Why Do Men Run From Me When I Act Too Emotional?

Why Do Men Run From Me When I Act Too Emotional?

I am 39 and have been actively dating men in my age range. I am a single mom working 2 jobs and have 2 young kids. I don’t have a ton of time to date, but I like to have a person in my life to hang out with when I do get the chance. I tend to have 3-6 month relationships regularly.

I seem to attract a lot of men, and those that I actually date, say they were drawn to my confidence and my self reliance (of course the “hot body” is always mentioned too). Recently however, I have dated a few guys who said that I was “too emotional”. If I let my guard down and expressed myself regarding our relationship, or my bad day at work, or how my confidence was flagging, it was seen as a bad thing.

Do I hide my “real” self and only show guys what I know they want to see: unyielding confidence, no negativity, no neediness? Isn’t that fake? Showing that I am human and not an ice princess is part of the “getting to know you better” phase after the first 3 months. So why am I being made to feel wrong when I do step outside of my wall and try to show really what’s going on in my head?

Rikki

Aw Rikki. I JUST answered a similar question recently, but felt there was a lot more to say. Truthfully, the real reason I chose to tackle your query was because of this one line: “Recently however, I have dated a few guys who said that I was ‘too emotional’.”

I’m not sure how you got this feedback, but such constructive criticism is INVALUABLE for a single person looking for answers. How else can we ever learn if we don’t know how we’re coming across to others? Yet most of us who get rejected prefer to assign blame to our dates, as if they were wrong for not wanting to see us again. Of course, there’s not always a reason. Sometimes there’s no chemistry. Sometimes there’s mutually awkward conversation. And in those instances, there’s nothing to learn. But if you’re seeing a pattern – “a few guys who said I was too emotional” – you’d be silly not to look a little deeper.

Now, of course, I don’t know you. I don’t know how you act on a date or in a relationship. And it’s no secret whatsoever that women can be emotional. So how does this keep coming up as a red flag to so many men? How do all these different individuals come to the same exact conclusion? Not that you’re emotional, but that you’re TOO emotional.

How do all these different individuals come to the same exact conclusion? Not that you’re emotional, but that you’re TOO emotional.

Sounds to me like you may be TOO emotional. Or at least more emotional than 80% of other women, which, apparently, causes men to want to up and flee. Those are the facts that you stated, not my opinion. So it’s no different than the guy who complained that women left him because he didn’t want to have sex, or the guy who couldn’t understand why women got creeped out when he bought them flowers on the first date. All of you are just being yourselves, yet are consternated that it’s not working. Which is why my advice to you will be the same as my advice to them. Either learn to control your emotions a bit better or accept the fact that your histrionics may be driving a lot of men away.

You’re not WRONG for being emotional, and they’re not WRONG for saying they want someone less emotional. But SOMETHING has to change if you’re going to get different results from your love life. Which is why I put the onus on you, as painful and unfair as that might seem….

All men realize that women need to be heard, that they need to vent, that they need to be held, that they need to cry. Nothing about this is unusual. Which is why I would guess that it’s not what you say to these men, it’s how you’re saying it. Maybe you’re crying over spilt milk. Maybe you scream when you don’t get your way. Maybe you’re obsessive about your problems and sound like a broken record. So while you’re “just being yourself”, you’re also being a person that a few reasonable men don’t want to be around.

So while you’re “just being yourself”, you’re also being a person that a few reasonable men don’t want to be around.

I’m not harshing on you, Rikki. You and I are two of a kind. I, too, am a complainer. I, too, am overly emotional. I, too, have driven away people who didn’t have a high tolerance for negativity. And I can bitch all I want about those who abandoned me when I was anxious and depressed in my 20’s – but the better course of action would have been for me to get my head on straight.

So it’s not that you need to keep up a perfect façade for your entire life. It’s that you need to make some improvements to yourself and the way you communicate, so that when you DO get emotional in the future, it’s rare and commands attention and respect.

