Talking about your emotions with women

  • The world says: men should be like women and discuss their emotions with them.
  • The manosphere wisdom says: mens should never discuss their emotions.
  • Dalrock has a good take on this.

In my experience interacting with single Christian and non-Christian women it is mainly that is is attitude that matters. I posted a basic summary of this on Dalrock’s blog, but I wanted to put it here because this blog is for single Christian men looking for a wife.

Here’s what I posted:

[Simply put, it is your attitude that matters the most.]

You can discuss your emotions logically and from a place of leadership if you want her to offer her opinion on the matter or she wants you to open up. This is fine.

The problem you run into is when you start discussing emotions and becoming needy. Indeed, if you start relying on her as your rock and for support then that is unattractive.

You can discuss emotions as much as you want. But don’t lean on her for emotional support, and let her lean on you for emotional support. Females go to other females for emotional support. If you’re going to her for emotional support you’re not acting like a man you’re acting like a woman. That’s why she loses attraction for you.

Indeed, discussing emotions with women can be a great way to build trust and intimacy in a relationship. Just don’t expect support, and don’t get into a state where you want or need support. If you want emotional support talk to friends who are men.

Talking about emotions aren’t something that generates or loses attraction much like talking about what you are thinking generates or loses attraction. The mindset that you project and the attitude that goes with it is what matters. For example, an attractive man and winner who discusses his vulnerable experiences gains attraction and endearment. In this case, it’s not the emotional discussion but the pain and hardship that he had to endure and the eventual success story.

As I stated in the quote, it is the need or desire for emotional support that is truly unattractive to women. That signals to their brain unconsciously that you’re like one their female friends. Women aren’t attracted to their female friends.

Discussing emotions is neither here nor there, and I’ve found the vast majority of the time that I can discuss them with women I’m interested in without them losing attraction for me as long as I don’t go to them wanting or needing the emotional support that they give their female friends. In fact, sharing does build a bond of intimacy and trust which is what you want in a burgeoning relationship.

The vast majority of the manosphere are those who are fairly new, and the “don’t discuss emotions with women” do it because it’s not something that you should play around it if you have a feminized mindset as a man. I find this to be good advice for Christian men who are looking to get out of the friend zone.

However, as your personality evolves you should know that it can be a good thing used the right way.

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21 Responses to Talking about your emotions with women

  1. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    This part is a bit fuzzy; I wonder if you would please clear it up?

    But don’t lean on her for emotional support, and let her lean on you for emotional support. Females go to other females for emotional support.

    Is this saying that a man should not allow a woman to lean on him for emotional support because she should be going to other women for that, or that a man should let a woman lean on him but he should not lean on her because that’s something that only women do? If that makes any sense.

  2. donalgraeme says:

    @ FBNF

    I think that the second, “that a man should let a woman lean on him but he should not lean on her because that’s something that only women do”, is what DS meant. Women lean on others for emotional support, so a man shouldn’t do that with a woman- as as she unconsciously associate him with a female tendency.

  3. Anonymous says:

    From my experience, I have learned it’s unwise to lean on your husband for emotional support. He isn’t built that way. Your relationship with him is in listening to what he says to do, then doing what you can with what you have. If you can’t do something he orders you do to, tell him you can’t do it (or tell him the list of things you have to do, and then ask which of those things he wouldn’t mind you deleting from the list). Most men have no interest in a list of explanations — they want the facts, and they want them quickly. It’s nice if you have the right kind of Mom (one who understands men and will not try to undermine your marriage), but if you don’t, sometimes you can find a friend who will fill the bill.

    If you start having resentments (which can occur sometimes no matter how hard you try), your best bet is to find a way to release them without unduly annoying your husband. It is usually enough to tell him you are very angry, and you need to disappear for a while to at least simmer down the anger. Then do so, and vent it however you need to. Then come back, resume your duties and do what you’re told. Your mouth is the worst thing to open under most circumstances. Maintain a good emotional distance. Men and women are different, and your job as a woman is to meet his needs, not vice versa. It just isn’t going to happen. Their job is to provide and protect, and that’s what they do well. Let it be. This has been true from antiquity, and the place we got it wrong in modern days is when we got all “relationship oriented” and forgot the primary purpose of marriage. Don’t get yourself deluded in the silly notion that your husband is your best friend, your companion, etc., etc., because that’s not the way he’s made. Accept him as he is. So your husband shuts you out — what do you expect? He’s a man. Let him be one. Don’t expect emotional support and for heaven’s sake don’t expect him to ever open up to you. He opens up through sex. Accept that and be grateful for that. You’ll have kids if he opens up to you with sex, so that’s how you’ll get emotional support. Find a girl friend.

