"I don't know what he's thinking because he never tells me what is going on."
Sound familiar? In a recent poll, 42 percent of iVillage visitors say that they have a hard time getting their partner to share his feelings. When that happens, she feels shut out and he feels misunderstood. But in my years as a therapist and author, I've discovered something that many women don't realize. Men want to talk. Under the right conditions, they'll talk all night long. Most men desperately need to unburden themselves. So what's the secret to getting your guy to share? Read on -- and get ready to receive an earful.
Secret 1: Real Men Fear Rejection -- Really!
It's true. Most men feel that women are very critical of them, and they worry that if they do open up, someone's going to laugh at them, leaving them rejected and humiliated. It's important for women to realize that a man's ego and sense of identity are generally more fragile than hers and more easily threatened. That is especially so when he's in an intimate relationship: He craves acknowledgment, feedback and knowing that he's pleased you. So if a man feels that you are going to judge him, or look at him differently as a result of what he says, you can be sure that he won't talk.
Not judging your partner means allowing him to say what is on his mind, and simply being willing to hear it. This does not mean that you don't have an opinion or that you can't offer it at some point. In order for him open up to you, he has to feel truly accepted for who he is, not for who you may want him to be. Be patient with him. If you respond to his thoughts by immediately offering your point of view with something like "Well, that's wrong. I don't agree" or, "Where did you get a crazy idea like that?" any man is going to clam right up. They're afraid if they say something too personal, it may not fit into the image you have of them, or the image they force themselves to project.
A man is many different things at different points in his life -- even at different points in the week or day. Don't be afraid to allow him to show you all different parts of himself. If you can let go of your expectations and really just try to find out who he is, he will immediately sense it, feel greatly at ease and enjoy talking to you.