- in Intimacy
Have you ever wondered how to connect with a man on a deep emotional level? In this column, the top relationship experts and love coaches reveal powerful, proven secrets to create an amazing connection with a man to help you have a secure, long-lasting, committed relationship...
Connecting on an emotional level can be difficult for many people (men or women) depending on their personalities and upbringing.
But because of social expectations and plain practice, women are usually way ahead of men. They are also the ones that tend to worry more about how to deepen the connection. Don’t get me wrong, men do have all the same feelings and desire for closeness that women have. But they take longer to feel safe enough in the relationship to talk about them, or even to acknowledge they have them.
1. Be patient!
Go slow and make sure you build trust and safety. Men tend to emphasize independence and autonomy. Some have been hurt before and fear being hurt again. If you don’t rush things, and understand his need for independence without becoming too “needy” if may help get to connection sooner.
2. Don’t talk too much.
Men tend to be more “doers” than talkers. Instead of trying to have long conversations abut feelings (which he will try to avoid), acknowledge when he does any kind deed for you, which many times is his way to express how much they love you.
3. Show appreciation.
Don’t criticize. Don’t take things for granted. When you show appreciation for his actions and efforts to please you, he will feel understood and therefore be more open to a suggestion that he put his feelings for you into words also. On the other hand, if yo are negative and criticize a lot he will tend to run away from you.
4. Do fun things together and laugh together.
Positivity and good times tend to help grow a strong emotional connection.
5. Express physical affection.
And I’m not talking here about sex (although sex counts too). Hold hands, rub his back, hug, put your arms around each other, and kiss him to maintain a connection when you’re not between the sheets. What happens in both your brains when you exchange physical touch is that oxytocin levels increase. Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that acts as a neurotransmitter in the brain and that makes you feel attached and more connected.
6. Hold back some.
Part of creating an emotional connection is letting your man invest time and energy in you. Men like to feel they are conquering your affections. This means, don’t share too much too soon. If you share everything there is to know about you and your past too soon, it can become too boring and too easy. This goes back to being patient and letting the relationship develop slowly.
7. Take an interest in his life and hobbies.
Get to know his thoughts, ambitions, goals for the future. Where does he stand on marriage, his career, children? Do together some of the things he likes. Just make sure you are genuine. If he loves basketball and you hate it, don’t pretend to like it. You can watch or go to a game with him and enjoy his reactions and explore why he likes it. But if you start pretending, it will lead to deception and heartache.
If your relationship is meant to be, learning how to connect with a man on an emotional level should never be too difficult. If you like each other, and you give it time, you will open up to one another naturally and build a relationship based on that emotional connection.
Dr. Ada Gonzalez - www.adagonzalez.com
If your relationship feels disconnected and the love you once felt seems to be fading day by day…
Or maybe your relationship just feels a little stagnant and you're wondering how you can bring him closer and connect on a deeper emotional level….I can help!
There are two things we bring to our relationship that easily inspire our man to feel deep attraction, fall in love and stay in love - mystery and safety.
We already have a sense of mystery just by being a woman and owning our mysteriousness.
The sense of safety we BRING to a romantic relationship is KEY to having the love we want.
Learning what your man needs from you in order to connect emotionally (and it’s something he's not even aware of) will help you easily create a lasting relationship without all the struggle and heartache.
If you learn and understand what makes a man feel safe to be with you, you’ll avoid unnecessary heartbreak AND you'll also feel more like a Goddess who’s naturally empowered in her love life.
If you don’t learn and understand what makes a man feel safe to be with you, you’ll continue to work hard, analyze everything he does or doesn't do, accidentally do things that don't work and wonder why your relationship doesn't feel like you want it to.
We tend to think that talking about the relationship and asking a man how he feels about us, will help create a strong emotional connection and bring him closer.
Here are the differences in what makes us feel safe in a relationship and what makes a man feel safe.
- As women, we feel safe when a man’s words and actions match up.
