36 Years and Going Strong

This article is now a few months old (so hopefully no longer behind a paywall) but as the men’s group it describes has been going for an amazing 36 years, it’s hardly out of date.

The writer’s description of himself when he first came across the group will sound familiar to many men.

I had recently separated from my wife after eight years together and our marriage counselling had uncomfortably shown that my upbringing, although supportive, had given me no training in expressing my feelings, or even knowing what they were. We didn’t argue, as I avoided all confrontation, dreading the late-night remark – “We should talk.” But I didn’t know how to talk, and/or how to listen.

I had become acutely aware of how I was like some creature inside its protective shell, and that I needed to do something about it to avoid history repeating itself in future. A good (female) friend suggested I needed male company, but I was wary. I didn’t have close male friends to confide in, and most of my experience of male conversation had been in the pub and consisted of opinions about “stuff” – my work (which I enjoyed a lot), politics, sport, music, TV – often in competitive banter, each trying to better the previous story.

David Spiegelhalter

I’ve been meeting with the same group of men for 36 years – here’s what they’ve taught me

David Spiegelhalter (second left) with men’s group members (from left) Steve, Andy and Martin. Photograph: Fabio De Paola/The Guardian

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