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November 27, 2022 3:52 am  #1

Lean in

This fic is my male version of Catharsis by repressedjudy, I hope they don't mind!!


"Guys don't cry," he whispered. "If that's the case, what have I been doing for the last 30 minutes?"

He blinks as another rush of tears cascade down his cheeks. He doesn't bother drying them or rubbing them away, like most guys do. In some ways, he's relishing in the tears. He likes the way they taste, the warm feeling they bring as they trickle down his cheeks, even the blurry, burning flood they create when they pool up in his blue eyes.

"I've never heard of a guy crying for 30 minutes, and enjoying it. I'm royally fucked up."

*60 minutes earlier*

He'd gotten so angry he nearly broke his knuckles after punching a metal pole. Not his finest moment. His girlfriend and he had the worst argument, and he felt they were breaking up. What were they arguing about? None other than crying. She told him she'd never seen him cry and that it was unhealthy. He told her not everybody cries at the drop of a hat like her whiny ass.

She left in anger, he punched the pole. After going through the conversation in his mind, he started to realize she was right. He was hurt, so why did he punch a pole instead of feel the pain? He couldn't remember the last time he cried. So he set off on a mission. "I need to cry ASAP," he told himself.

He tried scrolling through photos, nothing. Thinking of his old dog, nothing. He thought about his deceased mom, still nothing. The fact that he couldn't cry made him feel tearful, but still nothing came out.

That's when he started Googling movies that make men cry. Titanic? No. Shawshank Redemption? No. Marley and Me? Bingo.

He settled in on the couch and put on the movie. He grabbed a box of tissues and held them in his hands, trying to invite the tears to come. Halfway through the movie, and while his heart ached, he didn't cry. Even at the ending, tears swam in his eyes, but he couldn't seem to let go.

Taking a deep breath, he shut his eyes. The credits of the movie begin to roll and his thoughts turn to his girlfriend. His heart wrenched in a twist, and he felt tightness in his throat. An ache came into his chest, rattling around like a pinball ready to burst out. He grabbed a tissue and dried his eyes, despite the fact that there were no tears to dry.

He walked to his hallway mirror to stare himself in the eyes. He was surprised to see they were pink and shining. He took a deep breath, willing himself to relax. He started rubbing his own shoulders, in a way to comfort himself in a way no one had ever comforted him. That's the thought that broke the dam.

Tears sprung to his eyes, rapidly filling them up. He almost smiled, relishing in the emotional relief. He held a tissue under his eye waiting for the first tear to fall. Nothing. He thought of her, how he wished he had been in touch with his emotions earlier before he lost her.

Drip. A tear rushed down his cheek. His thoughts were flooded with memories of them together. Another tear slowly slid down his cheek. His breath hitched, and he felt a sob rise in his throat. He needed this to go faster. He shut his eyes, trying to squeeze tears out. 3 tear tracks forged their ways down both cheeks. He stood there, almost smiling to himself. The tickle of his tears felt somehow sweet, comforting.

The sob rattled harder in his chest, and he had no choice but to release it. The depth of his sob startled him, as he opened his eyes to find his eyes steadily leaking tears. He held the tissue to his nose, his lips contorting as he began to sob deeply. What started as a few tears and a tiny sob turned into a mess of tears that took no time streaming and a deluge of rapid-fire sobs.

His tears fascinated him. The shine, the pain they held, and somehow he'd been taught that they were dangerous and risky and not manly enough. But as he confronted them head-on, he saw nothing but beauty, even through the pain they carried.

So he cried. He cried about his mom, he cried about his childhood, he cried about the bullies he'd had in school, he cried about his lost friends and now his girlfriend. He cried about not having cried.

He reached up and placed his hands over his mouth, pressing his fingers in on the inner corners of his eyes. He slowly shut his eyes, pausing to feel them escape, to squeeze more out. Tears seeped through his fingers, they dropped onto his chest. Quiet sobs wracked his body as he held his eyes closed and leaned into his emotions deeper and deeper. The pain made him feel he was going to drown, and somehow he was okay with it.

It seems once he realized he was okay with drowning, an entirely new level of crying unleashed. His silent sobs grew louder, and deeper, shaking his body. His tears felt nearly suffocating. He reached for a tissue and attempted to dry his cheeks. There were too many tears to even catch up. He held one tissue in each hand and pressed them under his eyes.

He was careful to leave space to feel them flow. But within seconds, the tissues were soggy. The tear streaks below the tissues began to dry. Sobs still continuing, he stared into his eyes and pulled the tissues away, studying the paths they took down his cheeks, onto his chin.