- When we can see he makes smart decisions about his career, finances and health, it sends a message that he’s capable of making smart choices when it comes to his relationship as well.
- When we talk about things it helps us to feel MORE connected to someone.
For men, it's the experiences he has with you that create a strong emotional connection.
- They feel safe when we’re able to express how we feel and who we are without making it about them. Being able to express who we are exudes an inner confidence (Goddess Energy) that’s very attractive. It’s saying on an energetic level – “I love myself and my feelings and this opens up the space for you to love me and cherish my feelings.”
- When we love and accept ourselves first, this automatically allows our partner to feel safe to be who he is.
- We also create a sense of safety when we cherish how we feel and can express those feelings without blaming or making him wrong.
This sense of safety creates the space for true intimacy and connection.
Here Are 3 Ways To Create Safety And Connection Within Your Relationship
Men ultimately want respect, trust and appreciation (and to know he can make his woman happy).
1. Expressing appreciation
This can look like, “I feel so happy and relieved my car is working. Thank you for taking care of that for me.”
“It feels so good to hear your voice…”
“I feel so happy to see you…”
2. If your man is going through a difficult time
Instead of trying to figure out what he needs to do for him, show him you trust his ability to come up with the solutions he needs. Men LOVE this!
You can say, “I trust you’ll be able to come up with the answer/solutions you need and I’m here if you need anything.”
This gives him the space and support he needs and he'll feel inspired to get close and stay close. He’ll see you differently than any other woman.
3. If something’s bothering you
Learning how to express all of your feelings allows a deeper level of intimacy between the two of you.
Example: "Hi baby, there’s something I wanted to share with you, is now a good time?"
See what he says. Then express how you’re feeling and ask him what he thinks. Give him the space to answer and be willing to be "ok" if there's no resolution right away.
This is completely different than telling him how you feel and expecting him to do something about it (this is where we tend to miscommunicate and anger and resentment can build).
Just by tweaking a few simple things - you can create a deeper connection with your man.
Leigha Lake, Love Coach - www.leighalake.com
Typically, when we think of emotions we don't often think men. For some women, they can be a little difficult to read. So connecting with a man on an emotional level may feel like mission impossible. But don't fret ladies, I've got your back.
Here are 3 tips for emotionally connecting with your man:
One of the biggest complaints about men is their inability to open up and talk about what they're feeling. This isn't always the case. You can connect with your man by simply listening and paying attention. He may not communicate like you do or the way you think he should, but his actions, responses and what he does actually talk about speaks volumes. You'll be surprised how much you learn by listening and observing.
2. Don't judge or be dramatic.
Whenever there are emotions being displayed by men, women mustn't make a big production out of them nor criticize why they exist. Accept the emotions and be gentle with your man.
3. Be vulnerable.
Women can sometimes wear a mask and put on that tougher than leather armor that shut men out. You know the famous line, when things aren't really okay “I'm fine” is an excuse to not deal with emotions. It can have a negative impact on men. Women have to learn to lead by example. Men need to also see a woman's emotional side. It shows she trusts him with all of her.
Connecting on an emotional level is a lot easier than we sometimes think. It's really all about being loving, supportive and simply human with your man.
Tiya Cunningham-Sumter Certified Relationship Coach & Blogger - www.thelifeandlovecoach.com
The pillar of any relationship that has emotional depth is trust.
Trust is built, as Brene Brown states, in sliding door moments. These moment are windows of opportunity to connect and open up with others emotionally. To build this trust within a relationship starts with trusting ourselves.
Trusting ourselves means we are going through life adhering to our own values.
Deeply valuing ourselves and others will organically help us to deepen the connection we have with our partners.
Where people go wrong is when they distrust themselves and still expect a deep connection with others.
Wanting any deep emotional connection with others begins with having compassion and care for ourselves.
It requires us to feel we are safe enough to be vulnerable.
