How To Say What You Feel & Stop The “Intensity” That Pushes Men Away

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I know the whole idea of “saying what you feel” sounds wrong.

Men are supposed to HATE feelings, aren’t they?

A man gets really uncomfortable around “drama” and the kind of emotional intensity we’ve been talking about in this series of posts – where your energy is all bound up in a kind of “push-pull” tension inside you – but he LOVES “feelings.”

He loves to see you “uncovered.” As though you’re a transparent woman and he can see everything that’s going on inside you. Yes, even the “yucky” stuff.

What we’re talking about here is vulnerability, and vulnerability is a RARE thing.

“Fragility” is common, where a man feels you could easily break apart or fly into a rage or into tears at the drop of a hat. And he’s always on the lookout for that. But vulnerability requires inner strength, bravery, and a belief in yourself. In order to let someone see who you are inside – especially a man you love – you have to be “okay” with yourself. Liking yourself is even better. And loving yourself gets you the prize!

Because if what a man sees when he looks at you is that you love yourself – then he feels compelled to love you, too. He can’t help it.

So saying what you feel is a necessary part of being vulnerable. It doesn’t mean you have to say everything you feel ALL the time. (And most of the time we’re actually speaking about what we THINK, and what we think doesn’t count at all for vulnerability – we’ll talk more about that in future posts.) And it doesn’t mean you spew your feelings out in just any old way.

What being vulnerable and saying what you feel means – is that there’s a way to talk about what you feel that works, that’s soft and vulnerable, and there’s a way to talk about what you feel that’s dramatic, “intense” and makes him think you’re fragile and difficult.

In the next posts we’ll get to the exact ways to do it. If you’d like to quickly get my “Basics,” like Feeling Messages, down – try out my ebook, Have The Relationship You Want

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13 Comments

  1.  #1Jacqueline on November 23, 2008 at 10:56 am

    The article above speaks about how men describe “fragile” and “intense” in a woman. I have been described this way by some men. I have asked them to explain it to me – so that I could understand it. They have not been able to tell me what they mean – apparently, these descriptors are more about how they feel when describing me. I have picked up from them that these are not complimentary terms. Is being vulnerable a decision, a skill, does it take practice? Is it about feeling safe with a particular person to become vulnerable? Is it about letting go or opening up? How do I let go of the old repetitive actions and reactions to open up to make way for the new way I want to experience things?



  2.  #2iAMrj * richard jones on December 15, 2008 at 11:28 pm

    > “Fragility” is common, where a man feels you could
    > easily break apart or fly into a rage or into tears at the
    > drop of a hat. And he’s always on the lookout for that.
    > But vulnerability requires inner strength, bravery, and a
    > belief in yourself.

    Good point! But men have a problem with “fragility,” too. 😉



  3.  #3Rori Raye on December 16, 2008 at 12:28 pm

    Hi, Welcome Richard – so glad to have a man’s opinion here – would you be willing to tell us more – how “fragility” works in you as a man, and how you see relationships? Thanks, Rori



  4.  #4iAMrj * richard jones on December 17, 2008 at 9:24 am

    Rori Raye, thanks for the welcome and follow-up.

    Men are notorious for breaking apart and especially flying into a rage at the drop of a hat. As I disclose on iAMrj.com, I had serious problem with that kind of “fragility” for years and still struggle with being vulnerable in the manner you described.

    I also work with a group of males from ages 14 to 65 whose emotional pendulum swings from “calm before the storm” to psychological tsunami. Indeed, most men are beset by such “fragility” despite the veneers of emotional stability created by the strong-silent-type act.

    How do I see relationships? Of course, this is quite a general question and one which I answer all the time on iAMrj.com. However, I’d like to note here that I see most partners in relationships resorting to distasteful and counter-productive manipulation tactics as opposed to honest communication and genuine responsiveness to their partner’s needs and desires. The sooner partners begin pleasing rather than merely appeasing each other, the better.



