- Gender and Relationships
Is His Internalizing Keeping You At A Distance?
Many men who internalize their feelings think that when you are in a relationship you should never fight. Really? Hmmm…talk about a potential ticking time bomb and heart attack waiting to happen. Yikes!
Communication is the most important thing (next to trust) that is needed in order to have a successful and healthy relationship. When you are upset about something, you should be able to communicate your feelings—and hopefully the person you are talking to will listen, actually hear you, and participate in the conversation. Keeping those feelings internalized only causes unneeded stress and emotional walls to go up—eventually leading to bad outcomes physically and emotionally.
Many people believe that if there is any negativity, upset feelings, or fighting in a relationship then that classifies that a relationship isn't doing well or will end. Not true. Every healthy relationship will have its ups and downs, especially if you spend a lot of time together. It's unrealistic to think that you should never disagree or argue.
Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that you want to be with someone that you argue with ninety percent of the time, however in reality, sometimes arguments happens. Arguing isn't a sign that your relationship is bad. It's actually healthy to argue occasionally as long as it's from a place of love and validation. When you never argue, that's when you need to worry. Internalizing your emotions will only set yourself up for the destruction of your relationship. By not talking about problems and issues you are only creating more problems and issues.
What I have found is that men who internalize their feelings have a lot of unneeded stress in their lives which ends up causing the women they are with to eventually emotionally distance themselves from the relationship. By not voicing how you feel and your concerns you are doing a disservice to your relationship and more importantly, to yourself.
No one is perfect and how can you or the woman you are with grow in the relationship if you say nothing—except only voicing the positive things? Keeping your feelings internalized just so that you don't cause an argument is extremely unhealthy.
Being afraid to communicate will cause a gap between you and your significant other. By opening up, you are helping yourself release and let go so that you can move on and grow as a person as well as in the relationship.
I know a few guys who internalize their emotions. All of these men are divorced and seem clueless as to why their wives either cheated or just left them. Not that I condone cheating, however, after I have got to know these men I have realized that they are all poor listeners as well. They spend so much time internalizing that when they are upset all their blood rushes to their heads—from holding how they really feel in—so when you are expressing something you are upset about they don't have the capacity to fully listen. Great. What women wouldn't get frustrated in this type of scenario?
These men will also have shallow or possibly heavy quick breathing when they gets upset and will also get very stand-offish and defensive when you discuss anything that upsets them—often, shutting down the conversation rather quickly. The only problem is that they will work hard to not show you, but if you are paying attention—and hopefully you are—you can see that they are internalizing by their face, body language and characteristic.
How do you know he's internalizing:
- He won't say much when you are talking
- He will feel you are talking "at him" verses with him
- He will get very red in the face and upset but not say anything
- He will "agree" or tell you "I know" but will do nothing to change the situation
- He will be more emotional than other men
- He will have a lot of unneeded stress in his life—caused by himself
- He's taken advantage a lot—by work, friends, women and even his children
- He will tell you that he's very supportive but won't actually encourage you to do better
- He doesn't sleep well at night or is nocturnal
- He has a hard time setting boundaries
- He will either have his arms crossed, clench his fists or his legs will shake up and down—rather quickly
- He's easily bullied—by his job or an ex
- He doesn't like or deal with confrontation at all
- He's usually a really nice guy—in his situation that's not always a great thing
- He will undersell himself a lot because he's afraid to speak up
- He's a horrible listener
- He doesn't have much of a backbone
- Instead of communicating to fix the problem he stays in denial—hoping it will eventually fix itself
***As with all my lists, if he encompasses at least three or more of these attributes then you might be dealing with a man who internalizes.
Being with a guy who internalizes his emotions makes you feel as though he doesn't care. It's hard to talk to someone who just sits there and passive aggressively agrees with everything you say. No woman wants a "yes" man. We want a guy who has an opinion, who will be there for us emotionally and who acknowledges and talks to us when something is wrong. When a guy chooses to internalize instead of discussing things, it puts an emotional wedge between you and him—causing you to become distant.
Dealing with a guy who internalizes his emotions is also very hard on a mental level for women. You can start to become weary about wanting to talk to him about anything that's bothering you—afraid to say something because even though he doesn't communicate much, his stressful, upset facial expressions do. Also, when you do talk to him it will consistently feel as if he isn't listening, because he isn't—again, he's too busy keeping his emotions balled up inside. This can not only become mentally challenging, but also extremely exhausting to deal with.
Ladies, being with a guy who internalizes what he feels can be extremely frustrating, especially if communication is important to you. It's healthy to be able to discuss things—including difficult issues. Open communication is important for any relationship to flourish.
Bottom line, if your relationship is important and you truly love and care for him, know that helping him to internalize less will take time and A LOT of patience—a learned behavior like this won't go away overnight. With you leading by example, encouraging him to open up and building trust between you both, the distance you're feeling will hopefully start to minimize and the love between you will become stronger again.