When we feel we can trust ourselves, we can openly share and communicate with our partners.
Focusing on developing what’s referred to as an internal locus of control will help support one’s ability to turn within for answers and truth.
Most people live life focused on the external locus of control, meaning that they become fixated on what they believe will make them happy is externally outside of them such as: a job, house, money etc.
We can develop a deep emotional connection in our relationships when we practice developing inner wisdom and strength.
Brooke Campbell, MA, LCAT - www.creativekinections.com
To do this, remember to treat them with respect and courtesy, the same as you would like to be treated.
Also, any advice you have received to “train them like a puppy” throw it out the window. A deep emotional level is expressed differently in masculine vs feminine ways. They second guess themselves just like we do, they need encouragement just like we do and they actually do want to please just like we do. All just in different ways of expression.
When you’re having a conversation, be yourself.
They generally communicate better if they are actually talking to you and not the you that you think they want. Confusing?
That’s the point and how it comes across to them. Get to know them as individuals by asking about their interests and their opinions. Being respectful as you would want them to do with you.
Try to understand they do not read minds or go 10 levels deep in a meaning of something. Generally, they keep things fairly simple. If they are a fast talker or con, it does not matter what you do, they will act interested in you until they get what they want. Then they are gone. So, this works for someone of sustenance, not someone who is here today gone tomorrow type.
Be honest with yourself regarding which type you are wanting and interact appropriately to that type of person.
Don’t try to make them someone they are not. Don’t try to make yourself someone you are not. The connection will be created with being yourself, being honest and if your personalities work. This is whether they are friends or more. You need to be vulnerable if you wish for the connection to deepen.
Meaning you need to be able to confide in them, listen to them, allow them to be there for you, and yes ask for help when needed. The level of deep will depend on your ability to do this.
So good luck and happy relations!
Katherine Woodworth, LPC, CRC – www.fairwaycounseling.com
#1. Open up and help your partner do so as well
Our insecurities often keep us from opening up. However, keeping walls up and not disclosing more intimate details about yourself can be a big roadblock to developing connection. It may create a disconnect between the two people involved. Therefore, make sure to open up and help your partner also do so.
Share your thoughts, feelings, and details about you and your life that color who you are and define you as a person. Ask him questions to push him to share the same information about himself. This is a gradual process and does not have to be done all at once. Slowly share this information as you feel more comfortable and the relationship grows.
#2. Practice Active listening
This will help make your partner more comfortable opening up and sharing intimate details about himself. Active listening shows him that you care and provides the necessary validation he needs to open up. Steps to active listening
- Pay attention- don’t multitask or space out.
- Ask questions about what was shared.
- Follow up with a statement showing that you heard and understood them.
- Delve into the feelings behind whatever they are talking about and empathize.
- Things to ask yourself to help with all of the above: What is this person saying? How does this person feel about what they’re talking about? What have I done that’s similar to what they’re talking about? When did I feel like this?
#3. Talk about the relationship and what emotional connection and intimacy means
Part of developing emotional connection is making sure you both are on similar pages. It is important to know where your partner stands and what he is thinking in regards to the relationship. Additionally, understanding what emotional intimacy is to your partner and expressing to him what it means for you can help deepen the emotional connection. It is important to do this periodically, and can be especially helpful if you are feeling that there is a current lack of connection and intimacy in the relationship.
#4. Voice appreciation and gratitude
This is another component of helping the other person feel safe and comfortable opening up to you. Let your partner know that you appreciate it. Express gratitude for specific things he does that make you feel safe in the relationship and lets you know that he cares. Additionally, whether you are at the “I love you” stage or “I enjoy your company” stage, regularly tell that to your partner, letting him know how you feel.
#5. Learn to love yourself
It’s difficult to expect love and support from a partner when you don’t provide that for yourself or feel you deserve it. Therefore, it is important to do things that build self-esteem and help you feel good about yourself. Building self-love is key to building connection and intimacy with a romantic partner.
