How To Get Your Partner To Open up

Just like most men I was not open with my emotions when I was growing
up or when I got married. However, over time I’ve slowly been able to
understand why it’s important for a man to open up his feelings and how a
wife can help her husband open up emotionally.

How to get your husband to open up emotionally? Your husband will learn to be open emotionally as you:

  • Gently help him understand his feelings.
  • Earn his trust.
  • Accept his feelings.

To best help your husband open up to you emotionally, you’ll need to know why men hide their feelings. 


 

Why Do Men Hide Their Emotions?

Men certainly have emotions, in fact, some people argue that men are
even more emotional than women but they just don’t express or share
their emotions. Why is that? Some people say that men are more private
as a result of societal conditioning. Others say that men are this way
naturally. I believe both to be true.

The first (at least personally for me) is that my feelings are
special and not everyone deserves to know them. I have been in very
emotional situations with people I love, but do not trust with my
emotions. As a result, I’ve felt that I had to hide them.

Men often feel like they cannot share their emotions. So what do they
do? They distract themselves. Why do you think so many men play video
games? It serves as a great distraction. Or if they don’t want to
distract themselves they can participate in the one activity where it is
acceptable for a man to show his emotions: sports.

Sports are a great way for a man to let go of his emotions. Why is
it okay for a man to shed a tear when he wins the ‘most valuable player’
award but not when he feels lonely or overwhelmed? Watch any
professional or even local sport and you will see all sorts of
emotions that men play with. You’ll see happiness, disappointment, and
discouragement. You may even see some guys lose control of their
emotions and turn violent.

Speaking of which, one reason that men can be hot tempered is because
anger is the one emotion seen as “manly”. Men can hide their other
emotions and let it out in the only way that they either know how, or
the only way that seems acceptable… anger. Obviously anger needs to be
controlled, Which leads to emotions being held in, which is also
unhealthy. The only solution is to express emotions in a healthy way.
The healthiest way is to open up and verbalize those feelings. So how do
you open him up?

If you’ve been married for years you’ve probably been either offended
or disappointed when your husband won’t open up to you. The good news
is that there is a lot you can do for him as his wife.

Accept his feelings. Just like anyone else, a man needs to be
accepted. If he tries to open up to you and you do not accept his
feelings he will not trust you with his feelings again. He will feel
rejected and will shut down. You need to make sure that he has a safe
place. That doesn’t mean that you have to like or agree with everything
he says, it just means that you need to acknowledge and understand.
Don’t over react, quickly dismiss or ignore what he shares with you.
Don’t defend yourself, just listen. don’t shut down, remain open. Don’t
make him regret what he’s shared.

Another reason a man doesn’t share his feelings with his wife could
be that in his eyes she is too precious to risk hurting or offending. An
example of this would be a man who feels uncomfortable around his in
laws but doesn’t want to say anything to his wife about her family lest
he hurt her feelings. While his intentions are good this ultimately does
more harm than good and results in disconnection and lack of emotional
intimacy.

Earn his trust by helping him understand his feelings. Another
possible explanation as to why your husband wouldn’t share with you his
because he himself doesn’t know what he is feeling. It is not uncommon
for a man to feel something and not know what it is. I call this
“feeling off”. Because of the taboo nature of men and emotions we
simply aren’t aware of all the emotions as much as women are. If you ask
a man about colors he might say something like “black, brown, blue,
green, red, yellow and white”. If you ask a woman she might say “Beige,
Maroon, indigo, periwinkle or smaragdine” A man will think of emotions
as happy, sad, and angry. When in reality there are so many more:
Disappointed, overwhelmed, unsupported, and a whole host of others.

Tips

Listen– When your husband does open and talk to you
make sure that you really listen. listen to what he’s saying, the
message he’s saying and his body language. Put yourself in his shoes and
try to see from his point of view.

Gently prod– He may need you to gently prod and ask
questions. Emphasis on the word “gently”. If you push too hard you will
only make the problem worse. Don’t make it an interrogation. Use your
intuition as a wife to find the right balance. Make sure to do it out of
love and concern and not resentment or bitterness.

Talk side to side– Some people find it easier to
talk about difficult subjects if you’re not face to face. So go on a
drive or take a walk together. See if that makes it any easier for the
two of you.

Set the example– Be open yourself, but not
overbearing. Don’t just be vulnerable, but show him so he can’t not see
that you are vulnerable. He will be more likely to be vulnerable if he
sees that you are.

Start small– Start with the small stuff and work
towards the big stuff. Ask him and then listen, and then ask the next
question and listen. This allows him to share the smaller, less
important things and then slowly move up the ladder to bigger more
important things.

Don’t make assumptions– Just because he’s a quiet
guy doesn’t mean that he’s upset. Don’t tell yourself false stories. If
you think something is off ask him what it is or help him find out what
it might be. You need to trust him and what he says.

Why you need to get your husband to open up to you.

You need to get your husband to open up to you because he needs you.
He desperately needs you. He may not know it but he will once he gets
through to the other side. He feels stuck, he’s either suppressing and
denying his emotions, or he’s distracting himself just to survive. He
needs you to help him out. He needs you to help him find a healthy way
to know and express his emotions. As his wife you are the best person
for the job. You have the biggest chance of success because of your
relationship. You also need to help him be open because being open is
being honest. Does that mean that if he’s not open to you that he’s
being dishonest? well yeah it actually does. It sounds harsh but think
about it. If you keep asking your husband why he keeps avoiding your
questions or why he doesn’t tell you how he feels is he being honest?
No. This is why he needs you, to make honesty a part of your
relationship.

Learning how to express my emotions has been one of the biggest
blessings since I’ve been married. I used to hide what I was feeling,
but that’s clearly not healthy and not sustainable. Eventually it will
find it’s way out in a bad way. Now, I feel a lot more at ease sharing
what I’m feeling, I’ve expanded my knowledge of which emotions I feel.
And most of all, I have more emotional intimacy with my wife. When
vulnerability is accepted it leads to closeness. You really can’t afford
to not do it. I’m not perfect at it but I’ve come a long way. It’s not
an overnight thing either. It’s a process. Take your time, be patient,
and learn from your mistakes.

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