Men in our society are taught to be more reserved with their thoughts and emotional expression.
It’s quite obvious that men do not open up as easily as women do.
However, whether a person opens up or not depends on the individual and their character.
Generally speaking, men are those who find it harder to open up to other people about their past, their problems, or any other issue they could be dealing with.
It’s usually that socially constructed idea of masculinity that makes them think opening up makes them look weak or sensitive.
Men need to open up just like women do. Every person needs someone to talk to when they have something to say and when they need their stories to be heard.
While it is, indeed, difficult for men to open up, there are some conditions and situations that offer them that sense of security. That’s when he is likely to open up to you!
Here are some situations when a man opens up to you:
1. He fully trusts you
A man to consider opening up to you, he should trust you first.
Trusting someone is not easy because of the fear of betrayal and disappointment.
Not trusting someone is one of the main reasons why men don’t open up.
If he fully trusts you, without a doubt, he will most likely pour his heart out and tell you everything.
He’s more likely to trust you if you have repeatedly proven to him that you’re loyal to him by keeping your word.
Men need trust in relationships, and once they sense that trust and security, they’ll be ready to open up with you.
Once you resemble a safe and trustworthy space for him, that’s when he’ll be ready to trust you with his heart and his issues.
2. He knows you well
Being together for a long time doesn’t mean that you know each other very well.
Time usually doesn’t measure how much two people know each other.
Two people can be together for a long time and not know each other well, or they can get to know each other very well for a short period of time.
The connection and communication between two people help them get to know each other better.
When he knows you well, he knows how you talk, how you react, and how you think, and that often can result in trust and a deeper emotional attachment.
So, he knows how you will comfort him when he opens up to you because you’ve probably done it many times and he is comfortable sharing things with you.
Safety in a relationship is quite important since it creates a sense of connection, intimacy, and a sense of home between two people.
Feeling emotionally safe is vital for a person to be able to open up to their partner or anyone for that matter.
So, how do you make him feel safe?
- By being honest;
- By listening actively;
- By being attentive;
- By validating his feelings;
- By empathizing with him.
When he feels safe with you, he can be himself and he won’t think about hiding anything or being afraid of sharing something.
If you’re his safe place, he will open up to you even about the most minor details.
4. You opened up to him first
Since relationships are about reciprocation, opening up doesn’t make an exception either.
When you remove your filter first and let him in your thoughts, he will have it easier to open up to you.
As it’s more difficult for men to open up, when you open up first you make comfortable room for him to do the same.
When you’re both opening up to one another, you can relate to each other’s thoughts, experiences, or problems, and it will deepen your connection.
When he knows what’s going on inside your head, he will feel closer to you and won’t hesitate to tell you how he feels and what bothers him.
5. You’re patient with him
When a man wants to open up to you, he needs to feel no pressure to do so.
You’re patient with him in the sense that you’re willing to listen to him until he finishes what he has to say, without interrupting or insisting that he gives you more details.
It’s good to listen to him first, without offering solutions to his issues because in most cases all he needs is someone to be there to simply listen.
And when you wait for him to open up without saying anything, that’s when he’s likely to feel heard and listened to.
He won’t open up if you always rush him to tell you things because he wants to open up to you to hear him not because he has or feels obligated to.
6. You’re his close friend
There’s nothing better than being friends with your partner.
You get the fun part from being his friend, and the loving part from being his partner.
Men often have a small number of friends that they really trust their life with, and if he puts you on that list, call yourself lucky!
When you learn to be his friend, apart from being his partner, you create a deeper bond with each other that will make it easier for him to open up to you.
You share things without being judged by each other, and you have that confidentiality built within the relationship.
7. He knows you won’t use his thoughts and experiences against him
When a man knows that what he shares with you won’t be mentioned later and won’t be used against him, he will not hesitate to open up to you.
If he has tried opening up to you and you have used it against him, blaming and judging him, chances are he won’t open up about anything else.
When you show him that you’re not the person who takes advantage of him when he’s vulnerable, it makes him more comfortable with sharing things with you.
He, nor anybody else, doesn’t want to open up to someone who takes his words and uses them against him.
Whether he opened up about his past or something that bothers him, it’s never good to bring it up and use it against him.
Make yourself a safe space for his confessions and vulnerabilities.
8. You have an emotional bond
When two people have an emotional bond, they understand each other with just a little talking or sometimes not even saying a word.
An emotional bond includes active listening, sharing openly, knowing each other deeply, and being empathetic.
The emotional bond will let him open up to you about his secrets, problems of any kind, and whatever is on his mind.
When the connection between you two goes beyond the physical attraction, you feel that deep secure connection that he can’t help but open his heart to you.
9. He sees you as a safe place to show his vulnerable side
Vulnerability is defined as “the quality or state of being exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally.”
Trusting one another with your vulnerabilities makes you connect to another person on a deeper level.
There are many misconceptions about men and vulnerability. This is often due to the social constructs about masculinity.
If he’s vulnerable with you, he’s ready to and for love, intimacy, and connection.
A partner that resembles safety is often what makes a man open up to others. It’s not just about the fun, the sexy times, or the compliments.
