Many women complain that men are somewhat closed and silent. Well, there are definite reasons for it. Quite often, men stick to the principle “I told you I love you, so I love you; if something changes, I will let you know.” However, let’s explore the issue in more detail.
For women, it is vital to realize the point that men have a totally different culture. Biological differences between men and women are relatively slight, whereas cultural (or gender) differences are often huge.
These differences usually vary from culture to culture. For a long time, it was a norm in European (Christian) masculine culture to demonstrate minimal sensitivity. Tears – too bad. A smile – redundant. Tenderness – soft. Sensitive – smooth. Attentiveness to others – blurry.
Not to say it is bad. Most obviously, exactly such man’s behavior was important, useful, and necessary at the moment when these cultural norms appeared. Maybe the point was that a too sensitive man was easier to overcome. He opened up, showed his weak places, the latter were hit, and he lost. No matter what real reasons for such rules can be, more important is that nowadays this norm is getting a bit old-fashioned. At least, in some spheres of men’s lives. One of these realms is his relationship with a wife and children.
But cultural norms are not so easy to change quickly, moreover if they are rather rigid. That is why even now, many men believe that hugs are redundant, and a woman must pray to them once they’ve come home and made her a favor eating her dishes. Some may even believe this with all their heart, even without realizing the cultural norm behind it. Just an absolute belief that it is the essence of all males. Add some biological factors, orientation towards competitiveness, which means less sensitivity towards others and their emotions. As a result, there appear rigid men who love their wives and kids sincerely but are afraid to show it not to seem weak.
In other words, open and sensitive men have accepted the norm, according to which being open and vulnerable means to demonstrate weakness. This norm is getting weaker but still can be found. Trying to comply with the norm, men do not express tender feelings openly, do not share them, and do not open up to their women.
Another reason why men are not so open as women is because our mind is organized differently. Whereas women are more emotional, men are more rational. That is why there are hundreds of thoughts passing in girls’ brain every single minute, each being emotionally connected with other in no definite order so that a typical woman’s story is very hard to follow.
In men’s mind, on the contrary, everything is neatly organized in the so-called “boxes.” One box for his car, another for a business project, the third one for his mother-in-law, and so on. Most importantly, there is an empty box. Yes, for women it sounds strange, but if the man tells you he is thinking about nothing, most likely it is true. The empty box is exactly the reason why men like fishing so much because it helps them to turn off any routine signals.
A need for distance
Men always require distance, that’s it. Although they require a good listener from time to time, too, they simply cannot start telling women all details of his day as women typically do once they come home. It is against male nature. A man cannot let a woman so deeply into his world by answering typical questions like where he was and what was he doing. Women find this hard to realize because they always try to understand their man putting themselves into his boots.
What can women do about it?
First of all, admit the fact that men have such a cultural norm, and perhaps exactly your man sticks to it. Once you admit it, try to accept it because any cultural norms are to be respected.
Next, your man needs to understand that it is quite possible to make her woman satisfied once he opens up and shares his feelings.
What do we mean by opening up? It is a direct message about your feelings. If your car has broken down, and you have definite feelings about it – do not keep silent but share your thoughts with her. Communicate.
It is not a whim. Firstly, if people communicate their feelings and small secrets to each other, it increases intimacy within a couple. Secondly, it increases each other’s level of satisfaction with the relationship.
How does it work?
A relationship is a union. The main feature of a union is the possibility to rely on your partner. To rely on them, we need to trust them. Trust is the knowledge that you won’t be hit, that is, betrayed. When partners share their feelings and secrets, they seem to exchange secrets and check each other. “Look, I’ve confessed to this – what would be your reaction?” If the secret is followed not by a hit but interest, sympathy, support, then the person who’s opened up understands that here, with this partner, everything is fine, safe, and nurturing. Exactly safety and nurture are key to a successful relationship.
Apart from the “we are partners” feeling, sharing one’s emotions and secrets increase mutual interest (What other secrets do you have?) This way the flame of passion will be always kept alive, and partners will never find each other boring.
That is why both men and women should communicate and open up to each other.
Useful tips about sincere talk
- If a person has opened up to you, do the same. Or, at least, describe what you felt after partner’s confession (e.g., “Your memory made my heart beat faster)
- If there is still nothing to share, ask a question that will make a person open up more deeply (“What does it mean to you?”)
- Men should realize the fact that women are not enemies but сompanions. Strengthen your union not only by presents, help, and care but also by opening yourself up and intimacy. If you are hugging a girl or a wife, kiss her on the nape and tell how you value her. It won’t make you less cool. Your being cool is a matter of what you do, not what you feel. So, if you feel tenderness and show it, you still remain cool once you can approach a difficult situation and solve it.
In conclusion, how can this eternal problem of men’s emotional rigidness be solved? There are two ways. First, accept it as a fact that cannot be changed because it is either men’s innate feature or a cultural norm. Second, try to increase men’s emotional literacy by showing ways to open up.