A Blueprint For Mastering the Masculine Feminine in Romantic Relationships

“The Masculine in Relationship” Author GS Youngblood Dishes Relationship Wisdom

A fresh look at what it means to be Masculine or Feminine in Relationship

As a relationship coach, I’m always reading the latest books on relationships, mindfulness, life design and anything that will resource me to create the best container for my clients. When I decided to buy “The Masculine in Relationship”, written by GS Youngblood, my main goal was to seek to understand the masculine role better. What I didn’t expect was that it would shed so much light on how to be more feminine in relationship and lend insights into the polarity dynamic that exists in all relationships — a concept also largely popularized in the “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus” and “Beyond Mars and Venus” books written by John Gray. 

I loved this book so much, and dog-eared pages dozens of pages; that’s how much gold is in this book. And I was so excited to sit down with GS Youngblood to discuss the book and some of the juicy insights he shares in it. 

We discuss: 

  • Polarity in relationships
  • The Three Elements of Masculine in Relationship — Structure, Respond vs React and Create Safety
  • How men (or the more masculine partner) can communicate with their women (or more feminine partner)
Jocelyn: Tell me a little bit about how the book came to be and what you wanted to achieve.

GS: Sure. Well, let me first just say it’s great to be on here with you Jocelyn. I was excited for this conversation and I’m glad to share this topic with you this morning. 

"So I started on this journey in a ball of flames which was a divorce —  that happened about 10 years ago. And I was married to a very strong woman at the time."

And, you know, it’s enticing, she was like smart and accomplished and confident, and it was all those things that drew me to her, yet I didn’t necessarily know how to be with that strength, and how to really compliment the strength that she had with my own groundedness and power. 

I was lost in that regard, and so by the end of that relationship, I had really retreated back and let go of my preferences and boundaries, and really just tried to keep the peace, which of course made her increasingly enraged. [W]hat I thought would make things better, would actually make things worse. And so coming out of that situation, I knew there had to be a better way. 

And so after about 12 years of men’s work…[and] one long-term relationship with a woman who was also very strong and feminine, [I used] that relationship to practice what works and what opens my feminine partner, [and] what doesn’t. At some point about five years ago, I started taking notes on things that I was learning and as that volume of notes grew, I knew I could put it into a book and that is really what turned into what you see today. [I]t’s definitely been a labor of love, and everything in that book is very personal to me. It’s something that I’ve actually lived through personally, so the topic matter is, like I said, very personal to me.

Jocelyn: What strikes me is that it seems that there’s been a little bit of dissent from the idea that polarity is essential, that it exists, that there is a masculine or a feminine; we’re all just equal; I don’t disagree with any of that, but I do think setting a framework around how you’re viewing masculine energy in relation to feminine and the polarity dynamic that exists [is important]. Talk a little bit about that.

GS: So I think where we can start is — “what is this polarity dynamic? Why the hell are we even talking about this? We’re all the same.” Imagine at work. We’re all the same because we’re all humans, but at some point you need somebody to just stand up, and be like, “hey, this is where we’re headed.” And it’s a relief to the people in the company to have somebody stand up and say, “Okay, this is the direction.” Now you have a similar dynamic in relationship. 

"You can have two people, both who are very capable, both who can work full-time, get things done, be self-sufficient in a lot of ways with each other, but it’s in those times of intimacy, if you’re kind of the same, it’s actually not that juicy." 

Whereas if you have what’s called polarity, where you have kind of more of a directive energy and more of a receptive energy in those times of intimacy, that’s what can be actually really juicy. That’s the part of the case to be made for having a polarity. 

The Masculine is no longer representative of a “compulsion” for domination and control. “If you over-index on providing structure, you are an alpha male misogynist; you’re just alpha bro.” — GS Youngblood

Jocelyn: [It also] becomes so important for the feminine. You’re obviously taking it from the perspective of, “Hey guys, you can step into your masculine leadership.” — the way you position it so beautifully in the book that I love, is about the ‘masculine core’. 

I have so many women who message me when I talk about the over-expressed masculinity in a woman, and they say, “This is me. And how do I get out of my masculine? Because it’s become so second nature.”

It’s about you equally receiving and being able to surrender, and looking at the areas where you’re expressed as you’re hyper-masculine. And that is why I really enjoyed reading your book because as you were talking about the three elements of the blueprint I had those “Aha, yes!” moments realizing that my responsibility on the other side of [the three elements] is to be in the allowing.

Women can also be “Toxic Masculine”.

