Encouraging Empathy in Male Partners


We all know that men are not the most talented creatures when it comes to expressing their emotions. While sensitivity is viewed as a feminine trait, men become masters of detachment. As it turns out, this can stir up some drama in many romantic relationships. Most women who are dating a man describe some level of dissatisfaction with their partners ability to empathize.

The issue is obvious; from birth to adulthood, most men are discouraged from sharing their emotions. They are taught that it is masculine to suppress them.  As a result, men typically never learn how to appropriately pin-point and address what they are feeling. Lacking this skill leads to much inner turmoil and misplaced distress.

As women learn to be in-touch with their emotions and have a larger capacity to understand the emotions of others, many expect the same quality in their partner. This becomes quite the problem when women date men. Women are constantly searching for empathy and validation from their partner. It is necessary for us to feel we have been heard and understood. It helps us to feel respected and closer to our partners. Men, on the other hand, equate their self-worth to their performance. For this reason, when their empathy is tested they tend to shut down.

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We are faced with a bit of an imbalance. Women are yearning for something that men simply do not know how to give. Nevertheless, it is not a lost cause! It is absolutely possible and important to encourage empathy in your male partner(s). Psychotherapists offer some advice to women hoping to enhance empathy in their partner. First things first, always practice what you preach. If it’s empathy you seek, empathy you must offer. Remember to listen with the intent to understand, rather than to respond. We often get so wrapped up in our own perspectives that we become flushed with anger when somebody cannot see things our way. It’s helpful to practice patience; the more you listen to your partner, the more willing they will feel to listen to you.

The most important thing to take away from this is: don’t be afraid to speak up. Trust me ladies, I know it can be infuriating to have to ask for something that comes as natural to us as empathy. Try to remember, our experience with empathy is more extensive than that of a mans. If you seek this quality in your partner, you have to be prepared to guide them. Be kind and compassionate as you lead the way. Remember that it is okay to talk about these things, in fact, it’s great. Encouraging your male partner to test and become more in-touch with his emotions can be beneficial for the both of you.