YOU: “Honey I’d like to talk about…”
HE: *Sigh* “Sorry to interrupt but I don’t feel like talking for a while.”
YOU: “Yeah, but it’s important that we can talk for a while! That’s how it always goes.”
HE: “Like I said… I don’t feel like this. I just got home from work and I’m tired. We’ll talk later.”
Does this conversation above sound familiar to you?
You’re not the only one. We receive countless emails on a daily basis from women who do not know how to talk to their partner about their feelings.
Men and their feelings… Well, it’s like trying to open a can with a washing-up brush. It seems impossible.
By the way… do some men have feelings at all? And if so, why do they never talk about it?
In this article you will get all the answers.
- About the 9 insightful tips that help you better understand men and their feelings
- How to make him open up and like to talk about his feelings
- On the biggest differences between men and women when it comes to expressing emotions
- Why women are spider monkeys and men are sloths
- Why it’s not a wise idea to go to the disco in broad daylight
At the end of this article, you’ll know exactly what’s going on inside him, and how to access that bizarre male brain.
Men and their feelings: that’s how you deal with it!
After a long day at work, your boyfriend or husband comes to your home.
“Hey babe! How was your day at work?” you ask him enthusiastically.
“Oh, it was fun.” he replies muttering.
Well, that’s the talk about your day. You try to dig further:
“You look a little tired dear, how are you feeling?”
And even now the answer is far from comprehensive:
“Oh, I’m fine.”
He flops down on the couch and turns on the TV. The end of the conversation.
What a pleasant conversation that was, say… pffff….
The above scenario is the reality for many women in a relationship.
As soon as a woman wants to talk to her partner about the day, their feelings or any problems in the relationship, the man seems to turn into a cold, numb reptile.
Men and their feelings: it seems like an impossible cocktail . Why is that anyway?
Why are men so curt? Why do men never want to talk about their feelings? Why are men so vague about what they want?
After reading this article, all these questions will be a thing of the past. Today you will learn, among other things, why men do not like to talk about their feelings and how you ensure that he will do so with you.
In short: this article will teach you to understand that complicated male brain a little better.
Tip 1: Dealing with emotions: men vs women.
Men and women are as different as the sun and the moon when it comes to dealing with emotions. They are both in the air, but that’s about all.
That sometimes makes it hard to get a grip on men and their feelings.
Below I have listed the three biggest differences for you:
Reason 1: Male brain vs female brain.
Time for a short but powerful biology lesson. Not such a boring one, but one that leaves you deeply fascinated:
The human brain has two hemispheres. Research shows that language and speech in the male brain is activated in the left hemisphere, while emotions are triggered in the right hemisphere.
This is not the case with the female brain. The female brain actively uses both hemispheres when expressing emotions. As a result, women, in general, are better at articulating their emotions than men.
In addition, the male brain has been programmed from the start to hide emotions as much as possible.
In prehistoric times people lived in tribes. The leader of such a tribe was often a man.
The leader often had to remain cool, calm, and purposeful for the tribe to survive.
Was Mister Leader guided by overwhelming emotions? This often had a negative effect on the tribe.
For the women, emotions were much more important, in order to maintain social cohesion and to feel the children.
Partly because of this, the male brain has evolved over time to keep emotions in the background as much as possible.
Reason 2: The socio-cultural aspect.
Ever had a problem and you could cry with a friend?
Among women this is quite normal… but among men?
Absolutely not done.
Talking about emotions is often seen as ‘ not cool ‘ among men. It’s not masculine to talk about your emotions outright, let alone show those emotions.
This is partly due to the way some men are raised.
Traditional fathers see crying as a sign of weakness, so their son has never learned to deal with his emotions properly.
When a young girl cries, the most common response is “Ah what’s going on honey?”
While boys are relatively more likely to respond with: “You are a man, then you have to be tough!”
Reason 3: The flight response.
The male brain is less skilled at processing emotions than the female brain.
The result is that the male brain soon experiences an overload of emotions during quarrels, confrontations or other intense emotional events.
Women choose to talk about their emotions in these situations. That gives relief and helps to process difficult situations…
They hide even faster than this cat:
Men tend to flee from intense emotions.
This is mainly because it quickly becomes too much for them, so that flights seem the best option.
You will learn exactly how to deal with this later in this article.
Reason 4: The handyman vs the psychologist.
Some women seem like born psychologists. Not only are they good at talking about their emotions, but they are also happy to help others process their emotions .
