Do Men Have Emotions?

One of the recurring themes of people who stumble onto my blog is a simple search entitled: "do men have emotions?"

The blog entry that they find is my post called Love That Takes Your Breath Away. It is number five on the page, not that it matters.

What I find so interesting about this is just how many women seem to really wonder if men have emotions. It is a common storyline in sitcoms, dramas, soap operas and the stories that my female friends used to tell me about dating. I'd hear things like:

"I don't understand how he can be so cold and cavalier about this."

"How can he say that he loves me when he doesn't show me?"

"Why can't he communicate with me. Why can't he tell me what he is feeling?"

The last comment always grabbed me because it sounded like they had an answer to the initial question of whether men have emotions. The simple answer is yes, we do and we always have. As to the communication gap that is a different story.

I am not going to give the pat answer of saying that men are socialized to keep our emotions to ourself because that is only partially true. I think that one of the key elements is feeling comfortable sharing those thoughts and feelings.

No one wants to be exposed without feeling supported and if the guy you are seeing doesn't feel that support can you blame him for keeping his thoughts to himself. And that doesn't suggest that one side or the other is to blame for this.

Another thing that I have noticed through time and years of conversations with both sexes is this desire to be understood is not always accompanied with the understanding that mind reading is not universal. If you do not share your thoughts than how can you expect your partner to understand you.

I really do not know where this post is going so I am going to try and wrap it up. Men feel. We hurt, we love, we cherish, we share, we laugh, we cry in both joy and sadness. We are human too.


stc said...

I know a couple that went for pre-marriage counselling with their clergyman. He asked them both, What was the happiest day of your life? The woman wrote, "The day I met L" (the name of her fiancé). The man wrote, "The day I bought my cherry red Ford pick-up truck."

He still had emotions, he just got teary about different stuff.

Seriously — I agree with your comments. Men have emotions, but I think they have a problem with both awareness and communication of those emotions.

Not too long ago, there was an interesting theory in the news. At a certain stage of gestation, a certain hormone washes over the brains of male babies. The effect of the hormone is to reduce communication between the left and right hemispheres of the brain. This presents a hurdle for men when it comes to understanding and communicating effectively about their emotions.

I'm sure it isn't the whole story, but maybe this physiological reality is genuinely a factor.

As a friend put it, men are handicapped emotionally because they're working with only half a brain. It was a female friend speaking, of course.

KRISTIN said...

I'm very thankful for this comment and for the original post too, of course :) Men really seem "handicapped emotionally" and even though you have heard of it a lot, you can't really take it seriously when it comes to a real personal contact; somehow you always feel that it's all your fault, that you simply are not good enough when you aren't told so.Seems that men hide their thoughts and feelings because of the mistrust they have for a certain woman and it hurts.
( sorry for my English, I'm not good at it)

Jack Steiner said...

Hi Kit,

It takes time to build the trust to the point where a man is willing to let down his guard. We spend years trying to learn how to avoid showing our emotions, it doesn't change overnight.

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