  4. @ FBNF

    It is as Donal says. That could’ve been written clearer.

  5. @ Anonymous

    I think it depends heavily on the man.

    Some men are more easily drawn into becoming the bestie best friend emotional supporter and acting more feminine as a result. Others won’t be.

    It’s true that female friends will probably be the best place to go to for much of it as long as they are godly Christian women or godly Christian older women mentors.

    Basically, blanket statements have their exceptions.

  6. CHero says:

    More specific examples would be awesome. Unfortunately, I have a feminized mindset and feel like I always mess this up when dating someone.

  7. @ CHero

    Generally,

    Expressing emotional feelings in the past tense is fine. If you want to be careful about how it comes off then always express them about how you overcame it. For example,

    “I felt [sad, angry, confused] when X type of failure happened, but then I realized Y or Z and that lead to a breakthrough and I accomplished one of my goals.”

    Expressing joy, happiness, contentment, and anything positive is usually very good. Women will usually be dragged into your good mood and feel good themselves.

    Expressing “negative” emotions is where things tend to get hairy. The general gist is that women hate to see weakness: so expressing negative emotions isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, it will tend to drag them into a negative state which can be dangerous. Couple this expression of negative emotions AND expecting them to console you or support you is showing weakness and therefore women will lose attraction.

    Or in other words: if you can’t take care of yourself how are you going to take care of her? You’re basically showing her that because you can’t take care of and protect yourself in distress you can’t do it for her either.

    Does that make sense?

  8. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    Thanks to both of you for clearing that up. 🙂

  9. For those who have been reading “Fascinating Womahood” on an ongoing basis, the lion’s share of the book is dedicated to understanding men, including but not limited to supporting them on a daily basis emotionally. The general premise is that we need to be prepared for them to come home grouchy and angry, because they have been on the job all day long. I will say frankly that of all the things we are told to do — accept, admire, put him first, obey, and understand — the hardest one is the “understand”. Here’s why:

    They don’t talk. Period. If they come home in a bad mood, we are to act as though everything’s fine, serve him a good dinner and leave him alone. We have to work like sixty to make sure it doesn’t rub off on us. I don’t know if this is the case with the feminazis, but for the rest of us we are hypersensitive to the emotional atmosphere in the house. We KNOW something’s wrong, but we have no idea what it is, or if we might have caused it, or whatever. And, if you will pardon a lame attempt at humor, when Big Chief Still Waters does burst forth into a fount of articulation, it’s usually in the form of blowing the top off Vesuvius (or Old Faithful blowing, to avoid a mixed metaphor).

    Now, I haven’t a clue about other women, but there have been days where I’ve kept reminding myself silently, “I didn’t do anything, I know I didn’t do anything, just keep my mouth shut and act like everything’s great,” and I keep doing that, and I’m wide awake all night wondering when the whole thing will end and what in the world is the matter. You’re walking on eggs hoping the top won’t come off the teapot. And if it does, well, everybody hunker down in the bomb shelter and wait for the end of the blitz.

    And when the grouchy time is over, you still have no idea what happened. You could wonder for days if it will happen again, why did it happen, will he explode this time (if he didn’t the last time)….and so forth. It can be a real nice recipe for a massive stomachache.

    This was my nemesis until I finally decided it wasn’t worth my time to do this, and now I pretty much ignore every mood he’s in. But for newlywed girls, you could probably reassure them by simply letting them know something like this: “I’m in a bad mood because of some things at work. It’s not about you, you haven’t done anything. I need you to just not talk to me this evening and give me my space.” WHEW!! Problem solved, she’ll be happy that she at least knows and she won’t be expending energy on worrying about what’s going on. This simple act of courtesy would be a huge load off the shoulders of any wife — IMHO.

    Just a thought.

  10. @ Mom in the Shoe

    Teach wives to communicate. Approach the husband when in a **good mood**:

    “How should we be communicating or how should I respond to you when you’re angry, frustrated, or in a bad mood from work?”

