Guys and Emotions: Why won’t he open up?

men's emotionsLets talk about guys and emotions.

Here are some insights you may find useful on this topic. Men have just as many emotions as women. Hard to believe right =)

So why don’t they open up about their emotions? Why does everything have to be about the logic of the situation? Why does he focus on accomplishing things at the expense of his relationships?

These are among the most infuriating issues women face as they try to bridge the cultural gap to create a loving and emotionally deep relationship with a man.

There are several factors that cause men to be less emotionally expressive.

Surprisingly, one of the most important factors is simply a lack of practice. For some men, there is actually a deficit in the vocabulary needed for expressing complicated emotions like mixed feelings about a relationship.

At the extreme, this difficulty with communicating about feelings is called “Alexithymia.” That term refers to the lack of appropriate knowledge of the right words to use to express the subtle shades of emotion felt within.

It’s more common for a man to have a mild version of this problem. It’s more likely he will feel something and not be exactly sure what it is he’s feeling, rather than lacking the knowledge of the emotional words themselves.

Are you dating a man like this? One of the easiest ways to tell is to pay attention to what he doesn’t say.

If he is showing interest in you and obviously trying hard to express his true feelings about an issue, only to pull away and become quiet in frustration, he may be pulling away or changing the subject due to exasperation with his inability to identify the right words to express the mixed feelings he has inside.

How did this happen? Well, the truth is, he grew up in a different culture than you did. Men don’t grow up sitting in circles on the playground sharing their feelings. They grow up spending their time trying to accomplish things in larger groups of boys with a focus on external goals that you can see in the physical world.

In addition to that, boys are often discouraged from expressing some of their emotions. It’s not just fathers either. Mothers often do or say things that subtly send the message to a boy that crying does not suit him well.

In addition to all this, men have a great fear of appearing weak. Expressing emotions like joy, elation, or excitement about a job promotion will be easy for your man. Admitting that he’s feeling insecure at work will be far more difficult for him.

You’re more likely to see an irritated version of your boyfriend than a true expression of the mix of fear and sadness driving his irritable mood.

At Be Irresistible we teach a specific method for bypassing a man’s difficulty with opening up to his dating partner.

men's emotionsThere are ways of working with a man’s need for pride and respect that will allow him to lean on you in an emotionally vulnerable way. When he learns to do this, you will be a part of a new world of deep intimacy that he has likely never shared with anyone in his adult life.

Once a man begins to feel comfortable talking about his emotions, he will need time to fully develop his ability to express things of a subtle emotional nature. Give him that time. It will be well worth your while.

Have a great day!

James Bauer


What Men Secretly Want

After consuming this short-guide, you will possess a secret that men cannot express well because it is so foundational to their view of the world that they don't even realize it is there.

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102 thoughts on “Guys and Emotions: Why won’t he open up?

  1. irene said:

    hi james i have been with dis guy but all of sudden he stopped communicating and picking callings but wen he picks tells me is busy even at night but when u ask whats going on keeps telling me i will talk to u i feel like giving up but i love him so much

  2. shalini said:

    Hi James, I am going to merry with a guy who do want to show his love to me he always said he don’t like show off and he said that I am not kind of person who always can talk to with you romanticly. We had now 6 year relationship now we decided to do merried. He think that I respect elder and I respect his family and I love him that why he want to merry me. But I have also some wishes that my partner should be my lover who understand me who show me that he loves me. Please suggest how I emphasise him so he give attention on me and express his exact feeling to me.

  3. Melanie said:

    Hello James. I met a guy last year August, we had been seeing each other on and off until may this year. Every time something minor happens, be it a disagreement, misunderstanding or me asking if he is ok because I could sense he was pulling away he would end things only to pop back weeks later, it’s happened at least 7 or 8 times. Every now and then he would tell me that he likes me and had missed me and one night he told me he loves me but he had been drinking. At this moment we are not in contact. He seemed to be the type that doesn’t like to express his emotions and I was patient with him and tried not to pressure him but he would pull away for any little reason. I am starting to wonder if he felt anything at all or if he did feel something but was scared to acknowledge it. I would really love to have this man back in my life but cannot handle him leaving me or pulling away over and over again. I have never felt something so intense for anyone before and I’m finding it very difficult to move on. Could you maybe please give me some clarity on why he keeps breaking it off and then coming back, do you think he was feeling something or was I just an option or convenience when he was lonely?! Do u think he meant it when he said he loves me even though he was a bit drunk. We had been intimate so I am really hoping that that’s not the reason for him popping back into my life every time. Please help me with this James, maybe I just need some closure.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hello, Melanie. This is a good question, but one that can’t be answered without background knowledge. If you’d like a response to this kind of question from one of our relationship coaches who can also gather the background information follow this link.
      James

