Expressing feelings does not come naturally to many people, yet it is important for a relationship to flourish. It can be difficult to read your guy’s body language or tell what he is thinking about just by looking at him. Help him be more comfortable in opening up, and begin cracking the code.

Letting Go of Control

He may be keeping his emotions in check because he wants to be seen as strong and in control, according to an article for Psychology Today by Barbara Markway, Ph.D. You can help him feel more comfortable expressing his feelings by telling him he doesn’t have to be something he’s not when he is around you. Remind him that he can express his true feelings, and it need not make him feel out of control.

Words That Matter

Sometimes guys don’t talk because they don’t know how to put their feelings into words. His ability to express himself may improve if you try to involve him in conversations that are about emotional topics, according a journal article by Jack Balswick, “The Inexpressive Male: Functional-Conflict and Role Theory as Contrasting Explanations.” Try to get him to open up by making him aware of the emotional side of your relationship with him. The best way to do this is bring up topics that naturally lend themselves to discussing emotions. For example, ask him to describe his experience of meeting you for the first time or what it is like holding your hand.

Take the Lead

Open up and express your true feelings for him, rather than holding anything back. By choosing to withhold your feelings, you are limiting the amount of closeness you can experience in your relationship, according to an article on YourTango by Teresa Maples, “Five Steps to Opening Up Emotionally In Your Relationship.” By taking the leading role, you are demonstrating to him what you desire him to be like. This may inspire him to open up to you about his feelings.

Listen to Him

Only by listening to him speak will you find out who he truly is. This kind of listening is not a passive hearing, but rather an active listening process which makes him feel that you truly care about him. When he is talking, ask questions to signal that you are listening to him. Let him pause in the conversation to collect his thoughts without your interrupting him. If he finds that you are an active listener, he may be more willing to open up about personal matters, including his innermost feelings about you.