    Some men will want to be alone. Some will want to be engaged on a kind level. Some will want to do hobbies. Some will want to eat.

    Then you’ll know, and next time you’ll know instead of trying to guess.

  11. Richard Cook says:

    Dont lean on your girlfriend/wife for support. If I cant let my guard down around my woman why are they there. If I had a catestrophic injury? Lost my job?

  12. @ Richard Cook

    Depends on the woman, and it depends how she perceives you. Limited amounts of vulnerability are good in some measure if she is already attracted to you. It can make you more endearing and human to her just as women are looking for both [sexual] attraction (“alpha traits”) as well as attraction/desirable (“beta traits”).

    Catastrophic vulnerability such as injury or losing a job puts enormous strain on the majority of marriages that encounter them… so that’s another topic altogether.

  13. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    Depends on the woman, and it depends how she perceives you. Limited amounts of vulnerability are good in some measure if she is already attracted to you. It can make you more endearing and human to her just as women are looking for both [sexual] attraction (“alpha traits”) as well as attraction/desirable (“beta traits”).

    Yes, this. While I realize the words of women don’t hold much weight to many that read here, I’m going to chime in and confirm this, as a woman. Few things are more frustrating when dealing with a man (that you are otherwise interested in) that refuses to even remotely open up to you. I’m not saying a man should let the flood gates open up to the degree that a woman would, considering it’s just not in a man’s nature to do so. But to completely shut down and not be willing to be vulnerable with your woman is just as bad for the quality of the relationship, because it signals that “I don’t trust you” and that sort of thing. Just my two cents.

  14. Feminine But Not Feminist says:

    Though I realize a lot of women can’t actually be trusted in that way. If that’s the case, there’s no reason to be with her anyway. What I said only applies to the “keepers.”

  15. Mrs. C says:

    i have to agree with Richard Cook. This paragraph is just sad and a very limited view of married love.

    “You can discuss emotions as much as you want. But don’t lean on her for emotional support, and let her lean on you for emotional support. Females go to other females for emotional support. If you’re going to her for emotional support you’re not acting like a man you’re acting like a woman. That’s why she loses attraction for you.”

    This completely goes against the one flesh union of marriage. When a man emotional vulnerability to a woman who is discerning marriage, she knows that he has grown to trust her with his heart. Rather than being a turn off, it is a deepening of the relationship and shows it has moved beyond just sexual attraction. If her interest in you is for shallow reasons then this vulnerability will tend to turn her away. If her interest in you comes from a growing love, then her staying is a confirmation of that. Love wasn’t meant to stay fettered to the new and novel attraction of the beginning and of the honeymoon. It is rather a springboard to higher forms of Christian love and service. As the years progress and challenges are faced, love will be tested and refined. Bodies grow old, weak and ill as the years wear on and you take care of each other and love each other with a love that is deeper and way beyond sexual attraction. The mistake the manosphere makes is the obsession with keeping and maintaining sexual attraction which is not the goal of married love. The obsession should be how does the couple not stagnate in early love but grow together and as individuals in true Christian agape love. Sexual attraction ebbs and flows through different seasons of marriage and sex is supposed to be a symbol and sign of the fidelity that each pledges and gives to each other for better or worse, in sickness and in health and for richer or poorer. Sex moves from a “it has to be hot all the time” to a deeper sharing of “I’ve seen everything about you, the good, bad and ugly, and I’m still here because I accept all of you and know that you accept all of me.” Not that it can’t be hot in the later years but it has the added dimension of a knowledge that weathers storms and joys and heartaches and triumphs. That is something that can only come with time and overrides the novelty of the newness of attraction and untried and untested love.

  16. Mrs. C says:

    Should say “When a man SHOWS emotional vulnerability….”

  17. @ Mrs C

    I’ve seen too many instances where this goes wrong, including my own parents marriage. I will admit that on some level we are born of experience and what we have seen. Therefore, that doesn’t mean other things aren’t possible. However, I have yet to see an example, and if there is such a way it should be able to be quantified on some level.

    Presumably the question is then if you think this is possible: how would you tell if you are married that you have such a woman that she will be able to handle it without losing attraction for you and going into nagging mode?

    In other words:

    1. How do you find and locate a woman such as this?
    2. How do you know she is receptive?
    3. What if she’s not receptive — what do you do after that?