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Dear Melanie,
      I can relate to your story absolutely. I have had the same trouble with my man. Over more than four years now we have been “on and off”. I just think he is terrified of commiting. He, too, texts me and rings me when he is drunk, pouring his heart out telling me I am special, he loves me, he would love for me to be in his life, where do we go from here?, I can’t lose you, when are you coming to see me?, begging me to come and see him, begging me to help him, as he is drunk. He has a severe drink problem (due to lots of probems in his past – he drinks to blot them out), which his “friend” he drinks with tells me became worse when he first became emotionally involved with me (makes me feel good!!). I knew him socially for quite a while before that, but I did NOT know he had a drink problem. He hides it well, and can control it most of the time. A few days ago, he begged me to go and see him to help him – he was on a real bender, drinking for a couple of days – then when he sobered up, he texted me at 9.30 the night before I was to drive up to see him, saying “After some thought – it does not make sense for you to come now, I won’t see much of you, I have work and social commitments – wait until I can get some holiday – I am right” !!! You can imagine how I felt! I had spent the whole day getting things organised and packing so that I could go away for a few days.
      As for me, after giving it some thought, and the initial anger has died down, I feel I have two options, as usual – 1) stay and help him when he is ready to accept help or 2) walk away. Like you, I am heavily invested emotionally in this man, I hate to think he will drink himself to death (which he will, left to himself), but everyone tells me to think about myself. I have tried and find is almost impossible to walk away – how can you leave a friend in need in such a situation? How will I feel if and when he does die from the drink?
      I think the answer is different for everyone and probably lies in your own lifestyle and age. I am 68 and he is 64, so my chances of meeting someone suitable now are very slim (I have tried for 8 years and am constantly on the look-out). I have no other commitments in my life, apart from a huge garden and large house. I do still get on with my life and hobbies, so I am not sitting around waiting for him – in other words I am going no-where else. The point being, for you, if you are young and wasting precious time which you cannot spare – if, say, you want to start a family – and if you are putting the rest of your life on hold waiting for him, then that is not good. If you are older, then that is different. Either way, try to get on with your life as best as you can, and look after yourself. Do not invest your ALL in this relationship, it may never come to anything. However, go with your intuition and heart. Don’t listen to friends and family, or at least do not take too much notice. They are not you and cannot possibly know what you want from life. Be patient, and try to gently talk to him, when the time seems right. Maybe a good time WOULD be after he has had a drink – men seem to be much more likely to open up then. Maybe stop being intimate until he is more ready to commit – but explain why – then your integrity is still intact, and you won’t feel so used. Unless you are the sort of woman who is happy with the “one night stand” situation – but you don’t sound as though you are. Sex usually means more to a woman than to a man, so do not cross your own boundaries. At the end of the day, I’m sure James will agree that talking is the only way forward, but it is not easy. I have read that it is no good sitting him down for a good talk. He will run a mile. Pick your moment, even if you have to engineer it somehow. Maybe make a nice candlelit dinner with plenty of wine and relaxing music – get him to open up. BUT it may take time – little by little – he will not let it all out at once. There is probably a very deep-seated reason why he is terirfied to commit – most of us are carrying a lot of baggage around. And the high divorce rate has a lot to answer for, I think.
      I hope this helps, and wish you the very best of luck. Keep your chin up. Lorna (hugs and kisses xx)

      • Melanie said:

