“Tears are emotions that are so big they can no longer be contained by the body.”
~ Debbie Seid, author of The Ladder of Life.
As a marriage therapist, I always remain in a state of curiosity when I delve into a person’s tears. What I’ve noticed is that when we as adults cry, it is because certain needs are not being met. It’s a signal to our partner that there’s a discrepancy between what I need and what I’m getting. What I need is support, empathy, and compassion. That makes me feel loved and cared about. Maybe it’s in the form of a hug or comforting words that everything will be all right. Unfortunately, what I often witness is crying met with confusion, blame, guilt, and anger – which just adds to the existing negativity and tension. Crying is part of the language of feelings and is calling out to be met with an open heart.
Although this is not exclusively a male-female problem, it can be unequivocally stated that this is mostly an issue in which the guys feel very uncomfortable with their partner’s tears as well as their own. Men typically want to “fix it.” It’s the proverbial hammer and the nail. Most men, unfortunately, have been socially conditioned to view crying as a weakness. It expresses a level of vulnerability that men tend to avoid like the plague. Raised with the message that “big boys don’t cry,” men have learned to block emotions that might lead to crying.
Here are a few statistics from studies: by the time they are 18 years old, women cry four times more often than men. On average, men cry 1.4 times per month, while women cry 5.3 times per month. Women cry for an average of six minutes at a time, while men cry for an average of three minutes at a time.
So, if your tears could speak what would they say? They would say please don’t judge me, please don’t try to fix me, please don’t be angry with me. Please just listen, be present, be loving, compassionate and empathic. That’s all I need. That’s what my tears would say.