The technical term for when a guy has a hard time talking about how he feels is “Normative Male Alexithymia.” That’s a ridiculously complicated way of saying that many men think they’ll appear weak if they share.[i]
Men are taught from a young age that anything they say that makes them sound needy, dependent, or vulnerable translates to failure as a man.
This reality is what prompted Dr. Michael Kimmel to observe, “If I was to say what is the major emotion of American masculinity, it is anxiety. Why? Because you have to prove your masculinity all the time.”
Sounds pretty horrible, right?
And it’s a double whammy. If your guy won’t share with you, it keeps you from being close. But it also means he’s under pressure ALL THE TIME to prove himself.
So how do you help him get over that major hurdle? What can you do to help him open up without making him feel like he’s not a real man?
The single biggest thing you can do is show him that he can trust you not to shame him. If he truly believes there’s no shame in being vulnerable with you, he’ll share.
Building trust is an epic relationship task, but it’s really not that hard to pull off. If you do just two things, his trust will grow and he’ll be far more likely to open up to you.