        Hello Lorna, thank you for your wise words. I am 33 years old and to be honest, I would love a family one day. I have had really bad luck with men in the past. I was in two long term relationships and engaged both times but had to walk away from both relationships for various reasons. I think the hardest part is always the not knowing, you tend to question yourself and what you could have done differently. I am by no means a perfect person and made silly mistakes here and there but I honestly don’t feel those mistakes justify him walking away, unless he genuinely didn’t feel anything at all, then it would make perfect sense. I want to believe he did feel something though because he seemed happy around me and did express that he missed me and likes me a lot and as I said before, he told me once he loves me. He likes his drink too but he honestly doesn’t abuse alcohol. Nothing makes sense actually, I just keep asking myself why he would keep coming back if he didn’t feel anything and then why would he walk away so easily if he did feel something?! He is actually going through a very difficult time at the moment, his father has cancer and he cannot be treated anymore. For this reason I have not contacted him. I do feel that if he wants to come back it will be in his own time when he is ready. Its still hard though because I cannot get him off my mind. I haven’t seen him for a little over a month and the last time this happened I didn’t see him for 2 and a half months. I want to move on but I know that if he had to contact me in a months time I will not have the strength to say no! I haven’t ever had such a hard time getting over someone before, I don’t know why I am battling to move on from him. I know that in time it will get easier but honestly speaking, I don’t want to be with anyone else!

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Oh, Poor Darling, Melanie. I really feel for you. You are the same age as my youngest daughter. I have three – the eldest being 41, and they have all had their problems with men! But even at my age, I have been through the same emotions you are having regarding my man, so I know it is pretty much normal. No-one can understand how I have felt – and that makes it worse, because you start to doubt whether you are actually going out of your mind (or at least I did). My best man “friend” can not understand how emotionaly tied into this man I am, and keeps tellng me to walk away. He never gets emotional and just hops on the next bus to come along, as he says, although he did advise me once to just keep hanging around and maybe he’d see sense, but at the same time to date other people. It’s not easy at my age, but for you it should not be so difficult. You should be going out and about and see if there is anyone else of interest on the horizon. Maybe try internet dating – although I found it to be a dead loss – men of my age are even worse!!
        You may need to wait for a reply from James, but I am wondering if you would be better off to actually contact your man again now and try to get things started again. You have nothing to lose, after all. And he may be thinkng the same things as you – thinking you don’t care because you have not been in touch – especially to ask about his father. Who knows what is on his mind – only by talking will you ever know – James will tell you never to second-guess, you can make up all sorts of stories. You don’t want to terrify him away, but you could maybe say how much you have missed him – try to keep it light, as a friend, and just ask how he is, what he’s been up to and how his father is. You would do this with any girlfriend, so it has always confused me how difficult it is to do this with someone you are emotionally invested in – it doesn’t make sense. But don’t come on too strong or too emotional. Lean back – stay cool. Have you any men friends or brothers or their friends to ask advice of? I find talking to men much more helpful than women. I hope things work out well for you, one way or the other.
        Have you heard of “The Secret” and asking the Universe for what you want? It’s in a book and film. I talk to my Angels. But you have to ask out loud. They say this creates a positive energy and we always get back what we send out. My friend does this all the time and has amazing results. Maybe try writing it down as well and putting it under your pillow, and every night before you go to sleep ask again, and in the morning. At least that way you feel you are doing something positive. And that is the key – to be POSITIVE – no negative thoughts. (But don’t tell too many people what you are doing, or they will think you are mad). Give it a try, and I hope things turn out the way you want them to.
        I have found all of James’ articles absoutely fascinating and have learnt a lot from his comments. He is so wise. Try to look up some of the older ones, if you have not already read them. I am sure you will find them a comfort. Best of luck and BE POSITIVE. Lorna xx

      • Melanie said:

        Thanks so much Lorna. I can tell you this, I have a very strong faith and believe that if God wants him to be in my life then he will be. I guess all I really want is a bit of closure, it’s just quite difficult because he has left and come back so many times that ones brain will now have that hope that he will come back again like he did before. I must tell you though that I did message him a few weeks ago and he didn’t reply, maybe he wasn’t ready to talk to me at that stage, I don’t know but I did just send him a message, telling him that I am still praying for his father and for him and his family. I also mentioned that I was going through some pictures and came across some of his braai sandwiches (I’m south African Lol) and that it made me think of him. From what I have read, mentioning a positive memory we had together may ignite some emotions inside of him about me. I don’t know if he will reply this time but I am hoping he will. Thank you so much for your advice, I really appreciate it so much. I will continue to keep the faith and remain positive! *hugs*

      • Lorna (LaLa) said:

        Good to hear back from you, Melanie. It sounds as though you are doing everything right, anyway. Life isn’t always easy, is it? Keep strong. And keep positive. Love, Lorna x