  5.  #5Tara on July 5, 2009 at 9:09 am

    Hello- I still have very strong feelings for my ex. He says that if we are friends first that we can “build something stronger”. He also says that we should “be friends…and see what happens..let life happen how it happens, and stop forcing things to happen…”
    It bothers me that he then told me about some sexual mishap that he had recently with some random girl…
    Yuck!
    Plus, there is no physical touching, no hugs or kissing, etc. No “it’s nice to see you”-nothing. I feel like he’s keeping me on the “backburner” or “just in case” something or someone else doesn’t work out.
    I know i deserve better, and why do I want HIM?
    My friends tell me I should move on, but I still love him.
    Help!!!
    Can I really be friends???
    And really, I am the one who calls him and asks HIM to hang out ! If not for me, we’d NEVER hang out! It hurts because he tells me “gimme a chance to call and I will..” but it’s been almost 2 weeks and he hasn’t called at all!
    How do I stop doing all the work? and to figure out that I need to stop settling??



  6.  #6Robin Clemens on November 9, 2009 at 9:45 am

    Hi Rori,

    When it comes to relationships I am my own worst enemy.
    I’ve been sexually involved with a much younger man for 3 years now. He’s 24, I’m 43. And basically he’s an immature jerk. The only reason we are together is for sex. He calls me his “friend”, even though we’ve been involved with each other for 3 years.

    Intellectually I know I need to end this relationship and completely stop seeing him. Emotionally it’s much, much harder.
    The problem is when I’ve done this in the past, cut off all contact with him, then he starts contacting me!
    It’s a vicious circle.

    How can I make a clean break?? How can I develop the inner strength to finally get rid of him and move on???

    I’m not in with love him but I do care deeply about him.
    I’ve never met his family but I feel like I know them. His mom has cancer and his sister just had her first baby. I’m a very spiritual person and have even prayed for his mom when I go to church.
    He is young and immature but not an inherently bad person.

    Other more age appropriate guys have shown interest in me but I can’t seem to get over this younger guy.

    How long should I wait until I seriously date other guys?? 3 months?? 6 months??

    What’s the best way to work on MY SELF ESTEEM so I don’t keep wasting my time on emotionally unavailable jerks??

    I think I pick and prefer emotionally unavailable men because that’s how all the men in my family were, so it feels familiar and comfortable.

    G-d knows I need a lot of help when it comes to men and relationships!!

    Thanks for listening. I love your website.

    Best, Robin C



  7.  #7Rori Raye on November 9, 2009 at 9:16 pm

    Robin, Welcome, and PLEASE – read more on this site. You would be fine if you WEREN’T exclusive with him. You can date him for fun and date other men for a potential future – at the SAME TIME! Circular Dating is your ticket – learn about it here and in my Targeting Mr. Right program. Love, Rori



  8.  #8Cherie on December 3, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Hi Rori,

    I’ve been dating a man for 3 months now and all along he is telling me the same things and I need to listen and decide whether to keep seeing him and accept it may be only for fun … or let him go. We talk very openly with each other. He tells me that he “really likes me” and loves time together. But its 3 months and he still wants to stay chatting on the dating site, meets up with other women sometimes, has taken another woman out to a concert. He doesn’t want to stop this “open” arrangement although he says he is only having sex with me. I feel like he is circular dating! I’m trying to and am talking to other men … but have cancelled meeting a few times. He says we are just getting to know each other and I should meet other people too. I don’t want him not to care! I asked if it would bother him if I did date someone else and slept with someone else … he doesn’t say its a problem. But then other times he says “I’m a breath of fresh air” and he wished he met me 20 years ago and we had our kids together! I am confused to say the least. He is going away with ex-wife and kids for 2 weeks to Fiji for Christmas but has asked me to go away with him for a few days when he gets back. Also he will try to see me NYE as that is day he gets back from Fiji. I am a yoyo. I talk to him in feeling messages. He stayed Friday night but had arranged to go to a “seminar” early in morning! I say “I feel sad that you are not making time for me this weekend and hurt that you are going to a singles event tonight! I don’t want to feel insecure and act needy. I like you and enjoy seeing you, but I don’t like that you still want to meet other women.” Or do you think this is actually a good arrangement to have? Maybe I should accept it as I do enjoy the time I have with him. But is he keeping me on a string until he finds what he really wants? That’s what doesn’t feel good.