Alyssa Mairanz, LMHC - www.alyssamairanztherapy.com
Every woman wants to have an emotional connection when meeting and getting to know a man.
One of the challenges in establishing a connection is that men are conditioned NOT to be vulnerable, and it takes vulnerability to connect on an emotional level. Men don’t get this. Not that it’s their fault, they just are hard wired that way.
Here is what men were traditionally raised:
- Problem Solvers and Fixers meaning solving any and all problems
- In control of all situations
- No showing of emotions
- Manage all affairs
In our twenty-first Century, men are learning more how to awaken feel their emotions rather than repress them like our former generations. We are diminishing the stigma of little boys have to be tough and grow up to be tough men. This has not been an easy task! There is now a greater acceptance of men being vulnerable and showing their vulnerabilities.
Women have to be the initiators for the most part to help their men feel as though it’s ok to express their emotions without being judged or criticized.
Be patient with men and realize this may be entirely new to them. Be encouraging with your man and if you see he is disconnecting emotionally, do not take it personally. It has nothing to do with you. It is his issue because he doesn’t know any different. However, you need to know that collectively men are going through a process of “emotional awakening.” This is encouraging because men and women have an increased chance of connection.
The art of connection comes from persistence and patience.
Believe that you and your man can connect on an emotional level and maintain it. Express your feelings that this is important for you and your relationships. Ask for cooperation and expression from your man and he may just surprise you especially if he is operating with conscious awareness. What do you have to lose?
Connie Clancy Fisher, ED.D. – www.drconnieclancyfisher.com
It isn't enough for a woman that is complex, intelligent, and strong to have a surface level relationship with a man only. This woman longs for a deep connection that goes beyond just the physical and even the emotional. She longs for a connection of the soul.
So how do you create this kind of connection with a man?
The most effective way of creating this is by entering the relationship from this level at the start.
Before you begin your search for your soul mate, you must first connect with this deepest part of your soul to awaken to the true partnership that you really desire.
Here are a few tips to help guide you before meeting your soul mate:
1. Avoid beginning a relationship based solely on material desires;
For example, the chemistry, the passion, your image together, money, living glamorously. There is nothing wrong with any of these things but if they are all you have together then a deeper connection may not be possible.
2. Connect with the most important values or qualities of your soul first.
What are you like truly? Do you long to help others? Are you adventurous? Do you want to have children? Are you spiritual? What else comes to mind? These are your deepest soul qualities.
3. Take inspired actions based on these values.
For example, if you long to help others you might volunteer or if you're spiritual you might join a church or meditation group. You may or may not meet your soul mate there but it keeps you grounded in your true self and will remind you not to choose the wrong partner based on material desires only.
4. Seek a partner that shares your most important values.
This might be by doing activities that reflect your values, asking like minded friends if they know of any single men, or even joining an online dating site to find someone that reflects your values in his profile (this is how I met my husband).
5. When you meet someone and date continue to share these values together.
When you enter a relationship with this end in mind it gives you a strong foundation for a deeper, ultimately more satisfying partnership.
Dina Robison, Love Coach - www.dinarobison.com
Here are some tips on how to connect emotionally with a man:
1. Enjoy your shared interests together.
If you both like tennis, then go play a few games together. Go see that funny movie together that you both have been waiting for to finally come out in theaters.
2. Take interest in his interests... even if they aren't your own.
Keep an open mind and you just might learn that you do like golf after all or any other activity that he likes and you never thought to try. He will appreciate the effort that you put in into wanting to share his interests with him.
3. Be yourself.
I know this sounds cliche but it's so crucial to be able to connect emotionally with a man who is worthy of you. Do you want to connect with just any man or a man who has real potential to be your partner in life? If you're searching for a life partner, then wouldn't you want a man who likes you for you?