  4. Lynn said:

    Hi James, I started dating a great guy about 2 months ago. I think I have the opposite problem of many women on here in that I feel he is the one who has invested in the relationship much quicker than I have. I can’t tell if it’s just me and I’m afraid to get so involved right away (which I am), or if he is coming on too strongly. Is there a timeline as far as how things should go, or is every couple different? He is very generous and romantic, and he makes plans for us every weekend and a night during the week, he texts and calls a lot, etc. He was pushing to be intimate earlier than I wanted to be. That said, we do like each other very much, are very attracted to each other and have a great time together – we’re both 57 and divorced. I see a lot of potential with him and he is very interested in a relationship. Ultimately, I am also. But Is it wrong that I would like to get to know him slowly and take our time and just date for a while and see how it goes? I should also say I’ve lived alone for a long time and so could it be that maybe I’m having trouble with what it really means to be a couple? I had created a single life I enjoyed before meeting him, with lots of friends and a nice social life. I hope I’ve explained this well. Thank you for any insight you can give me!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Lynn. That’s good news! I’m very happy when I hear of two people finding more joy in life because of having found each other.

      To answer your question, yes, each couple will be on a different timeline. In fact, each person will have a different timeline even within a couple. It’s rare to find two people who match exactly in their comfort level with the speed of the relationship as it develops. If you think about it, what are the odds? One person is always going to feel things are going to slow or too fast unless there’s a perfect alignment, which is rare.

      That being the case, you should acknowledge his desire to move things faster. Talk about it out loud with him. Tell him the benefits you see for moving at a measured pace that allows you time to adjust gradually to this big change in your relationship world.

      It’s okay to set boundaries. If he really likes you, he’s not going to disappear just because you have a slightly different timeframe in mind as the relationship advances.

      James

      • Lynn said:

        Thanks so much! Of course this all makes perfect sense. I do appreciate your input!

  5. Kati said:

    Hi James
    I have been with my boyfriend for 2 months,and he was okay all along till yesterday we were supposed to be together and only called at 18:00 telling me about the funeral he had to attend.

    He said I should come over to his house and agreed,5 minutes later he called and say I want to go
    watch soccer with my friends, my respond was if they are more important than me you ll go and sit with as u did during the day by going to the funeral with them without telling me,and he said it okay I ll drop them off and ll pick u up.

    I ve been waiting for him from 19:00 till 22:25,and I decided to call just to check how far he was.his phone was off. I left a message:

    Please start looking for a new girlfriend as am not going to tolerate your treatment..

    Please help am i being selfish by expressing my feelings.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hey Kati. It’s not selfish. It’s just that it’s likely he sees things very differently. Getting to the bottom of his perceptions is the first step. If you express angry feelings too soon, it often just pushes people away…the people you care about most. When he seems to be failing you, consider that you have nothing to lose by giving him the benefit of the doubt. If he’s a dud, that will reveal itself soon enough and you can end things. But if it was just a misunderstanding, your frustration/anger could become something that causes honest mistakes or misunderstandings to poison an otherwise beautiful beginning to a relationship.

  6. Paula Demarais said:

    Hello Helen, I know how you feel, I was with (now my Ex husband) for 20 yrs. also, 3 kids, on their own…. but we kept talking and spending time together. He lost his job about 5 months ago and we got a place together, it was rough at first but other then him not having a job, I think things are going pretty good between us. I keep reading everything I can to try to learn something that I can apply to our relationship and I think it’s helping. Spend time together!!!! Would like to keep talking, are you on facebook? or email….. your friend Paula

    • Helen said:

      That would be great. I am on facebook.

  7. Helen said:

    I was with my, now, ex- husband for 20 years, have 3 kids. He was brilliant and very loving. He even helped me through difficult times, major surgery twice, family death and awkward relatives. He altered a little while after retirement, though, I got him a part-time job, which he did for a while. His mood altered and when I tried to talk he shut me out. I eventually closed myself down, was that confused as to what to do. My mother didn’t help keep berating him, and I leaned on a “friend”, who it turned out was jealous, but with me being the way I was at the time, didn’t see it. All nice to me and helpful, then when we got divorced, which I didn’t really want, she dropped me. I love this man a lot, and looking back must have had a breakdown. We get on well now, and when I asked him about his problems, all he would say is “You’ve had enough on your plate with your operations, etc”. I know he is holding back and when he is here to drop the kids off, or we are at his, he doesn’t want us to go. I know he is not good at talking about things, it seems like a lot of men are. With all the issues that went on we lost track of each other and drifted, but if we could have had some time to go through stuff, I feel lost what to do. He knows how I feel.