  9.  #9Cosmetic Dental Veneers on January 8, 2011 at 7:39 pm

    I suppose I am lucky that my man allows me to be the woman that I am with all the intense emotionality. He does not like it, I know it, but he makes an effort to turn against those emotions and be on my side.



  10.  #10rosina on January 26, 2012 at 11:53 am

    Hi rori. My ex and I dated for five months things were going so well between us the thing is I didn’t respect him much I will sometimes read his text msges so oneday I found an sms from another lady it seems as if they were dating,within weeks he started to pull away he will stop callin the most hurtful thing ws we work togetha I had to face him everyday,things got worse he brokeup with me,after some few weeks he started making moves I fall for it we end up in bed again he then told me that he need his space



  11.  #11Lilith on June 5, 2012 at 12:50 pm

    Hi there! Well, I’m in a bit of a pickle at the moment, and could really use your help. I have been dating a guy that has been really wonderful overall for this past 4 mos…but I allowed myself to get roped into the girlfriend trap with him, and then was triggered and broke the 4 rules when I was having a pms week, and asked questions about the future (was trying to get reassurance), which pushed him away a bit (and he was calling and texting me less, but still consistently each day except for one). I know it was way too early for the future talk stuff, but I wasn’t doing enough for myself and my life, so I allowed my anxiety to take over that week. I turned things around for myself when he was away for a week and a half on vacay (which he had booked prior to us being together), and felt better. And he texted me almost every day when he was away. YAY! Then he got back from his trip and over the past week things felt like they were before my having broken the 4 rules. 🙂
    Then it ‘hit the fan’…
    The other night, when I was staying over at his place, and we were in the middle of ‘intimate stuff’…he mentioned that he would love for us to have sex with another couple. I freaked and stopped and started asking questions…apparently he’d been in an open relationship with his 1st wife before they were married, and he’d broached sex with others with his second, but she backed out last minute…I don’t feel like he communicates fantastically sometimes, and this was one of these situations…after chatting with him and asking questions, I was under the impression that he was hoping to have an open relationship with me…and I didn’t sleep worth a darn that night…and then he left for work early the next morning, promising to come over after work, so we could talk and I could ask him more questions…and I was so anxious and triggered that I did something I’m really not proud of…I snooped on his computer emails…I was thinking that I’d see evidence of him having broken our exclusivity agreement or something. Didn’t find anything. [This snooping thing is a bad ‘habit’ that I picked up from a previous relationship, where I found evidence of cheating. In that previous relationship, the guy hid things very well, but my gut was screaming at me that something was wrong (and I was living with him at the time…there would be late nights and such), so I went to his emails and found proof that he had been unfaithful.]
    I went home shortly after, and wrote lists of all the questions I wanted to ask and such…I considered whether I would be comfortable with having an open relationship…I’ve never been in one before, but I’m not necessarily adamantly against it…I have friends that are in these, and it seems to work well for them…but I still don’t know whether it’s for me or not. I just didn’t like the way it was brought up, and had been shocked by it, because he had committed to an exclusive relationship to me a month and a half previously.
    So he came over, and I started to go into the questions, and he was holding my hands, and he explained that this was a one-time fantasy of his, and no he wasn’t looking for an open relationship with me, he just thought that it would be fun to incorporate another couple in this fantasy…but that he understood from my reaction that I’m not ok with this, and that he was in an open relationship in his 1st marriage, but it wasn’t what he wanted or needed now, it wasn’t something he wants to go back to. And that he is very happy with me and our sex life right now.

