Why He Gets Defensive When You Tell Him How You Feel

Last updated by Katie M.

Relationships are never exactly straightforward, and at points, a crystal ball wouldn’t go amiss when it comes to understanding what your partner’s reactions are hiding. Now, sadly not all of us own a trusty crystal ball, but our experience when it comes to love is just as precious in analyzing potential pitfalls related to emotions. This may sound a little cliché, but us girls love talking about our feelings, whether that be about when we are falling in love, or when we are feeling sad. Yet some guys get really defensive whenever these serious topics come round, here’s why.

Why He Gets Defensive When You Tell Him How You Feel

Relationships typically involve two people, yet if both of them aren’t on the same page, then things are unlikely to work out in the long run. Now, let’s be realistic, no one lives the perfect Disney fairy tale, and we’ve all moved past the stage of believing in a knight in shining armor, yet as women we still have needs that must be met. We need to feel confident and comfortable enough to say anything to our partner, without feelings judged or ridiculed. We essentially require our partner to act as an emotional springboard, however, for many men this task seems nigh on impossible. Talking about our emotions should be fluid and natural, yet if that isn’t the case, something isn’t quite right with your partner.

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Why your man gets defensive when you bring up your emotions - 10 Reasons why

1) He’s indecisive

Let me set the scene for you, you’ve been dating someone for a while and want to take that all important step toward putting a label on things, although, when you actually do, your man clams up. If you are in this situation, then it might be that he feels unsure of a possible future with you, or even that he is seeing other people, and therefore not ready to be exclusive. If this proves to be the case, you might want to seriously consider his investment in your love story, as well as ask yourself what he is promising other people too.

2) He’s emotionally immature

If your man gets carried away when you want to talk about how you feel, and consequently shuts down, then he is likely too immature for a real relationship. Being in love and caring for someone comes with huge responsibilities too, especially concerning their mental and psychological welfare. The truth is, not everyone is cut out to acknowledge other people’s baggage or needs, despite how deeply they feel for them. What’s more, emotional immaturity doesn’t just apply to young guys, it can apply to people of all ages and backgrounds.

3) He’s embarrassed

Unfortunately, the majority of guys grew up believing that showing and discussing emotions made them weak and less manly. Now, the truth couldn’t be any more different from this outdated stereotype, but we all know that stereotypes can sometimes be hard to shake off and move on from. However, when we allow clichés to follow us into adulthood, we soon realize that enjoying mature relationships is a tough ask.

4) Your feelings don’t matter to him

Now, I’m in no way trying to be brutal here, although, I do want you to understand that this could be a valid explanation for such a reaction. Writing off someone’s feelings may seem pretty heartless, yet is much easier to do when there is no future for the relationship.

>>> Here are the 10 signs your ex is hurting after your break up

5) He doesn’t believe you’re sincere

Perhaps your past plays on his mind, or he finds you too flirtatious, for example. In any case, if he isn’t willing to explore your romantic feelings in every dimension, it is likely because he believes you are not worth investing time in. He no doubt essentially believes you are taking him for a ride and aren’t particularly interested in taking things further.

6) He has communication issues

I previously touched on the idea that dismissing feelings was linked to emotional immaturity, however, it is also closely related to poor communication skills. As a rule of thumb, if someone gets defensive for no justifiable reason, then it could be because they are simply troubled by the idea of communicating their feelings. Not all of us are gifted with good communication skills, and those that aren't, tend to shut down and zone out when faced with the prospect of a deep conversation.

7) He’s been through trauma

Trauma is like a nightmare that we can never truly shake off and to make matters worse, it follows us throughout our lives. The most annoying thing with trauma is that it has the power to sabotage us when we have the potential to feel happy and secure. Having old demons rear their ugly heads throws us off track and crushes any semblance of a spark in relationships.

8) He has feelings for someone else

Is he truly over his ex? Is he texting other girls too? Or what about that coworker he always talks about, does he have something going on with her? Even though these questions are exactly fun to answer, they are essential steps in understanding why your partner is so dismissive of your emotions and feelings.

>>> Read; 10 Signs a married man is using you

9) He wants to slow down

Relationships can certainly be very complicated, which explains why they often spin out of control before we have even had the time to process what’s happening. I know that I’ve been guilty of this in the past, as I suppose many of us have been too. In one past relationship, I was so afraid of hurting the guy I was seeing, that I decided it would be best if I just went with the flow, despite not being emotionally invested. Now, if your man suddenly panics when you want to take things to the next level, he may subconsciously want to cool things off.

10) He has low self-esteem

Believing we are unworthy of love can provoke strange reactions and ultimately mean that we are incapable of receiving affection. This particular insecurity has the potential to penalize our relationships as well as scare away potential partners.

How do you respond when he gets defensive?

When your partner is defensive, it can be difficult to communicate effectively and solve problems. Here are some tips on how to respond constructively in this situation:

  • Stay calm: The first step is to stay calm and not react aggressively or provocatively. If you also respond with a defensive attitude, this can amplify the conflict and further complicate communication.
  • Be empathetic: Try to understand your partner's reasons for becoming defensive. Perhaps he feels attacked, criticized, or misunderstood. Empathize by listening to his concerns and trying to see things from his point of view.
  • Use non-violent communication: Opt for constructive and respectful communication. Use "I" rather than "you" to express your feelings and concerns. For example, say "I feel hurt when..." rather than "You hurt me when...".
  • Choose the right moment: Try to choose an appropriate time to discuss problems. Avoid talking when emotions are running high or when either of you is tired or stressed.
  • Avoid blaming: Avoid blaming or using accusatory language. Concentrate instead on describing the specific behaviors that are bothering you and on finding solutions together.

Editor’s opinion - This is a dealbreaker…

Feeling secure enough to express your emotions is an important part of any successful love story. If you are dating someone, and you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them whenever something is bothering you, then this should be an immediate red flag. Ultimately, for any relationship to work, both partners need to feel secure in opening up to each other and supported from A - Z.

🤗 Understand yourself, accept yourself, be happy... Let’s do it here and now!


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Wengood's playlist


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  12. Shake It OutFlorence + The Machine
  13. Space Oddity - Love You Til Tuesday versionDavid Bowie
  14. What A Wonderful WorldLouis Armstrong
  15. With Or Without YouU2
  16. HelloAdele
  17. Don't Stop Me NowQueen
  18. Skinny LoveBirdy
  19. WingsBirdy
  20. Californian SoilLondon Grammar

"Be yourself; everyone else is already taken." 

- Oscar Wilde

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