Don't pretend to be someone you're not. If you disagree with something he said, let him know. You can agree to disagree. You don't have to agree with him on everything or share all the same exact interests. If he's a mature man, then he will appreciate not just the things you two have in common but also your differences. He will embrace those differences. And if he wants you to be something or someone you're not, then don't waste your time!
There's a difference between showing him you care enough to take an interest in learning more about his interests and pretending to like ALL the same exact things that he likes just to connect with him.
4. Make him feel needed.
Men want to feel needed just like women do. A man wants to feel that his woman needs him to console her when she's upset, give her useful advice when she's troubled and protect her when she's scared. This confirms his purpose in the relationship. Think about it... Do you feel good when you feel needed?
5. Men want to feel appreciated.
So you made him feel needed and now you have to show your appreciation for all the things he does for you. A simple thank you can make him feel so good. Feeling appreciated makes a person feel valued. Give him a gift. Doesn't have to be an extravagant gift. Just a small gesture to make him feel appreciated. He will appreciate feeling appreciated by you.
Jacklyn Bystritsky, LCSW – www.psychotherapistjackie.wordpress.com
Men really do want to connect with a woman emotionally; the challenge is that they just do it differently than women do.
Men and women speak a different emotional language and it’s important to understand cues.
My husband has often talked about what he calls “action speak”. This is why fathers often play catch with their sons, and it’s usually the best moments they have together!
Men prefer to connect emotionally while doing something with you, rather than sitting down for a talk.
This could be going for a walk together, being in the car on a drive, or even while cooking side by side. This way an emotional conversation feels less like a confrontation, and more like an activity.
The other way that men and women connect differently on an emotional level is how they process things. Women will often want to talk it through until there’s a resolution of some kind. Men on the other hand can need space and time out.
Often when this happens, women interpret it as a blow off and get more clingy, rather than realizing he may need some time or space to process his emotions. They are not necessarily running from you, they are giving their brain time and space to figure it out.
Finally, when a man is opening up and engaging with you on an emotional level, make sure you are very reaffirming.
Going into emotional territory can be scary for guys, so encourage them with simple body language like nodding, smiling, or “Ahh” and “mm-hmm”. Your reaction will make all the difference for him to either continue opening up or shutting down.
Alexis Meads, MA - www.alexismeads.com
If you want to keep your relationships intact and strong, there is something you must consider. How effective are you as a communicator?
Communication is the most important element of a successful relationship. Good communication should build trust, improve your physical and emotional connection and enhance your intimacy. However, if communication is poor, it can do just the opposite and destroy the foundation that holds a relationship together.
Here are some facts:
1. Be aware of gender differences in communication.
Men can be much more direct and assertive about their opinions. Women frequently will end a sentence with a rise in their tone of voice, which can be misinterpreted by men as insecurity. Women are more prone to use direct eye contact, while men are less likely to look the other person directly in the eye.
Men are usually more concise and to the point in their communication, while women talk more emotionally around a point, looking for agreement. By taking natural gender differences into account you are more likely to understand the messages being conveyed and less likely to misinterpret, judge or put down the other person.
2. Don’t assume that he can read your mind.
You must ask for what you want, or you won’t get it. Unless you are specific and clear, you may wind up getting what you don’t want.
3. Good listening skills require you to respond to what you hear by saying, "It sounds like you feel…" and paraphrase what you think the person is feeling.
This indicates you heard and understood what was said. Be open to the comments of the other person to be sure you heard things properly. This “give and take” dialogue opens the door to trust, clarity and an enhanced emotional connection.
Good communication can definitely bring you emotionally closer to your partner. And when you feel emotionally connected, your relationship becomes all it can be – that is a healthy, strong, committed partnership.
Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC – www.yourbabyboomersnetwork.com
Women often tell me they would love it if their partner would express themselves more and tell them how they feel.
They want to know how to bring out the emotional side of their partner and deepen the connection.
This is a complex topic with as many individual nuances as there are couples. However, I will touch on some basic tips and guidelines.
