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This morning I asked Siri, the Apple assistant, one of the many life or death questions I ask her every morning and she said: “Sorry I’m having trouble with the connection. Please try again in a moment”……and I felt so alone… And for the first time I think I somewhat understood how some women must feel when they ask their boyfriend or husband to be more emotionally available or to talk about something related to feelings or whenever they want a connection with him. It’s probably worse for these women, because the guy often goes: “Sorry I’m having trouble with the connection. Please NEVER try again”. Now most guys, even many of the good ones, are not very in touch with their emotions in a romantic relationship, but there are ways to have an emotional connection with a guy. So this will be a “how to” video. Let’s dive in.

I’m an author, I write about dating and relationships for women and about other topics like difficult emotions, my real name is Geert, my easier to pronounce pen name Brian Nox and first, let’s bust the myth that most men have no emotions at all. All sane men have emotions, but a lot of them cannot deal with their emotions very well. That’s why they stonewall, that’s why they shut down, give you the blue screen of emotional death and seem to run away from their emotions. I don’t remember if it was John Gottman (the psychologist who did a lot of research related to relationships) or someone else who did this experiment, but there were scientific experiments where a man and a woman that had a real-life relationship were having a conversation that got really emotional, on purpose, for science. Yes, humans were emotionally harmed during that experiment. And that woman and man were both hooked up to all kinds of monitors: heart rate, sweat, temperature and so on.

Now the woman got really emotional, raised her voice, red face, anger… the guy, not so much. Cool as a cucumber. Almost didn’t say a word and it seemed like he was thinking: “who’s that alien on the other side of the table that is not making any sense at all”, or it seemed like he was not thinking at all > blue screen of emotional death. But the data showed something totally different. His heart rate was up, his sweat glands were very productive… He was freaking out on the inside, but you couldn’t see it very well on the outside. And when the emotional argument was over, the woman quickly returned back to her normal state, normal heart rate and so on. The guy, not so much. He was stressed for much longer. But he didn’t talk about it. Of course he didn’t. So rule number one: remember that men have a lower tolerance on an emotional level before they black out and shut down. Second, you will probably have to teach him how to have that emotional connection with you. I’ll use empathy as an example.

One of the best ways to create a deep emotional connection with your boyfriend or husband is to first teach him empathy. Real empathy. See, as a man I always thought I had empathy. A lot of it.

A long time ago I was at a McDonalds, in Cannes, France, during the festival and as I sat outside with some friends to have lunch a father and his about five-year-old boy sat down at the table next to us with their burgers and fries. Now the father leaves the table for a couple of seconds to get some napkins and leaves his kid behind….What could possibly go wrong? Well, within seconds that table is viciously attacked by a bunch of hungry pigeons that started going for their burgers and fries. In a frenzy. Now the kid didn’t know what to do and I was just staring at it… while more and more pigeons dove in. A couple of seconds later the father runs back and scares the pigeons away. But the scene was horrible, burgers had been opened and were torn apart, fries were missing in action, never to be found again, ketchup everywhere. It looked like a battlefield on that table…. And they still ate their food. They didn’t replace what was left of the burgers. Pigeons had stuck their hungry beaks in there. And I felt so bad about that. About me not doing anything when the pigeons started their attack. Maybe they didn’t have enough money to buy new burgers.

I still feel bad about it and the old-me thought that this was empathy. But it wasn’t, it was just feeling bad for someone, but that didn’t really help them did it. So, many many years ago my girlfriend had to teach me what empathy really was. She taught me in many ways how to have that deep emotional connection with her. And that’s my point. Unless perhaps when they were raised by a very feminine and caring mother who taught them this, a lot of men have no idea how to build a deep emotional connection with anyone. A lot of men don’t have emotional talks with their male friends for example. So instead of asking each other: “so, how are you emotionally, how are you feeling? No but really? Share everything, I’m here for you…” They ask things like: “so how’s your car man, still happy with the engine and those new exhausts you bought? And those investments you made, how’s the return? Wanna grab a beer later?” and that’s about as deep as it gets.

And I’m stereotyping, but still. I got an email a while back from a 40-year old great woman whose boyfriend in his early thirties had broken up with her because he believed she was too needy. Yet all she wanted was a deep connection. Now that man, prior to moving into HER place, had lived with his parents all his life. Mommy still cooked his food, daddy still paid his bills. True story! Now when a mother seagull pushes her young out of the nest and says: “Good morning, time to grow up, have a nice life!” PUSH and they fall down, by the time her young are about to hit the ground most of them will have opened their wings and know how to fly. Men, are not like that. At least not emotionally. They will hit the pavement. Being emotionally available is not a standard feature on a masculine guy.

So teach him what you want from him on an emotional level. Both parties in a relationship have to learn and grow to make the relationship work, especially because masculine and feminine energy are so different. However, his emotional tolerance level is very important as well. When you go above it, blue screen of emotional death and he will stonewall you and will shut down. Now in my opinion the threshold cannot be changed. It is what it is for every guy. Some men have a high tolerance, others do not. So indeed, a man in his early thirties, still living at home while mommy and daddy take care of everything for him and pay all of his bills, probably not a great sign of emotional maturity. He may have a low tolerance. He will run back to the nest when the going gets tough, which is exactly what he did when he broke up with that woman. So if a deep emotional connection is REALLY important to you, pick a guy with a high emotional tolerance level.

Then, use humor. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but when men bond together, they often use humor, and banter. It can create a deep bond and friendship. So, you teach him YOUR language, like for example real empathy, and you try to use HIS language from time to time, which could be humor and banter. Not for every guy, there are very serious men out there that hate humor and smiling, but if you see him do it with his own friends, go for it. It will help him to open up, it will help him to feel safe.

Another great way to create an emotional bond is to do something together that energizes him. Outside of the bedroom. Again, when do men bond? They throw a ball at each other or throw it at something like a hoop, they go fishing, they watch a game or a funny or scary movie together, they go on a road trip… these things are not about talking and bonding, but about doing. Nevertheless, they will talk a lot and will bond. Their connection will grow. It’s easier for a man to open up then. I am stereotyping again, but a lot of women love to call a girlfriend and talk for an hour, or go out to dinner or have a drink with a girlfriend so they can talk… a lot… Right? It’s mostly about talking then. Most guys will not be found sitting at a table in a restaurant talking about their feelings for hours, no they go hiking, skiing, they play pool or golf or throw a frisbee, they go DO something, and talk. It’s about doing first. Try this and you’ll be speaking his language. It will be much easier to create that bond.

However, like I always say, the effort has to come from both sides, he will have to learn your language as well. He will have to learn and appreciate the stereotypical differences between men and women. For example that when you have a problem, you may just want to talk about it. To be heard. When he has or sees a problem, he just wants to fix it (that’s why he will often try to come up with a solution when you talk about a problem. He thinks that’s what you want), so he will have to do his best as well. But in my experience, as soon as you start to connect using his language, it will be easier for him to connect to you using yours, if you teach him how that’s done, because he will probably need some help. Again, being able to create an emotional connection is not a standard feature on a lot of men.
There you go. I hope you found this valuable!

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