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If you get the sense that your guy is afraid of being mushy, there are things you can do. "A woman helps by not giving ultimatums or criticizing him for not being a good communicator," July says.
"Most guys come around in a relationship.…They just need time." Second, help him along by not only asking the right questions but also asking them the right way.
It doesn't help that when he sees that his silence is hurting you or pissing you off, he feels even more pressure to say the right thing..becomes even less likely to talk.
Luckily, you can break the cycle by understanding why he shuts up in the first place.
This leaves guys not only ill-prepared for dealing with feelings but also completely frustrated with the mixed signals.
"Being emotional is a frightening place for many men to be," July says.
"Almost all guys worry that if they don't succeed, they'll be seen as a failure," Farrell says. "Rather than addressing his feelings of powerlessness, play to his strengths." If, say, he lost his job and hasn't found another, tell him it's proof of how awful the economy is that a guy with his amazing résumé hasn't gotten an offer.
"In particular, a man fears that his partner will lose her faith in him and her respect for him." Now that you know how vulnerable your guy really is, you may be tempted to baby him. "Even if he doesn't open up that second," July explains, "your confidence in him will raise the odds that he will next time." He's Pondering Some Other Problem Guys are linear thinkers.
"Growing up, many boys are taught that they should disengage from their feelings." So they don't know what to do when a girlfriend is emotional or when she tries to put them in touch with their own feelings.
So if you want a discussion actually to go somewhere, avoid ambushing a guy the second you see him.
Make sure he's had a chance to decompress, whether it's by joking around about something totally unrelated, watching a Robot Chicken rerun, or well, stuffing his face with hot dogs.
That means that unlike women, who are adept at multitasking, men have a hard time moving on from a problem until it's solved.
So if he's clamming up at home, it simply may be because his mind is still at the office, working out the solution to a dilemma.
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He's Too Ashamed If you've ever watched a group of dudes try to make each other laugh, you probably assume that men are incapable of feeling shame..that's not at all true.