- Gender and Relationships
Is He Not Opening Up To You?
Whether it's about the feelings he is (or isn't) developing—love, future, or something difficult going on in his life. Work, financial stresses, parenting stuff, etc., expressing how he is feeling—can be viewed as a weakness, at least by him, causing him to emotionally shut down and push you away. If a guy cannot open up to you, getting close to him becomes more difficult and moving the relationship to the next level can become impossible.
First of all, it is not weak to express your feelings. It takes courage, strength and trust to be able to talk about difficult situations. Secondly, a true test of any relationship is how the other person deals with what you are sharing. Are they supportive? Are they there for you, or do they judge you and run away?
It is important for a guy to learn to express how he is feeling in order for a relationship to grow. If a guy in unable to share, it can create an uncomfortable distance between the two of you and make you feel self-conscience in continuing to share yourself with him.
How can you connect with a guy who will not open up to you? Opening up = Trust. If a guy cannot open up, could it mean he doesn't trust you? If he does not trust you, how could you ever imagine a future together? If he won't talk about the things that are important and meaningful to him, is this a hint that he may not see you in his future?
Men are different from women. Women share how they are feeling with each other, which in turn, makes it easier for us to express how we are feeling with men. Most men do not express how they are feeling with other men—they will keep their feelings bottled up inside—believing that in time they will figure out things on their own. Many times, if he is unable to share with his close friends, he is also unable to share with you. This can be frustrating, especially if you have opened up about private things going on in your life and he has not. Is this a red flag? It's hard to say...
Depending on how long you have been in a relationship with a guy can determine if his inability to share his feelings with you is, or could potentially be, a Red Flag.
If you have only been together for a few weeks or a couple of months, I wouldn't necessarily hit the panic button or throw in the towel just yet—the relationship is still blossoming, and just like falling in love, these things can sometimes take more time than you actually realize. However, if you have been together for several months or longer—and have told each other, "I love you," and he is still unable to open up to you about anything challenging going on in his life or something weighing on his mind—then yes, this could be an icky preview of his inability to fully let you into his life. This could potentially lead to continual disconnect, distance and heartbreak.
Trust me, being vulnerable is a scary feeling. No one likes to feel vulnerable. It is hard to fully open up and trust that you won't be judged by what you are sharing. That your private conversations won't be talked about with other people, or potentially cause your relationship to end. However, wouldn't you want to know sooner, other than later, if the person you are sharing intimate feelings with, can handle and accept what you are sharing? Will they still want to be with you, once you have opened up?
Not all men are great at communicating. Lack of communication can be due to upbringing, age or maturity level. Complaining about something can be easier for a man, versus communicating feelings—which can seem foreign and unnatural.
A guy can complain about the frustrations he's having with his ex. Complain about the stress he's feeling from his job. Complain about his kid being difficult. Through all of these complaints, he will be unwilling to fully communicate exactly what's going on. Behavior like this can cause it to be difficult to connect and sympathize on an emotional level when it's only surface—no details. When you can't sympathize, the bitching then becomes annoying—making you roll your eyes, and mentally shut down. There is a huge difference between sharing something difficult or challenging, versus consistent whining and complaining.
I once dated a guy who went from sexy to unattractive by the way he dealt with his issues. After a month of dating he opened up to me about problems he was having with his ex-wife—involving his children. Hearing him open up to me, definitely made me feel closer to him. Yay....our relationship was moving in the right direction.
Sadly, his sharing did not stop with just one issue he was having with his ex—it became every issue he was having with her. Time spent together that should have been about us, would turn into a bitch fest about his ex-wife. Each and every time going forward that we would see each other, all he would talk about was his ex-wife. Ugh! Although he would consistently ask me for advice, he would never take any of my suggestions. He bitched, complained and whined so much that I felt as if I was his personal therapist. Yikes! This was definitely not what I signed up for and there were obvious unresolved feelings he still needed to deal with regarding his ex.
If a guy is sharing ex information, it's important that it doesn't take over the relationship you are trying to have with him. If he's unable to separate, he needs to see a therapist versus vomiting his issues on you each and every time you are together. Like I said, sharing is one thing, continually complaining, bitching and whining is another.
Not every guy wants to surface share or bitch. I also dated a guy who was very private regarding his life and any issues he was dealing with. He had a habit of portraying to the world that everything was great—masking the real truth in order to prevent a whirlwind of negativity from entering his life. Although I could see the reasoning behind why he would do this, it still created distance between us. I felt that he didn't trust me enough to be completely open and honest, which was very hurtful. When he finally did open up to me, which I know was extremely hard for him, it made me feel closer to him than words could describe. The more communication we had, the stronger the bond between us became.
Being able to share can also be based on his emotional maturity level. Regardless of age, I have met many men who are in their mid-thirties or older who are emotionally immature. A guy like this will shut down like a five year old kid, versus talking to you about what is really bothering him. Great! He will blame everything around him—his job stresses, his kid issues, his family stuff, in order to avoid communicating (and frankly, string you along emotionally). He is selfish and narcissistic.
When a guy has no problem telling you that he loves you or proclaiming how happy you make him, but will immediately shut down communication (and the time he spends with you) the moment an issue arises, that is a Big Red Flag. A mature man would not leave you in the dark—completely disregarding your feelings.
Ladies, a relationship can only flourish if you can both let down your walls and fully trust one another. It may be tough at times, but with the right guy, opening up is worth it. If he is having a difficult time sharing, communicate that you are there for him when he is ready to talk. If he still
can't open up to you and continually pushes you away, it may be time to give him permanent space.