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7 Ways to Get Your Man to Share His Feelings

June 10, 2011 · 11 Comments

Feelings“But how do you feel about it?” asked an eager Uma.

“Why does everything always have to be about feelings?” he thought feeling exasperated. He took a deep breath to calm himself down. After all, they were so happy to have found out that their offer for their new house was accepted. He didn’t want to ruin the moment.

“Like I said, it’s incredible news!” he said, emphasizing his excitement.

“But that’s not a feeling! Are you happy? Excited?” asked Uma looking for an opportunity to connect emotionally with her fiance.

Mihir wanted to roll his eyes. Instead he just joked, “You women with your obsession with feelings,” as he walked away to get a drink of water.

A conversation on emotions can be frustrating for men and women alike. Women maintain and increase their intimacy by talking about emotions; whereas South Asian men are often raised to express very few emotions. When they get into a serious relationship with a woman, most South Asian men have to learn how to express themselves emotionally as they were often discouraged from doing so at a younger age.

At the same time, South Asian women expect men to be able to express as openly, freely and in the same manner that they do, which is an unrealistic expectation. Aside from the differences in how South Asians raise boys versus girls, males have a different biology when it comes to emotions and emotion express which makes it almost impossible for them to share their emotions in the same way females share with each other.

This does not mean, men are incapable of expressing themselves emotionally. They just have to be encouraged differently than women. If you want your man to express himself more, here are a few tips on how to encourage him to open up to you:

1. Talk to him about emotional issues when you are engaged in another activity. Whether it be gardening, going for a walk, or fixing something around the house, men respond more openly when they are not engaged in a face to face conversation. Instead, they prefer being side by side and being physically active. This helps men reduce their anxiety and feel less vulnerable when they are sharing their thoughts with you

2. Laugh if he makes a joke. Men feel very vulnerable when they are sharing their emotions and often prefer to make jokes as a way to relieve tension. Their self-esteem is closely tied to knowing you find them attractive and desirable. A great way to show that is by laughing at his jokes. He will feel more confident and that will help him to continue to share his feelings with you.

3. Use humor yourself to help him feel comfortable. As long as it is not at his expense or intended to make him feel embarrassed, humor helps men feel more relaxed and reminds them that you are not turning against them to start a fight. When possible and appropriate, make a joke to help him relax into the conversation.

4. Avoid sentences with “You never” or “You always”. South Asian men will become very defensive as soon as you begin your sentences with any absolute worlds like always or never. If you want to say “You never tell me you love me”, try to identify what the real problem is and share that instead. For example, “I know you love me. But we are two different people and I’m not sure how you show me you love me.”

5. Speak in a language he understands. Women have their ways of talking to each other that men don’t understand. If he brings you flowers and you respond with, “You shouldn’t have”. Your girlfriends would understand that you are saying thank you but your boyfriend or husband will start to question whether he did something wrong. Next time, he may not buy you flowers and you will become upset. Expressing themselves through words or gestures makes South Asian men feel very vulnerable. If you want to appreciate him, say thank you. Speak in words that he does not have to translate or seek to find an alternate meaning. Men are not mind-readers. Set them up to succeed not to fail.

6. Model the behavior you want. Children, teens and adults often learn by watching others. If you want your boyfriend or husband to behave a certain way, behave that way yourself. Emotional expression is a strength that women have and sharing it, as opposed to punishing a man for not knowing how to do the same, will encourage him to try and be more open with you.

7. Be patient and trust him. If you are in a healthy relationship, trust that your boyfriend or husband wants to make you happy. If given the right opportunities, encouragement and support, he will become more open with you emotionally. But you must be patient. You have to remember that you are expecting him to do something that he has been told his entire life not to do. Reversing that and learning how to be open will take time. Trust him that he is doing the best that he can.

We would love your thoughts about this article. Please leave a comment below.

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11 responses so far ↓

  • MM // June 10, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Reply

    It is so hard to get them to talk though! I guess we just have to be patient and understand that they’re just not as good at this as we are. Sometimes its just easier to talk to girlfriends!

    • Neal // June 12, 2011 at 2:41 pm | Reply

      The last one is so true. My ex-girlfriend used to really mad at me when it would take me a long time to answer her questions. I’m doing the best that I can! Girls need to lay off. If the guy cares, he will do his best. Maybe not 100% what you want but he will try!

  • Little Woman // June 11, 2011 at 8:44 pm | Reply

    I have been patient for years with my husband…still waiting answers to some questions I already should have known as his wife. I don’t know whether it is my short coming or he doesn’t trust me.

  • MySahana // June 14, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Reply

    Expecting anyone, man or woman, to respond in a way that they have learned not to is always going to take time and patience. Add on to that the fact that men and women are biologically different. Frustration with each other will only get you so far. Instead, try to focus on the efforts your partner is making. He will feel encouraged to keep making more changes that are difficult for him to make. He will never be your girlfriend but he can become a better partner.

  • StillWaiting // July 2, 2011 at 12:34 pm | Reply

    I am still waiting for my husband to share his feelings. Always tells me that nothing is wrong, when i know something is. Been waiting for years actually for some things. You cant trick certain people into sharing if they dont want to let you into that part of life.

    • MySahana // July 4, 2011 at 8:01 am | Reply

      You’re absolutely right. Tricking someone will never work no matter what you want to get out of them. However communication is a two-way street. If we want someone to communicate better with us, we have to consider what we can do to help encourage that communication. Perhaps he may need support from you or may need to learn from you how to share more openly.

  • tani // September 5, 2012 at 4:30 am | Reply

    so ture,,, i have been patience and we have been at the point where he discusses everything, answers every question i ask, i know he loves me he cares for me,,,, i can tell from his eyes but he never admits or tells me that he loves me….. some times he shares those thing that he never shared with any one in his whole life but i dont know what stops him to come to me n express his love .,,,or take next step!

  • svalecha // May 15, 2013 at 9:41 am | Reply

    i have been having this problem with a friend of mine..he never expresses anything (usually just changes the subject)…also it makes me think if he really wants to that good a friend…earlier he used to, but now he just backs off…its hard for me…cause i genuinely care for him…do all of these steps apply to a friend as well??

  • Stephanie // June 9, 2013 at 10:36 pm | Reply

    Truth is I love my husband. I know he loves me. Although I’m at a point I’m point I’m about to snap his head off if I dare bring up the subject. I understand actions speak louder than words. But to never ever hear those words is rather frustrating. Personally I’m thinking your advise is backed by a lack of experience.

  • Anu // July 10, 2013 at 9:22 am | Reply

    I had a boyfriend, and we had a relationship for two and a half years. I just broke up with him a week ago. And the reason behind our break up was his uncertainty regarding being serious about me and our relationship. We were in a long distance relationship. I always tried to know what does he actually want or what he feels. But he never replied properly with a certainty.

  • Andrew // March 18, 2014 at 8:34 am | Reply

    I feel like a lot of women begin to feel lonely because they are not supported in the way they want. It seems to be mens challenge in life to push past their walls (prob created from years of society telling them they have to be macho) and learn to love with their emotions. Its everyone’s goal to become the best person they are in life, and for most men, I think this is learning how to get past their ego, and love. For some women, this also means being more logical.

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