You sense something is wrong, but he won’t tell you about it.
You encourage him to share his feelings, but all you get is radio silence. He’s such a Cave Man!
You’re starting to question everything you’ve ever done or said to him: Is it me? Have I done something wrong? Is this my fault?
If only you knew how to get through to him, you could stop stressing and start helping!
And I agree. So in this blog, I’m going to show you 3 things every woman must know about men and emotions.
Thank you so much for your blogs and advice. My problem is that my partner generally doesn’t tell me what is going wrong for him, and he goes quiet on me. I naturally assume I have done something wrong and stress on it. I don’t know whether to wait until he contacts me or if I should ask if he is ok.
After so many years of pressure from society for men to be “men,” we are currently experiencing a backlash against what feels like antiquated gender roles holding us back from being our true selves and experiencing real happiness.
I am thrilled to encourage equal pay and equal representation. I am proud to be a part of today’s movement toward more equality and true authenticity to experience greater joy in life.
But in our search for the new frontier of gender equality, there are some areas where we are unknowingly leading ourselves into misery and dysfunction. And that is the result of the belief that gender equality is the same as ignoring gender differences.
To that tune, many men have been conditioned nowadays to talk more about their feelings. They’ve been trained to open up when they’re upset and share their feelings with their partner.
This is great! An insight into his inner world, a moment of profound intimacy, and an opportunity to be there for and support the one you love most! Dreamy!
Except that men and women are different, and we process the stress of our lives differently. So…
Here Are Three Things Every Woman Must Know About Men and Emotions
In a woman’s biology, when she shares her feelings to her partner, it increases oxytocin and lowers stress hormones. This helps her feel her partner’s love and see the problems she is facing more clearly, helping her to make more positive choices in her life leading to more happiness.
In the face of a man NOT sharing his emotions, a woman assumes it’s society’s fault and thinks that if he did share his charged feelings like she does, he would feel her love, think more clearly, and make more positive choices leading to more happiness.
Except that’s not what happens in a man’s biology when he shares his charged emotional feelings of upset with his partner.
This is what actually happens:
- The more he talks about his upset feelings, the more you, his partner, feel responsible for his problems. You go into “mommy” mode and nurture him as you would a child. If he leans into this, it’s the death of your sexual chemistry. You simply can’t maintain sexual attraction to someone you feel responsible for like a mother. It’s technically “intimate” but it’s the wrong kind of intimacy to sustain a romantic connection. He doesn’t want to be your kid; he finds purpose, meaning, and fulfillment from being your champion and hero. So rather than feeling your love, it actually chips away at your romantic connection.
- The more he talks about his upset feelings, the more his stress hormones rise, making his problems feel insurmountable. Rather than clarify his point of view or inspire solutions, this expression of his charged feelings simply cloud and intensify the situation. He loses confidence that he can effectively deal with his own problems, and this feeling of helplessness emasculates him to the point where he will no longer feel attraction for you. Talking to you doesn’t help him to feel better or to solve his problems. Talking about these feelings only makes it worse.
- Talking about his charged feelings converts his testosterone into estrogen, and he becomes angry, entitled, rageful, complainy and/or demanding and dissatisfied (nothing you do is good enough). Ugh! Estrogen dominance in men is not cute. #thinkragingalcoholic
You can read more about the amazing hormonal differences between men and women today and how we can support our relationships to grow in love, authenticity AND equality, in my dad’s book: Beyond Mars and Venus.
So, yea, thank goodness your man goes quiet.
But since a snapshot of his inner world feels so comforting, intimate, and reassuring, I’ll give you the inside scoop on what’s actually happening when he goes quiet.
What Actually Happens When He Goes “Quiet” Instead of Sharing His Emotions Out Loud with You
By going into his cave, practicing independence through Me-Time vs. intimacy through We-Time, he is essentially forgetting his problems, destressing, and recharging. He’s not mulling over his upset feelings, stewing alone, scared, or hopeless. He’s also not avoiding his issues or procrastinating taking positive action (most of the time). He’s temporarily forgetting his problems, resting, and recharging his testosterone levels.
Men need 30 times more testosterone than women to be highly functioning and happy. And when a man is upset, he burns through his testosterone, creating a more estrogen dominant environment.
Testosterone is the sexy time hormone that fuels his sexual attraction for you (you want those levels high so when you connect during We-time, he’s all about you instead of all about him and his drama).
Testosterone is also the hormone of drive and confidence to solve his problems and achieve his goals. He needs this confidence and clarity in order to effectively deal with whatever caused his upset feelings. Sometimes, NO action at all is required. All he needed to do was lower his stress response, boost his testosterone to a healthy level — and his problems disappear! The thing that upset him no longer bothers him; it becomes no big deal.
He will either solve it himself at this point or find an expert in the field of the problem whom he respects, and he’ll ask that expert for advice.
If he wants to share about his day or upset later after he’s had his productive cave time, that’s super cool. It’s fine for him to share his experience once it’s decharged and his hormones are in a more balanced place to practice intimacy with his partner. After my partner goes to the cave, he almost always fills me in on what happened. Why? Because the way I listen builds trust.
When He Pulls Away, NEVER Do This! Do This Instead.
The most important thing here is to not take his silence personally or feel like you’ve done anything wrong.
99% of the time, it has nothing to do with you!!!
1% of the time, he could be reacting to something you did, but once he goes into his cave and boosts his testosterone, he’s no longer bothered by it.
Once he’s out of his cave, he doesn’t want to deal with your neediness or concern (it’s kind of insulting like you don’t trust him to handle his own stuff). He wants to connect with his loving and happy partner.
The best way to deal with an upset partner isn’t to express concern or apologize — it’s to focus on making yourself happy — a totally counterintuitive approach that can do amazing things for your relationship.
You also don’t have to wait until he contacts you if you don’t want to. Reach out with an FYI text. Go ahead and share updates on your day and life but don’t expect a response. For maximum brownie points to encourage a better We-Time connection, text NRN (no response necessary) at the end of your FYI updates, so you can connect with your partner without appearing needy or demanding or messing with his cave time.
So if your man goes quiet when something is wrong, thank your lucky stars. Truly! You don’t know how lucky you are.