Moreover, women are also good at listening to each other. This helps a woman to deal with different emotions.
The average man, on the other hand, seems to have more in common with a handyman than a psychologist.
The handyman sees an emotion as a problem that needs to be solved.
Maybe you’ve ever had a problem that you wanted to talk about with your partner.
After all, just talking about the problem relieves a lot.
But he? He didn’t want to talk, he wanted to solve the problem immediately.
Instead of talking about emotions, men want to get rid of the emotion as quickly as possible by finding a concrete solution .
This clash between psychologists (women) and handymen (men) often leads to miscommunication between husband and wife.
If you want to know more about the differences between communication between men and women, read this article:
Tip 2: The sports competition principle.
Who watches more chick flicks, soap operas and other emotional TV?
“Um… women of course.”
And partly for that reason, many people assume that women are much more emotional beings than men.
But, dear reader, is that true?
Let’s look at the example of my former Social Studies teacher.
Mr. van der Laarschot was a bit peculiar. His mood depended on one thing:
had Ajax won the previous evening?
If Ajax had won, it would be a party in the classroom. Mr. van der Laarschot was cheerful and it was a pleasure to sit in class.
But had Ajax lost…. then the turnips were cooked. The best man was then not enjoying the lesson.
And that, dear reader, is good proof that women are not necessarily more emotional than men. Men can do it too.
Yep, a lot of emotion and all that for a game of football. Yet this is a characteristic way of men to show their feelings.
A sports game is to men what a soap opera is to women.
This sports competition principle teaches us an important lesson about men and their feelings:
the emotional release works differently in men than in women.
The argument ‘women are simply more emotional than men’ does not always hold.
Only men are generally much less skilled with those emotions.
When they do show those emotions, it is often in a more impulsive, shorter and more extreme way.
You will learn why in the next tip!
Tip 3: Why men don’t like going to therapy.
“Very nice to see that men do show feelings, at sports competitions for example… but how do I make sure that he talks about his emotions with me?”
First, getting a man to talk about his feelings is sometimes difficult, but not impossible.
First, it’s important to understand why men don’t like to talk about their feelings.
To explain this well, let me introduce you to Hans:
Hans is typically a guy.
He likes football, he likes to do odd jobs and like any man he loves it when he is good at something. After all, this is good for his male ego .
But one day Hans tries to fix his car. However, this does not work. Hans becomes frustrated and angry. He thinks it’s terrible that he has to go to a garage to fix his car.
After all, as a man, he would like to do it himself.
This, dear reader, is exactly why men don’t like to talk about their feelings:
they feel weak when they have to show that they have a problem and cannot solve it themselves.
This is in large part because many men have not learned to handle their emotions well.
Talking about emotions is not masculine. Crying is not cool. In short: everything that has to do with feelings is avoided as much as possible.
Until the point in the relationship that feelings MUST be talked about.
he finds out that he’s not good at talking about his feelings at all. He gets angry and frustrated.
As soon as there is a problem in the relationship, he reacts very primarily with anger or annoyance. He prefers to avoid emotional conversations completely.
This ensures that you understand your partner less well. And that in turn causes annoyance on your side…
In short: a negative spiral . And all because the average man doesn’t know HOW to deal with his emotions.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to ensure that he does learn to talk about his feelings….
Tip 4: This is how you ensure that he opens up to you.
Suppose there is a problem in the relationship that you want to talk about with your partner.
Even before you can explain the whole problem, he cuts you off:
“Ugh.. sorry but I really don’t feel like talking about this. I’m tired. Can we do this later?”
As soon as you want to talk about your feelings, he puts up his quills and crawls into his hole like the hedgehog that he is.
Fortunately, there is a way to get him to open up,
even if he doesn’t feel like it.
what most women do ‘wrong’ is this:
they bring no purpose to the conversation.
“Target? What exactly do you mean, Laurens?”
Well, as you’ve learned, men generally find it difficult to talk about their feelings because they’re not good at it. That’s a typically masculine thing.
What is also something typically masculine is the desire to achieve a certain goal.
The male brain works purposefully and likes to solve problems.
As soon as he becomes aware of the purpose of the conversation and there is a clear problem that can be solved, a man will be much more willing to talk to you.
To make this extra clear for you, I’ll give you two examples: how you don’t want to start a conversation about your feelings with a man, and how you do that .
Do not do this:
Wife: “Hey listen, I’ve been feeling a little lonely in the relationship lately and I’d like to talk to you about that.”
