You are most certainly not the first woman in the world to ask the question, “Do men have feelings?” Whether it was because of your experience of growing up with an emotionally absent father, a toxic relationship or just a childhood best friend who refuses to cry in front of you, it is no shocker that you are asking this question.
It is a commonly known fact that in most situations, men have difficulty expressing emotions as compared to women. There may be many reasons for that. But the biggest and most common reason that is the same for all men is that societal norms reinforce such toxic behavior to the point where men bottle up their emotions only for them to explode one day, leading to irreparable damages.
Men feel an inability to express emotions because they’re afraid to feel vulnerable in front of anyone. Men are expected to be macho and to have it all together. Their gender is considered a definition of it. But the truth is that we’re all a little broken in our own ways and it’s unfair to expect everyone to be okay all the time because we don’t know what they’re going through. Besides, an expression of feelings is not something that can be monopolized by one or the other gender. At the end of the day, it is a human feeling that is common to all beings.
Do Men Have Feelings?
Of course, they do. Just as much as women, if not more. Just because emotional men are so rare to see, it does not mean that the rest of the pack does not possess any emotions at all. Turbulence in life comes to everyone, and thus everyone is allowed to have feelings and complex emotions about the same.
The only real cause for concern here is that men hardly know how to express themselves. In their head and in their hearts, they feel things just like us, but don’t show it because they want to be seen as an alpha male. But despite that, we are left pondering the male emotions psychology, constantly trying to deduce what’s in their head and if they actually feel anything or not.
How do guys act when they are hurt or heartbroken? They simply tell no one. They might go out for a drink with the boys, act like nothing big has happened, and move on from the same as if an emotional setback meant nothing to them. But that’s hardly ever the case. He just puts on a brave face because he was never taught to do otherwise. “Boys don’t cry” isn’t just a mere aphorism. It’s a toxic value that has depleted the mental health of many men around us.
Why Guys Don’t Express Their Feelings
This difficulty in expressing emotions and ultimately suppressing them can be quite detrimental to one’s state of well-being and even one’s relationships. In fact, statistics indicate that over 30% of men will experience a period of depression at some point or another during their lifetime, and about 9% of men report having feelings of depression or anxiety every day.
It’s time we do a better job of trying to understand how men express their feelings because sometimes there is a subtle cry for help, but no one to lend a hand or offer a shoulder, or to at least help identify the signs that someone may have anger issues or other underlying mental illnesses. It’s time we become a little more vigilant and help men express themselves. There is no such thing as emotional men. All men are emotional.
Why Do Men Hide Their Feelings?
A few days ago, I shared someone’s post on Facebook. The post talked about the musings of a woman and her husband, in their respective diaries, about a particular evening, mainly focusing on how men can’t express emotions. The woman started her diary with, “Do men have feelings?” as the first question, and then continued the rest of the story.
The diary of the wife
The diary of the wife notes that when supposed to meet for dinner at a restaurant she arrived a bit late after a day’s shopping with her friends and found the husband lost in thought, sitting quietly at a table. All efforts by her to get him to open up failed. The man kept saying that nothing had happened and everything was perfectly fine with him.
This had happened before on several occasions – her husband would often keep things to himself and that would frustrate her. She had read about the proven benefits of counseling and even contemplated trying couple’s therapy a few times, to bring him out of his shell a little, and get him to talk to her.
That led the woman on a thought trip about what her man was trying to hide. Was he angry on account of her late arrival? Was there anything else that she did that upset him? Even after returning home, she found no change in the husband’s mood. She started thinking about why his thoughts were somewhere else and went to bed wondering if the thoughts were about someone else.
The diary of the man
Here, we give you quite an anticlimactic ending. The diary of the man just mentioned that his motorcycle wasn’t starting and he couldn’t fathom why!
Being unable to express feelings can be a harrowing experience
While, irrespective of gender, a handful of my friends liked the post, and found it funny, or sad, one friend of mine had a point to make. She said, “Men need to learn to express themselves, a motorcycle not working is not the same as ‘nothing’, and women need to stop assuming and taking the onus of things that go wrong. There’s a far bigger problem here than just a lack of communication or overthinking. “
While what women need to do is best left to women, her input led me to think about what men need to do. And even as I wrote back saying that I was in no mood to argue about it, at least in that post of mine, it led me to reflect on whether we cannot express ourselves. Maybe this trouble in expressing emotions comes from being ignorant. What could be the other reasons men have difficulty expressing emotions? How do guys express their feelings, then? Continue reading to find out.
Related Reading: The Key To Success Is Emotional Stability
How does a man show vulnerability when they are raised to not be sensitive?
A man’s inability to express emotions comes from the fact that they are encouraged, from childhood, not to be in touch with their feminine side. What society doesn’t understand is that all humans, irrespective of their gender, have a feminine and masculine side, and it is important to explore both sides.
