Posted in Gender

Reasons He Won’t Open Up To You

It comes up all the time, “he won’t take to me! he won’t tell me what he wants!” You can analyse and over-analyse this all you want, but there are many reason he won’t open up to you. Some of them are about him and some of them, though you might not want to hear it, are about you. Here are the most common reasons men don’t always open up to the women in their lives.

It’s Because Men Are Not Supposed To Open Up

The toxic idea that men are supposed to bottle it up and keep a stiff upper lip is one of the societal expectations of being a man. Like it or not, this attitude comes as much from women as it does from men. He has learnt to suppress his emotions because he has been pushed and pressured to do so ever since he started to become an adult. Because despite that some women claim they want men to open up, he feels the risks are greater than the rewards. You might lose respect for him. You might see him as less of a man. He will feel weak, pathetic and unable to cope. These are very real fears.

He Has Learnt That His Opinion is of No Value To You

This is one where I ask you, dear female reader, to take a long hard look at yourself. Do you ask his opinion on things purely so you can change his mind? Do you use your mother, your friends etc to gang up on him to attempt to not simply see your point of view, but to accept it too? Do you keep going on at him about it until he falls into silence and submission? Do you shame him for believing different from you? If so, is it any wonder he won’t open up to you? Would he describe any of your behaviour using the following words: henpecking, browbeating, nagging?

He Knows You Will Over-React and It’s Not Worth The Bother

When he criticises your bad behaviour, how do you react? Do you accept you have done wrong and apologise? Or perhaps you cry, sulk, give him the cold shoulder and put him on a sex ban for a month? Your over-reaction is another potential reason why he won’t open to you. You’re making his difficulties, his problems, his dissatisfaction with the relationship about you. You are putting your thoughts and feelings above his. You are saying that his feelings only matter so long as they will not cause you upset. So he shuts down because it’s all he can do.

So What Can You Do?

Despite not commenting at GMP any more, I still sometimes read their content. Despite being a harsh critic, it still occasionally throws up the odd worthwhile nugget, like this article. In it, one of reasons given is that men stop communicating because “Women don’t believe that they do things that can hurt men… Men take the blame for a lot of what’s wrong with relationships and marriage while women take credit for making men’s’ lives better. “

“What do I say to him to get him to talk to me?” is completely the wrong question. Here, you focus too much on you. You are wondering what you should do or say to get him to open up. Repeat after me:

It’s not about me, it’s about him. It’s not about me, it’s about him. It’s not about me, it’s about him. It’s not about me, it’s about him. It’s not about me, it’s about him. It’s not about me, it’s about him.

Try a different approach. Don’t talk to him and certainly don’t talk at him. Listen and be prepared to listen to an answer you might not want to hear. When he is convinced that you will not only hear the words and respond, but actually listen to what he is saying to you, will he open up.

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Author:

I go by the name of Frank Speaking. My blog "In the Mind of Men" (former name Chin Up, Chest High) started out as a chronicle of my mental health recovery. Now it is a forum where I discuss issues related to male mental health.

7 thoughts on “Reasons He Won’t Open Up To You

  1. A further point: women can often over-analyse and demand more communication where, to him, there is no conversation to be had. When we say “nothing is the matter”, women generally mean the opposite. Men, on the other hand, could mean literally nothing is the matter, or that the thing bothering him is too minor to worry about. Jon’s big one is that when he is tired or in pain he looks furious, even when he isn’t actually angry. He can be really happy, but a bit tired, and look like he’s about to kill someone. Even to this day, sometimes I worry that he’s actually angry, until I remember the number of damaged joints he has and quickly offer to get him a hot water bottle and a tea. So if a guy insists that nothing at all is the matter, or that he isn’t sad or angry, or that it’s just something small… maybe he’s being honest. Not everything has to mean something deeper.

    1. lol! I am just the same. Sometimes I look angry (according to my gf) when I’m concentrating. Apparently, I look “terrifying” (her words) when I am really involved in something – whether that’s work, a book or a video game, or simply trying to figure out where to go at a junction when driving.

      We do communicate in different ways, but I think not enough effort is made to understand how men communicate. It all seems to be about changing our behaviour to be more like women.

      It can’t and won’t work like that.

      1. Women can have “resting bitch face”, men can have “resting rage face”, I guess. 😛

        And many women, myself included, need to learn and relearn that men generally communicate directly and openly, and not to try and read too much into every word.

  2. Not sure if this is relevant but I find *most* men are able to move on from conflict a lot sooner with greater ease than women. Women tend to fester, over-analyze, over talk, read into, assume, assign meaning ad-nauseum.

    Whereas men, meh! They get over sh*t pretty quickly. Men have a misunderstanding with a buddy… maybe say a few harsh things to one another and before you know it, they’re sitting at the bar, slapping one another on the back.

    Women?

    Fughedaboudit! We can carry sh*t around for EVA!

    1. lol yes, there is a meme on Facebook that shows men’s and women’s friendships.

      The women are like “OMG, we’ve known each other five minutes. I adore you! We’re going to be BFF 4EVA!” Caption reads: Lasts Six Months Maximum

      The men are like “hey there, shit for brains!” “Hello arsehole.”

      The caption reads: Friendship lasts 50 years

      So yes, I know what you mean. We have a blow out and we’re over it.

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