What he’s thinking now: “Oh my God, this is going to be a long and difficult conversation. I did something wrong. I don’t feel like this.”
In the example above, for him, there is no clear purpose of the conversation. Although there is a problem, he has no idea why and how to solve it.
Plus, this guy now feels like he’s done something wrong that just makes him feel more like he’s in his shell.
Let’s take a look at how you do want to handle this situation:
Wife: “Hey listen, I’ve been feeling a little lonely in the relationship lately. It’s not necessarily you, I think we can both take steps to make some more time for each other. Do you have a few minutes to talk about these steps with me? It would make me really happy and I think it’s good for our relationship.”
This example above works much better in getting him to talk about the situation as well as his own feelings.
- He doesn’t feel like he’s being accused of anything.
- You will talk about concrete steps to achieve a certain goal (making more time for each other).
- He knows the conversation won’t last hours.
- He knows what he’s doing it for (make you happy + improve relationship).
Because a clear goal for the conversation has now been formulated, the chance that he will be open to a conversation is many times greater than if you did not mention that goal.
His male brain is focused on solving problems. He now knows that in this conversation you will look together for concrete steps to solve this problem.
So if you want to get a guy to talk about his feelings, make sure the purpose of the conversation is crystal clear to him.
Tip 5: Why women are spider monkeys and men are sloths.
You know what makes no sense?
Working in Rotterdam, living in Groningen and doing your shopping in Maastricht.
You do too many things at once . And also in different places.
You are not building a relaxed life this way.
Sounds logical right?
Yet many women make this mistake when they want to talk to a man about their feelings:
they talk about a lot of things at once.
when it comes to conversations, women are like spider monkeys :
They can jump from one branch to another without too much effort.
Perhaps you have had a time when you were annoyed by your partner.
When you confront him about this, many other annoyances immediately surface .
Some don’t even have to deal with him! But because your female brain is so strong associative , you have no trouble switching topics quickly during conversations.
This is not the case with men at all.
When it comes to conversations, men are like sloths :
Unlike spider monkeys, sloths prefer to stay on one branch longer . They have trouble switching subjects quickly and the male brain is less associative.
Keep this in mind if you want to talk about feelings.
What happens to him is an overload of information that his logical brain no longer knows what to do with. Now which is the actual problem.
Whether it’s your feelings, his feelings, or any annoyances/problems in the relationship, always make sure to discuss one topic at a time . Be very clear about the topic you want to talk about and provide a purpose for the conversation (see previous tip).
Don’t be tempted to bring up all sorts of other feelings or topics during your conversation that are far removed from the lead designer of your conversation.
So remember this:
- The clearer the topic + purpose of the conversation, the sooner he will talk about his feelings.
- The more topics/feelings are discussed at the same time, the sooner his male brain gets short circuited and he wants to walk away from the conversation.
Tip 6: Why you don’t want to go to the disco in the afternoon.
it’s about 2:00 PM in broad daylight.
You feel like dancing so you decide to go to the disco.
Does that make sense?
“Umm.. no. The disco isn’t open then, right?”
It is not a good idea to go to the disco in broad daylight. Just like it’s not a good idea to get bread from the bakery in the middle of the night.
In both cases, the timing is not ideal.
This is exactly why many women can’t get their man to talk about their feelings:
they pick the wrong timing.
Examples of the wrong timing are:
- When his favorite soccer team is playing and he can’t take his eyes off the TV.
- When he just got back from a long day of work.
- Just before he wants to go to sleep.
- When he is busy or very focused on something.
Women, like the agile spider monkeys that they are, can be ready for conversation at many different times.
But a man’s sloth? He can’t do much at once and wants to know where he stands.
So find a quiet moment when you want to talk to him about feelings. If necessary, ask if it is convenient or schedule a meeting.
You both know where you stand. You both take time for each other. He will be more open to a conversation than if you surprise him with this.
Tip 7: Keep TOM under control.
If there’s one thing you need to know about dealing with men and their feelings, it’s this:
keep TOM under control.
“Um.. who is Tom Laurens?”
Tom is not a person, but an abbreviation.
It stands for:
Theory of Mind.
Theory of Mind is the ability to assess the wishes, thoughts, and emotions of others.
In itself, theory of mind is a very good thing. TOM helps us survive in a social society because we better understand the thoughts and emotions of others.
TOM also has a less fun side. You can skip it.