    • James Bauer said:

      Helen, the path of least resistance can be your teacher.

      As I look at your situation, there are a lot of dead ends. But there’s one opening. One path of least resistance. Do you see it?

      It’s captured in this phrase, “…when he is here to drop the kids off, or we are at his, he doesn’t want us to go.”

      Right now, the path that is open to you for rebuilding this relationship is a simple one. Spend time with him.

      Don’t try to figure out the relationship. Just to spend time. Don’t try to get him to open up about his breakdown. Just spend time.

      If you’d like more help with this, consider contacting one of our relationship coaches for personal advice.
      James

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Helen, I think that James has suggested is a good start. There clearly is still something there between you – and sometmes we do not see what we have until it is gone. I have a lovely manfriend I sing with who recently invited me to his wedding. He was remarrying his wife after they had divorced some years ago. They got back together again, lived together for a few years, then decided to re-marry recently. Beautiful. So there is hope, you see. His only regret is that the divorce cost such a lot of money. As James says, just spend more time together. Give time time. And maybe if you can gradually, carefully, quietly try to talk about things, then you will eventually get back together. At least you are still in contact, so that is half the battle already won. He is a “sitting duck”. Just approach quietly, stealthily, and who knows what will happen? “Slowly, slowly catch ye Monkey”. You are a woman, you have all the answers already. Use your intuition and feminie whiles – but in a nice way. I’m sure he cannot help but respond. Oh, yes, and keep reading James’ advice – invaluable!! Best of luck. Lorna

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Helen, I think that what James has suggested is a good start. There clearly is still something there between you – and sometimes we do not see what we have until it is gone. I have a lovely manfriend I sing with who recently invited me to his wedding. He was remarrying his exwife after they had divorced some years ago. They got back together again, lived together for a few years, then decided to re-marry recently. Beautiful. So there is hope, you see. His only regret is that the divorce cost such a lot of money and was a bad mistake. As James says, just spend more time together. Give time time. And maybe if you can gradually, carefully, quietly try to talk about things, then you will eventually get back together. At least you are still in contact, so that is half the battle already won. He is a “sitting duck”. Just approach quietly, stealthily, gently and who knows what will happen? “Slowly, slowly catch ye Monkey”. You are a woman, you have all the answers already. Use your intuition and feminie whiles – but in a nice way. I’m sure he cannot help but respond. Oh, yes, and keep reading James’ advice – invaluable!! Best of luck. Lorna

  8. carla said:

    hi james ive been reading these peoples problems hoping to find answers to my problem and none are close so i hope i can ask you about my issues in this “leave a reply” area.
    i have been in the worst relationships in my past the last one really messed me up im afraid that has beem about 5 or 6 years ago sence we broke up i wont go into the hrrible details lets just say i was used and abussed up as he said all used up so i have been single not even dating until this summer my neibors roommate and i became good friends and before i kmew it intimately involved so we switched room mates and now he lives at my place things seemed alright he acted like he was happy to be with me if we were in public he would happily intraduce me as his girl friend and he would be happy to help me do things he told me from the beginning that sex and physical appearances are not important to how he feels about someone . i am a little over weight and very selfconscience about my body between all the surguries and fat belly iam not about to be flaunting these things but he must be insecure also as ive never seen him naked he sleeps with his clothes on and the last few weeks we dont even have sex i try to get close to him but i gey no responce im afraid im seeing some of the signs of my old boyfriend ive been feeling like he is useing me for a place to stay he owns his own home but its being renovated and its out of town on his reservation yes he is american indian im not i dont feel that this is our problem i also noticed he goes on the dateing sites and even has tried to join but can only go so far no credit card i told him i didnt have a problem with him looking a t a little porn but if he is chating or emailing women its the same as cheating as far as i was concerned anyway i feel im being used and i feel he thinks he has got me right were he wants me i spend alot of money he has but really isnt stepping up to the plate i didnt even get a christmas presant he dont touch me in any way anymore and these are the same things my ex was doing i waisted the best years of my life on the last one 7 yrs im now53 my boyfriend is 52 so i feel why play these games or am i being paranoid because of my suspiciousness? remember i was happily single and was nor looking for a relationship now im in one sort of is it because when im with someone iam very loyal and nobody else in my sites that i expect the same from whom im with? i am really starting to like him and dont want to make the same mistake ive made befor can you help please
    thank you

    • James Bauer said:

      Carla, I hope you will allow me to take a guess about something. I don’t want to pretend I know everything about you. But the way you have described your relationships makes me suspicious that you inadvertently send out the wrong kind of message in relationships. A message that essentially says you have low expectations for how they will treat you.

