Tale as old as time, women like to talk through their emotions while for the majority of men, they let their actions do the talking much of the time. I’m here to give you a cheat sheet to help interpret his actions and emotions.
Let’s face it, when it comes to men, an invitation to discuss “feelings” isn’t generally something they jump at. It’s something I hear from my readers often.
Now, of course I’m not suggesting that you should just put up with an uncommunicative partner who grunts half-formed sentences. But the first step toward effective communication is what I call “seeking to understand”.
Basically, stop assigning your own meaning to his actions. By simply becoming aware that his behavior could stem from a different place than what you think can go miles toward deepening your connection.
Here are three common ways men show their feelings through actions that women commonly misunderstand.
Uncertainty can equal jealousy
Yes, there are insecure controlling types who are chronically acting jealous (and honestly, no one should put up with that nonsense). What I’m talking about here is when your normally self-assured guy gets a bit possessive.
This may spring up out of the blue and be so uncharacteristic of him that you might brush it off or chalk it up to a weird mood. However, when a confident guy shows a bit of the green-eyed monster it means he’s feeling uncertain in your relationship.
I found this to be true in my own relationship. After a rough patch, when we were still in the process of finding our footing and working through some issues, I casually mentioned that I thought a certain NFL player was handsome. I even jokingly called him my “football boyfriend”.
That innocent comment sent my guy into a mini-tailspin. It brought up feelings of uncertainty and made him worry that he could possibly lose me forever since things had recently been a little shaky.
Now, bless his heart, I’m pretty sure a hot 28 year-old Super Bowl winner is NOT interested in middle-aged me. But it didn’t stop my man from becoming unreasonably jealous.
At first it amused me…then it annoyed me. Like, it really irked me that he was acting so childish. Then it hit me. I realized WHY he was acting that way: He was worried about me leaving him. Once I recognized the root of the issue, we had a good heart to heart talk. And his jealousy evaporated.
Stress can equal distance
This is a biggie and one I get asked about all the time. We can sense when a man starts to pull away faster than a hummingbird can flap its wings. In that split second, we often resort to the worst case scenario and tell ourselves there is a problem in the relationship.
And while that can be the case some of the time, more often than not, a man gets distant for some entirely different reason.
Be it job stress, a health concern, a pressing need to change the oil in his car…you name it. But generally speaking, it’s not an issue with our relationship that causes the space. While we may get distant when we are upset, we then presume when men do it, it’s for the same reason.
Our brains are wired for multi-tasking much more so than men’s are. We can hold multiple conversations simultaneously while cooking dinner and mentally making our to-do list for the following day. But most guys don’t have that same skillset.
When he’s focused on a project or worried about a particular event, it can mean it occupies all of his attention in that moment. And that moment might stretch for a few days.
Rather than fill in the gaps with a fear-based story, consider that his temporary distance might have absolutely nothing to do with you. In fact, if everything else in your relationship has been just fine, it likely has NOTHING to do with you.
As a first reaction, just allow a little breathing room. Chances are, his attention will return to you when that immediate matter is cleared up.
Caring equals practical help (rather than romance)
Another biggie for us, especially those of us who are true romantics at heart, involves expressing love. Our idea of expressing love and adoration might involve flowers and a candlelight dinner followed by tender lovemaking.
While his way of showing his devotion might include cleaning out the gutters or putting snow tires on your car in November along with an occasional bouquet or fancy dinner out.
For many men, they show they care through acts of service rather than through words or romance. We might overlook the chores he’s done and can be left feeling ignored even though he’s thoughtfully done all sorts of tasks to keep us safe, healthy, and looked after.
Again, I’m not suggesting that your guy should never shower you with the type of romantic attention you crave, far from it. In fact, if that’s what you desire, TELL HIM. Really, just point blank let him know the things you like when it comes to the romance department (don’t expect him to read your mind).
But also, recognize that those little things he does to keep you comfortable, functional, and safe are actions that say “I care”.
The bottom line…
Remembering that he might respond to his emotions differently than you would under the same circumstances is what matters.
Let go of assumptions and seek to understand. That is always the best course of action!