Some landed on his lips, others followed his nose. Others streamed on the outside of his cheeks. He never wanted to stop crying. He felt at peace, in his element. Even the sadness felt inviting, like a warm blanket over him. He wanted more sadness. He wanted deeper pain. He pulled out his phone and began searching the internet for sad stories.

He read stories about babies dying, stories about partners having to part ways for war, stories about betrayal and heartbreak and pain, and he relished in it. Every sad story deepening his sorrow, making his tears flow faster, until eventually he looked up to see his face contorted, his lips curled, and he was wailing. Deep cries of despair.

"This doesn't feel good anymore." He tried to stop crying but the more he tried to stop, the deeper his sobs grew. He was resigned to crying through the night. He got up, with tears soaking through his shirt, and dropping down his chest and took a shower. The water felt good on his hot face, mingling with the tears. Somehow the echoes of his sobs in the bathroom made him cry harder. He felt alone.

He sat down in the shower stream in the corner of the tub and wept. He covered his mouth and shut his eyes, crying deeply. After a few moments, he felt relief. He got out, his sobs slowly down to a mere hiccup. He didn't bother drying his face, he knew it was nothing but tears anyway. He put on a comfortable shirt and brushed his teeth, studying the tears still rapidly rushing down his cheeks. 3 tracks on each cheek had turned to 5.

He took a deep breath, shut his eyes to squeeze out the tears, and dried his cheeks. By now, his eyes were red and puffy. No matter.

He sat on his bed. The wails calmed to a soothing hiccup back and forth. His sobs like a gentle pur of a car. He resolved to crying through the night. It had been nearly 5 hours since he began to cry, and he had no intentions of stopping. Taking a deep breath, he leaned back, pulled out a tissue, shut his eyes, and felt the tears flow. Maybe one day his girlfriend, or ex if that's what she wanted, would see the tears and appreciate them the way he enjoyed shedding them. For now, though, he leaned into his sorrow and let the tears out.

Last edited by Cryophilia (November 27, 2022 10:45 am)


November 27, 2022 4:30 pm  #2

Re: Lean in

Absolutely breathtaking!


November 27, 2022 5:59 pm  #3

Re: Lean in

i love this!!! i'm so glad to have inspired you, i love descriptions like this, and i'm so fond of exploring that catharsis feeling.


November 28, 2022 6:27 am  #4

Re: Lean in

Girl, you keep surprising me, even though I'm not too much into male crying, I couldn't stop reading this until I finished. I would really love to read the next time he sees his girlfriend and try to reconcile with her.


November 29, 2022 7:54 am  #5

Re: Lean in

Part 2 (thanks for the idea @Amans lacrimae!)


He sat there sobbing, leaning his head against the wall behind his bed. Burning tears rushed steadily down his cheeks in streams that broke apart and came back together. He'd given up on the tissues, enjoying the feeling of tears flowing.

After a while, he felt his tears begin to slow down and taper off. He looked over at the clock. 1am. He'd been crying almost 6 hours. "How much pain have I suppressed?" He thought to himself.

The more his tears faded, the deeper his heart ached. He'd run out of tears to cry, but all that cleansing of nearly 2 decades of pain meant that he had to face the emptiness inside. He sat staring at the wall, an emptiness growing deeper through his heart. He should feel cleansed but all he felt was still deeper pain. He heard people felt better after crying, but he didn't.

"Maybe I need to cry more." As if nearly 7 hours of thick, plentiful tears wasn't enough. So he tried to conjure up more tears. Shutting his eyes, he opened his floodgates once more. As if on cue, more tears gushed from his eyes. Gasping, he continued to sob silently.

At some time in the night, he fell asleep in tears. He woke in the morning with puffy eyes, a stuffed nose, and a heavy heart. He felt embarrassed about the night before. "Guys don't cry," he tried to tell himself.

But he couldn't deny that he enjoyed it, and sometimes you need to. He vowed to never go so long without crying again. He vowed to cry when he felt like it, and encourage his tears when he needed to.

Reaching over to his phone, he saw several texts from his girlfriend. She wanted to meet with him today. His heart leaped at the thought that maybe they could resolve it. After all, he'd spent all night nearly bawling and drowning in his tears. Maybe she'd be happy.

He texted her and set up a time to meet around noon. Getting up, he saw his face in the mirror. Swollen, red eyes, a sorrowful pain shined in him. He'd normally hate it, but for some reason, this evidence of crying felt like a badge of honor to carry after fighting toxic gender roles.

