How To Deal With An Emotionally Distant Guy

Women have to deal with all kinds of guys on a daily basis, and it’s not easy. There are gentlemen, pervs, chauvinists, douchebags, the occasional nice guy, guidos etc. But then there’s the guy who’s emotionally distant, or cold. And that’s fine, unless of course you’re dating him. Then it gets slightly harder to deal with, because, as women, we’re generally pretty open about our feelings, and we often expect the same of others. So how do you deal with a guy who you just can’t read?

  1. Understand that it’s not because he doesn’t like you. Some guys just don’t show their emotions. They just don’t. They don’t want you to see them cry or reminisce, and getting them to say “I love you” is harder than opening a goddamn pickle jar. Culturally, they’re just a lot less emotional in general than women, so don’t be offended when your man is being difficult. It may just mean he isn’t ready to show his emotional side yet.
  2. Let him get to know you a bit more before expecting great things.</strong If you barely know each other, he’s probably not even emotionally distant (he’s more likely normal). For some guys, you aren’t going to see their soft side until you’re a real item, so try waiting it out and making him feel comfortable with who you are first. If he sees you opening up to him, it might get him to open up to you.
  3. Don’t try to force him to share his feelings.This includes giving him an ultimatum and telling him if he doesn’t open up to you, you’ll leave. Just as you are emotional, it would be hard for you to stop being emotional. You can’t expect someone to change with the snap of your fingers, so forcing him is just going to push him further away and make him even more self-conscious of himself.
  4. Don’t pressure or nag him.The only emotion you’re going to get out of a guy who you keep nagging at is probably anger. They don’t like being nagged (who does?). By constantly asking him why he won’t tell you what he’s thinking about or how he’s feeling, you’re not getting him to open up, and he might just start resenting you for it altogether. Give him space and let him evolve on his own.
  5. Try to talk to him about why it’s bothering you. Maybe he’s new to relationships in general and doesn’t even know what’s expected of him. Or, he doesn’t realize he’s being emotionally distant and that it bothers you. Try talking seriously about it but don’t go overboard, meaning don’t make him feel bad for being the way he is. Just bring it to his attention and lightly let him know you’d like it if you two could get a little closer, and see what he says.
  6. Don’t hold him to unrealistic standards.If your ex was prone to crying at least once a month over small stuff, don’t expect this new guy to be like that too. An overly emotional man (or a guy who’s as emotional as your average woman) is very, very rare to come by, and usually, it’s scary. If you’re expecting him to start talking about how much he loves his family and shed a tear after watching a Disney movie, then I wonder if this is the first time you’ve met a man in person.
  7. Try to understand where he’s coming from.Did he have a difficult childhood or overbearing parents who constantly told him to “be a man?” Try to learn more about him and why he may be so cold. It could be for several reasons, like he’s afraid of being vulnerable or he thinks being emotional might make you think he’s less of a man. Whatever it is, be understanding and supportive until he’s ready. If he never gets to that point, and you assume he’s irreparably damaged, it’s up to you to decide whether you can deal with it forever.
Chelsey is a freelance writer in NYC. She's pretty normal by today's standards, or at least that's what her mother tells her.