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Hey, Claire: How is it that men can totally disconnect from feeling, thinking, and emotion at the snap of a finger? – Ana

Recently on my Facebook page I posted an open invitation for questions about relationships, and this one was one of the first to be posted. In fact, I hear this one regularly.

Do men sometimes seem like cold, unemotional, cruel creatures to you? Do you feel like you could be drowning in a whirlpool of anguish, frustration, anger, or insanity and he’d be just standing there chatting with his buddies about their fantasy football draft picks or a particular episode of Breaking Bad?

Are men really disconnected from feelings and emotions?

I invited a couple of guy friends to chat online with me about it, and here’s what they had to say…

Why do guys not seem to respond to a woman’s emotional needs? Sometimes it can seem like men don’t even have feelings… What’s that about?

Jackson: A woman’s emotions can be totally overwhelming.

When guys show our feelings, it’s in short, simple bursts that take maybe 5 seconds. Like, I’ll tell my bud that my boss is a jackass, and my landlady just told me she sold the building and we gotta move out by the end of the month. Plus my girlfriend is hormonal and I can barely understand what she wants from me.

And he’ll say, “Dude, that sucks. I’m really sorry. And hey, you should check that new apartment complex going up on Grueber Street; the neighborhood isn’t great, but the apartments are pretty decent. And hang in there, man.”

And maybe we’ll share a bro-hug, or he’ll pat me on the back and ask me if I’m coming to game night.

And that’s it. We’re done with the messy stuff. I give him the short version, he gives me the short version, we move on.

With women, it’s never that way. They want you to be swimming in the emotional craziness with them for a good long while, and they want you to be able to talk much more about it. That’s just not how guys operate.

Nick: We do have feelings, but we keep a tight leash on them. It’s like, you wouldn’t let your Great Dane run all over the park and jump on people, would you? No, you keep him controlled. Sometimes when women are all emotional, it’s like they just popped open a giant balloon filled with bees in the middle of a crowded room; not only is it chaos, pretty much everybody around is going to get stung.

Claire: Yikes, the bees! No wonder guys turn themselves to ice…

So do you think there’s a way that women could get the attention from men that we want, even though we feel very emotional?

Nick: Definitely! Women have our attention most of the time, anyway – we can’t help but want to be around you. We’re all about the women in our lives. Also they smell so awesome, lol.

Claire: Focus, my man. 🙂

Nick: Right. It’s like Jackson said – it maybe sounds ridiculous, but you could tell us, but it needs to be the short version, if humanly possible.

Jackson: Exactly. Like pick a time when there’s not so much happening and give us the straight story. And if possible, tell us what you need from us.

Nick: Oh, dude, that last part is critical. Tell us what you need us to do.

But what if a woman doesn’t know what she needs?

Nick: That makes it tough, but we do have a few tools we use on that one. We know we can’t always fix stuff, but we can usually offer a hug, make you dinner, or just listen quietly for a while.

Claire: You make dinner?

Nick: I know. Chicks dig it. I even clean up.

Jackson: But the listening thing is hard if a girl is mad specifically at us. We want to fix stuff, and I don’t hold up well when someone is raging out of control at me and everything seems mixed together. It’s like a 1000-piece puzzle has just been thrown off the balcony, and it’s my job to put the thing together before all the bits get lost down the gutter, carried off by birds, or stomped into the mud.

Claire: You’re pretty expressive, for a dude.

Let me see if I can sum it up…

1. Women’s emotions are overwhelming for most guys. For us, emotions are at the front of our lives; guys seem to keep their emotions more in the background, or on a tight leash.

2. Men do share their feelings, they just do it differently. (They can be pretty expressive, too.)

3. It helps when women can tell guys what they’re feeling, and ask for what they need.

Y’all rock, thanks for taking the time to hang with me.

Anyone want to respond to Nick and Jackson with a comment or question? And feel free to drop by my Facebook page and ask another question about men and/or relationships… Hope to hear from you!

Claire Casey

Claire Casey devotes her writing to empower women; to help you attract the kind of man who will treasure your heart like the rare gem it is.

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What Do You Think?

4 Comments | Join the discussion

  • Jenna Apr 3, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Kim, you took the words right out of my mouth. I couldn’t have said it better. In fact, that’s precisely what I’ve been telling my husband. He’s gotten a millimeter better (which I’m extremely grateful for) and it gives me hope for the future. We as women just need to spell it out to our men frequently that we can’t read minds any better than they can and if we can work together on our communication with each other then the way we understand each other can only get better from then on out. Thanks for sharing your story. Stay strong and if he’s the one for you then never give up and push through and you’ll both be stronger for it in the end. Both mentally and emotionally.

  • Kim Jan 26, 2014 at 10:45 am

    Yes, HOW would you prefer it worded? When I ask my partner what he’d like for dinner his response “I don’t Know”. Same answer for anything else I ask him, regardless how I ask. Sometimes he doesn’t even respond, which frustrates the crap out of me! I think I need a prybar to get a straight answer out of him, and I just don’t have energy to keep trying to “figure out” what he needs and wants. Since he won’t give me any type of real answer, I just do what I want to do, and if he doesn’t like it, well then, he can SPEAK UP and tell me how he feels. WOMEN ARE NOT MIND READERS GUYS!!! Yeah, we respond differently than you do, if YOU want CLEAR communications, then by heaven, you need to give what you want! Keep hiding behind all the excuses you give for NOT communicating, and you will find yourself alone!

  • john Roberts Oct 25, 2013 at 1:39 pm

    @Elisabeth, No, my ex did that to me a lot i now realise, she never told it to me in a way i understood. Plus she worded it the same way she ALWAYS had, so i gave exactly the SAME answer as i ALWAYS had because that had always worked in the past and she still stayed with me, just moaning and complaining as much as ever. If she had worded the ”problem” differently i would have answered differently. Plus she always made it a confrontation and a threat so, as a guy, i was honour bound to stand up to her. She never gave me a way to ”give in” to her without (me thinking) she’d see me as less of a man and therefore leave me. So i gave the same answer always.

    • lm   john Roberts Nov 1, 2013 at 1:34 pm

      “If she had worded the ”problem” differently i would have answered differently. ”

      I’d be extremely interested to hear how you would have preferred it worded.

      Extremely interested.

      In that paragraph, you said you didn’t like the way she told you about her problems, about twenty different times, but exactly the same way. Not once did you mention how you’d have preferred to hear it.

      So a lot of us women would really appreciate knowing what you want, instead of hearing ten or twenty different times what you don’t want. We’re all ears.


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