1. Choose Wisely:
When looking for a partner, be aware of how they relate to you in the courtship phase of the relationship. If this person is emotionally shut down and non-communicative, yet a lot of fun to be with, don’t necessarily expect that pattern to change without some serious work. If deep emotional connection is important to you, look for someone who is able to communicate and express themselves, or is at least willing to try, from the beginning.
I have spoken to many women who lament the lack of emotional connection several years into a relationship and simply did not see the pattern from the beginning or they expected it to change. In many cases, these women didn’t realize how important a deep emotional connection with their partner would be to them in the coming years and they over looked the lack of connection from the beginning. It doesn’t mean the emotional connection cannot be developed, but it is harder to do after years of emotional shutdown.
2. Be Vulnerable:
If you want emotional connection with anyone, you must be willing to be vulnerable yourself. You cannot necessarily wait for the other person to open the door to deeper intimacy. Become the change you want to see and express what you would like to share in a loving way and see how it is received. Share your feelings openly and responsibly.
Don’t expect men to be mind-readers or to understand your “hints” about what you want or feel. Take responsibility for knowing your own wants and needs and express them clearly. Clear communication eliminates the “drama” of disconnection and creates safety. By being vulnerable you are modeling that you want to trust and take the relationship to a deeper level.
3. Be Inviting:
If you want a man to connect with you emotionally, find a way to compel him to do so. Become the person who he would want to be emotionally close to. Take responsibility for your own life and happiness. Know what interests you, turns you on and inspires you. Create a full life that is pleasurable and happy. Don’t expect him to fulfill all your needs.
Invite him to join you there and be curious about his wants and needs. Share from this place of pleasure, fun and curiosity and see if he opens to join you. Men want to be with women who are already happy. They do not want to feel responsible for your happiness. When you create safety for them in that way, they will be more likely let down their guard and open up.
What not to do:
In my years of being a relationship coach and therapist, I have seen many strategies that women use to get a man to open up simply backfire and create more disconnection. It may seem obvious, but it generally does not work to complain, criticize, shame, blame or judge a man for not sharing his feelings. It also does not work to be angry with him for his feelings once he does express them!
Create safety, model vulnerability, compassion and acceptance for a man’s feelings and he may find you a safe haven for unloading what he has rarely expressed before.
Nancy Harris, LCSW, LICSW - www.nancyharriscoaching.com
‘With the beauty of your heart.’
Emotional attraction is deeper and more lasting than physical attraction, which don’t get me wrong is important too, we have to have that physical spark and chemistry but that alone wont sustain a happy healthy relationship. When the emotional attraction is present the physical attraction will be deeper and your partner or potential partner will feel called to deepen the relationship and really open his heart to you.
Our negative self talk and beliefs, our old stories and wounds if we perpetuate them in relationships we actually hurt our own chances of love and forming a deep connection. If we are telling the story “I can never be with a guy as great as him” or “it always ends badly” etc. we are actually creating a negative outcome and honestly doing the man we are engaging with a disservice because we haven’t given them the benefit of showing up as the potentially great person they are. Negativity is a big turn off in relationship so be as optimistic and hopeful / authentic as possible.
Be vulnerable / keep your heart open and show up for him
Keeping in mind that no one is perfect and one of the ways we weave the foundation of a strong relationship is through our vulnerabilities, we all have fears and wounds etc and they are going to come up in relationship so its vital in those moments not to run away and be defensive etc. but to sit with that pain and be authentic be open hearted, be vulnerable, share that with your man in the most authentic way, talk about your fears and feelings and open your beautiful heart to them.
It’s not about being “perfect” that’s an insane space to try to hold in that will I can promise only produce failure its about being authentic and vulnerable enough to reveal your true heart and the right man will only love you more deeply for it. When you want to contract and fall inward and close off, challenge yourself to expand and feel the deep connection that you have with love fill you and give you the courage to hold in that space regardless of the outcome, that is attractive and gives an opportunity to form a true connection.
