Women aren't the only ones that shed tears when a relationship end.
The first time I ever made a boy cry was when I was ten. It had nothing to do with love and everything to do with the fact that he thought it would be funny to try to snap my training bra and I retaliated by wacking him across the face with my necklace. Needless to say, we both ended up in the principal's office, but I learned a valuable lesson: The male species is born with tear ducts too, and while it's fairly uncommon to see them in action as much as ours, the result is just as unsettling.
This was a lesson that was somehow lost on me during my teen and early college years. I gave all my power to the guys I dated and ended up being the one shattered and bawling while they moved on to new girls and new conquests. But as the years passed the tides began to change.
My ex-boyfriend from college (who cheated on me repeatedly, mind you) cried when he found out I was moving to New York City. This was soon followed by similar instances with every guy I've dated since. Not every situation involved a break-up, but at some point I became the one doing the comforting (or looking for the nearest exit) instead of needing consolation myself.
We women tend to think our emotions are at the mercy of the people we give our hearts to, but the reality is our wounds heal and we move on (thanks to multiple cathartic sob sessions on the shoulders of our nearest and dearest). Meanwhile the men we know just push the pain down deep and try to ignore it, only to release it in a string of random texts, emails or teary drunken phone calls that come to us several months or years after they've ceased to have any power in our lives.
I've been there when guys have cried during a fight with me, after I've broken up with them or found out I had moved on. It's made me feel unsettled, sad, scared and (in some situations) strangely satisfied. Knowing the person you love or once loved cares that deeply means all your OWN spilled tears were actually worth it. And while it might be too late to dry his eyes and make it all better, it's enough to to bear witness to the fact that you're part of the mechanism that either caused it or helped him realize the things he could never say or act on before.
Seeing my exes cry took the mystique out of men for me and made me realize I wasn't experiencing some emotional disadvantage after all. In fact, I felt like I'd stumbled upon some great relationship mystery. EVERYBODY has the ability to feel and mourn -- end of story. It may not always be optimal timing or offer you the closure you crave when you need it, but HIS tears are still a testament to his feelings for you and what you shared (no matter if the break-up happened yesterday or ten years ago today).
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