GS: Yes. It’s a choice to surrender on the feminine’s part. It’s not unlike the old days where it was compulsion. Now it’s really a choice. That’s what I say to men — you’re putting out an invitation now. It’s not “Okay, now I’m in charge, I’m the man.” It’s “Here’s my invitation for my leadership, and you can choose whether to pick it up or not.” And as you pointed out, the blueprint is that template for a man because this “being in your masculine” can baffle a lot of guys. The Blueprint was really intended to give them something actionable that they can follow like a real framework they can implement in their life.

Jocelyn: What’s the distinction between the previously understood definition of masculine, and how you’re reframing that in this book and with your work?

GS: The masculine-feminine dynamic was compulsion before. And it worked in a lot of ways. I know it’s controversial to say that but in a lot of ways it worked because you had a lead, and you had a follow just like at work where you’ve got different levels of the corporation —  you know who’s leading and you know who’s following. Now it’s a choice. 

"It’s an invitation, it’s not compulsion. And that puts the pressure on the men, because they’re no longer anointed in some kind of role of leadership. They actually have to earn it, and they earn it through the blueprint." 

You have to learn to be more grounded, to be more choiceful, and that’s what the first element of the blueprint is about. You have to learn to offer structure in the relationship, whether it’s decisiveness, or clarity or structures for how you’ll do things, but offer them in an inclusive way. And you have to create emotional safety for your woman. 

Jocelyn: One of the core elements that you talk about is to respond versus react. I think every woman (or the more feminine partner) out there can identify when she had a frustration, and her [partner] immediately comes back to her with “Well but, Well but, Well but, I did this or that.” And I love this one —  pulling out the cell phone and saying, “Well, let’s go back and see actually, what time did I send that?” to compare notes of “You’re saying I sent it at noon, but let’s go look at exactly what I said here.” And this is just really not effective in understanding the female perspective when she’s flared up in and hypervigilant on her emotional state. So, what do you say to guys about responding versus reacting in that kind of scenario?

GS: Well, I’m gonna bounce right off the scenario you just said. You know, I have a very short phrase in the book, “Feelings first, facts later.” We always wanna go to facts and we’re whipping out the cell phone, as you said, and say what time did I send that text? And I had the laugh because I’ve actually been in that situation. So just laughing at the absurdity of the truth in that.

And look, it’s our nature, so let’s be gentle on ourselves men, but you gotta stop doing what doesn’t work. You’ve got to go to that feeling level first. So, when your woman is emotional you have to meet her in that emotional space before bringing up any facts or defending or explaining. Once you do that, once you meet her in that emotional place, she’s way, way more open to the facts and having sort of more of a rational discussion about it. But you’ve got to have the emotional discussion first. 

So whether you’re taking responsibility or not, you’re going first to acknowledge her feelings. And that’s generally how I advise men to proceed even though that’s way easier said than done.

Jocelyn: You and I talked about culpability in our pre-chat. When you’re showing up for your partner’s emotions, it’s not necessarily saying “Okay, I was wrong and I am bad for doing this.” It’s saying, “I can see how this affected you”, or “I can see that you’re hurting right now.” And perhaps her partner doesn’t fully understand how she got from A, to B to C, to D, to where now she’s flared up, but he can see that she’s frustrated. And even just that acknowledgement of the experience that she’s in, can bring her down to a place of feeling seen and heard.

GS: Yeah. Well that’s the catnip here for the feminine is being seen. You guys wanna be seen for what is actually happening in the moment. And men tend to go towards culpability a little too readily [to determine] whose fault [it is]. There’s another phrase in the book, “Hear the pain not the blame.” Either there’s overt blame or you’re projecting her blaming [onto yourself] — it can actually happen both ways. Push that aside, just hear that your [partner is] in pain —  that’s all you have to do. Even though you probably feel like she’s radioactive, you don’t want anything to do with her; you go over there and you pull her in. And, in 90% of the cases, that’s gonna have an amazing effect. 

Jocelyn: If you’re being attacked, it seems natural that the masculine who has been a fighter type of energy for a long time says “Okay, attack back or flee”. How would you coach a guy that you’re working with on this particular element of the blueprint when he literally is under siege?

GS: Yep, totally. It’s all about the nervous system. When the nervous system is jacked up, you’re always gonna fail. You’re gonna do something that is basically counterproductive. It’s all about settling the nervous system. And my experience, my direct experience, I’m not just talking theory like this is my life, the more I settle my nervous system through various means, everything just gets easier. Because my nervous system is more settled, I have more capacity for humor, I don’t project as much, and so everything just seems a little easier. So I think for me over the last 10 years, the world hasn’t changed; my nervous system’s settled down, and it just seems different. Everything seems much easier for me than it did, even just a few years ago, quite frankly. So that’s my answer to your question: …learn to settle your nervous system. I always recommend a daily embodiment practice. This is what I teach each and every one of my clients — we do 15 minutes of embodiment at the beginning of our sessions, and I encourage them to have a daily practice of meditation, breathing and movement. And so really it all comes down to that —  keeping yourself out of that state of threat, that fight or flight, everything will get easier for you, everything, in terms of this you know, moments of intensity.