Take the time to enjoy the connection
Women are creatures of security we love to feel really secure in the exchange we want to know a man is going to be there for us and show up as a present lover, husband, father, etc. so we tend sometimes to want to rush that exchange, however, it’s truly vital to forming a deeper emotional connection that you don’t rush that process.
Without the man feeling the pressure of having to hit this deadline or do this or that or the other he can be more relaxed in opening his heart and showing up and who knows it might be in that care free date you share on the beach watching the setting sun where you rescue a turtle back to sea or just look deeply into his eyes and share your soul that he has the aha moment of – I don’t ever want to live without this woman. Those moments can be missed if we rush them.
Keep it interesting and keep the spark alive
In the beginning it is interesting and fun and we tend to devote time and energy to creating a healthy exchange and sharing ourselves, this can dwindle over time if we are not careful.
One of the keys to deepening an emotional connection and also sustaining a fulfilling relationship is to constantly blow oxygen onto the fire i.e. Look for ways to show up and surprise your partner, keep the passion alive, plan dates and share intimacy regularly. Also, do the unexpected, keep your partner on their toes and show them that they are in for a life of fun, deep love and intimacy with you. It won’t always be easy because let’s face it nothing really good in life is, but it will be worth it.
Lots of love
Ashley Davene, Relationship Counselor - www.twitter.com/ashleydavene
Although women are perceived to be the emotional ones in relationships, men have similar emotions that often need to be coaxed out.
Women learned to connect to their emotions and those of others by their role of child-rearing. For their children to thrive, their mothers had to recognize and respond to their emotional needs.
Women also got plenty of practice in chatting about feelings as gatherers, whereas men had a good deal less opportunity as hunters who needed to be silent and focus on killing and bringing home dinner. That said, both sexes need emotional connections.
Here are some tips on connecting more deeply with a man:
#1. Be a good listener.
When a man starts talking, even if he’s not speaking from the heart, but from the head, listen to what he’s saying. By doing this, you’re creating a safe space for him when he does wish to speak of his feelings. Show him that you’re tuned in to him, and he’s more likely to share his emotions.
#2. Ask questions.
As a woman, you may feel that others show interest in you by peppering you with questions. Men often don’t feel that way. Ask them a question and then, rather than jumping in with a follow-up right away, just sit back and listen to his answer. Let him meander and set the pace with how he tells his stories. Let him unfold his feelings gradually and that will deepen connection between you.
#3. Share your emotions freely without expecting him to do the same.
Many men attach to emotional women because they have a need for sharing but don’t know how to do it. Be your best emotional self and you’ll be a role model for your man. Without being preachy, talk about how you feel in a thoughtful manner. Don’t complicate the issue with “psych” terminology you learned in self-help books, words like transference, projection, or repression. Keep it simple. It helps to make eye contact which increases physical bonding through the production of oxytocin, which is called the love hormone.
#4. Ask if it’s okay to ask him questions about his feelings.
It’s useful to get his permission by saying something like, “Is it okay if I ask how you feel about that?” or “Do you mind if I ask you some questions about how you felt when that happened?” If he says no, respect his answer. Avoiding asking why he doesn’t want to share. Let him set the pace and, again, create a safe space in which he can comfortably share.
#5. Don’t compare him to other men.
Make sure not to use other men you know—in your past or in your current shared life with your man—to show the kind of deep connection you seek. This approach will not endear you to him, nor help him feel that he wants to be more connected to you. If he asks you for suggestions about what you’re looking for him to do to be more intimate, then it’s okay to make reference to someone you both know to use as an example.
#6. Recognize that some men can connect more deeply than others.
By knowing your man’s history, you’ll learn how emotions were treated in his family of origin. Obviously, someone who’s raised in a loving family in which both parents talked openly about their emotions is going to have an easier time than someone who had poor role models or whose parents shut him down every time he tried to express feelings.
