The Real Secret to Getting Him to Open Up

How To Get Men To Open UpHave you ever wondered why men are so much more reluctant to share their feelings than women?

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.

For years, researchers thought the key to building trust was body language. Newer studies  have proven that’s just not the case.[ii]

Instead, the two keys to building trust are to exchange information and ask questions.[iii]

  1. Exchange Information

If you want him to share with you, share with him.

I know that sounds like a no-brainer, but it’s important. Sometimes when one partner shuts down, the other partner is tempted to do the same.

“If he won’t share, fine,” you might think. “Then I won’t, either.”

That won’t get you anywhere.

Instead, be the trail blazer. Share your emotions with him. Especially the stuff that makes you vulnerable. Tell him when something scares you, or makes you sad, or leaves you feeling insecure.

That paves the way for him to respond in kind.

  1. Ask Questions

This one can be tricky.

Don’t charge in, asking super-probing questions about his deepest, most well-guarded emotions. He’ll shut down faster than your hair betrays you in humidity.

Instead, steer clear of questions designed to get him to share specific things. Stick to general, open-ended questions about his experiences.

For example, when he tells you about a disappointing meeting with his boss, say, “Wow. That sounds like it wasn’t fun. What do you make of all that?”

Then he has the opportunity to share without feeling forced. That’s way better than, “How did that make you feel?”

How To Get Men To Open UpIf you want the kind of relationship where your guy shares his feelings openly, you’re going to have to lay the foundation. You do that by showing him he can trust you.

Share your feelings with him, and ask plenty of non-threatening, open-ended questions. Those are the proven ways to build trust and open up communication.

[i] Henriques, Gregg, Ph.D. “Why Is It So Hard for Some Men to Share Their Feelings?” Psychology Today., 13 Nov. 2014. Web. 04 Aug. 2016.

[ii] Ta, V. P., M. J. Babcock, and W. Ickes. “Developing Latent Semantic Similarity in Initial, Unstructured Interactions: The Words May Be All You Need.” Journal of Language and Social Psychology (2016).

[iii] Dean, Jeremy. “The Real Secret To Gaining Understand And Trust From Others.” PsyBlog. 14 June 2016. Web. 04 Aug. 2016.

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4 thoughts on “The Real Secret to Getting Him to Open Up

  1. Kimberly said:

    I have been dating this guy for a few months now, and he is getting depressed. I try to talk to him and tell him I’m here for him but he won’t tell me what’s wrong. I love him with all my heart, he’s always been right beside me, but he like won’t even talk to me anymore, please help me.

  2. Isabella said:

    I have a been dating this guy for a year and we have a child together. Before I gave birth everything was perfect but after I gave birth we statert drifting apart and now he don’t care about us anymore,he can spend the whole week without checking us.please help me

    • Lorna (LaLa) said:

      Isabella, If you have only been together a year, then it can only be a couple of months since you had the baby. This is a VERY testing time for ANY relationship. Especially for such a newly-formed one. It is not easy havng a first baby, by any means. There are all sorts of forces at play. My feeling is that he could be feeling left out, jealous, unloved, vulneralbe, scared (if not actually terrified!), worried, insecure, as well as a host of other emotions. It is a VERY emotional and scary time for the man, too, not just the woman when having a new baby. Just watch any TV programme about giving birth – the men are in bits and shed uncontrollable tears. My husband pounded the corridors in tears, in the days when they threw the men out of the delivery room (42 years ago) on examiation and if things were not going well. He was an emotional wreck. Just keep this all firmly in mind. Don’t pressure him to be a “good” father. Take it gradually. Just make sure you include him in everything. Don’t push him out and concentrate soley on the baby. It is easy to do that when the baby is new and takes all your time, energy and love. Make sure he knows that you still NEED HIM, emotionally – in no uncertain terms (and not just to change nappies and provide support!), and I think he will come round. I hope so for all your sakes. And try not to punish him if he is a bit reticent. Try to be understanding and forgiving – it goes a long way in a relationship. Enjoy your new baby – they grow up SO quickly – but also do not forget to enjoy your man, too.Try to get some time together, if you can arrange a babysitter, to go out and have some fun – just the two of you. And try to share the joy and love that only a new life can bring to a relationship. I wish you luck. With love, Lorna xx

  3. Cecilia Medellin said:

    I have been date this guy for 4 yr and he as stop call text and i try to make it work between us i don’t do what to do i love hem with all my heart he said we figured all the time but i don’t think so can u help me fix my relationship

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