How do I get him to talk about feelings? I admit that this is something I need to learn more about myself. I love my darling man, but Im often frustrated at his lack of communication.
The truth is that I want him to be more chatty, able to traverse multiple topics at once and more open to share his feelings. In other words, I want my man to be more like a woman.
We women make that mistake often; expecting our men to act like women. Hate to tell you (and admit to myself) but that thats never, ever going to happen. Their brains just dont work like ours. If you want your partner to chat you up and openly share feelings, youll have to change teams.
For me, Im staying pat.Ill take a little frustration in exchange for all that manly, yummy stuff that turns me on.
OkayIve set some realistic expectations for you. Now lets talk about the ways in which you can get your man to open up even just a little more. And lets hear it from a M.A.N.
I askeda thoughtful and skilled writer, Ben Neal, to write about how to get men to open up for my Date Like a Grownup community. Whether youre dating or in a relationship, getting men to talk about their feelings can be one of our most frustrating challenges. Theres good news though: When youre dating or in a relationship after 40, your men are grownups too!As Ben discusses, they are more open to connecting on a real emotional level, you just may have to teach them how.
Ben publishes some of his articles onElephant Journal, which was recommended to me by a Facebook friend. (Thanks Lisa!) Now, Im not much of a woo-woo kind of gal, but Elephant Journal, which says they are dedicated to a mindful life, has a lot ofinspiring, uplifting and thought-provoking articles. Id check it out, as I think manyof us (including myself) can benefit from approaching our life in a more mindful conscious fashion.
I want to hear from you! What do you think of his advice? What have you donethat works with your man?
Here are Bens really powerful tips. Thank you Ben!
Experts have been telling us for decades that communication is the key to a strong relationship.
For most women, communication could be defined simply as talking about your feelings something that many men are unable or unwilling to do. This leads to one of the most common relationship myths: that men dont have feelings.
Of course men have emotions. We feel just as strongly as women do, with just as much depth and subtlety. The difference lies in our emotional vocabulary.
Men are not raised to talk about their feelings. Its perceived as a sign of weakness, it brings ridicule and torment. Instead we learn to keep quiet and deal with it on our own. After a lifetime of silence, the whole spectrum of human emotion tends to be simplified into good or bad, happy or mad. Its either Im fine or Go away. Leave me alone.
It takes time to unlearn these tendencies. It takes time to learn how to explore our emotions and express them out loud. It takes patience, love and support from the ones close to us.
Here are some tips for you to help your man to tear down his emotional iron curtain.
1. Pay attention to body language.
Guys do show how we feel, even if we dont say it out loud. Most men tend to withdraw when under stress. When your man is moody and tense, no matter how badly you want to understand, no matter how tempting it may be, now is not the time to prod him. Be patient, give him space, and wait for the storm to pass. You are much more likely to get through to him when he is relaxed and at ease. And he will find it much easier to talk about whats bothering him after he has put it behind him.
2. Show appreciation.
A man may show you how he feels for you by holding your hand, or touching the small of your back; he may bring you flowers or surprise gifts. He may show you he cares by working on your car, fixing things around the house, and just generally taking care of business. Tell him how much you appreciate these things, how much it means to you. Positive encouragement can be very effective.
3. Do something fun together.
If your guy has trouble talking about how he feels, then just sitting down and talking one-on-one is going to make him feel awkward, and make it even more difficult for him. Some men absolutely dread it when their woman says, Lets talk. They go into complete lock-down. So instead, plan a fun, physical activity. Go to the bowling alley or the golf course, or just go out for a walk. This takes the pressure off, gives him something to focus on, and makes it so much easier for him to loosen up and talk freely.
4. Talk about things he cares about.
If you want your man to open up about his feelings, you may have to step out of your comfort zone a bit, too. Take the first step, and talk to him about sports, or movies, or poker whatever it is hes into. Some men are silent about how they feel, but they love to talk about what they think. Get intellectual with him, talk about business, politics, philosophy, and you may have him chatting away happily for hours.
5. Dont make assumptions.
When your guy does open up and start talking, listen without leaping to conclusions. Remember, a mans mind just doesnt work the same as yours. If you start reading into everything he says, it is bound to lead to misunderstanding. So listen. Just listen.
6. Be direct.
Dont insinuate. Dont drop hints. Dont beat around the bush. Your man isnt going to be able to read you like your girlfriends do. He doesnt pick up on the same things. If you want something, ask for it. If you feel there is an issue that needs to be resolved, say so. If you ask, Why dont you ever tell me how you feel? youll get nowhere. Instead say, I want to get know you better. I want to understand how you feel about this. Its important to me.
There is no one way to get a guy to talk about how he feels. Every man is unique, and every relationship too. But if you and your partner are committed to each other and your relationship, and youre committed to learning and growing as individuals, then together you can learn to remove the barriers and communicate like grownups.
More information about Ben:
Ben NealBen is a poet, musician, and freelance writer from Kansas City, MO. (Where my husband is from, btw.) He loves to be outdoors, camping, bike riding or working in the garden. You can connect with him on Facebook, and read more of his writings at the Elephant Journal.