You've been wondering why it's just so darn difficult for him to open up to you about anything. Getting him to talk about his feelings is like pulling teeth. It's really not that difficult- why can't he just open his mouth and talk about it?
Yep, that's us. Talking about our feelings is generally a topic we avoid at all costs, but we have our reasons. As it turns out, both nature and nurture are against us. Here's how:
Our brains are wired differently than yours
Gregory L. Jantz, Ph.D., wrote about some incredible research in Psychology Today on some fundamental differences in the brains of both sexes. Stated simply, Jantz says a big reason why men don't talk about their feelings is due to the physical structure of their brain.
He says that as a woman's brain develops partitions of the brain that generate speech tend to develop in both hemispheres. For men, that speech generator usually only develops in one hemisphere (the left one).
What does that mean? It means women talk more than men and are naturally better at verbally describing things than men. That's backed up by more research, which shows that on average women speak about 13,000 more words per day than men.
But that's not all. In addition to a disadvantage in speech generation, Jantz also writes that men generally have less neurological connections between that word vocalization center and where their emotions develop.
What does that mean? It means that because of brain structure it is literally harder for men to vocalize things in general, but more specifically, their emotions.
Biologically, women are better at it and have a greater desire to talk about feelings than men do. Knowing that men are biologically disinclined to gush their feelings to you may be hard to swallow, but that's the research.
We're taught that expressing emotion is a weakness
Suck it up. Boys don't cry. Take it like a man. Rub some dirt in it.
Since birth we're bombarded with the norm that men should neither feel nor express feeling. We're taught that we have to be strong, and strong means we shouldn't talk about all that mushy stuff. It's socially looked down upon for men to be soft. Right or wrong, social norms are tough to overcome.
Your man is heavily influenced by both biology and society to keep what few emotions he has under wraps. One consequence of everything written above is our incredible ability to bottle up emotions until we eventually burst. That being said, communication in any relationship is key. Even if he hates talking about his feelings he needs to both be capable and willing to do so. Learning at its core is just working to rewire our brains for the desired effect. If he struggles with opening up to you, give him time and help him learn.
We're not hopeless. We can learn. You know men that have. With your patience, encouragement and help, change is within reach.
David Snell is a writer for the FamilyShare team, specializing in humor writing. He's trilingual (English, Spanish and Movie Quotes), passionate about all things communication and is always up for learning something new.