Remember that your man may say “I love you” by bringing you flowers, fixing you dinner, or doing some chore you hate that he doesn’t mind doing. Deep emotional connection doesn’t always come with words. You can also deepen it by doing things you enjoy together, including sitting silently in a room and simply glancing over at each other occasionally with a smile of recognition of your togetherness. Sometimes, actions really do speak louder than words.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com
Connection starts with communication.
There are different ways of communicating outside of words. Body language is a way of communicating. Actions and behavior are a way of communicating. A deeper connection can be found in the subtle ways that you express yourself and communicate with your partner. Timing is important in being able to give each other your full attention. Attend to your partner as much as you want him to attend to you. Don’t just assume he is on board with everything because he is silent. Give him space to communicate his feelings and express himself in a meaningful way for him.
A relationship is a breathing living thing.
We have to feed and nourish a relationship. Relationships take work and effort to be strong and healthy. Be mindful that you are attending to his needs for intimacy and his desire to connect. Slow down and be present by looking into his eyes, hugging him, holding his hand and responding to what he is saying to you.
Timing is important in being able to give each other your full attention.
Take the time to engage in a conversation. Prepare a meal together. Laugh together. Go shopping for the ingredients and make a night of trying a new recipe. Take time for a date night. Turn off the electronic devices (phones, pads and computers) and turn off the television. Go for a walk and grab a snow cone. Go for a picnic or play a board game. Go to an outdoor concert or take the dog to the park.
Engage at times when you can give each other your undivided attention. Engage each other in conversation that doesn’t involve work or other stressful topics. Be present for each other by paying attention and engaging each other in non-verbal communication. Hold hands and look into each other’s eyes when you are talking to each other. Glance and smile at each other when you are not talking. Hold hands and explore ways to connect with touch and non-verbal communication.
Attend to your partner as much as you want him to attend to you.
Being present for your partner and taking time to listen to what he is really saying is extremely important. Don’t assume you know what he is thinking or trying to say. Let him speak and let him complete his train of thought when he is trying to say something. Don’t talk over him or speak for him. Don’t cut him off and dominate the conversation. Don’t be demanding and make everything about you or your needs. Be tactful and gentle when telling him about something you do not like.
Be honest and direct yet respectful and compassionate.
Be mindful that you are not imposing your will on him and pushing him away because he feels overpowered by you. Listen to what interests him. Pay attention to the details of what is important to him. Show him with your words and actions that his needs are important to you. Be fair and considerate of his time and other responsibilities. For example, if he needs to be at work early the next morning, don’t keep him up the night before with drama.
Give him space to communicate his feelings and express himself in a meaningful way for him.
Be mindful of your words and the judgment you may convey if you don’t like what you hear. If you want honesty from him, you have to be willing to hear the truth. If you cut him off because you become upset at what he is saying, he will shut down and refrain from sharing his thoughts and feelings with you in the future. Your unwillingness to hear about what he doesn’t like about you will do the opposite of creating a deeper connection; it will push him away.
Maybe there is something that he wants to tell you that is really important to him. Maybe he is worried that you will judge or reject him if he tells you about something intimate or embarrassing. Maybe he is concerned about looking weak if he expresses his emotions. In order for a man to be vulnerable with you, he has to trust you and feel safe. He needs to know that you will not mock him or throw what he tells you in his face. Trust will foster a deeper connection.
We can bring our own issues into a relationship and sometimes we need to do some work on ourselves to address those issues.
Talk to a therapist if there are some issues that you want to work on. It is important to never tolerate abuse or to be abusive. If you and your partner need some help to work on aspects of your relationship, talk to a couple’s therapist. Get some guidance on how to manage conflict and negotiate a win-win in your relationship. Address what is not working in the relationship and build on what is working. A therapist can help you learn tools to work together, communicate more effectively and strengthen your relationship.
Ileana Hinojosa, MLA, LMFT – www.themindfullife.net
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