Do you know what to do when your man suddenly pulls away? Can you sense if he taking flight, or if he’ll come back as a stronger, more present Romeo? Let’s get into the basics first – why sometimes men need emotional space.
Why do men go into Emotional Hibernation?
To understand that, we need to understand the very basics of how men communicate. Which is essentially not at all. As men, we aren’t hard wired to express ourselves emotionally or otherwise.
Remember grade school? All the girls were busy chatting away about just about everything. The guys? We were busy showing off, playing sports and bragging about what we had for breakfast. In high school, girls can spend about as much time communicating how they feel about just about anything with one another for as long as there is a listening ear. Women are by default better talkers and listeners than men.
It’s deeply rooted in biology.
A University of Maryland study headed by Margaret McCarthy, discovered that women have more of a protein called FOX2. Researchers have linked this protein to the ability to COMMUNICATE. Now you know why men can’t do it physically.
No, he can’t. He’ll still feel the pain, he’ll suffer, he’ll be just as conflicted, if not more than you are. But he won’t say so.
Frustrated yet? Don’t be!
There are many reasons why a man may choose to retreat into himself rather than face or deal with his emotional life head on.
The most common that I have personally seen is something that doesn’t make a lot of sense on the outside but is the main reason why they hide. FEAR.
Fear is something that men are not supposed to feel or show. Showing their potential mate or current partner a lack of confidence in themselves or in the relationship puts them in a place that they are far too unfamiliar with. It’s not natural for a man to share his pain, his hurt, his insecurities about someone who is desperately trying to convince him that he can take care of them.
A man that hibernates is a man that doesn’t know how to convey how he feels
out of fear that he will be mocked, made fun of, looked down on and (gasp!) thought of as less than good enough as a male.
It’s so much better for him to look ignorant, stubborn, self-sufficient. At least he doesn’t lose any face or pride in the process.
No, they don’t realize what this does to you. No they aren’t trying to purposely hurt you. No they haven’t thought it out very well either.
They are hibernating. The whole idea is to put your feelings on ice, and ride the cold months until things spring back to life again.
They are detached emotionally and not a lot will get through to them when they are in that state.
So what now? Short of tazzing him, tying him to a chair and forcing him to listen to you, you’ll have to take a new approach.
I know. Might as well be a four letter word. Without it, you won’t last a week.
Give him time
If he’s in his cave, he won’t come right out. There was a process involved in him getting in there, there is going to be a process for him to leave. It’s not going to happen overnight.
A life changing event may propel him out of there faster, but pushing, arguing, provoking him will ensure that he insulates himself a little more so that he doesn’t have to feel anything.
It’s not a battle
Put down the sharp spears. Your words won’t penetrate those thick walls of his skull. He’ll only put up more defenses if you try. It’s not fair, it stinks, but you can’t win a battle when he’s in a fortified position.
It’s akin to hitting your head against a brick wall. There are some people that can break bricks with their heads. But you can’t, so stop trying. Now take something for that headache.
But it’s not fair!
Agreed! Moving on! No seriously. You are wasting time here. If you do that, you are reflecting his actions but not his intentions. His intentions are only to protect himself. It’s an important aspect of your relationship, believe it or not. A man that hides is hiding from something. You’re important enough for him to feel the need to hide from you.
Two can play at that game!
If you treat it that way, you are looking at this going on for months...sometimes even years. It’s not a game that you can win at. Trust me.
He may have shut down emotionally, but he is still a living breathing man. Go to his cave, leave some things that he enjoys.
Little by little, he’ll venture out. You’re tempting him to take steps out of his solitude and into the light of day again. Can you think of something that would do that? Yes you do. Now do it.
Be a listener
When he does make contact, be sure to listen first and foremost. It’s been a hard stretch for you. You want to make him understand how you feel and what it’s been like. If he hasn’t seen his shadow yet though, you’re wasting your time and encouraging him to run back. So put off any ideas that you have about making him understand, anything. See if you can pick up on some of the cues that he will be giving away.
They will be tentative, wrapped in mystery. He’ll be hinting at what is bothering him, if your listening skills are sharp enough, you’ll hear it.
What he may say or convey may seem trivial to you. You might even want to scream at him for making you suffer in misery for it. But you can’t. And you won’t. Because you know that unless you hear him out,
help him through this issue, he’ll go right back into hiding again.
He has to feel like this stupid thing that has him in hiding is important to you too. He has to feel like he won’t lose your respect, admiration and especially his appeal to you. He has to feel like whatever he shares with you will be kept in the highest confidence, that none of your friends will ever know. That you will not only keep this secret, but help him through it.
That you’ll even forget that this conversation ever happened. Judgements of any kind will invariably drive him further away or keep him away forever.
Negative becoming a positive
A man who hibernates emotionally is really a sign that the man in question cares enough about you, your opinion and your love for him to escape the perceived danger that he feels that he is headed for. It’s an opportunity to heal a part of him that only you can. In turn, you’ll have a partner who relies on you to help guide through the maze of emotional confusion that only men experience.
winners or losers. Only two beings becoming one.
We aren’t equals in that respect by any stretch. But rather together, we can be perfected into the beings that we are meant to be. It’s only together, understanding, patience and UNCONDITIONAL love that it’s possible to experience that level of perfection. There are no winners or losers. Only two beings becoming one.