      If I’m wrong, please forgive me for making an incorrect judgment of your situation. But if this resonates with you, I encourage you to consider how you might get better results with men by holding higher standards and being a little more demanding. Say what you’re thinking outloud. Ask for what you want. And (respectfully) demand accountability when people let you down.

      James

      • carla said:

        thank you james for the info you did nail it i try to not be a nag or needy or a burden whatsoever thinking guys would prefer this kind of woman and in this process i do let alot slide what do you suggest i do about the dateing site issues how do i tell him its not right last night he actualy put his pc away to go to sleep but still slept fully dressed and on top of the covers i told him to get into bed that i wouldnt bite but he just said it would be to much effort im totally hurt and confused with this behavior what or why is he doing this
        thank you again

  9. Deb said:

    I dated a guy for a year and we have also kept in contact after our breakup. I’m confused by a comment he makes to me and don’t understand it. He keeps telling me we can have it good together but he’s afraid of his feelings for me. We have known each other for years, we get along great and have so much in common. What does this mean?

    • James Bauer said:

      My guess is that it means he’s afraid of being vulnerable. His feelings for you cause him to want to love you intensely, but that gives you power. Some men are nervous about giving up their sense of autonomy (separate individualism).

      James

  10. Ranie said:

    James I love your book its answering all my questions

    • James Bauer said:

      That’s good to hear!

  11. liz said:

    My boyfriend -after the 8 month point said I love you but no longer feel the “in love feelings’ So i broke up for 4 months and dated a couple of other guys and he wanted to get back together. Said he had been depressed. But we’ve been together almost 2 more years and while he shows me he cares in many ways he only said I love you on valentines day (where he used to say it every day) and he’s fine with getting together only once or twice a week. I’m now working on leaning back more and letting him lead which is helping…but my question is–once a man falls out of love can he fall back in?

    • James Bauer said:

      Yes. Commitment is enduring, but the “in love feeling” will come and go in any long-term relationship.

      Married couples often have renewed feelings of infatuation over and over again at different points in their relationship. But the deep feeling of loving the other person is more persistent.

      However, in your specific situation I wonder if much of the change you see in your man has to do with his mood states. People who go through depression experience changes in their passion for life in general, which often includes the relationships they are in.

  12. Karia said:

    I’m dealing with a guy who has become very resentful of me because when we first started seeing each other (long distance) I was very open about us online and he is a very private person, and also because he feels like I have been needy and put a lot of pressure on him to give me more closeness.
    He has no problem voicing his anger, and will frequently snap at me or yell at me. However, when I respond to his angry outbursts by calmly trying to explain my actions, or apologizing, or asking him further questions about how he’s feeling, he suddenly doesn’t want to talk about it. I get very confused why he brings the issue up in the first place, repeatedly, if he then doesn’t want to talk about it.

    I feel like he just tells me how mad he is and then doesn’t listen to my side of the story. If I try to explain something ive done that’s annoyed him, he accuses me of just defending myself. I feel like he hasn’t heard me properly, so I try to explain in a different way – and then he gets angry saying i repeat myself all the time and that he has heard this already.
    When I told him I don’t feel like he listens, I got a “I do listen to you, all the bloody time!” response.

    I made a conscious effort to become less needy and more private a few months ago, but I have been finding that he now has it in his head that I’m a needy drama queen and constantly misinteprets neutral things I say as drama, overreacts to small things, and thinks I’m getting angry at him when I’m just talking calmly. He won’t let me change because his assumption that I won’t is so strong. If I try to work things out he gets mad and says I’m pressuring him. If I try to talk about neutral fun things he will frequently change the subject to make comments alluding to how much the arguing between us has bothered him…and then refuse to talk about it.

    He’s feeling so much anger and I don’t know how to calm the situation… I can’t get him to talk about it calmly, listen to my side of the story or to open up and say more about what he’s feeling than just how angry he is and how it’s all my fault. He has pushed me away and said he just considers me a friend now…. yet continues blowing up at me. How on earth do I calm him?