He got dressed and went to her apartment. She opened her door, and just felt distant. She looked surprised when she looked in his eyes and saw he'd been crying. As he walked in, they both began to speak, both apologizing at the same time.

"Let me go first," she said. She talked about how she felt alienated from his emotional intimacy and his tears. She explained that she was attracted to guys who were in touch with their emotions, especially those who could cry to her. She explained her hurt when he basically implied that she was a whiny crybaby.

"I know where your concerns came from, and I spent all night thinking about what you said. You were right, I hadn't cried in maybe 12 years or more. Now I'm 25, and I'm emotionally stunted," he went on. "I never cry and I spent my entire life fearing tears, until last night. I thought I was losing you and I lost a part of myself last night. And I'll admit, I cried. A lot. And a lot. And even more. Let me just be the first to say—” his throat caught up.

His voice began to shake and he felt a lump rise in his throat, but he swallowed it down. "I'm sorry." At that, tears sprung to his eyes. Waiting no time to fall, they rapidly rushed down his cheeks. What started as a few small tears grew larger and larger as he spoke.

"I spent our relationship keeping you at an arms length and I knew it hurt you but it didn't matter to me because I thought I was protecting myself. But I cried and I saw the beauty in my tears and there was nothing to fear. I just regret how bad I hurt you by telling you that there's something wrong with you for crying. And I'm so, so sorry. I understand if you want to leave me, but I just wanna thank you for giving me a gift and calling out a weakness in me. I love you, that's all I know." A sob rose in his throat, but he didn't want to express that at the moment. He shut his eyes and leaned his head down.

Tears kept burning their way down his cheeks. He was afraid to look at her, afraid to hear her reaction. Would she accuse him of faking to win her back? Would she call him weak? Would she get aloof and stop respecting her the way guys always say women do when they see their boyfriend cry?

He was surprised to feel her begin thumbing tears away. Her cold fingers a welcome contrast to his warm cheeks. He opened his eyes in surprise. He saw a look of love on her face, and kindness he'd never seen before. It brought more tears to his eyes. He slowly blinked, allowing thicker tears to flow. She kissed him and thanked him for letting her in.

He nodded, unable to speak for tears and sobs began overwhelming him. He pulled her in, and leaned his face into her shoulder. Her warm perfume, her soft sweater feeling like home. Despite crying all night, here, in this moment, it felt like the dam was fully opened. He buried his face into her shoulder and began sobbing.

His tears soaked through her sweater in mere seconds, and she was shocked at how easy it was for him to just unleash the tears. Even she doesn't cry this much. But she loved him more for leaning into the deeply emotional side of him. She began to massage his scalp, and rub his back slowly. These gestures seemed to move him deeply. His soft sobs grew deeper, he squeezed her tighter, and he began trembling. The more she comforted him, the more he trembled in her arms.

After a few moments, he felt he was probably overwhelming her, and began to will his tears to dry. While he had a lot to cry for, he didn't want to drown her in his sorrow just yet. After a few deep sighs, his tears slowed to a trickle. He pulled back and thanked her for loving him through it all.

That moment was a game changer for them. Despite the fact that she did not cry less, she was no longer the crier in the relationship. He was. He cried at movies, sad commercials, and sad posts on Instagram. Over time she realized that his emotional stuntedness was never actually a lack of emotion, it was an overabundance of emotion.

Over time, he seemed to grow deeper into sadness. He was diagnosed with depression. And while he hadn't cried for years, he had had depression since he was 12 without knowing it. He simply expressed it through anger and frustration and violence. She got him to express it through a healthier way: through tears.

Some periods were painfully hard, and he'd be in tears for hours every night, and still enjoying the feeling of tears slowly streaming down his cheeks. Other periods were better, and he wouldn't cry for weeks. While he spent time in therapy, he found that depression was something he'd have to live with, and cry through, instead of deny or drink away.

While many partners find their partner shedding so many tears annoying, she found his tears endearing. He cried when he was happy, he cried when he felt loved, he cried when he was in bouts of melancholia. She rode with him through it all and loved him more for it.

Last edited by Cryophilia (November 29, 2022 8:01 am)

     Thread Starter

December 1, 2022 3:01 pm  #6

Re: Lean in

@ Cryophilia I'm glad I was able to give you the idea for this breathtaking second part. I'm surprised the girlfriend didn't cry (especially since she seems to be a crier), I think one scenario I'd love to read is, now that he is so comfortable with his tears, how does he react to her tears now (compared to the previous time when he told her she cried at the drop of a hat and made her feel bad).


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