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Posted at: Jul 23, 2019, 9:39 AM; last updated: Jul 23, 2019, 9:39 AM (IST)

Emotions, no more!

While toxic masculinity is part of our social narrative, emotional gold-digging is only a recent coinage by women at the receiving end of unwanted emotional baggage of their partners

Mona

Men don’t cry! Yes they don’t, ‘in the public eye’. But ever since it started with a certain tweet, many women have opened up about being ‘exhausted’ tending to their men and the emotional baggage they carry. 

Emotional gold digger is the new term doing the rounds; referring to phenomenon women complaining of playing the unpaid therapists, overburdened with the emotional labour they got to pitch in for their friend-less partners. Erin Rodgers, a public speaking coach and writer, is credited with the coinage of the term whose tweet, ‘I want the term ‘gold digger’ to include dudes who look for a woman who will do tons of emotional labour for them,’ started the trend.

Too much burden

Anandita Ahuja, a language trainer, married to an entrepreneur, is currently on a break from her husband, staying with whom had become too much to handle. “His mother never wanted that he made friends; she wanted all his attention and thus drew a very negative picture about having friends. Whenever anything goes a little here and there at his work or with his parents, he releases it all at me.” 

Tired of dealing with a man who was more often than not, moody, over-sentimental and even aggressive, Anandita has had enough. “I have my friends and I hang-out with them, he gets angry. He wants me to be around all the time. When his expectations are not met, he gets violent,” shares rather sullen Anandita, still thinking whether to give her marriage another chance.  

Punching bag

Suruchi had been in the same boat, but luckily for her, her emotional digger was only a boyfriend. “Still the psychological damage I suffered adds up to missing my most happening four years at college.” Unable to handle the taunts and jibes at being more people-friendly than he could ever be, this management student decided to break-up with her boyfriend and opt for a semester abroad. “The distance helped me put things in perspective. Relationship does not mean one stops living one’s own life in order to be 24X7 emotional punching bag to your man.”

Kanika broke up with her fiancé the moment she realised that she’s paired up with an emotional gold digger. “Last August, getting engaged to a very ‘suitable’ boy chosen by my family, I had all the rosy dreams - dates, flowers, matching outfits and steps for our first dance as a couple.” Only the short courtship period left her emotionally battered. “This man could really talk, and always spoke of hurt.” Endless nights that Kanika spent trying to counsel him took a toll on her physical and mental health. “For once I wanted to sleep and not keep listening to him.’’

When enough is enough

The current coinage of an emotional gold digger labels a man who is a loner, needy, overwhelmed, teary, aggressive; who swings from one extreme to another - happy to sad, calm to aggressive and blames his girl for his failures, justifies his outbursts on her wrongdoing! While in the West, one can turn to health insurance for therapy, in India we need not only to pay, but also fight the prejudice. 

“Many men carry this mask of being all in control through the day, it’s only behind the shut door with their women partners that they let that image go,” shares psychiatrist Dr Sachin Kaushik. While the phrase ‘men are lonely’ is relatively less true in Indian context for traditional, strong family bonds, things are changing here fast too. “Nuclear families have rendered men more emotionally vulnerable.”

Women, on the other hand, make more significant relationships with other women in the family or family circle. “While sharing feelings and being there for each other is the most significant parameter of a couple as much as physical intimacy, at some point one has to stop when emotional blackmail starts to affect your outlook on life,” says Dr Kaushik. “Reach out to someone both trust - a family elder, a teacher or a common friend is the best. If still unresolved, reach out to a therapist.”

What is worse is that women are still bringing up their boys in the same mould. “About time parents sit with children and talk it out – sons or daughters - that being emotional is usual and there are ways and means to deal with issues.” 

mona@tribunemail.com

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