My girlfriend, for example, is EXTREMELY sane, so when she cries to me, I take it very, very seriously. She earned that equity with me by being happy and easygoing for a long, long time. And in those rare instances when she loses it, I’m going to give her a wide berth to let her emotions out.

Whether it’s fair or not, most healthy, well-adjusted people don’t want to take on the problems of strangers. If they love you, they’ll do anything. But as you’ve seen, leading with your issues is a one-way ticket to singledom. My recommendation – presuming you left on decent terms with these guys – would be to send them sincere emails and ask for specific feedback on what you did that turned them off. Knowledge is power, and by reaching out to me (and them), you’re well on your way to turning this thing to your advantage. Good luck.

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Comments:

  1. 31
    Steve

    Eda;

    I’ve been reading this blog for a while too. It seems to me most of the requests for advice come from people who are already meeting people in person. LOL! I do think you have every reason to feel overwhelmed as the unforgiving attitudes are there. I just think they are a part of “natural” free range dating. Like the growth hormones they feed to the animals who become your food, I think online dating enhances some of the not so great traits of human nature in regards to dating.

    I think one of the nice things about blogs like this one is that if you read them enough you see that dating is a hassle for everyone. Even our esteemed author has his issues. Remembering that, I don’t feel so alone and I actually feel helpful. If all of these other ordinary people experienced the frustrations of dating that I do and they got to a happy place in the end, then I can get to a happy place too.

  2. 32
    hunter

    to rikki,

    The few women with “hot” bodies, that I have dated, have done what you stated in your post…..I have learned my lesson, I stay away from that type……in my mind, they are like having a sports car, they maybe fast and racy, but, require, extra maintenance…

  3. 33
    hunter

    to formerly J,

    Amazingly enough, Rikki, is within the chronological sequence noted by therapists. “The first 3 months is the perfect period in dating.” Everything is hunk-dory, we always call, women doll up every time, we shave every time we go on a date, etc….”from 3 to 6 months details start surfacing,”….men show up 5 minutes, late for a date, we forget to shave, etc….human behaviour, how fascinating!…..

  4. 34
    hunter

    to rikki,

    a female therapist was asked the same question at a singles seminar. The therapist said, many successful relationships, have a 15 year age difference, the man is older. Why? because only an older man has the patience and experience to deal with you, when you go into your “little girl” mode!….

  5. 35
    Steve


    hunter Feb 9th 2008 at 09:55 am 34
    to rikki,
    a female therapist was asked the same question at a singles seminar. The therapist said, many successful relationships, have a 15 year age difference, the man is older. Why? because only an older man has the patience and experience to deal with you, when you go into your little girl mode!.

    Now that is the kind of stuff I think I think women on this blog should go after instead of busting Evan’s chops on any sentence that can be inflated into an insult ( real or imagined ) to women.

    Hunter, you never know where someone is coming from in a pure text environment. I’m guessing that you are probably an intelligent man and a good guy. I don’t have a problem with you, but I do disagree with your generalization.

    That generalization labels large numbers of adults who may or may not have real issues…..children. People feel strong emotions about things. Sometimes it is overreacting and it is a problem, but that does not make them less of adults. It only makes them un-fun, sometimes, to be around.

    As long as we are alive, all of us will have problems and we will deal with many of those problems imperfectly. A little charity in your thinking about fellow human beings comes back to you ten fold.

  6. 36
    Steve


    hunter Feb 9th 2008 at 09:08 am 33
    Amazingly enough, Rikki, is within the chronological sequence noted by therapists. The first 3 months is the perfect period in dating.

    That is truly an amazing thought. I don’t think I have 3 months of good behavior in me :)

  7. 37
    Markus

    Rikki,

    Maybe they’re assholes. I haven’t read the past 36 posts so sorry if that’s been suggested. What’s that theory about the simplest explanation usually being the right one? Maybe this is it.

  8. 38
    downtowngal

    Hunter: “The therapist said, many successful relationships, have a 15 year age difference, the man is older. ….. because only an older man has the patience and experience to deal with you, when you go into your little girl mode!.”

    huh?

    first off, this therapist said ‘many’ not ‘most’. from what I’ve read and observed, most people seek and end up with someone around their own age.