    Basically, men need to know what works and how to do it. Not that it’s possible. If you don’t have a method then it’s basically useless for men to attempt to apply.

  18. Mrs. C says:

    @DS

    “1. How do you find and locate a woman such as this?
    2. How do you know she is receptive?
    3. What if she’s not receptive — what do you do after that?”

    1. There is no easy answer to this. There’s not a particular “method” that is a guarantee. There is not a woman a man is going to meet who is going to be fully capable of loving him in a perfectly self sacrificial way, especially if she is young. She may have potential to grow into this kind of love just like a man has a potential for it but it’s not going to be there fully formed unless she has had some extraordinary sufferings in her own life that called on her to love heroically and she was able to experience this kind of growth. There are places that make it more likely to find good women but sometimes you may find one in a place that you would least expect. It’s more difficult than ever because people in general are more self-focused and selfish than ever. Even so, the potential is there because God gave it to each human person. Without this potential, we would never be able to do what He asks of us which is to know, love and serve Him. The person who can do this or who is striving for this despite failing and trying again, has the potential to handle married love and it’s requirements because they are showing the signs of being able to love the “other” before themselves. If you meet a woman who puts God first in her life, then she is worth getting to know better. She has potential.

    2. There are other things you can observe in women such as their compassion and empathy for those in need in some way rather than coldness or indifference. How does she act around others who are vulnerable? Is she patient with the elderly or her grandparents? Does she respond with emotion if she sees a child crying in public because he/she has gotten hurt or is she oblivious or annoyed with the ruckus? Does she show concern when other men reveal in some way a hurt, a struggle or a temptation? Does she ever make fun of others weaknesses or laugh at their mistakes? Does she volunteer her time to serve others? These things will reveal what kind of heart she has and that she understands or has the beginnings of understanding that love is about respecting the dignity of the other person. A woman who can’t be sympathetic to a man’s emotional needs because her attraction to him is about only his usefulness to her rather than a desire to be useful, isn’t worth marrying. This is no different than a wife who becomes seriously ill and can’t do for her husband like she used to and he has an affair. He didn’t love her if he went looking for a replacement when she was no longer useful to him.

    Besides being observant to how she interacts with others to reveal her personality, the only way to truly know if she is receptive to supporting you emotionally is to be vulnerable and see what she does with it. There’s no getting around the fact that love makes us vulnerable and it’s a risk and a dying to self. Love always requires the cross. There is nothing more vulnerable than God, stripped, beaten, and nailed to a cross out of love for us, hoping and waiting for us to love Him in return. There is no way of ensuring 100% that a marriage is going to last. We can choose wisely and carefully, pray for God’s will and for discernment in our choice but at some point we will have to decide if the risk is worth it.

    3. If she’s not receptive, you will have to decide whether to forgive and give her another chance or whether to move on. (assuming you’re not already married). There’s no way around it. Men and women in relationships will fail to love each other at times. There is hurt and pain in marriage and there’s no avoiding it. The question is, is there a love that is willing to forgive and a love that is willing to admit the fault and to try to do better? These are things that will challenge us for a lifetime and cause us to grow if we are open to God’s grace which makes it possible.

    There is no way to talk about these things in the concrete as far as a sure road map to take to guarantee success. It’s all abstract with a million possibilities because although there are men and women, there is no way to pin anything down until you have the actual mix and interplay of two real people and all their experiences, personality, faults, strengths and weaknesses. Anyone who claims to have the road map and the answers is selling snake oil. There is advice and speculation but in the end love can’t be put down in a formula that comes out the same every time for every person. It just doesn’t work that way. There is no ideal spouse. There is no marriage that’s completely compatible and without the tension between selfishness and willingness to die to self. We’re never going to find someone who won’t hurt us many times and in many ways over the lifetime of a marriage. It’s how each spouse grows or refuses to grow from these experiences that makes the difference.

    If men need to know what works and how to do it, remaining emotionally distant because you don’t trust your spouse to continue to love you if you open up is definitely not what works in the long run. It may help in the short term in a relationship that is fragile and based mostly on sexual attraction but you can’t build a marriage on that At least not a Godly one..

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  21. CHero says:

    @ DeepStrength

    Just realized I never responded to your prompt response. It does make sense, thank you!

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