Jocelyn: You also talk about creating safety in the relationship. Do you see safety and protection as the same thing? And how do you distinguish between the two, if not?

GS: There’s physical, financial and emotional safety. So let’s maybe touch on each of those things. Let’s do financial first, cause this is the trickiest one, right? Because so many women are just earning their own money. So it’s not like you’ve got to provide for the woman in a lot of cases these days. 

I think most women wanna feel like their man is creating something in the world, and that creation is creating also some financial security whether it’s just his half or not. So you know, I have a friend who’s a coach and a filmmaker and he’s not making a lot of money, and he’s following his dream, but he’s not making a lot of money. And he really, well, I shouldn’t say that, but he could make a choice to go back to web development, but he doesn’t, he wants to be a filmmaker, and his wife is constantly saying what’s your plan? What’s your plan? And I can feel the tension on the tearing of their polarity because of it, and I just think that’s an example of like, it’s great to follow your dreams, but I think ultimately a lot of the feminine wants to feel like you’re kind of producing in a certain way. So whether or not the man is actually providing for her, I think that this kind of dynamic needs to exist. She needs to feel like he’s actually succeeding in a certain way. 

Physical is [protecting] her in the streets against the guy that tries to mug you, but I think that’s a little too obvious. There’s way more subtle things to do. Like my last relationship, I actually got her fire extinguishers, I got her an air horn, I put mase in her car, you know, a bunch of those things where that would protect her. I would always make her text me when she got home after driving home late at night, so that the loop was closed. And those were all ways that I could physically protect her.

And then [there’s] emotional safety. Part of it is validating your woman, another big part is coming through on your word. 

"When you say you’re gonna do something, you gotta do it, because if you don’t, she doesn’t feel your tethering. You’re not a fulcrum anymore around which she can orbit in terms of her expectations and orientation towards you in the world. And so coming through on your word is another way to create emotional safety along with validating her feelings." 

So to me, and Jocelyn I’d love your reflection on this, safety creation is the number one thing you can do, to have your woman open to you — emotionally, physically, and in any other way.

Jocelyn: Well, I think following through on your commitments is just huge, especially from the beginning of any relationship. It provides very subtle signs of whether or not your partner can put their full trust and faith in you, if they know you’re gonna follow through on your word. 

"If you can’t trust someone’s word, how can you trust them in other categories? It’s really where the brain goes. Even if you could trust them in other categories, the brain is like, well, this is a very simple thing to do, say what you mean and mean what you say, and follow through. So I think that’s like one of the most strong trust building tactics that you can have, and that trust creates safety." 

Jocelyn: The only one we haven’t touched on from the blueprint if you wanna go there is structure and what it looks like to set structure for the relationship. And this one, I find particularly interesting when it comes to the distinction between what it’s like to lead in the relationship versus call the shots. And what it looks like to set a structure that provides a container and some guardrails, and some guidance, and is also still inclusive of the woman in the relationship. 

GS: Yeah, my experience is, and I’m gonna generalize here so just give me some latitude, but the feminine is wanting some penetrative directionality from their masculine partner, with inclusion of their own needs and preferences. And I’ll just sort of pause, and I’ll let that sink in. It’s like you want us to come with a point of view. Now in business school, I had a professor, he’s like, you got to have a view. You know, if you’re gonna exist in the business world, you’ve gotta have a view and then operate from that, and then, you know, change is necessary, and the feminine at the energetic level, the feminine wants the masculine to come in with some kind of direction and view, but then because we’re talking about modern strong women, they wanna be included as well, and so it’s kind of like, “I think that we should go to X tonight. How does that land for you? Or I wanna to dinner to either the Japanese place or the Greek place? Like how do either of those land for you?” So I’m coming, and I’m not saying, what do you want to do? I’m actually stopping to form an opinion, which most men don’t even do but then I’m including you. Like how does that land for you? And if you trust me enough, you know that you can either say A or B or you can, you can be like I don’t want to do either of those. And then I won’t go into like being hurt because you didn’t take my suggestions, I’ll say oh, how about the Thai place that we kept saying that we wanted to go to? So I’m again bringing the direction, but I’m including you. 

