of male and female team members engaged in the virtual chat and shared their feedback.

Along with Price, Stephanie Graham, legal counsel, served as co-host. They were joined by Counselling Psychologist Craig McNally who led the discussion with a focus on men being good role models by improving gender relationships and displaying masculinity.

“It's important to be emotionally healthy,” McNally asserted. “That's where it starts. Mentally healthy men are capable of maintaining relationships and becoming role models.

McNally said men need to recognise that they, too, are emotional and should be allowed to express their feelings. Machismo, he noted, sometimes affects how one acts because men do not want to be viewed as weak, even in expressing the way they truly feel about their spouses.

“Don't feel disenfranchised to express your feelings,” he urged.

For encouragement, he shared a video clip with a male urging, “If you love her, you have to let her know, you have to pour out your feelings because otherwise, you're holding in too much, which might push her away. Don't act like you're too big to learn because they [women] can teach you a lot”.

“You can't have too much pride in a relationship with a woman who you love. You have to involve her in everything that you do,” McNally added.

He reaffirmed this position, stating, “You need to let go and let her know what you're feeling, you have to express your love language.”

The love language is guided by five principles — words of affirmation, physical touch, receiving gifts, quality time and acts of service — the latter involving the little things one does like washing the dishes, cooking, and cleaning around the house.

Some deterrents to men expressing their emotions, he said, occur because of societal norms and the way in which boys are raised in comparison to girls. He related a situation where children of the opposite sex are playing outside the home and they fall, then begin to cry. McNally noted that while the parent is likely to cuddle the girl and show affection in attending to her pain and anguish, the boy, in some situations, is left to get up and dust himself off, and if crying persists, he is likely to get a scolding or more.

Price also supported the point, noting that “as a society we have to be careful how we build up our men”.

Graham noted that women also have a role to play in allowing men to emote.

McNally agreed. “Men are private. Men compartmentalise. Let him know he has to deal with the problem because it's affecting the relationship.

“Give him affirmation. Let him know you're here and willing to talk. You're here for him. Or you can encourage him to talk to someone else with whom he is comfortable — a cousin, a family member or a friend,” he said.

In helping men to improve the way they express their feelings, McNally responded to a viewer's query regarding how to support a partner who is in a stressful situation and may not want to share, by saying that it also begins in the home, and parents set an example for their children by dealing with each other “in an emotionally healthy way”.

In this way, a child lives what he/she has learnt. McNally also recommended therapy sessions, emphasising that help should be sought from certified professionals. He cited that while some men are reluctant, it could prove quite helpful, especially as men have a higher suicide rate.

Other general areas of discussion included how to treat with financial discussions and balancing 'alone time' with the needs of your partner/family.

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