We’ve all heard it a million times, “My man doesn’t have emotions”.
Yes, it can be frustrating when men don’t show emotion as much as you’d like them to, but it doesn’t mean that they don’t feel them. They’re just wired differently.
Daphne Rose Kingma, author of The Men We Never Knew explains it like this;
"We've dismissed men as the feelingless gender—we've given up on them. Because of the way boys are socialized, their ability to deal with emotions has been systematically undermined. Men are taught, point-by-point, not to feel, not to cry, and not to find words to express themselves."
Barbara Markway Ph.D., in a recent article for Psychology Today, explains how men subconsciously learn to divert their emotions, so that they don’t have to deal with them on the surface. She outlines 3 ways in which men channel their feelings in a subconscious effort to avoid expressing them;
“Men may convert stereotypically feminine feelings, such as sadness or vulnerability, into feelings like anger or pride—feelings more socially acceptable for them to experience.
Men may shift their feelings into another arena. Men may express emotions only in places where they feel safe, and where the expression of feelings is considered acceptable. Just look at how men act at sports events: It's not uncommon to see them express great exuberance and affection, giving each other hugs and high-fives.
Men may experience their feelings through physical complaints. It's not uncommon to see men experience their feelings through things such as headaches are backaches. You may know of a man who gets headaches only on the weekends, or becomes sick during vacations. Why does this happen? Because as long as men are working, they can cut off their feelings. Without the structure of work, however, their feelings and needs surface, and may be expressed through physical symptoms.”
Dr. Markway goes on to explain that societal perception also plays a major role in how men express themselves;
“Men are in a "double-bind" when it comes to expressing emotions. Society encourages men to express their feelings, but when they do, their partners are often petrified, if not horrified. Women, they may believe, want their partners to show their feelings, but only certain feelings, and only in doses they can handle. In fact, results from numerous research studies tells us that men may be right to be wary of women who implore them to show their true feelings. Men who deviate from the traditional masculine norm by being emotionally expressive and talking about their fears are often judged as being poorly adjusted.
Men’s feelings may take everyone off guard. Part of the problem for some men may be that they have silenced their feelings for so long that they haven't developed resources for handling them when they do arise. Such unplanned, unexpected emotion can often prove overwhelming.”
So next time he just grunts when you give him a gift that you expected to knock his socks off, don’t get mad. Just understand that, while he may be all warm and fuzzy on the inside, he’s wired to not necessarily show you that.
Either that, or you maybe you just didn’t push the right emotional button. For tips on doing that, check out our article on writing the perfect personalized message.
If you think you’re ready to make the plunge on that emotion-filled gift of a lifetime, you can start shopping here…
Or, if you’d like some tips on how to identify the gift that suits him best, we’ve got a great article on that, here…