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I had to be his emotional guru because he was too afraid to admit he had any emotions at all,” recalls the 24-year-old English teacher, who was studying for her Ph D at the time.
Kelly’s boyfriend refused to talk to other men or a therapist about his feelings, so he’d often get into “funks,” picking pointless fights when something was bothering him.
It has gained more traction recently as women, feeling increasingly burdened by unpaid emotional labor, have wised up to the toll of toxic masculinity, which keeps men and incapable of leaning on each other.
And as modern relationships continue to put pressure on "the one" to be (where men cast their wives and girlfriends to play best friend, lover, career advisor, stylist, social secretary, emotional cheerleader, mom—to him, their future kids, or both—and eventually, on-call therapist minus the $200/hour fee), this form of emotional gold digging is not only detrimental to men, it's exhausting an entire generation of women.
The idea of an “emotional gold digger” was first touched on in 2016 by writer Erin Rodgers with that continues to be re-posted on social media—both by women who married self-described feminist men, and by those with more conservative husbands.
It’s for this reason that artist Lindsay Johnson jokingly calls herself everyone’s “Beck and Call Girl.” Not only does she take care of her husband and children, she just moved in with her mom to take care of her as well, because she knows her brothers won’t.
Both recently divorced, her brothers are already turning to her (but never to each other) to provide the support their wives used to.
But here I was, a struggling freelancer with no benefits, always finding a way to prioritize therapy and yoga.” He refused for two years, then finally agreed after multiple arguments, though it took prodding and reminding from her.