Twice in my life, I have made a lot of money only to adventure it all away.
At 26, I had built up substantial savings as a young US Air Force Officer. I had a sweet pad by the Atlantic Ocean, a Sebring convertible and the means to properly entertain my Canadian girlfriend whenever and however I wanted.
But as I slipped deeper into a secret depression, I left the military desperate to save my own life. Like that movie Legends of The Fall, I broke my girlfriend’s heart and spent the next three years traveling the world, chasing dark shadows and seductive sirens, throwing myself into awful situations over and over until I was kicked out of France at age 29 by a future ex-wife.
During that brief misadventure, I gave my French wife money, took her on trips, paid the rent and bought her jewelry and cigarettes. Still, she booted me out less than a year after we started, fed up with the man she married. When I landed hard back in the USA, all I had left was a freshly broken heart, a few stories you wouldn’t believe, a few bucks in my bank account and no obvious future.
I went to heal in Miami at my dad’s place. I spent the next few years helping him grow a $50 million business from zero, accumulating another small fortune for myself.
With newly deep pockets, I moved in with a beautiful woman from South America. I was able to offer her most anything money could buy. We had a nice home, a cat, money to travel and play with. We had all the makings of a good life.
Unfortunately, my bank account refused to fund our happiness. If anything, it just poured miracle grow on our dysfunction.
At 34, I walked away from that company and its big paychecks. I left that passionate Latin woman, too, to tour and manage an independent music band. I had money and time, so I worked purely for the love of an otherworldly music that had infected me.
A few years and countless adventures later, I was 38, living in Los Angeles, and near broke. The band had split up and I had once again spent all my scratch. I was couch surfing through friends’ homes, hustling for work with Los Angeles’ vast world of artists and dreamers for often little or no money.
I was single and starting over for the third time.
A few years later, I was a published author, a well-read blogger and an impassioned life & relationship coach to men and women, still working to create a new fortune to provide for myself and a good woman.
I still didn’t have that fortune. Or that woman.
But I did have an invaluable lesson carved from the failures of my relationships passed:
A modern woman doesn’t need me for my money or my resources. What she needs is my full, embodied masculine presence. She needs to know I’m actually here, that I see and feel her deeply, and that I’m not going anywhere.
Women don’t need men like they used to.
We’re living through a pivotal moment in history when women are achieving social and economic equality with men. They no longer need us for access to resources – security, money, sustenance, social influence, etc.
Which is great! For humanity to thrive, women must have equal influence and access throughout society.
Still, it’s a disorienting time for many of us, particularly in intimate relationships.
There remains an inordinate amount of social pressure on men to be capable of providing tangible resources in exchange for a woman’s company. The ability to make things happen in the world is easily measured by dollars and cars and houses and things, which in turn remains presumed evidence of a man’s masculine prowess and vitality.
But none of that is a measure of his heart.
Most any modern woman – even one who energizes a lot of masculine energy in her life – yearns to know her partner cherishes her and will always show up for her. She wants to know he won’t check out and leave, which many men do even when we stay in the room.
Can he remain present when the relationship is strained? When she acts irrational and difficult, unknowingly presenting herself as an apparent problem he cannot solve, can he love her fully, anyway? This is the true measure of a man’s heart.
A woman with a strong internal feminine essence aches to relax into her masculine partner’s strength and care. She wants to know she can trust him, that he genuinely cherishes her and will step up and do what must be done to ensure the safety of her world.
That’s why access to resources has long been a measure of a man’s worthiness, and why it’s an outdated measure.
I see this over and over in my coaching practice for both men and women.
When a man is able to show up and be fully present with her – heart, mind and body – she knows she can relax and she will follow that man most anywhere, even if she has to ride the bus with him to get there. If he can’t show up for her (or doesn’t know how), even with all the money in the world she’ll ache for a man who can. She’ll either try to pull it out of the man she’s with, or she’ll switch off her heart (and body) – and she’ll look for that masculine presence elsewhere, in her kids, at work, in her own being.
That’s what I was doing when I was young, moneyed, and ignorant. I thought my partners would be happy there was money and entertainment. I got confused and resentful when they weren’t satisfied with the world I thought they wanted. I didn’t get that what they really wanted was to feel the full commitment of my love far more than mere access to my wallet and a nice home.
Sure, a nice home and money to pay the bills is important in the modern world, but so many of us men still focus primarily on pursuing material resources to make ourselves worthy of a woman’s love. In doing so, we overlook her deeper yearning. Even many women aren’t aware of this yearning in their hearts.
A few years ago, I pursued a woman when my resources were stressed. I knew I couldn’t then provide things for her that other men could. She was a woman of means, anyway; she didn’t need mine. I decided instead that I could give her the gift of my incessantly curious mind, my laughter and playfulness, my relentless optimism, my kindness and my listening.
I knew I could show her that she is completely safe in my presence, and that I was a man who could fully cherish her heart. By the endlessly beaming smile on her face in my presence, I knew I was onto something.
I can offer all that to any woman, anytime, no matter my cash flow. My painful past has proven that loving presence is far more valuable, anyway.
Any man can offer his loving presence to his partner. His money might affect where he lives or vacations, but it can never define his worth as a Man. It also can’t buy him harmony in an intimate relationship.
I will create another fortune, though I can’t know how long it will take.
In the meantime, I just keep fully showing up for the woman I’m choosing, and who is also choosing me. Sometimes in life, fully showing up is all I can offer.
Fortunately, it’s what most modern women these days are deeply aching for.