Living the Questions

Finding peace in uncertain times.

Relationship Problems? Unlock the Code of Men’s Feelings

Just because men aren't adept at expressing their feelings, don't for a minute think they don't feel…and feel deeply. Many times, men express their feelings using a secret code – a code that even they can't decipher. Learn how to help your relationship with these tips. Read More

Thank You

Thanks for this insightful post... Yup, sure feels like a double or even triple bind. I'm supposed to be emotionally available, but also strong and brave and self reliant and have all the answers and be able to deal with everything fearlessly...and heaven help me if I express doubt, fear, anxiety, shame, what if I say "I feel from being orphaned in childhood I am unlovable and unloved.." Wow..that will get you stared at as a basket case, a damaged person...
so, men are simply dammed...any reality is judged harshly, as weakness...yes, by women...

I have this happen to me and

I have this happen to me and I am a woman. My partner and family and so forth often think I am cold, but if I cry or show anger, they get baffled or scared or whatever and unsettled until I go back to being the strong silent one.
I just don't think it happens only to men.


I agree, I've seen it apply to women too. But for the most part, society is OK with women who cry; whereas, almost no men are allowed to cry except in very exceptional circumstances (e.g. the passing of a loved one).


it is real what happen to me. i still have some problems in terms of how i feel .so how i ask questions i have pls.

Wow, this is spot on! You

Wow, this is spot on! You always feel like you're in a no win situation. It appears women just don't want to take the time to build a strong secure healthy relationship where a man can be secure enough to express their feelings without being ridiculed, embarrassed and demeaned.

It's a shame because to truly love someone you have to willing to be vulnerable and as long as that secure environment is not present it will be very difficult to express your true love.

double bind

"Although men may not always know what they're feeling, there's one thing they’re sure about: they’re convinced they’re in a major double bind. Women tell men to express their feelings, but when they do, women are often petrified, if not horrified. Women want men to show their feelings, but only certain feelings, and only in doses they can handle.'

I think you're quite right about the double bind and women's often conflicting expectations. I know I'm encouraged to express my emotions at home. As long as they're about my wife and positive in nature. Anything else seems to get labeled defensive, judgemental, or swept under the carpet as the conversation comes to a quick close.

I also think some of the "men don't know what they're feeling" has a lot to do with this. I know that when my wife is wound up or needy, it's a lot easier to play dumb about what's bugging me than tell her and set off a good fight.


Sometimes women tend to forget that men are human beings and they also have feelings like any other person. Even though every relationship has its ups and downs, successful couples have learned how to manage the challenges they face during their relationship.Challenges come with a lot of emotions not only for women but also men.They hang in there, tackle problems, and learn how to work through the complex issues of everyday life. All relationship problems start with poor communication. If you are willing to listen to you partner and be part of the solution and not the problem, then your relationship will automatically work out for both of you.

...and most people dont' want to communicate

What you said indicates the deeper problem: many people don't want to communicate. Many men don't want women to be more "rational," they want to complain about how emotional women are. Many women don't want men to be more "expressive," they want to complain about how the men don't express their feelings.

People who can communicate, and who can see others as people with their own feelings, do fine. People who want to see others as extensions of themselves and as fulfillment of the gender roles they grew up believing in will probably not be happy in the end.

men and emotion

I have the opposite experience ever since i came out of puberty i fought hard the steriotypical asumpion that a man should have any less ability to feel than a woman .

I always thought feelings made you feel alive and resented the idea that as a man i was not alowed to feel and express those full range of emotions.

Needless to say i was not backing down i even had the dumb notion of starting a men's "liberation" movement until i realized i would be publicly ridiculed .

As to how women reacted to this , the women who were my " friends"were fine with it. Women and romantic relations no they did not react positively.

Ocasionally i found a romantic relation where it was not a problem but that is all it takes those occasional exceptions to the rule

The confines of a

The confines of a socialization process; restricting men to show the full scope of the emotional inner life. That kind of reasoning sounds interesting in a typical psychological way but fails to take into account the broader social life of individuals. Perhaps that many men feel confined by such a socialization process, but what about those who do not feel this confinement? I guess men trying to fully share their emotions is part of an emanicaption process. For other men it's just not applicable; they share their emotions in a different way, e.g. through doing chores or giving presents. Finally, which human being (man or woman) does not feel confined by socialization processes?! These give way to a more successful participation in society, but at the same time impose boundaries of social behaviour in which we can feel either comfortable or not.

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Dr. Barbara Markway, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist with over twenty years of experience. She is the author of four popular psychology books and has been featured in media nationwide.


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