What Men Worry About (But Never Show)

What Men Worry About (But Never Show)

Society often reinforces an image of men as stoic and unburdened by deep worries. However, beneath the surface, men have insecurities, fears, and anxieties just like anyone else. Here are some common things we often grapple with internally but rarely express (even though yes, we really should).

1. Not feeling “successful” enough

The pressure to be a high-powered, financially secure provider is deeply ingrained, says Dan Bolton, LMHC. Even if doing well, many men compare themselves to other people and worry about falling short of some undefined standard of success. This can fuel a sense of inadequacy and the fear of not measuring up in their own or other people’s eyes.

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2. Concerns about their physical attractiveness

While societal focus on women’s appearance is greater, men aren’t immune to body image concerns. Hair loss, aging, not being muscular enough, – these insecurities can chip away at self-confidence. Yet, society often dismisses the idea that men struggle with this the way women openly do.

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3. Feeling emotionally inadequate or unable to express vulnerability

The outdated idea that “real men” don’t cry or show weakness persists. Many men feel the need to bottle up sadness, anxiety, or fears as showing vulnerability is wrongly equated with a lack of strength or masculinity. This suppression of emotions can take a serious toll on mental health.

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4. Fear of failure and disappointing people

Whether as partners, fathers, friends, or employees, men often carry a heavy weight of responsibility. The fear of failing those who depend on them financially or emotionally can be a source of significant unspoken stress. They might push themselves to the point of burnout rather than risk admitting they can’t always handle everything.

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5. Deep-seated loneliness and longing for genuine connection

Men are sometimes stereotyped as less social than women, but the need for meaningful friendships is universal. Many men secretly struggle with loneliness, longing for close bonds where they can share their burdens and feel understood without the need to constantly perform strength.

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6. Doubts about their adequacy as partners, husbands, and fathers

Handsome young man standing and posing in the streets of Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Even devoted partners may carry a secret fear that they’re not good enough spouses or parents. Worries about providing emotional support, being present enough, or making the right decisions for their families can plague them, especially when there are few cultural spaces for men to openly discuss these kinds of anxieties.

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7. Struggling with body image issues related to strength and physique

Handsome young man in denim shirt standing outdoors.

Not every man aspires to look like a bodybuilder, but there’s pressure to be fit, strong, and physically capable. Worries about appearing weak or out of shape can eat away at men’s self-esteem, leading to unhealthy workout habits or a sense of internal shame.

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8. Uncertainty about their life direction and whether they’re on the “right” path

hipster with coffee crossing street

Society often pushes men to have clear-cut career goals and linear paths to achieving them. Men who feel stuck, unsure of what they want, or forced into a career due to circumstance can experience deep internal turmoil while outwardly projecting an image of having it all figured out.

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9. Concerns about intimate performance and vitality

Worries about performance in the bedroom can be a major source of stress for men, fueled by societal portrayals of constant male sexual readiness. Fears of ED or not being able to satisfy a partner can weigh heavily on their minds and deeply impact self-esteem.

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10. The emotional weight of keeping secrets and carrying burdens alone

Men, like anyone else, experience difficult life events, traumas, and emotional pain. However, the internalized message that they must deal with things alone can be incredibly isolating. This inability to share burdens or seek support takes a mental health toll over time.

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11. Feeling like they’re losing their physical strength and athleticism with age

hipster guy with glasses standing outside office

Aging brings inevitable physical changes, Canyon Ranch notes. For men whose identity is partially tied to their physical capabilities, coping with a decline in strength, speed, or stamina can be a source of sadness and uncertainty. It challenges their self-image and can be difficult to process internally.

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12. Fear of becoming irrelevant, especially in the workplace

As they get older, some men grapple with fears of being replaced by younger colleagues, seen as out of touch, or forced into early retirement. This can make them feel less valued, anxious about financial security, and uncertain of their place in the world.

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13. Worries about health problems, physical disability, or declining capabilities

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While everyone ages, men are sometimes less likely to seek preventative care or discuss health concerns openly. The underlying fear of a diagnosis that could limit their independence or impact their ability to provide for their families can be a source of hidden anxiety.

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14. Questioning their life choices and wondering “what if?”

Regret is a universal human experience. Men may privately revisit the paths not taken – career changes they contemplated, past relationships that ended, or dreams they let go of due to practical concerns. Moments of self-doubt and wondering if they made the “right” choices can creep in unexpectedly.

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15. Anxiety about losing loved ones or their own mortality

Men aren’t immune to existential fears about the fragility of life. Dwelling on the potential loss of parents, partners, children, or their own mortality can be a profound fear that lingers below the surface, often unacknowledged in day-to-day life.

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16. Not feeling inherently worthy of love and questioning their right to be happy

Some men wrestle with deep-rooted insecurities about whether they are genuinely deserving of love, happiness, and success. This can stem from past wounds, negative experiences, or internalized messages that they need to constantly prove their worth in order to be valued.

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Josh grew up in Connecticut and thought he could never be happier away from big bodies of water until he moved to Minneapolis and fell in love with it. He writes full-time, with his lifestyle content being published in the likes of Men's Health, Business Insider, and many more. When he's not writing, he likes running (but not enough to train for a marathon even though his buddy won't stop asking him).
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