“I can’t afford that …”
“I was thinking of going to Thailand this winter, so …”
“I promise I’ll get clear on my commitment after …”
“We’re just slammed at home right now …”
“Sorry I’m late …”
Excuses are like puppies. Totally attention getting, and not very powerful.
When a man gives an excuse, he’s trying to enroll others in a story that he’s not powerful. He’s also asking others to treat his lack of power as powerful in itself. He’s asking others to let him off the hook. Like mistaking a puppy for a wolf, the proposition is ridiculous.
One powerful way you can support a man you love is to test the excuses he gives. Not by arguing with him, or reasoning with him on the level of excuse. In fact, by doing the opposite.
Like a massage therapist works a knot of muscle in the lower back, serve his healing, not his comfort: press firmly, track the response, breathe, repeat. Increase or decrease pressure as needed. Ask for feedback, and consider the source.
It’s not your job to make your man’s experience “good” or “bad.” That’s his job. Your job – as anyone loving a male-identified soul – is to serve his embodied arrival to greater depths of commitment and gravity. To test him, help him get deeper.
When a man offers an excuse (something along the lines of “I would if I could but I can’t because…”), let the head cock slightly to the side like a confused puppy.
A man in excuse-ville – said differently, in unhealthy relationship to control – is exiled and alien to the narrative-shattering homecoming he desperately longs to experience. His birthright – to embody his rock-bottom truth – is covered over by his temporary commitment to fear and bullshit.
Man’s excuses are not meant to be reasoned with. They are meant not, for they have not meaning. The meaning locates itself in the willingness of his brothers and lovers to press his story with a refusal to cooperate. Buried within his resistance is his awakening, and dealing with him on the level and in the language of his excuses only enrolls him – and you – in the very bullshit his soul longs to transcend.
Don’t take the bait.
When identifying with structured, penetrating leadership-consciousness (traditionally referred to as masculine in western culture, although by no means yoked to gender identity, expression or assignment at birth), this means calling him in. Testing him. Sharpening him. Challenging him to embody his deeper truth.
When identifying with fluid, following embodiment-consciousness (traditionally termed feminine), this means leading with feeling. Asking him for the leadership and clarity you’re wanting to feel. Let him feel the impact, the emotional truth of how it feels to be with an excuse-generating partner. Throw a (moderate) fit. Let him clean it up.
Then, when he gets it and owns it, reward the shit out of him with some good old fashioned puppy love: lots and lots of kisses.