Most men have an extremely difficult time with putting their feelings into words. At a very young age, men are taught that vulnerability is weakness and that sharing feelings is only for females. When men have a tough time identifying and sharing their true feelings with their partner, they can be expressed in an unpleasant manner, resulting in arguments.
Men were not the only ones taught by society that their feelings shouldn’t be shared. A woman who believes their man should not share his feelings and views him as being weak for doing so can be just as detrimental to the relationship. To create honesty and vulnerability in a relationship it takes both individuals to be on the same page.
Consider the Following Scenario:
Mike and Maria are watching a movie and Maria receives an inappropriate late night text from her ex. Mike is beginning to have feelings of jealousy, insecurity, and uncertainty about Maria’s commitment to the relationship. This conversation can go one of two ways based on Mike’s ability to share his feelings and Maria’s reception of those feelings being expressed:
Response 1: Mike heatedly questions Maria’s involvement with her ex and accuses her of being unfaithful. Maria responds, “Why are you such a jealous person!” Mike’s offended because Maria called him jealous and has not acknowledged the text message, resulting in greater feelings of insecurity and anger. You can clearly see where this conversation is heading…
Response 2: Mike recognizes that he’s having feeling’s of insecurity and uncertainty because of the text message. He turns to Maria and calmly tells her, “I’m not questioning your faithfulness to the relationship, but when you receive late night messages from your ex, it sparks up feelings of jealousy and insecurity for me.” Maria assures Mike that she has no interest in interacting with her ex and that she’s fully committed to their relationship.
I know, it’s much easier said than done, however, being honest and expressive with your feelings does not happen over night. It takes self-awareness, trust, and practice. Before Mike is able to express his feelings he needs to know that it’s safe for him to share without being viewed as weak or “unmanly”. In response 2 Mike is able to address the issue beginning with his feelings as opposed to accusations. Also, Maria does an excellent job creating the space for Mike to be honest, perpetuating trust and security in the relationship. When both partners are on the same page about having open conversations without placing any blame or judgment, they are much more likely to get to the core issue and avoid heated altercations.
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