Are you an emotionally available man?
A classic scene that unfolds in some relationships is the following:
A partner, usually the woman, asks her partner “How’s your day love?” as he enters the house.
He replies with a moody and grumpy, “ fine!”.
He throws down his work case and car keys and heads straight for the drinks fridge.
This is a daily interaction.
Nothing more is shared for the evening despite her attempts to pursue him for more information.
Both fall prey to various screens, social media platforms and reality television. One partner usually goes off to bed early!
Many blokes dream that their relationship will improve when their partner stops enquiring about his emotional health and frequent date nights followed by more sex will change everything!
Does this sound a bit cynical? Maybe!
However, more intimate relationships, a more fulfilling life, increased confidence and even a healthier self esteem lies in the capacity to appreciate emotions in ourselves and the people we love.
Your ability and willingness to be emotionally available in your relationship will have been instilled in you from your early background.
The emotional climate you grew up in as a kid shapes your relationship with your feelings and the feelings of others today.
Sadly, some men grow up in distinctly emotionally dismissive, disapproving or critical emotional environments. (read more here).
Consequently, men become emotionally unavailable in their relationships.
This kind of conditioning can clearly have a profound effect on a man’s mental and relationship health.
Emotional unavailability is rarely to do with love. It’s mainly to do with the discomfort of feeling vulnerable.
The essential change many blokes make is to be more open and learn how to be more available emotionally.
When you and your partner are emotionally available, safety is created in your relationship.
You can talk about anything and manage conflict and differences with respect and care.
Emotional safety requires listening skilfully to your partner. Be mindful of the following:
Show your understanding of your partner’s perspective. This is not about agreeing or disagreeing.
Provide affirmation that your partner’s thoughts and feelings are valid.
Make eye contact when your partner is talking with you. Reach out and take their hand.
Temporarily place your own feelings, thoughts, and comments on hold until your partner has finished talking.
Then it’s your turn!