Self

The 5 Most Challenging Life Phases For Men — And How To Support Them Through Each

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Progressive thinking and acceptance of unconventional ideas are bringing positive change in society. Yet, we pretty much live in a patriarchal world. Somehow we are in a male-dominated society — where the man is the invisible victim of specific societal forces.

The world that is obsessed with alpha males may find this gross: "A victim? That too, a man? How's that possible?"

Rememeber that men are the stereotyped protectors, providers, and breadwinners ... and are trained from childhood to bottle up their emotions and be the "deal-maker".

The men in your life struggle too. Most of the time, leaving you unaware because of their society-driven reluctance to reveal emotions deemed to be weak.

Every man goes through several difficult phases in their life. Even your ideal man gets tired of putting on a front. All they need is your support, care, and shoulder to lean on.

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Here are a few tough phases of life for men, and how you can support them:

1. Getting his heart broken.

You trust someone blindly and they break your heart. All your future plans vanish in thin air. Now, you're left restless with feelings of sadness and anxiety. 

Contrary to popular belief, breakups get the best of a man. He is not the one to solely attach emotions, efforts, and future plans to a relationship, but also affixes his ego to the bond.

Now that the love of his life is no longer in his arms, it's not shattering just his heart but also his self-esteem into pieces. Things get really scary if he tries to find relief from substance abuse and drinking.

How to support a man dealing with heartbreak?

First, let him vent out as much as he can. Sharing his inner dialogue will help him calm down. Don't be judgmental or he will close off.

Encourage him to reinvent himself by doing self-care or productive activities. Reignite his interest in his hobbies. If possible, be a part of it. 

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2. Inability to achieve his dreams.

We all grow up with dreams in our eyes. Unfortunately, not all of them come true.

Nothing can explain the helplessness of a man who catches his colleagues throwing parties in expensive bars when he is struggling to afford a day's meal.

Missed opportunities and wasted potential carry a massive burden. It leaves men frustrated, isolated, and depressed.

How to support a man struggling with his career?

The best thing you can do is to be empathetic and allow him to vent out. Given his pent-up stress and anger, prepare to practice understanding and patience in the process.

Are you offering unsolicited advice about his career? Might feel like a slap on his face. Share your views only when he seems receptive.

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3. Parenthood.

Welcoming a baby is made all about the mom. After all, she carried and nurtures a new life in her womb for 9 months. But does this justify sidelining the dad?

All of a sudden, his responsibilities are doubled. He is constantly pressured by the urge to be a better role model for his children but he doesn't know how.

Parenthood is an emotional and confusing phase in a man's life. With hundreds of guides on "how to be a good mom" making rounds, you will rarely find the same resources for dads who are clueless about adjusting to the new change.

How to support a man's transition to parenthood?

Give the father opportunities to bond with his child - whether it is bottle feeding his newborn or teaching cycling to a toddler.

Shower him with words of encouragement like "You're such a good dad" to wash away his doubts. And if he messes up with things that are new to him, humbly show him how it's done instead of playing the blame game.

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4. Losing his parents/loved ones.

It's a dark time when someone loses their parents, siblings, or loved ones. For a man, he feels like he lost a precious piece of his cherished childhood.

It's strenuous for him to find an outlet for his grief. He is grieving but keeps going on with his life as if it's normal. The inability to come to terms with the loss can result in lifelong trauma. 

How to support a man grieving the loss of his loved ones?

Releasing his trapped emotions is an essential part of the grieving process. No matter how tempting it feels to cheer him up, allow him to cry.

Tell him that crying is not a sign of weakness and that it's okay to shed tears. Don't try to diminish or justify his loss. Offer to help him with chores and meals.

RELATED: 10 Easy Ways To Become A Better Version Of Yourself

5. Retirement.

A man who spent his entire life working and making a name for himself is asked to sit at home and relax. Society has trained him to be driven by purpose. How can he live a life without his job that worked as his fuel?

Men tie their identities around their jobs. When they retire, there arises a risk of purposelessness, boredom, and lack of self-identity. It's a demanding time for them and they need serious support.

How to help a man transition smoothly into his retirement?

The people who cope best with their retirement are social and active. Help him stay physically active by enrolling his name in a yoga, swimming, or gym class.

If he is your husband, don't let the spark fizzle out. Go on romantic dates with him. If he is your father/grandfather, make sure loneliness is not getting the better of him. Keep in touch and meet him at least once or twice a month. 

RELATED: 10 Essential Coping Secrets For When Life Feels Overwhelming

Sidhharrth S. Kumaar is the Founder of NumroVani and a registered pharmacist-turned-Astro-Numerologist.

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