You talk and talk; you tell him your fears, desires, dreams, what you ate for lunch. He, on the other hand, doesn’t give it up that easily. While you’re a constant stream of thought and feelings, his jabber tap often runs dry. You often wonder what’s going on behind those eyes. And you want to know, how can you get him to open up?
The truth is, males aren’t brought up to talk about their feelings, so when you ask him to talk about what’s going on inside, it often doesn’t compute. “Men hesitate to talk because they are afraid that they won’t say the right things or they’re concerned that they won’t express themselves in the right way,” says Psychologist Karen Sherman, author of Marriage Magic! Find It, Keep It, Make It Last. According to Sherman, men bite their tongues because they’re afraid of being vulnerable.
Men need to feel safe in order to let their guard down. With loving praise and the right prodding (i.e. the tips below), you can get your special man to unlock the door to his fortress of solitude. Be ready for an earful!
Timing is everything.
Feel him out, if you want to talk and he’s stressed out, it’s better to give him space. If there’s something specific you want to address and he’s an early riser, you may have a better chance of talking if you approach him while the birds are still chirping. Finally, don’t start an in-depth convo in a crowded nightclub where the music is booming. Choose your venue. Perhaps, a quiet park or a remote table in a restaurant, suggests relationship expert April Masini, author of Think & Date Like A Man.
Engage in activity.
Guys are more into action so you have a better chance of having a heart to heart while doing the laundry or fixing dinner. “The most intimate conversations sometimes happen while both people are doing chores that are brainless,” adds Masini. The point is, you want him to be relaxed. Post-coital is also an option since sex in itself is a bonding activity.
If you’re talking, you’re not listening. This is a hard one to remember gals, but if you keep interrupting him to express yourself, he will likely retreat into the infamous cave. Give him room to gather his thoughts, speak his mind. Also, it’s not time to multi-task when he finally has decided to open his mouth. Be attentive. And if there’s silence, let it be. “Some people are uncomfortable with the pregnant pause and rush to fill it with inane jibber jabber. Let silences happen,” remarks Masini. Let him be the one to fill the silences. Gently ask questions, this shows that you’re actively listening and it draws him out.
Don’t rush to judge.
He’s finally talking so it’s best not to react negatively to what he’s saying. Many women listen to the stories that men tell only to respond by telling him how he’s been looking at it wrong. Remember, he wants to feel acceptance and acknowledgment — for who he is and not for who you want him to be. Plus, you want him to be honest right; say what is really on his mind and in his heart? If you defend yourself, scrunch your face like a prune or gasp in horror, you will likely affect his feelings of safety. Be patient with him and try to let go of your expectations. Instead, use your body language in a positive way. Nod. Smile. And yet be genuine too.
Let Go of The Past.
Have you ever had a “discussion” with your partner that ended up turning into a litany of past grievances. You suddenly recall that hurtful thing he told you the other week. Men cringe when they feel this coming. They fear that their words are going to be held against them so they keep their lips pursed. The past is done with. And as frustrating as he makes you feel, remember it takes two to tango. It’s more useful to notice the roles being played in the relationship and the ways in which all of us become stuck in patterns that we don’t know how to get out of.
Set an Example.
The best way to help a man open up is to open yourself. Speak from the heart. When we engage in a discussion, the objective should be the ‘greater good.’ You’re not bringing up something in order to criticize, but because you want to break patterns and evolve your spirit. Right? The people we attract in life serve as mirrors; they reflect different parts of ourselves that need addressing.
Finally, remember the love!
Use kind words and genuine praise.
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