The #MeToo Movement has caused some good men to shrink away from asking women out

The #MeToo Movement has changed the ways in which women and feminism are viewed, but it has also affected men and their dating life, much differently.

I’m well aware that victims of abuse of any kind should have a voice. I happen to have been abused and for way too long and felt like I didn’t have a choice to speak up against the perpetrators.

The shame that forces a victim into silence is hard to break, so I applaud everyone who has spoken out and claimed, “Me too!”

“Good guys” are shrinking back and becoming more afraid of pursuing women

I don’t want to deter the movement, but I’ve seen some interesting consequences of it that were unforeseen. The “good guys” are shrinking back and becoming more afraid of pursuing women.

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Obviously, I’m well aware of the gender stereotypes I’m writing about. I know that men have been abused as well and are even less likely to speak out about it, so I don’t want to overlook that. I am also aware that the LGBT community are impacted as well and I’m focusing solely on heterosexual relationships.

I realise that I’m only taking a snippet of the population, albeit a portion that represents a significant number of people, and analysing the ways in which their actions have been impacted by the Me Too movement.

Men – truly good men – who you would want to date and be in long-term relationships with have been changing the way they approach women in the last couple of years. Why?

There are many reasons, and this may oversimplify them, but many men have told me they are now afraid of the potential repercussions that approaching a female may bring.

To explain myself, I’ll focus on what separates other males species from a good man.

What separates other males species from a good man?

There are men who absolutely don’t care how their actions impact women. We’ve seen it before. The arrogant man filled to the brim with male privilege and misogyny who strolls up to you and expects you to desire him simply because he fancies you.

I mean here, the entitlement of men who feel that they are owed favours simply because they treated you to dinner or expect entertainment of their own as a return.

There are also the manipulators who willingly buy a woman drinks until she’s beyond rational thinking so they can lure her into bed under the guise of him also being “drunk”, even though he’s completely aware of his actions and significantly less inebriated than she is.

Men – truly good men – that you would want to date and be in long-term relationships with are changing the way they approach women in the last couple of years. Why?

These are men who circumvent respect for the women they pursue. They’re much more like predators than “good guys”.

On the other hand, there are the “good guys”. These are men who not only respect women but might even be feminists in their own right. They not only believe that women are to be treated well, but their actions endorse their feminist ideology.

Although they may have previously been more confident in their approach towards women, nowadays they find themselves more timid. What has changed?

Many things – the hook-up culture or expectation to use technology to meet people may be more intimidating.

But, I’ve talked to several males who express concerns about the #MeToo Movement changing the way they approach dating.

Some men think that they have to be extra careful about pursuing a woman and go so far as to say that they will no longer pursue a woman they’re interested in because they fear being thought of as too aggressive.

They don’t want to make the first move physically because what if the woman doesn’t actually want to be touched? Could the woman then press charges against him or rail against him on social media and make him out to be a creep?

Even if they do make a move on a woman and she decides to have sex with him, there’s still the possibility of her coming back at him saying it was not a mutual decision. In his mind it was, but now he’s being made out to be a rapist.

These are among the many fears they now carry.

These good guys even question themselves in previous relationships…

They look back and ask themselves if they’ve ever coerced a woman sexually. Perhaps, they wonder if a date seemed undecided whether to have intercourse and in a passionate plea he was able to convince her to abandon her ambivalence for the sake of pleasure.

Years later, he’s wondering if that is considered date rape. Could he be brought up as a name of a perpetrator? Would she be another girl saying, “Me Too”?

It’s good to have a conscience, so I’m glad that these men may be doing some soul-searching.

Don’t get me wrong. As a therapist, I love when people do the introspective work to figure out their actions, desires and the way they impact others. But, in a way, I feel bad for them.

What is already a hard and vulnerable thing to do – approaching someone you’re interested in and ask them out – has become even more challenging these days. How exactly does one surmount these obstacles?

In many ways, the answer to that is still unknown. The movement has likely not peaked – in many ways I hope it hasn’t, as I know there are still countless voices that have been unheard.

Sexual assault, rape, battery, molestation – all these are abuses of power and compelsintimidation. These good guys and their newfound fears are also victims of these offenders.

So, men, join your fellow survivors and turn into thrivers. Don’t let the abuse of power squelch you.

Be bold. Be brave. Find your voice and say, “Me too!”

Amy Sargent is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist for over 10 years.

This article was first published on YourTango.