How Men Benefit From Being In A Great Relationship

jennifer garner and ben affleck

When it comes to dating and men, people often overlook how males are affected by a great relationship. It's easy to point out the negatives that come from a bad one because those are often more noticeable. Plus, men have long been stereotyped as unwilling to commit, whereas women are the opposite comparatively. But men are just as able to benefit from a positive relationship as women are.

Take, for example, Ben Affleck. His career started off great, but veered into mockery territory during his Gigli days. Now, however, it's taken on a new and vibrant life. Many attribute the change to his marriage with actress Jennifer Garner, whom he affectionately referred to at the SAG Awards as "the most beautiful woman" there. His relationship with Garner is widely regarded as healthy and drama-free, making it the perfect setting for each of them to help the other come into their own.

So how do non-celebrity men benefit from good relationships? According to life purpose coach and licensed mental health counselor Teresa Maples, it takes support, time and appreciation, among other things, to build a solid foundation and be great together.

"A relationship is a place that is sacred and should be cherished rather than taken for granted. Both people need to be all in. Growth and deepening intimacy (non-sexual and sexual intimacy) need to be valued by both people ... Taking things slow gives a space for the couple to get to know each other emotionally. Men and some women think about the act of sex a lot, and it becomes a goal. What they don't know is that they are missing a huge part of a valuable part of the relationship, the emotional bond with each other."

When men are able to be themselves after truly getting to know someone, it can be incredibly freeing. Just as women are often pressured to behave certain ways in front of others, men are expected to act "like men," as though there's only one way to achieve that role.

I once dated a guy who never cried in front of anyone; he was funny in response to things that troubled him, and deflected any attempts at dealing with his issues. Eventually, though, after a great deal of time and trust was built, he was able to tell me his personal feelings and, sometime later, let his emotions out regarding something very difficult occurred in his life. It wasn't easy, but it was definitely worth it to be able to have that bond and know that he was more able to access and release his feelings because of it.

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Of course, it's also important to make sure you are able to grow together rather than simply relying on your partner for everything. "Both genders look to others to complete them," says Maples. "People get stuck in the inevitable anger cycles over unmet needs, and don't know how to get out of them. When both people are taking care of their own emotional baggage then they are free to be open, caring and authentic with each other."

When men are able to be more open and authentic, that also results in a greater confidence. This added self-esteem can, in turn, help them feel better about their ambitions. When a person feels supported, he's more willing to take risks and go after his goals — again, this can be seen in Ben Affleck's freshly re-blossoming career as an admired and honored director.

Building and maintaining a healthy, strong relationship is by no means easy, but it's absolutely wonderful when one is achieved. It's important to ensure that each party is getting not only what they need, but also willing to help the other in ways that will benefit them.

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