    Then I felt guilty, and I told him that I had snooped his emails. And he was shocked and said that he didn’t expect this from me and that this was big, and that he felt betrayed. And I apologized, and said that wish I had never done it, and tried to explain what I was feeling when I went there (I don’t think I clearly explained or covered the part about him not communicating his fantasy clearly, though…just that I was confused and triggered from previous)…and that I would never do it again (and I truly plan to stick to this), and that if there’s anything else that I can do to make him feel better about this, to please let me know. I asked if he wanted to see other people…he said ‘NO, because you wouldn’t feel very good about that’ and ‘what if I fell in love with someone else’…and I said that this could happen anyway, that he could fall in love at first sight with someone…we kept hugging, and we talked and I asked him if he still loved me, and he said ‘I don’t know’…but then we hugged again
    And we were hugging and stuff, and I decided that if this was the last time I was going to see him, I wanted it to be in love. And I explained this to him, and he said it wouldn’t be…and I said ‘you never know, either of us could get hit by a bus’…and then we were intimate, and I felt good about it, because it was what I wanted, and I didn’t feel it was coming from a place of ‘neediness’.
    K, so another convolution…he is planning on taking me to Henderson on a trip, and paying for my flight (had been since before all this) and I had offered to let him delegate to me the task of booking, if he wished, because he hasn’t had time to get it done with his long work hours. He still said after all of this that he wants to take me, and he asked if I would still look for flights for us, and he gave me his visa # (all of this after I admitted to snooping and stuff)…so, I was looking for flights yesterday and calling him to ask questions about it and confirm stuff (because he asked me to)…and it got very frustrating because I kept having to call him back to see if a specific flight itinerary would work for him, and then it wouldn’t, so I’d go back to the travel agent to rework (as well as check online myself)…and there were a lot of calls and texts back and forth between us…and he was also watching his team, the LA Kings win their game during playoffs and celebrating with his work buddies…the last call ended up me trying to give him info over a bunch of loud, drunk men (and he was tipsy too, but not to that extent)…and him telling me it wasn’t a good time, and that he could look into it Thursday, when he had time, or maybe I could check in the mornings and get the info to him then, and then he’d get back to me by the end of his workday…I felt frustrated and worried that we’ll miss out on what flights are left (we leave in just under 2 weeks), and also felt bad because I want to give him some space so he can process the snooping stuff…very hard to do when I’m needing to try to book flights and confirm stuff with him.
    And I started feeling anxious again, and even numb or depressed…and fear about him deciding over the next couple of days that he’ll break up with me, and also angry that his lack of communication over his fantasy that I totally overreacted (angry at him, and at me)…and also wondering if this is stuff that may be important to him, wondering if maybe this isn’t the right match for me, and feeling sad about this, because I’ve been so happy with him. All sorts of confusing, conflicting emotions.
    Sooooo, I didn’t hear anything from him yet today…and I was thinking about waiting to hear from him and then saying that I was feeling frustrated and worried about the flights, but that also I was feeling bad because I felt that I wanted to give him some time to process stuff and I haven’t been able to give him that this way…but instead of waiting, I wanted to be fair to him, so that he’d know I wasn’t going to be searching for stuff starting from now…I called his voicemail and said the above, and said that it was his money, and if he would prefer to do the booking himself on Thursday, that would be fine, but that if he wanted me to work on it in the meantime, to let me know…but then I would need to be getting ahold of him to confirm stuff.
    I felt a lot better after doing this. I’m still feeling unsure about what’ll happen with the relationship, but I’m feeling less ‘tied’ and ‘stuck’ in anxiety and numbness…and I’ve been able to turn away and focus on my day better.
    Please let me know what to do with this…



  12.  #12Harsha on August 12, 2012 at 12:47 pm

    Hello, I am married for 5 years and known my husband for 7 years. We had our 2nd child and I went to my native for 4 months on holiday. Got back to that he is having an affair with a women from our building. He is so determine that he doesn’t want to reason or want to think of the young kids. My younger one is 6 months old and older is 5 yrs old. He is very close to his dad. I am going through a very hard time when my husband demand me be nice to her, make the kids call her aunty. And they go out together on dad’s day with the kids. This is all too much for me. He is not listening to anything or anyone. I am so heart broken haven’t got a clue how to bring him back. He lives with her. my son gets panic attack and screams every night and begs me to bring him back. I donno whT to do. Any suggestions? Or help.



  13.  #13Rori Raye on August 12, 2012 at 1:52 pm

    Harsha – My heart goes out to you. I’m not sure where you live, but the first thing you need to do is to see an ATTORNEY. Find out what your rights are, what your options are. You must primarily make sure that you are financially able to care for yourself and your children, and that he will be COMPELLED by law to take care of his children. You do NOT have to be “nice” to ANYONE!!!! Get some professional help to leave this man, should that become the logical decision for you, and do what you need to do to stay strong. Love, Rori