A good example of this comes from a woman who was recently coached by Mathijs .
This woman had a date with a nice man on Monday. She had planned this with him the Friday before.
However, she didn’t hear from him all weekend. As a result, this woman became very insecure and assumed that the man in question no longer had any interest in her.
So the TOM did its job here. This woman made certain assumptions about this man’s feelings. And you never want to do that, dear reader.
This was the answer Mathijs gave (the woman’s name has been changed for privacy):
Okay. You called on Friday evening and everything was fine. So the date is up.
Apparently that’s not enough for you to have peace of mind in your system that this guy just keeps his appointment, but you need confirmation through “I’m going to text him, and see if he responds this weekend.”
this is exactly the kind of ‘needy’ behavior that is unattractive.
It’s all from thoughts like:
“Oh no, are you okay? Does he really like me? What if he suddenly doesn’t like me anymore?”
What is this based on?
And it makes you unattractive in your communication with men.
Instead of this line:
“He doesn’t like me unless I can continuously prove otherwise.”
I recommend that you use this rule:
“He likes me unless there are CLEAR signs that something is wrong.”
For example -> he doesn’t send anything for the date on Monday either.
Take another look at the Chat To His Heart course.
Instead of seeking confirmation, send him something ‘giving’ that will make him smile.
And only on the day of the date itself, do you check if he’s going to be there.
By sending something like:
“Hey, I’ll be there tonight at 9:00 PM! See you soon.”
You can do this during the afternoon. If he doesn’t respond at all, then something is wrong.
Learn to trust how fun and valuable you are.
Not on the fear that things will not go well.
You can learn a valuable lesson from Marina’s example above :
Never make assumptions or assumptions about the feeling a man has.
This creates a counterproductive effect. You are not a mind reader.
I know it’s tempting to make assumptions, especially when men don’t open up quickly.
But it’s always better to ask how he feels rather than assume how he feels.
You are doing both him and yourself a favor with this. Keep TOM under control.
Tip 8: Dare to distance yourself.
You know by now that men are not great at expressing their feelings.
If the emotions become too much, the gentleman will crawl back into his cave.
A big mistake many women make is that they keep chasing a man even when he wants to run to his hole.
In principle, it is logical that this happens.
After all, it is very frustrating when you have a conversation/conflict with someone and that person chooses to walk away from the conversation.
But, dear reader, let me tell you this:
sometimes it is better to dare to distance yourself.
I use the word dare on purpose because many women find it scary to let go of a certain conversation or situation.
Especially when women feel like a man is mad at them, it can be hard to let him go.
However, this is sometimes the best strategy. Nothing is more attractive to a man than a woman who understands how the male brain works.
Does he flee or clap close to an argument or a conversation about his feelings?
Then give him space to withdraw. Men need this withdrawal period to recharge.
After this period, a man has renewed energy to continue talking.
Again, I know it’s hard to let a man go. Especially because women like to solve problems by continuing to talk about them.
But , by all means, give him space if you see that he needs it. You will get a lot in return.
Tip 9: Quarrel? Here’s help!
Arguing is never fun. Still, arguing in the relationship can happen. Especially when you’re dealing with a man who has trouble expressing feelings.
Men who have a lot of trouble expressing their feelings often react primarily.
And by “primary” I mean angry, frustrated, or annoyed.
Because he doesn’t know how to handle his emotions, sometimes it comes out in the form of anger.
This anger is most likely pent up in his system for a long time.
That is why it is important that you as a woman regularly give him the opportunity to express his feelings. That way you stay ahead of the anger.
You don’t do this by forcing him to talk about his feelings. It can all be much simpler by saying this:
“I trust that if there’s anything you’ll say that to me. You can always lose everything with me.”
If you let him know in a light- hearted, friendly way , he’ll be more likely to talk about his feelings if necessary…
But that doesn’t mean he always will.
Sometimes there will be a frustration or annoyance that will lead to an argument. This can come from either his or your side.
Please understand that arguing is not uncommon in principle. In everyone’s relationship, a little rain sometimes falls in the form of quarrels.
The trick is to resolve this dispute as quickly as possible and prevent it in the future.
- How Men Think: 6 Steps to a Man’s Mind
- Top 5 Surprising Reasons Why Men Cheat
- 15 Surprising Reasons Why Men Don’t Listen
- 11 Unexpected Things That Make Men Insecure
- What do men want? The 14 things he looks for in you (Yup, you there)