    The more I think about and read responses to this post, the more I believe that Rikki’s issue has more to do with the men she’s been dating than Rikki herself. It’s symptomatic of a huge lack of emotional maturity among men in the dating pool.

    I suggest, before getting involved with someone, screen them better. Find out the track record for these guys; have they had much LTR experience? Also, be aware of guys who complain that their last girlfriends were ‘too emotional’ or whatever. some people can’t/don’t want to deal with the ‘real life’ issues of being with another person once the 3-month ‘lah-dee-dah’ period wears off.

  9. 39
    hunter

    To steve,

    ….your response made me smile…did you notice how my post started with, “a female therapist?”….I was quoting the doc’s words trying to be as precise as I can….her therapy is a form of “impact therapy”, meant to shake you loose…another woman from the audience, said something close to what you said,….and the doc said, “Who are you going to believe, your friends, and your thoughts, or, 30 years of research and experience?…….

  10. 40
    hunter

    to downtowngal,

    …I agree with you about the..”some people can’t/don’t want to deal with the real life issues of being with another person once the 3-month ‘lah-dee-dah’ period wears off”….and they don’t have to, it is perfectly all right for the sensitive/inexperienced, or anyone else, to end it after 3 months…..Whatever we do with our bodies and lives is very personal…

  11. 41
    hunter

    to downtowngal,

    ..yes, beware of guys that say their past girlfriend was too emotional….women are not emotional, they operate off their feelings….women don’t need brains, their bodies do the work for them….

  12. 42
    Mattie

    Rikki, your men may be wankers – most women have had a lover or two who’s dumped us on the grounds that we’re” too x, y or z” when the problem resides with them, rather than us.

    But it doesn’t matter if the men in your case are fuckwits or not when the sole common denominator is you. You are the one who’s attracting/choosing them, serially. So the onus – as Evan says – is on you to ask why.

    You could try counselling/CBT: you have the intelligence, honesty and courage to benefit from consulting someone trained to help you break self-defeating habits.

    I’ve been there, too … Best wishes to you, Rikki. Please let us know how you get on.

    Mx

    PS To Markus:

    on another thread, one of your posts referred to “the church of the flying spaghetti monster”. I LOVE this surreal image: it cheered me up on a very bad day, and continues to make me giggle. Thank you so much!

  13. 43
    Steve

    hunter;

    Just because a woman said it doesn’t make it beyond being insulting to women.

  14. 45
    Mattie

    Thank you very much for the URL, Evan – as I type, the skies over this land are heavy with durum wheat based flying objects (although – this being Britain – these objects appear to lack external male genitalia).

    Will forward the URL to the Archbishop of Canterbury, as I have no doubt whatsoever that he’ll be a magnificent advocate for the cause.

    Cheers!

    Mx

  15. 46
    Markus

    That’s it Ev, steal my thunder. I mean I’m not insecure enough. ;)

  16. 47
    hunter

    to steve,

    …you find that insulting to women, how interesting…..

  17. 48
    Rikki

    Thanks everyone for your feedback on this topic! I have been reading all of your responses, and Jaydee in particular had some good insight for me. We are expected to be superwomen, and when we diverge from that image, men get confused, b/c we are actually being human!! Anyway, I have given some thought to the prospect of my dating the wrong type of man. I think this is a huge part of the(my) problem. Now I am not saying I couldn’t use some work on my part, however, the men I seem to be attracted to are the strong, silent type (engineer and cop both told me I was too emotional). Not that I am generalizing, however, typically people in these types of professions aren’t known to be too “touchy-feely”. Perhaps this is one of the reasons they are both divorced….a blow-up doll may be more up their alley. Because of all of you, I am now going to be more aware of who I am attracted to, and will try to be a little less emotional, but not too much!! If I have had a bad day, I need someone who can listen for a few minutes, be empathetic, and just give me a hug. That’s not too much to ask, and I won’t stop till I find it! :)

  18. 49
    Selena

    Rikki,
    You Go Girl!

