On Love & Male Fragility — In the Words of My Love

Love isn’t easy when you don’t know how to express it.

Photo by Arisa Chattasa on Unsplash

Recently, my lover asked if he could write something for me to publish. He reads most of my work and never fails to point out those small pesky errors I make. My writing gives us something to chat about beyond our physical and emotional relationship, and I welcome that. Amongst all the other things, we have a friendship.

He didn’t tell me what it was until he sent it over, and I helped him edit it, but the words are his –

On Love & Male Fragility

When I first met Teresa online, I wasn’t sure what to make of her. She was funny, and I was immediately attracted to her body and told her so. I’m sure she didn’t believe me, but I convinced her to turn off the filters and other tricks she used to hide herself.

I wanted to see the real her. It took a great deal of courage for her to do that, and knowing her as I do now, it was a big step, but god, she’s so hot. I still can’t believe how lucky I am.

She was one of the first women I started chatting with on Ashley Madison and the only one I’ve slept with. I was hungry for sex, and if I’d had the chance, I would have slept with a dozen women, but she was the first, and I’ve always been a bird-in-hand guy, so I stuck with her.

I’ve learned a lot about myself since I’ve met Teresa. I had no expectations going into this other than finding someone to have sex with. I couldn’t see beyond that, but as we chatted, I realized my life was missing more than sex.

I also learned I wasn’t the ‘cool boyfriend’ I wanted to be but was possessive, jealous, and easily hurt. She taught me I wasn’t the man I thought I was, and that helped me grow.

When people use the term ‘male fragility,’ most men scoff, believing they made the concept up to serve a feminist agenda. The reality is that reaction is at the heart of male fragility — which is the inability to acknowledge or express difficult emotions without resorting to anger or another base emotion. That inability and ensuring it passes to our sons is described as ‘toxic masculinity,’ a concept most also men reject.

Like Teresa, I’d gone almost a decade without sex, and like her, it was because of an illness. Over that decade, the husband and wife’s natural affection was replaced by the love between the carer and the sick, or brother and sister. We are roommates now more than anything.

Knowing Teresa was in the same boat, I never thought about asking her to be exclusive. As I said, I would have slept with every woman who’d have me, given the opportunity. I knew she was seeing other men, and because we saw each other so infrequently, I encouraged her to. Things at home were rough for her, and she deserved the distraction.

Initially, they didn’t bother me. I’d wanted to do the same thing, I really didn’t have any investment in her, and I was grateful that she was sharing her body with me. We’d talk about them afterward, and I would get aroused as I asked her questions about what they did. That surprised me.

I also thought if she saw other men, she wouldn’t grow too attached, interfere with my life, or get the wrong impression of our relationship.

After a few months of meets and chatting with her, things changed for me, but I didn’t notice until it smacked me in the face. Over the Christmas holidays, my wife and I were just about to leave for a movie when Teresa texted to say she was going out that night.

Normally, I’d know a few days in advance, so this one caught me off guard. She texted when she arrived at the hotel, which was expected, and then nothing, which was also normal. But it wasn’t normal for me. I sat in the theatre bristling, knowing she was with someone.

At the end of the night, she texted again to say she was on her way home, which was also normal. I suppose I was a little cool with her, which she picked up on right away, and we had a bit of a tense exchange the next day as well.

I was jealous but couldn’t say so — male fragility.

He was the young guy with the big cock he called ‘the beast,’ that she wrote about. My jealousy surprised me because she’d been with three or four others at that point, so I wondered where it was coming from. It took little to figure out I was falling for her. Falling for her and worried she’d like the young guy with the big cock who’d made her orgasm more.

I’ve never made her orgasm, so I felt vulnerable but didn’t know how to say it.

Male fragility describes a circumstance where there’s no acceptable outlet for emotion. You either feel it, or you don’t, and if you feel it too much, you break rather than bend. It’s not that males cannot withstand emotional situations because they have a great capacity for that. It describes what happens when they can’t resist or adapt to the circumstances they face.

