Let’s start at the beginning.
Boys, from childhood, are taught not to cry and man up! Crying was for girls, not us. Most men will remember this or hurtful statements by our friends like “he throws like a girl!” or “are you going to run to mommy crybaby?!” Each point of ridicule makes an impression on young males and this is important because these are the blocks on which they will base their willingness to share feelings in the future. As a result, sharing his feelings becomes a strange, almost alien thing for him.
Ladies, never make the mistake of thinking your man does not have feelings or thinking he doesn’t want to share them. Most of the time he was told to shut those in and present a brave face to the world. Ok, fair enough, but the potential backlash is great.
And this is why.
Men are human, and just like all humans, they need to vent their emotions. But here’s the catch, men don’t express their feelings well through words; rather, they vent through actions. If he asks you how your car is running, it’s actually his way of saying he cares a lot about you because he cares about your safety. If you have on a new dress, he’ll probably say that it’s a nice colour and it suits you or his eyes just go wide and his voice goes soft.
There are deeper problems too. A man will think that sharing his feelings and talking about his problems portrays him as a weak-minded individual, a man who cannot think or fend for himself. It all goes back to what he experienced growing up. And this goes for a lot of men.
But when those floodgates open, very rarely are women ready for it. Men are encouraged to open up more about their feelings but when they actually do, their partners are not prepared for it. Women are weirded out to hear men talk about emotions. So when a woman says she wished her man were more open about his feelings, she actually meant only certain feelings and only in the amount they can handle. This catches men in a double bind about what to share and what not to.
Men feel judged when they share their feelings. And while this might not be the case for some, it is for a majority.
The long and short of it is, men need help, in this changing world where genders are blurring and sexuality is openly spoken about, we should be okay that men can feel pain and that they need help.