Sometimes, it feels like men have no idea how they are feeling and how it’s affecting them. Worse, they fail to understand how it affects people around them. But they are not entirely to blame for this!
As if the differences between men and women are not enough, male and female brains are built differently, affecting emotional expression.
So get this: Studies show that women’s brains are better connected across the right and left sides. On the other hand, men’s brains have stronger connections between the front and back regions. But why is this important?
Well, those connections make women better at emotional expression. The right part of the brain is for intuitive thinking, while the left is for logical thinking. So if women have to do something involving both sides, they excel better than men.
The fact is that women are biologically designed to be better at expressing their emotions than men. See? It’s not totally their fault!
But just because men have trouble sharing does not mean they don’t feel. Men are not immune to emotional challenges- they just have a weird way of expressing it.
Unfortunately, this means putting their mental health at risk and affecting their relationships.
Of course, no woman wants to watch their husband or boyfriend battle anxiety, depression, and other mental health conditions alone.
You can learn to be the superhero and offer emotional support when it becomes a little too much to handle.
How? That’s what I plan to explain in this article. So stick around- you may discover that his blacksmith license was actually a way to deal with emotional stress.
The first thing you should know about men and emotions is that they will try to hide them. Societal expectations and cultural norms have forced them into hiding any form of emotional expression because it is not ‘manly.’ So, what does this look like when the emotional pressure sets in?
Because society does not entirely approve of men crying or expressing emotions openly, some men choose to be extra silent when the stress gets a little too much. Some guys recognize when they are dangerously close to an outburst.
So they leave the situation completely, refusing to show regular emotions or discuss their feelings. But they are not as sneaky as they think! You will notice changes in body language and facial expressions.
Men love alone time just as much as women, especially when emotions are on the rise.
Some men choose to engage in solitary activities as a way to reflect and process emotional stress. Your boyfriend may suddenly start taking evening runs or join a knife-making course.
In addition, he will lose interest in shared activities and group gatherings in fear of burdening others with their struggles.
Don’t be fooled– I know it sounds noble, but it greatly affects his mental health!
A lot of men channel emotional stress into physical activities. It sounds ridiculous– putting yourself in painful situations to elevate emotional pain. But many agree that it helps a lot.
Some men hit the gym, decide to train for a marathon, and take up remodeling projects as a way to release tension and manage emotional stress.
When emotions run high, we feel helpless and out of control. If they push hard enough, controlling what you do next becomes challenging. So, some men go full ‘gym bro’ because it helps them regain a sense of control.
Sometimes, it’s good to laugh at yourself. But some men laugh a little too long because they are deflecting from emotional stress.
The dad jokes will be less funny but a lot more frequent. He will have a new-found appreciation for sarcasm. Some even engage you in light-hearted banter. So why is he turning your life into a FRIENDS episode?
Humor helps mask deep emotional struggles. But here’s where it gets interesting: sharing humor with you, a friend, or loved ones can also be his way of connecting and seeking support indirectly.
It’s the only way he can express his emotions without breaking the expected norms.
It just goes to show that those who laugh the hardest also need to cry the most.
Men love to fix things, especially when it’s their stuff. Most men eventually develop an action plan to deal with mental health distress. Some are good, but others could use a little more work.
Still, as a loving partner, you should be concerned about his emotional well-being.
But unless you are a therapist or have extensive training in mental disorders, you cannot fix his problems. Still, you have an even more important role, giving emotional support.
It’s a tough job, but you need to be someone he can vent to and provide with physical affection. He may develop healthy coping mechanisms, but there are always moments when ax throwing and working out don’t quite cut it.
Those are the days you whip out the plate of hot wings and let him know you can offer help. And if he’s willing to accept, here are some things you can do:
Chances are he will not talk about what’s bothering him, especially if it means showing his feelings. But it doesn’t hurt to try! The secret lies in timing it well.
Bring it up when it’s just the two of you, perhaps when having dinner or walking together.
Ensure that you create a safe and judgy-free space where he feels comfortable. It may take a while, but he will finally open up. And what do you do then?
Promises to fix everything will make it worse, so avoid that. Instead, just offer a listening ear. Unless he specifically asks for advice, avoid going Dr. Phil on him.
He will feel a little vulnerable after pouring out his heart. So, offer reassurance that it’s okay to talk about his feelings.
Just because he shared his feelings does not mean he wants you to fix it. Sometimes, you just want to vent and get some acknowledgment in return.
So, avoid panicking when you don’t understand what’s going on. Instead, offer validation.
He wants you to recognize his distress and show some empathy. Instead of asking, ‘How can I fix it for you?’ say, ‘I understand why you are feeling so down, and I’m sorry you are dealing with this.’
It sounds simple and small, but it makes all the difference. Next, find out what to do when he picks up the weird hobbies.
Men cope in different ways; some are stranger than others. But no matter how weird he acts, avoid judging him. If he’s dealing with an emotional crisis, chances are he’s had enough self-judging.
Therefore, respect his chosen coping mechanisms. Offer to join him at the gym or the woodworking class.
Respect his decision if he would rather be alone. Above all, always check your tone and mannerisms when he speaks about his new passions.
Remember, it’s not about fixing everything.
It’s about being there, offering a listening ear, validating their feelings, respecting their quirky coping mechanisms, and offering a plate of hot wings when the emotional storm hits.
You can create a space where emotions flow freely and support knows no bounds.
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Waithira, is a romance writer all the way from Kenya. She has been a full time writer for 9 years, and enjoys writing novels and blogging about how to improve your relationships. She is passionate about creating content that people can learn from and use to improve how they connect with those around them.