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?


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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  1. 61

    Hi Rikki,

    S is right. At the same rate.

    I do also think the right man might think you are emotional but will stick around because other parts of you makes him stay. Stress manage better if you feel it will benefit your life, no harm. You do have quite a lot on your plate. Don’t do it for someone else.

    Sahaja raises a good point, you have to draw the line somewhere. You are uniquely you as well, it’s impossible to change yourself 360 because of someone else. As much as they appreciate the good bits of you, there needs to be leeway in letting you be who you are to a certain extent. They are choosing you, you are choosing them, it’s a 2 way street. The men who call you overly emotional aren’t the right ones for you.

    I find that for myself, the closer I feel to someone, the more emotional I am. To express my deepest emotions is an act of trust. I don’t just share it with anyone willy nilly. It does cross the line into being emotionally reliant on someone else which simply isn’t healthy. It comes across as needy and insecure. Which is a far cry from being the confident and easygoing person I am in the beginning.  Not everyone want to deal with it, can deal with it.  So those aren’t the right people for me.

    I am making changes because I want to be a more emotionally healthy person and a better partner while understanding my self-worth isn’t diminished because of my emotions. While I am working on it, whoever comes along has to be able to walk through it with me and not pass judgement that it is somehow not OK and cherry picking only the good bits. I can reverse this onto them and we all know it will get nowhere.

    Good luck, if you make changes, I hope it is an empowered one that is at your own pace.



  2. 62

    I think I would agree with Evan more if all the men she dated said she was too emotional but that’s not what she says she said recently some of the men I have dated.  Here’s my take.  There are some women that are overly emotional in general and men too that’s just them.  Some partners will like that others won’t.  But I found with myself that certain relationship I was rarely like that meaning 95% of the time I behaved  as what most men would deem “sane” whereas in some other relationships I behaved like a raging emotional lunatic 95% of the time.  I saw many of my female friends act like this too.  The answer is if you are with a man who makes you as a woman feel insecure, unstable, unhappy and constantly plays games you tend to act like a lunatic.  This should be your clue.  Sometimes it actually takes finding the right man who makes you feel that safety to make you realize you are in fact not insane.   Just a point to consider.

    1. 62.1

      This is the best advice I’ve heard on this board so far! I’ve had about two relationships where I felt completely and totally emotionally secure and I was very normal and very sane with those men. Both relationships ended because of relocation/distance and not for anything problematic in the relationship. The ones where I was batshit crazy was with men I was not emotionally compatible with. Men who were emotionally distant and did things that made me feel unsafe in the relationship. For instance, the last guy spent tons of time with me but it felt superficial. He never really said anything romantic or mushy to me and would not reply when I’d say something sweet to him. He didn’t know what to say when I was sick or having a bad day at work. He turned every serious conversation into a joke. Naturally I felt unsafe with him so instead of just ending things, I brought it up and made an emotional mess about it. He eventually began to ignore me and disappear. There is no right or wrong approach here. It’s just two people who are not emotionally compatible. Could we have possibly worked through it? Maybe! But both parties have to be willing to make adjustments. I find that most people are very stuck in their ways. In retrospect, I need a man who is a bit more sensitive and open with his feelings. This guy admitted that he hides his emotions and that he doesn’t have relationships that last longer than a few months. That should have been a red flag for me. In the future I need to not get so close to men before figuring out their emotional capacity.

  3. 63

    There’s a difference between being too emotional and being too sensitive. I’m an HSP and my whole life I’ve always been told “you’re too sensitive, you need to toughen up.” It’s a personality trait I live with everyday. I hated it about myself for as long as I could remember, but now that I know I many others have it, too, I’ve learned to embrace it as a gift. I just try my hardest not to let people’s negative emotions get the best of me. You’ll get there! And you’ll be fine.  Don’t worry so much.

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