Why Is It Hard For Men To Emotionally Connect?

Thank you for your feedback on my post: Men Who Can Show Real Emotions Are Sexier. Reading through the emails, the two common themes/questions that kept popping up are:

1. Why is it so hard for most men to show real emotions, and 2. Do men really need women and do women really need men?

Do men really need women and do women really need men?

“Need’ may be too strong a word, but yes, men need women and women need men. As with everything in nature, human beings need balance.

A man who hangs around only men is more likely to see and experience men as aggressive, emotionally detached, ambitious, and focused on power and domination. But that’s not the worst part of it. A man who hangs around only men is also more likely to see women as ‘the other”, be scared of them, and be angry at the fact that women scare him because he doesn’t understand them.

Don’t believe me? Just visit the “male only” blogs and discussion forums, and you will meet some of the angriest, most sexually frustrated and ignorant (of women) men on earth. They feel so justified in their “hatred” of women and spew their ignorance with no idea as to just how little they know about women. And because they are among men who are just like themselves, the poor guys don’t even realize they are their own worst enemies.

Don’t get me wrong, the same things happens in blogs and discussion forums that target “women only”. The male-bashing and labelling (unavailable, commitment phone, narcissist, avoidant etc.), and the whining “they do this to us… men are bad”, is sad, like really sad.

Why it is hard for most men to show real emotions?

It’d be nice to pretend that I have ALL men figured out and know exactly why they are the way they are, but I’m too humble to make that claim. Just like women, every man is unique. Why one man is the way he is may not the why another man is the way he is. There are a combination of many things — nature and nurture– that make someone the way they are.

Some men are raised in families and cultures where the free expression of emotions is accepted and encouraged, and some men are not. Some men by nature prefer and enjoy the company of women and are comfortable with women in general, and some men are scared of women — and very uncomfortable around them.

As a relationship coach with a lot of experience working with men and women hurting from a break-up, I can say with confidence that all men can and have the ability to show real, deep, raw emotion.

  • Some men don’t know how to because they never learned how to. Maybe they grew up with parents who never showed emotion, discouraged the display of strong emotions or it wasn’t safe to emotionally open up.
  • Some men choose not to for personal reasons and/or because they fear being judged for being “not man enough” (and it is a legitimate fear, society can be cruel)
  • In some cases, it’s just not safe to emotionally open up around some women (they’re emotionally unsafe).

To me, the question is not so much, “Why is it so hard for some men to show real emotions?”, the bigger question is: Why can’t more men and more women connect emotionally? The answer is simple, they can.

As long as one has emotions, one can emotionally connect. In order to be able to emotionally connect, you must:

1. Understand, accept, get in touch and manage your emotions.

You can’t emotionally connect with another human being (in a deep way), let alone emotionally connect with the opposite sex when you have no understanding of your own emotions and their expression.

2. Learn to be comfortable around the opposite sex. 

Emotional connection is about emotional safety first and foremost, meaning that you both need a safe emotional environment to express your emotions and to let the other in. So please stop the “otherizing” and “men and women are so different”, which is another way of saying “different is threatening”.

  • Is hard to let someone in when you feel threatened by them.
  • It’s hard to get them to emotionally open up when they don’t feel safe around you.
  • It’s hard to emotionally connect in an emotionally unsafe environment.
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  1. says: RCIII

    I’m a single dad of two boys and the biggest mistake I made was introduce this woman to my boys. At first she was very sweet but later started saying their mother was poisoning their minds and the boys did not like her. She was jealous of the time I spent with them and accused me of taking sides against her. I had to let her go.

    1. It usually takes two to create a relationship and two to destroy it, so I’m not going to take sides without knowing the full story. I do however believe that when you are dating as a single parent, your first responsibility and concern is your children. They have no choice in the situation but sometimes suffer the consequences of a parent’s choices. Women come and go, but you will ALWAYS be their dad.

      You are not going to be fully present with your children when you are blaming yourself (or your ex) for what happened. You can’t go back and change it, so learn from it and let it go. As long as you are still holding onto what happened, she still has a hold on you. Let it go!

  2. says: matt

    But for some women this is not enough. My ex accuses me of being emotionally unavailable and has made my life a living hell. She called the woman I’m now dating and told her that I’ll break her heart the way I broke hers. Yangki, you tell me, what was I supposed to do, pretend that I still love her?

    This is one reason some guys keep their emotions and feelings to themselves. Damn us if we do and damn us if you don’t. Nothing is ever enough or the right thing to do.

    1. Yes Matt, I have met your ex… many times as a matter of fact (sadly).

      Believe me, I get your frustration. I sometimes myself get frustrated trying to explain to someone that the reality of life is that relationships do run their course, feelings of love sometimes fade away, and men and women have the right to end a relationship they do not want anymore.

      Unfortunately, there are some women and also some men out there who can’t accept the fact that someone does not want to be with them. My advice is, have a heart-to-heart talk with the new woman you are now with and make her feel emotionally safe and secure. That’s who you are with now and whose feelings you should be concerned about.

      As for your ex, you can’t do anything about someone who can’t accept they are not wanted anymore except to ignore her and keep as far away from her as possible. Hopefully, she’ll get over it and move on (hopefully).

  3. says: matt

    It’s just not safe to be emotionally open around some women…

    I guess you met my ex. I have had some run ins with these type of women in my life, but none like my ex. I’m the first to say I’m not the most emotionally expressive man, but I’m a straight shooter. I always let the women know where I stand with them. I tell them I love them, and when I don’t feel any love for them anymore, I tell them. I have never, never led on a woman on in my life.