By Rori Raye
Have you ever pretended that everything was OK, or felt afraid to tell a man how angry you were because you didn’t want to rock the boat? If so, then you probably believe the cliché that men hate talking about feelings. You’ve come to accept that it’s a normal thing for men—they were just born that way.
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Unfortunately, believing this myth prevents you from ever truly connecting with a man.
The truth is that men want and are able to open up and share —especially with a woman — but it all depends on how a man feels in her presence. A man doesn’t like emotional intensity or hidden tension. That kind of “drama” pushes a man away and makes him want to clam up and withdraw.
In order to feel comfortable, a man needs to know that he’s safe with you. He’ll feel safe when he sees that you are in touch with your feelings and able to express them in a clear, non-judgmental way.
You can make any man feel safe enough to be honest and open with you by taking these steps:
Step 1: Stop pretending
Pretending to feel confident or stuffing down negative emotions in order to avoid conflict is absolutely the wrong approach. It will make a man feel uneasy around you because he’ll sense that you’re pretending. If he feels uneasy, he can’t be honest with you about what he’s feeling.
This is why trying to look confident when you don't feel confident doesn't work. Or, why pretending you don't care — when it's eating at you — doesn't work. A man will sense you’re pretending and it will push him away.
Instead, allow yourself to be vulnerable and authentic.
Step 2: Share your feelings without making him responsible
So how do you allow yourself to be vulnerable and authentic, when you feel like a confused, angry pile of insecurities?
You do it by sharing your feelings without making him responsible to fix them for you.
The next time you’re tempted to tell a man what to do or tell him what you think — stop yourself.
Go with what’s going on inside you. Feel your heart beat, your stomach gurgle, your chest tighten because you’re frustrated.
Feel yourself getting giddy or anxious because you don’t know what to say.
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Feel the most concrete, real, simple thing you can, and communicate that. Say “I’m really sad right now,” rather than “I think you spend too much time at work.”
This kind of authenticity is the missing piece that we never learned as children. We learned how to get along, how to influence others, how to look and do good, but we never learned how to even make contact with what we really feel—much less ever say it simply and without judgment and criticism.