Men’s emotions are essential in intimate relationships.
Yet, it seems to be one of their greatest challenges.
Would you agree?
I often hear the murmur of protests from many men who habitually take the emotion out of their communication with their partners.
Men in relationships often describe:
They’re too busy to make the time to talk
Are overloaded and overwhelmed with parenting
Work commitments and professional lives get in the way
They are too tired to talk
They are unsure about how to talk about emotions
Many of these problems mean their relationships lose sight of care, affection and intimacy.
When men’s emotions are closed
Many blokes in general have grown up with a dismissive if not critical view of emotional expression.
If a man grows up with critical or judgemental messages about his emotions he learns to close them down. He is likely to have internalised emotions in the following ways:
All feelings of worry are wrong and bad
It’s not helpful to talk about emotions
My emotions are unimportant
Feelings are not to be trusted
Feelings are silly
People don’t care about my feelings
There is no point in talking about feelings
The effect on a man’s life can be disastrous.
Probably the most powerful change men can make is to learn to accept their emotional life.
How to be emotionally open
A significant shift occurs in committed relationships when emotions are accepted as a normal, if not vital part of communication.
Acceptance means the following:
All feelings are ok and important
Talking with someone about emotions is a priority
Empathy and validation are essential for intimacy
Having language to make sense of emotions is valuable
Emotions are normal
Men who embrace emotional acceptance improve their relationship.