When it comes to relationships and love, women are often times seen as the victims that become bitter when a relationship has gone sour and become hard to deal with when the next man comes along. However, in my experiences of dating and having casual conversations with various men about their relationship experiences, I have come to discover that women are not the only ones subject to the "bitterness" often associated with a broken heart.
More and more men have become vocal about their past situations and the hurt that was dealt from relationships breaking apart, and it has become apparent to me that there are more men bitter about these unfavorable moments than what we are often lead to believe.
I wrote a post a few months ago about how to deal with the broken woman, and I felt that is was time to write an article for women on how to deal with a man when he has been tossed into the "damaged goods" pile. Men hate to admit when they are hurt because it makes them seem weak or vulnerable, but if many had the chance to express how they feel without it being a strike against their character as "soft" or too "emo", and if they felt safe with trusting a woman with such sensitive information, they would jump on the chance to be open about their feelings. After all, whether you are a man or a woman, we all want to be accepted and taken serious when it comes to our emotions.
So you have this man who has so much going for himself: great job, charismatic personality, a smile to die for, yet, he has a hard time committing because of how he was treated in his last relationship. His guards are up, he has trust issues, and he becomes distant every time something like his past relationship begins to rear its ugly head. I have experienced and heard this exact scenario time and time again in my coaching sessions with men who fit into this profile, and when I speak to women who are currently dealing with these types of men, I give these few sets of advice:
Be patient and willing to work with him
Dealing with a bitter man can seem like an uphill battle when dealing with the callousness he puts forth when you try to open up the pandora box of his emotions, but patience is key. As much as he tries to resist you getting close, deep down he really does want you to understand him. Take the time to listen to him when he speaks because he will give you clues to what he is and isn't comfortable with, and when he is ready, he will open up to you about his past hurt. Even when you make progress in getting closer to his chained up heart, you may experience some backlash that can set you a few paces back in your progress, but continue to exercise consistent patience and understand that you are playing the role of a healer.
Create a space of safety
No one likes being vulnerable or feeling weak, especially men with inflated egos who have been wounded. In order to deal with the bitter man, you must create an atmosphere of safety that makes him feel secure in trusting you in his most vulnerable moments. Always keep what you two talk about between you and and make him feel comfortable around you by bringing out your nurturing side. If he feels safe, he won't feel the need to be so guarded when around you.
Trust is built by showing consistency and sincerity in your interactions with your partner. Show him you are serious about him by being there to lend a listening ear and support during his healing process and allow him to come to you when he is most comfortable. Never inconvenience yourself to make yourself available for this man, but just remember to be a reliable source of support that he can trust. Keep it consistent, keep it real.
Understand that there is a window of time for healing
You may have a good man that could be a great match for you after the healing has taken place, but never let it get to a point where it drains you of your energy and lingers on without the commitment you seek. If you are putting more work into helping him heal than he is willing to give into the healing process himself, your work can become counterproductive and emotionally/mentally draining for you. Know when to step a way from a situation with this type of man respectfully and love from a distance if too much time has lapsed without any progress being made towards him being comfortable within a relationship with you.
On a final note: Some women see this as building up a man for the next woman, but sometimes, you may act as a bridge for a man to help him get over the waters of hurt back to the solid shores of security to build a healthy relationship with another.