  19. 50
    Cynthia

    OK, embarrassing confession first. I’m in Kansas, the home of the infamous KS Board of Education members a few years ago who wanted to incorporate creationism into the public education science standards. Hence, the cult of the Flying Spaghetti Monster!

    With that out of the way…I have appreciated the comments to this post. Evan, I agree with your comment that perceptions are often what we need to pay attention to. I am mostly a thinking, rational person, but the flip side is that I bury my emotions too much. Then, they erupt on generally the wrong person! Perhaps women and men need to balance each other and give each other some slack.

  20. 51
    naturegirl

    Rikki –

    I’m dating an uber-nerd software engineer (Unix OS researcher). I’ve dated for 30 years, and was married for 14 years of that (to a musician with no clue as to his emotions). My new engineer boyfriend is the man most in touch with his emotions, and most comfortable with sharing them, and listening to mine. Don’t give up on all the engineers (or all of the men).

    Most importantly, don’t give up looking for someone who will be emotionally supportive, and don’t settle for someone who isn’t. Relationships are all about the emotional connection!

  21. 52
    Hot Alpha Female

    I think when it comes to dating and we want to have a healthy relationship with someone, we really need to look at ourselves and see if we are someone worthy of dating.

    Meaning to say are there things in your life that are missing, that you think a relationship will help fulfill.

    I mean of course .. its part of life experience to find that someone to walk with you through life. But its another thing to think that they are there to make you happy.

    Happiness is something you can only give yourself. You are the only one that can allow fulfillment and love into your life.

    Sometimes when we are emotional all the time .. we expect our partners to make it all better.

    But here’s the thing. Its not their job to make you feel better. Yes of course they are there for you in times of need. But its not their job to make you happy or to make you feel fulfilled.

    That responsibility falls on our shoulders. And so i think when we are too emotional all the time .. guys really sense .. that there is something that is incomplete about us .. that we need to work on first before we get into a serious relationship.

    Hot Alpha Female

    http://www.hotalphafemale.blogspot.com

  22. 53
    pericles

    It’s been my experience that men who tell me that they think I’m too emotional are usually also uncomfortable with their own emotions, and emotions in general. There is a pattern in this behavior; take a look at how they handle issues in general. Do they need time alone to think things through? Do they isolate themselves instead of reach out to talk or connect? What do they say about their family background–were they punished for having emotions? Do they tell you that they came from a family where there was little affection, love, or tenderness? The likelihood is that your ordinary, run-of-the-mill venting is going to overwhelm them. You can’t survive in an emotionally-imbalanced relationship. It’s like looking for water in the middle of the desert.

  23. 54
    Tom Lee

    I think that too much neediness will scare any man of, just don’t come to early on with too much neediness and you will be fine.

  24. 55
    Sahaja

    Id have to say what qualifies as needy to some is communicative to another. Bottom line, if you sync with someone, we will be there for them and listen to them. And I dont think too much emotional is just a female issue either – I think sometimes how we’re raised or personality affects things. Not all of us are sharing people and sometimes we need someone to open up before we do – and maybe that person who is too emotional for someone else is the one that can help us open up. Or maybe you communicate the same way and appreciate that she shares with you and you can too. One man’s trash…and all that.

  25. 56
    Sahaja

    Id have to say what qualifies as needy to some is communicative to another. Bottom line, if you sync with someone, we will be there for them and listen to them. And I dont think too much emotion is just a female issue either – I think sometimes how we’re raised or personality affects things. Not all of us are sharing people and sometimes we need someone to open up before we do – and maybe that person who is too emotional for someone else is the one that can help us open up. Or maybe you communicate the same way and appreciate that she shares with you and you can too. One man’s trash…and all that.

  26. 57
    coria

    I dont have trouble having guys find me just have trouble meeting the right guy oh well!

  27. 58
    coria

    i dont know that i trust guys after i’ve been divorced and they usually have been divorced too so theyre afraid of any commitment!

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