    • James Bauer said:

      Karia,

      Anger comes from a goal that is being blocked. It’s not clear from your description of the situation here, but there must be something he wants from you. Does he still want a relationship with you? Does he want some kind of apology? What do you think he wants?

      That’s step one. Figure out what he wants. He thinks you’re blocking something, but nobody seems to know what it is you’re blocking. It makes it all very confusing.

      It may be that what he really wants is the very thing he claims he does not want, drama. He may have a bit of a borderline personality disorder, meaning he demands intimacy and then immediately blames and pushes you away once he achieves it. He may be an anger junkie, meaning he gets a bit of a high from the adrenaline rush that anger brings with it.

      If I were you, I would steer clear of the relationship. But if you want to move forward with it, start by getting him to open up about what he wants (rather than what he’s angry about).

  13. Karen said:

    “Men have just as many emotions as women. Hard to believe right =)”

    So right…I’ve learned this the hard way. My best friend (and crush) got so upset about something I said recently, which I didn’t expect it would hurt such a tough and big man. But it did. He hasn’t forgiven me entirely and is still quite hurt, but reading the posts here at this website has helped me to deal with this process without freaking out and hurting his feelings even more. Thanks for the always wise advice, James.

    • James Bauer said:

      I appreciate the encouragement, Karen. I hope he comes to realize how much you care for him!

  14. CJ said:

    I have been seeing this great guy for almost 10 yrs- friends with benefits. He is in an unhappy marriage and so am I. Things have always been great and very intense ie, Talking and texting everyday. He even told me that he loved me. I knew for financial reasons he would not leave his wife. Suddenly last month he just stops all contact and now he says he wants to see other women. We do live about 250 miles from each other so we didn’t hey to see each other too often. He did know how I felt about him, I never kept that a secret. This is awful for me – I love him very much and would have waiting forever – we even talked about hopefully being together one day. I do not understand how things could go so bad so fast. Any ideas or thoughts on what is really going on.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi CJ. I’m sorry you are hurting right now. It sounds like this man is confused about what he wants and how to treat people well. You may find the answers you seek by providing a listening ear and encouraging him to talk about what he hopes to find in life.

      James

      • BS said:

        My boyfriend of 6 years was married when we met. He was so loving and didn’t want to leave my side. We were always together, we work for the same company. He would call me on my office line a lot of times in the day telling me how much he loved me and misses me. A year ago his wife died of cancer and I was promoted to work at another branch of the company. He was very happy for me and things went well for until the beginning of this year when he started being distant. I asked him to go for grieve counselling but he refused stating he was fine. Now he doesn’t care about the relationship anylonger. He says he want to be alone and think things through. How long can a person think things through? I always ask myself that. when I call him he doesn’t answer my call, he claims that his phone is not a priority. What must I do? I love him so much

      • James Bauer said:

        It’s very difficult when two people (who could be a good match) find themselves on different timelines. It seems his life path is very confusing right now. I remember times when I have said something similar…times when I didn’t want to make any decisions because I felt confused or lost. If that’s where he is right now, you really can’t rush it.

        You might want to try this though. Instead of asking him to invest in a relationship or make decisions about his future…change the tables on him. Ask him for help. Ask him for help with something small. You might find it unearths a part of his mind that has been sleeping. He might be more receptive to you if he sees an opportunity to find meaning in helping someone else. It feels different than working to build a relationship with a woman you were seeing while your wife died.

  15. Maureen said:

    I was married for 20 years to a man that really courted me and up to our divorce continued to contact me regularly through the day, bought me things he knew I liked, etc. Now I have been dating a man for 8 months. He does not court me at all. The first couple months were very intense and he texted me frequently to say he missed me or wanted me and other sentiments. For the last several months, though, he hasn’t sent me any text like that. Sometimes we go out and doesn’t even touch me. I have texted and emailed him telling him how much I love him and even telling him that if he is unsure about his feelings, we should talk or even take a break from each other. I gave him plenty of chances to break up–even by email. He has never responded or even commented to my texts or emails. He stays over twice a week and have infrequent sex. He is 60. So I have been chalking his behavior up to age, not being able to express himself and believed that if he did t love me he would let me know. Am I kidding myself and is he trying to break up, that he is telling me he is not interested by not answering my texts and emails? I don’t have enough experience to know when a man is just unable to express himself and when he is trying to tell me something. Does his failure to do little things, like texting me, mean that he does not in fact love me? Please help! I really love this man!!

