A Guy Explains Why Men Struggle To Open Up Emotionally

I’m sure all of you ladies have come across a guy or two in your lives who were a bit stunted when it came to getting deep about feelings and it’s incredibly frustrating. Of course, the question is why so many of us are unwilling to open up emotionally. I assure you that we’re not doing it on purpose just to annoy you and that there are legit reasons for this. I can’t promise that you’ll find them to be good ones, but here’s why it happens.

  1. Old patriarchal habits die hard I’m not defending the patriarchy, let’s be clear about that. Having said that, guys of a certain age were told growing up that they shouldn’t show emotion, that it made them look weak and less masculine. We’re told to hide our emotions and that can be hard to let go of when we get older. Obviously, it’s an antiquated notion that shouldn’t be passed down. However, it has left a lot of modern-day men unwilling or unable to open up emotionally.
  2. A bad past experience Memories can be a powerful thing. If a guy had a bad experience letting someone in before he met you, it can make it even harder to get him to do so again. It’s possible that a past girlfriend did something wrong and now he’s a closed book. You may have noticed that it doesn’t take much for a guy to shut down. One bad experience can be all it takes for a guy to start bottling his emotions.
  3. Fear of rejection What if we open up emotionally and that person doesn’t like what we say? Admittedly, that sounds a little silly, but it’s a legitimate fear for some guys. We see opening up to someone as risky. We’re not always sure what we’re going to say or how someone might react. It’s sharing a part of yourself to someone that they might not like, and that can be a scary thing for a lot of guys. Of course, part of that fear probably comes from not opening up that often.
  4. Fear of being judged As I’m sure you ladies know, a lot of guys are shallow. That means we care about what people think. Therefore, if we open up emotionally and share things we never have before, we’re going to worry about being judged. It’s a matter of being comfortable with the other person and trusting them. If that’s missing from the equation, most guys aren’t going to fear that they’ll be judged on everything they say. If that’s the case, most of us will prefer not to say anything at all.
  5. Fear of being vulnerable This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but men don’t like being vulnerable, and nothing puts us in that position more than opening up about our deep feelings. For whatever reason, a lot of guys just aren’t willing to put themselves in that position. It feels like we’re losing control of a situation by becoming vulnerable. Admittedly, that’s a somewhat entitled perspective to take and the guy should work past it, but it does happen.
  6. Not being with the right person As I mentioned above, guys need to trust a person in order to open up to them. We’re not going to do it with just anybody. There needs to be a level of comfort talking to that person and being around them. If you’re wondering why a particular guy won’t let you in, sadly, the answer could be you. It’s possible that he doesn’t view you as the right person to be vulnerable around. That may sound harsh, but it’s the truth. If he doesn’t think you’ll understand him, he’s going to be reluctant to open up with you.
  7. Preferring to let our actions speak You know the expression that actions speak louder than words, right? Well, a lot of guys tend to live by that. We may not open up with our words, but we try to do it with our actions. Part of this relates back to being told not to show emotions. It’s simply easier to let out our feelings through actions than getting soppy with words. It may not be the perfect solution to getting a guy to open up to you, but paying close attention to a what he does can give you a clue to how he’s feeling inside
  8. Being out of touch with our emotions Quite frankly, some guys just don’t understand their emotions enough to open up. For guys who have been taught to suppress their feelings, finding a way to express emotions in a healthy way can be tricky. They may not know how they’re feeling or how to express it. If they don’t understand those emotions, there’s no way for them to open up to other people. I don’t want to say that some guys are a lost cause when it comes to emotions, but that’s probably the case.
Bryan Zarpentine graduated from Syracuse University and lives in upstate New York, where he writes largely about the world of sports. His work has appeared on Franchise Sports and WSN, among others. You can find him on Twitter @BZarp.