Thank you U-Ming for your always insightful comments!
I 100% can definitely see how this could be the case. There is immense pressure for men to exhibit traits of ideal masculinity and it, like you said, it can become competitive, and can come at the expense of women such as in the form of objectification and emotional labour.
I'm glad to hear that with age it is something that has gotten better, and I think with most things, time and experience can, generally, really help us re-shape some our toxic or unhealthy tendencies.
You are correct! It is something I should not feel bad about, and I'm slowly starting to learn that. It's hard to unravel old habits!