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Maureen. In this situation, I recommend you think about exactly what you need in this relationship to feel happy. Right now you don’t sound happy. But you love him enough that you are considering adopting the belief that he loves you and is just bad at showing it.

      Perhaps you could be happy with the relationship as it is if you believe that, but I doubt it. The exasperation I see in your question suggests he really is not meeting your emotional needs. It’s not a satisfying relationship for you.

      For that reason, I recommend you push for change even if it means the relationship eventually collapses. If he is not willing to step up his game, you should exit the relationship to make room for someone who is more interested in the real relationship you desire.

      People go through phases. Being in love does not always involve the intensity it starts out with (in terms of physical touch, frequency of texting, etc.). So it’s possible a serious discussion of what you want more of in the relationship might wake him up and help him to realize what he’s going to lose if he doesn’t start pulling you closer.

      Either way, don’t lose heart. Go after the best this life has to offer and hold your head high in the process. You deserve a man who can match your passion and desire for closeness.

      James

      • Maureen said:

        Thank you so much! That is very helpful. I do love your blog and the straightforward, no nonsense advice you give.
        Maureen

  16. Mary said:

    I have been dating this guy for 7 months. When we are together I have no doubt he likes me. He holds my hand, opens doors for me, and looks in my eyes when we talk. He only texts me throughout the day and our conversations are of things we see we want the other to see or talking about our day at work. However, in this 7 months not once has he told me he likes me. He told a mutual friend that he does and that he didn’t want to rush things with me. Another mutual friend thinks he is crazy about me. My question is why doesn’t he tell me how he feels? Plus why can he call all his other friends and not once call me? I don’t want to be the one to bring it up I feel if he really does care about me he would want to tell me that he likes me and want to call me when he is away. I am just so confused.

    • James Bauer said:

      Mary, your description suggests he is a very private person when it comes to his own affections. Even his close friends are guessing at what you feels, which is an indication that he is cautious about admitting feelings of love. It fits with a pattern of texting too (no one can overhear a text). Be okay with it if you can and don’t wait till later to enjoy the relationship. It sounds like a really good relationship that is moving forward at a slow and steady pace.

      James

      • Mary said:

        Thanks James I know that I need to focus on the here and now. I guess I just guess I’d like for that extra something to reassure myself. I would like for him to say sweet things to me but if he is private, like you’ve said about his feelings, then I guess he won’t be so open to say those kinds of things. He did however call me on Christmas. His family are from Canada and he was there for 2 weeks. During this time he stayed in contact with me and when he travels for business he does text me every day. I guess instead of focusing on all the negative I really need to focus on all the positive. It just, at times, makes me feel insecure about our relationship when I do not receive the emotional level I am wanting. I don’t want to bring up how I wish he would open up more cause I am afraid he will see me as needy or pushy. I do want to take things slow and learn each other and at 4 months in he did tell me he saw us as dating and getting to know each other and that we were exclusive. I guess I just wish things would progress like what I want and this may be where I really want to not focus so much on. Thanks so much I don’t have anyone to talk to and this helps me so much.

  17. kerryann said:

    My boyfriend and i have been together for 2eyrs but lately he’s been cheating with this other girl now he’s left. To be with her. We have 4 daughters and they cry every night for him to come home. He says he love them but with this girl pulling him away it’s hard. We still are intimate but it’s not like it use to be. I’ve tried texting, talking but he thinks i don’t understand him. I’ve tried to but he won’t open up to me. What van i say to let him know that i understand him so he can come home? How can i improved in our intimacy?

    • James Bauer said:

      Ugh. That’s terrible, Kerryann. Part of me wants to say he’s just an extremely greedy person and not even worth your time. Who would walk away from his family like that? Does he want another man raising his daughters? It frustrates me.

      However, I will try to address your question. I recommend you start a conversation about what he currently enjoys in his life and what he wants more of in his life. Just make it a general discussion, not something about the two of you. Learn his thought process. What is motivating him right now? What drives him? Figure out how he is currently getting his needs met, and that will tell you a lot about what those needs are and how you might be able to invite him back into a cooperative relationship where you both strive to make each other as happy as possible. In the meantime, stop being intimate with him and don’t let him in the house unless he starts paying child support.

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