Mother’s Day is pretty much the worst day of the year for those of us who didn’t get to be moms. But what about Father’s Day and the men in our lives? Do they feel the loss of fatherhood in the same way we feel it for motherhood?
Some of you have expressed frustration with partners who don’t want to talk about the loss and grief we women go through, or who seem to have accepted a life without children much quicker than we have. I know I saw a difference in the way Mr. Fab and I dealt with grief (or appeared to not deal with it at all) so I thought I’d do a little research on the topic of men and grief to see what I could learn.
Turns out that, when it comes to grief, men really are from Mars, as opposed to our home planet of Venus. They’ve often been taught to keep their emotions in check and brush grief under the rug in the hopes that it will just go away (which, of course, it doesn’t.) As a result, we tend to interpret their reluctance to grieve openly as a lack of feeling. But that doesn’t mean they don’t feel the loss just as keenly as we do.
Here’s what I learned about how men grieve:
- Men often prefer to grieve alone, rather than openly, in a support group setting, or even with a partner.
- Men are more likely to withdraw and to be introspective than to do “grief work.”
- Men are more likely to express grief physically with actions or activities.
- Men sometimes deal with grief by planning for the future rather than dealing with the present situation or looking back at the past.
- Men sometimes let grief out in the form of irritability or anger.
In other words, just because your partner isn’t hanging out with other men in online support groups, sharing stories, and lending an empathetic ear to other men, it doesn’t mean he isn’t grieving the loss of fatherhood in his own way.
I’d be interested to hear how your partner has dealt with his grief. And if you’re a grieving man reading this, we’d love to hear your point-of-view.