Achieve & Inspire: Fostering Open Communication in Men

Despite years of progression and acceptance, the running rumor of men not having feelings is going strong. And with good reason, too!

Ask any woman in a relationship with a man if their partner has ever shown any emotional authenticity. Unfortunately, many will tell you that it has never happened and may never happen.

Open communication for men is like a suggestion rather than a requirement. Unfortunately, this means that communication in the relationship will be limited to memes, jokes, and whichever sport is in season. In the words of Queen Charlotte, ‘sorrows, prayers!’

But before you can brush up on your sports talk, consider understanding where your partner hides his emotional vulnerability. In reality, men feel just as much as women. Underneath the shrug and ‘meh’ are feelings of heartbreak, anger, sadness, joy, and passion. You just need to bring them out.

And no, we do not mean starting a fight! As you will learn below, there are safe and super chill ways to help men embrace open communication in relationships. But first, here’s an explanation of why your man may struggle to express their emotions.

Why Do Men Struggle to Express Their Emotions?

Men are liars… at least when it comes to expressing emotions. They bury so much inside. But it is not their fault. Many men grew up feeling the cultural and societal pressures of never showing their emotional vulnerability.

The ‘macho’ stereotypes are a common part of traditional gender expectations. Men are expected to embrace strength, power, and control characteristics. Unfortunately, it means that expressing emotions is a sign of weakness and ‘femininity’ since it goes against these ideals.

It is so bad that older guides such as fathers, grandfathers, and uncles condition boys to suppress emotional displays. Most men grew up hearing things like ‘men dont cry’, ‘stop crying, be a man’, and ‘you’re a man, act like it’ whenever they show fear, cry, or sensitivity.

History is another reference worth exploring. Men went to war and were the sole breadwinners, a tale as old as the First World War. They were the protectors and providers, meaning characteristics such as toughness and resilience were a given.

It also means that emotional expression was a no-go since it was said to hinder their responsibilities. How will he get anything done if he is too busy crying?

Unfortunately, the media reinforced these stereotypes by presenting men as strong, and emotionally detached in movies and magazines. James Bond, Jack Ryan, and Magnum P.I. are some of the best tough guys on screen, but boy, they have trouble with emotional expression!

The worst part about all this is that men are not supportive of their fellow men’s emotional vulnerability. No matter how close the boys are, they are not sitting in a circle to share their fears and dreams.

The anxiety of being rejected or seen as lesser by fellow men is a peer pressure most men do not even know they are succumbing to.

I know what you’re thinking, and you are right; this is complicated! It will be difficult to undo years of conditioning or overthrow the societal expectations of men.

But it is a worthwhile endeavor to help men learn how to communicate in relationships – for their mental health and the relationship’s survival.

What Can Women Do To Encourage Open Communication In Men?

Sometimes, you may find yourself in a situation where you must teach him how to communicate in relationships. But not because they don’t actually know how, but rather need to learn how to be more open in their communication for healthy outcomes.

Getting a man to take up open communication can be as challenging as getting him to admit that he has feelings. But it is not a futile attempt. With the right strategies, you could create a safe space where your partner will feel comfortable talking about anything and everything.

Below are some of the ways women can encourage open communication with men. Bear in mind that it takes time to see actual results. So, if it does not work on day one, don’t be so hard on yourself or your partner. Instead, keep working for it.

Ask open-ended questions in conversations.

Chances are someone used this clever communication tactic on you. And now it’s your turn to use it!

There’s a difference between ‘How was your day?’ and ‘What was the best part of your day?’ The second question will give details, a funny story, or an unfortunate event. With such questions, you encourage him to share his deeper thoughts and feelings.

Set aside time to talk.

Long work days and sleepy nights do not create the right environment for meaningful conversation. Experts agree that the environment is essential to communication in a relationship. So, if you want open communication from him, set aside a time and place away from distractions and excuses.

Create a non-judgemental space.

You need to let him know that you are a safe space for him to share his emotions and show vulnerability. Tell him you will not think less of him if he shows his feelings. Praise men in movies who show emotional vulnerability. And never make fun of men who show emotions.

Embrace his communication style.

You need to accept that when he finally opens up, it will not be face-to-face or with him gently lying on your lap, getting scalp massages. It could be through text messages, a secret language he invented, or a song he likes. The most important thing is that he communicates. So, be ready to learn how to communicate in a relationship with him specifically.

Share deeply

If he is still holding back, you must lead by example. Get naked so he can feel comfortable about it, too! Share your deep thoughts openly. Let him know how relieved or comforted you feel after sharing. In addition, tell him that you would do the same for him with no judgment.

Reward him

Reward him when he finally opens up or displays other characteristics of healthy communication in relationships. Complement his bravery and openness. In addition, tell him how thankful you are for sharing a key part of himself. These rewards reassure him and encourage further progress.

Be mindful of timing.

Finally, remember timing is everything! You may be ready to combat climate change and end all wars before your morning coffee, but he might not be. So, time these open communication sessions to when he is relaxed and calm.

Final Observation

Society’s expectations and years of conditioning have made men enemies of open communication. But fear not, ladies! You can show him how to communicate in a relationship with patience, understanding, and a sprinkle of humor.

Creating judgment-free spaces, embracing diverse communication styles, and leading by example can pave the way for healthier, more fulfilling connections.

So, here’s to breaking down those walls! In the end, we all deserve relationships that thrive on genuine connection and heartfelt conversations.

Keys to His Heart: A Guide to Foster Open Communication in Men

Discover practical strategies to break down communication barriers with men and nurture genuine connections.

Unlocking His Heart: Dive into our guide on breaking the stereotypes, creating a safe space, and nurturing authentic connections with men. Let’s rewrite the rules together!

About Author

Waithira Njagi is a seasoned wellness and relationship content writer with nearly a decade of experience. Her passion for helping others navigate the complexities of personal growth and connection shines through in her engaging and insightful writing.
With a knack for distilling complex topics into easily digestible pieces, Waithira's work is geared toward readers seeking guidance and inspiration on their journey to holistic well-being.
When she's not crafting engaging articles, you can find Waithira curled up with a stack of romance novels– always rooting for love to win– or enjoying quality time with her beloved family. Her dedication to spreading love and positivity is evident in everything she creates.

Waithira is here to remind you that life, much like their stories, is a tapestry of connections - to loved ones, and the endless adventures found in books.

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