*Guest post by Dan Mahle, orginially published on wholeheartedmasculine.org*
I grew up never telling anyone that I loved them. Not even my parents. The word “love” used to feel too feminine, too emotional, too vulnerable.
As a young man impacted by old masculine norms, there was no room for love in my vocabulary. Even with my best friend, the closest I got to expressing my love and appreciation for having him in my life was to say “I love you, man.”
Sure, I told him I loved him. But why did I feel compelled to include “man” at the end? It always felt distant and passive. Why couldn’t I just tell him that I loved him – straight up? What was I afraid of?