It’s like providing the riverbanks so [the feminine partner] can flow, and within that, [the feminine partner] can flow however [they] want and have a lot of discretion. We also use the tango example of the lead providing a strong structure, but he also leaves space for [his partner] to embellish, and to have to improvise on [their] own. And that’s the dance, literally and metaphorically, that I think feels good.

Jocelyn: So [it’s that you’re] checking in with your partner…to allow her to have her voice, and so in that way, you are also creating an environment of allowing her to have a voice, and not just steamrolling over her with your decisions and your opinions. Yet you’re still taking a stance, which I think is so important to do that delicately — 

"you are taking that stance, you are putting the opinions and the roots in the ground, but allowing for there to be some flexibility that brings her expression into the context."

GS: Yep. It’s the inclusion part. 

"The masculine doesn’t have to make the decisions, the masculine’s just gotta make sure that decisions get made, so he’s facilitating the process forward, so a decision gets made there’s clarity for everybody. Whether or not he makes that decision could be totally irrelevant." 

[For example, if] I’m in a relationship with somebody and I know a decision has got to get made, but I know it’s her decision, like maybe it’s a decision if is she gonna put her parents in an old folks home, or something like that, where it’s really more of her decision, but she’s been procrastinating. I see her procrastinating so I maybe I create some structures like, “We’re gonna sit down, and we’re gonna spend an hour and we’re gonna research your options, and by the end of that, you’re gonna make a decision on this, because you’ve gotta quit procrastinating on this. And I’m not even gonna talk to you until we sit down and do this.” So he’s provided structure but she’s still gotta make the decision. And so I think that’s an example of what the masculine can bring.

Jocelyn: And I actually remember reading that example in the book and thinking, “This is so genius because he’s also showing up for her in that moment, which again, just it’s like adding to the safety, and this leadership element of the blueprint that you’re talking about. They all, each one of these [elements]…each support each other. 

GS: Yep, totally. And I wanna just elaborate on one thing you said, so if you over index on respond versus react, you’re gonna to be kind of that stiff like military guy. You know this type —  they think they’re being masculine, but they’re kind of just like bunged up, and they don’t react to anything, cause they’re just so clenched and tight. And, if you over-index on provide structure, you are an alpha male misogynist; you’re just alpha bro.

Jocelyn: Yep. That’s the toxic masculine that everyone flares up about when they hear masculine alone, they think that you’re talking about that side of masculine.

GS: Yeah. And if you over-index on create safety, guess what? You’re a nice guy because you’re so safe for everybody, that there’s no edge and there’s no attraction. So you’re right. This is an integrated blueprint that you gotta really embody all three, and that’s what feels good.

Jocelyn: Well, I have thoroughly enjoyed this conversation our other conversation, I hope we’ll have many, many more conversations. Is there any one last piece of advice that you would, or maybe guidance, guidance maybe better, for guys who are with a strong woman and maybe feeling at the end of the road?

GS: Stop blaming her.

Jocelyn: So take responsibility.

GS: Yeah. Without taking taking blame. You’re saying, “I am the solution. I don’t care who’s the problem, I’m the solution.” And what that means is I’m gonna change my way of being, because if you’re at the end of your rope, like you said, you’ve gotta give this the best chance and make sure you’ve left it all on the field to use a sports analogy. And if you’ve kind of showed up and you’re not grounded, but you’re reactive, if you don’t really provide structure and if you don’t create safety, like of course you’re woman’s all crazy and acting, you know, acting up all the time. Like, what did you expect? So you bring it first by learning these principles. If it doesn’t work at that point, then what you know is you’ve got a woman who is maybe just really wounded because of her own past, and maybe it’s not the right relationship for you. Maybe she needs to take her own journey, but until you really bring it, you don’t know that. And you will be amazed, man, at how quickly she can change, in certain ways, when you start doing these three things. You’ll be like, I didn’t know, it could be this way, it’s crazy. 

Jocelyn: I love that. I mean it is hard to look in retrospect, but it’s so beautiful to see that like when you change, the world around you changes in response.

Jocelyn Johnson is the founder of Happy Partners Project and the creator of the Relationship Check-In (TM) Method, the acclaimed science and psych-backed process for strengthening relationships and empowering couples to create their best relationship. She coaches couples and individuals to integrate conscious relationships habits, heal relational wounds and accelerate change. She is certified in Cognitive Behavioral Coaching, Neuro-linguistic Programming and Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy.

This post is from Happy Partners Project which creates science and psych-backed products that support couples and individuals with building and sustaining healthy and blissful relationships.

Happy Partners Project is also the creator of the acclaimed “Relationship Check-In™ Method” — a science and psych-backed process for strengthening relationships.

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