Moreover, when it comes to something such as emotionality, why even consider it masculine or feminine? Is it not just a regular human experience? But men are told to stay away from things that are ‘girly’ or feminine, which actually creates two problems. The first is that being emotional can get you labeled as effeminate. And the second is that boys who have emotions and show them are considered weak.
They don’t know how to talk about their feelings
One reason why guys don’t express their feelings is that they don’t know how to. In fact, they are discouraged from sharing their fears and vulnerabilities because it will make them look weak. And apparently, being weak goes against everything that a man should be.
Boys are told not to cry, not to wear certain colors, and stay away from any activity or art form that isn’t considered manly. They can’t be dancers, they can’t wear pink, and they can’t even shed tears. In other words, they can’t choose to be exactly who they want to be. These pressures can further make them suppress their feelings. It’s this fact that keeps them from learning the ways to express love to someone – be it their partner, child, or even friend.
The impact of media can lead to men’s inability to express emotions
The media shows men in a certain light and reinforces stereotypes that are toxic and even slightly degrading. Men are unable to express feelings because the men on television don’t. According to the media, all men need to have perfect six-pack abs and muscles and work toward buying a fancy house and a car to impress women. Having difficulty expressing emotions isn’t cool. Hello, it’s the 21st century! When are we going to let go of these stereotypes and allow these men to just be who they want to be?
These are only a few but powerful reasons that account for men’s inability to express emotions. That’s why if you’re ever left wondering, “Why can’t I express my feelings?” or as a woman, if you are wondering, “Do men have feelings?”, after a fight with your partner, know that it’s not just you. Our society has made things a certain way for us. But having said that, you can get out of this bubble – be the change you want to see in the world around you.
Being a real man is not about being macho. Rather it is about being sensitive, considerate, and chivalrous and also, emotionally vulnerable to your partner. So men, how much longer are you going to bottle up your emotions and let them eat you up?
Related Reading: Reasons Why Indian Men Do Not Communicate Their Feelings
How Do Men Express Their Feelings?
Even though verbally expressing your feelings is perhaps the best way to do it, as discussed, men don’t often indulge in that. However, as women, it is up to us to take note of how a guy might be trying to convey his feelings in tacit ways, which can go unnoticed very easily.
We bring to you this relationship advice today to help you better understand how your partner might be expressing his emotions and reaching out to you, without you realizing it. Remember, if you don’t notice it easily, it’s not your fault and it definitely does not make you a bad partner. But do keep the following in mind:
1. How does a man show vulnerability? Look into his eyes
When you look into a man’s eyes if he is sad or feeling emotional, you will stop asking the question, “Do men have feelings?” You will know that they definitely do. The eyes are a window into the soul and nobody exemplifies that better than men. Next time, during an argument or when trying to be supportive to your partner, look into his eyes and you’ll feel what he feels.
2. Their silences speak far more than words
Has he suddenly gone quiet after a major argument? Did you notice him being reclusive and stop talking to you and taking that time for himself? Possibly, he is angry, but when a man goes quiet, there is a higher chance that he is feeling disappointed and sad. This sadness further worsens his inability to express himself to you. In such a case, allow him some space in the relationship for a while so he can think. But do know that you will have to reach out to him and draw him out of his shell eventually.
3. How do guys process emotions? In their physicality
More often than not, the male emotions psychology extends to a man’s physical health as well. If he’s been undergoing work stresses or is dealing with relationship stressors, you will eventually see the physical manifestation of it in him. Headaches, frequent backaches, and constant fatigue are some ways that men express how sad and upset they feel.
Related Reading: 11 Physical Signs He Is Cheating On You
4. Violence and anger
Driving rashly all of a sudden? Littering out of his window even though he has never done that before? Breaking a vase after getting home from work and then running off to the gym to blow some steam? It is not uncommon for men to express their feelings in such a manner.
Since they can’t talk about their feelings, they engage their other faculties to express frustration and anger. Instead of coming home and telling you about how he is upset with his boss, he might just throw the TV remote to the ground or start speeding when he is driving. While such behavior cannot be condoned or encouraged, it can certainly help you get a sense of when your partner is dealing with uncomfortable emotions.
How do guys process emotions? We hope these four factors have helped you understand it better. Clearly, men have grown up with their own share of traumas too, and as women, frankly, we can only do little to help them. However, now that there is more awareness on the subject, it is possible that things will soon start turning around for the better and we can create a safe space for all the men around us.
You have difficulty opening up to people and talking about your emotions. This makes it difficult for you to talk to people and tell them clearly how you feel. Not only do you become inarticulate, but it also makes it much more difficult for you to introspect. This could also lead to self-esteem and trust issues.
Use positive self-talk and start having conversations with people who understand you well. To start off, you could even consider journaling. Slowly, then you can move on to spending more time with those that love you. It is important that you realize how much people love you in order for you to trust them and share things with them.