If compared to a light switch, you can think of male fragility as “on/off” rather than “dimmer.”

All I knew was I was falling for her. I didn’t want to end it no matter what. It hurt, but I wasn’t broken, and once I figured that out, I knew I’d be ok. We chatted about what they’d done; she gave me the gory details; I found a Pornhub video that approximated the situation, and I masturbated to it for a few weeks.

As pathetic as it sounds, it worked. I made peace with my feelings on my own, and the pain I’d felt melted away. If I’d been more explicit about how I felt, this next thing wouldn’t have happened the way it did.

A few months later, the situation repeated itself: a text earlier in the day and a date that night. This time with two men. She said it had just come up and asked what I thought.

I said go for it. I had no reason to think it would bother me, and when I said that, I thought I’d had the complete story. I also felt it wasn’t my place to say either yes or no, but here again, I was underestimating my feelings for her.

Later that day, it occurred to me she’d been working out the details of this date for several days. If you’ve ever cheated, you’ll know how hard it is to coordinate meeting one person, let alone two.

So I wondered why she didn’t tell me about it early but lied to say it had just come up.

She’d met the one guy the week before, and they’d done a little BDSM, with her in the submissive role — something she wanted to try. He tied her up and lashed a magic wand to her pussy, promising an orgasm in 20 minutes. She went forty and still hadn’t come.

She had him take pictures and a short video that turned me on, and I was happy for her.

The threesome came the next Friday and was going to fulfill a fantasy of hers. I knew that and was happy for her.

A few things stood out for me as I mulled this one over. She was seeing the guy again in a week; he was ticking another box for her, she hid it from me for a few days, and she’d be seeing me a few days afterward.

As with the young guy, I was feeling vulnerable. Was this guy winning her over? Was I losing her? Why didn’t she tell me? Why did she lie about it? Why was I feeling so jealous?

I loved her and felt betrayed by her lie. Of course, I’d never told her how I’d felt with the young guy, and I hadn’t told her how I felt. And now, here I was, making her responsible for my emotions, for a situation I’d created because I didn’t know how to tell her how I felt.

I thought this guy was going to take her from me and I couldn’t stand it.

Assuming anyone should know how I felt without telling them and then holding them accountable for it is another sign of male fragility.

It took me a while to get over this one. Probably out of respect for me, she hasn’t written about it either. In one article, she listed the men she’d been with and left the threesome off for me. For me and my male fragility.

We had make-up sex a few days later, and that’s when and why she lost her anal virginity. I never said so until later, but it was my way of marking her, marking my territory. Of laying claim to her. Of satisfying my need to restore my male fragility to its rightful place.

It’s absurd when I think about it now, if not a little embarrassing. I could have achieved this and more if I’d just acknowledge how I felt about her and told her so. Had I done that, we could have had a more honest discussion about the threesome.

What it did do was make me see I needed her in my life, I loved her, and didn’t want to lose her.

It was never about the sex. If you’ve read her work, you’ll know we’ve been in enough group situations to know I don’t mind sharing her.

I bought her a magic wand for her birthday a couple of months later so she wouldn’t need to use his again. I wanted to be the one to make her happy but still couldn’t tell her how I felt.

By the end of that summer, I was finally able to tell her how I felt and things have been much better since. I’m glad she was patient with me because I know I don’t deserve it. We talk about our feelings now, and it’s better for both of us. Neither of us has lives anyone would voluntarily sign up for, which is perhaps where our bond truly lies.

I still think of her with those two men from time to time, and I’m thankful for it because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have been able to begin to understand how my male fragility was holding me back from telling my beautiful girl how much I need and love her.

Well then, where’s that Kleenex? Thank you, sweetheart. I need and love you too.

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© Teresa J. Conway, 2020

By Teresa J Conway on .

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Exported from Medium on April 8, 2021.

Author of How to Cheat: Field Notes from an Adulteress, several short stories, I'm active on Medium @teresajconway where I sometimes share my blog posts.

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