It’s about sticking with him through tough times and letting him have the space he needs to open up.
10. He feels accepted
People tend to stay within circles of people who accept them.
Acceptance in a relationship is about appreciating the differences between you and your partner, understanding that humans make mistakes, and avoiding judgemental views towards one another.
In a relationship, you either accept the person as they are or you fail the relationship as you try to change your partner into a different person.
When he feels accepted by you, he knows you won’t judge him for anything when he opens up.
This will give him the green light of sharing everything he is holding inside and not be afraid of being judged about it.
What can I do to help him open up to me?
Normally, your partner will decide if he wants to open up to you or not.
Something you should avoid insisting that he opens up to you because that is not the right way for someone to open up.
Opening up goes unforced and naturally once a person feels safe enough to do so.
However, you can do something to contribute to helping him to open up to you!
Here’s what you can do to help him open up to you:
– Make sure to be in a safe environment.
When you want him to open up, or when you feel like he wants to open up, try going to a place where it’s only the two of you.
He’s more likely to open up to you when you’re alone than when you’re in a public place or with other people.
He wouldn’t open up in front of everyone or in a place where everyone could hear him.
When you’re alone, he will feel safer which will make it easier for him to open up and express his feelings and issues.
– Ask, but don’t force anything.
It’s okay to ask him questions that welcome him to share what he has in his mind.
What’s not okay is pressuring him into opening up to you and making him feel forced to tell you things he doesn’t feel comfortable telling you.
If he’s willing to open up, he will talk and share with his will, not when you force him to do so.
He should be feeling free to share whatever he wants whenever he wants with no pressure.
– Listen attentively.
If you see that he’s opening up to you, try your best to listen to him attentively.
He will share more than he thought he would in the beginning when he notices that you’re interested in that and you’re listening attentively.
He will feel that you care about what he’s sharing when you’re listening to him and what he has to say.
If you just listen to him only for the sake of looking like you’re listening, he will most probably notice and will not share as much.
He will know when you’re genuinely curious and interested and when you’re not.
– Try not to give solutions while he’s opening up.
When he’s opening up to you, it’s very likely that all he wants from you is to simply listen to him without offering him a judging point of view.
Sure, comforting is more than welcome, but the important part is listening and being there for him.
It’s the human instinct to try and find a solution to his problems or to comfort him for what he told you.
However, he would want you to first listen to him until the end, and then add your comments or comfort.
When it comes to solutions, therapists are the ones to have a professional and adequate approach to them.
It’s difficult to admit to yourself that you’re vulnerable and that you need help from someone else, especially men.
A therapist can do wonders. You’re no therapist, but you can be there for him to show him care and love.
How to comfort him after he opens up to me?
When he finds that safe place with you and opens up to you, try to comfort him about what’s he opening up to you about.
Here’s what you can do after he opens up to you:
– Let him know that you hear and understand him – By letting him know that you understand what he is going through or what he has gone through in the past, he’s likely to feel safe and not misjudged.
– Thank him for opening up to you – Try to appreciate him for opening up to you and thank him for doing it because it takes quite some courage for men to open up.
– Give him a hug – Hugs are comforting for people and at that moment a hug would be the best thing you can do to comfort him.
– Let him know your view or advice on the issue – After he’s done talking, give your opinion on the issue and if you have useful advice for him, he might welcome that.
– Stay calm – When you stay calm, you’ll calm him down too because he might be nervous or uneasy about what he told you. A dramatic approach would magnify his problem making him feel even more nervous or uneasy.
Understanding better: Why is it difficult for men to open up?
The issue of men having it difficult to open up has been present for a long time.
It’s known that men deal with their issues in silence and don’t share their problems with a lot of people.
According to a research study on the challenges of opening up, there are various reasons behind that:
– They are pressured to be ‘masculine’.
When men are pressured to be highly masculine, it affects the way that they behave.
The pressure can come from society and from men themselves, as a result, they avoid talking to others about their troubles to avoid ‘staining’ their masculinity with vulnerability.
– They think opening up is more complicated than it seems.
They find it hard to open up to someone because they had experienced regret when they opened up to someone who betrayed their trust.
It’s not easy for them to know how others would react to them opening up and how they would feel about it, hence they choose to not open up at all.
– They’re afraid of having a negative experience when opening up.
Maybe they have tried opening up but it didn’t end well and now they have sworn not to open up again.
That negative experience has affected him and prevented him from talking to someone else.
Many men want to talk about their problems with other people but they think it’s hard to find someone they trust.
To sum up: What if he opens up to me? Does it mean that he likes me?
Since it is difficult for men to open up to someone, if he chooses to open up to you, that has to mean something.
You probably mean a lot to him.
Here are some variations of what his opening-up to you might mean:
- He’s comfortable with you;
- He trusts you and feels emotionally safe around you;
- He sees you as his closest friend.
Most of those variations relate to the feeling of comfort and safety.
He might like you and feel safe to open up to you, or he wants to marry you so now he wants to put everything on the table before settling down.
Whichever it is, the important thing is that he feels positive things about you if he opens up to you.
You resemble a safe space for him to show his vulnerabilities in a world where he gets judged for that side of his.