How did you become a emotionally disconnected man . Well, I grew up in a no win situation when it came to being picked on at school. Let me give you an example: My name is Ronald (associated closely with a clown), my nickname growing up was Pooh(when repeated back-to-back sounds like feces), outweighed everybody by 50 pounds, wore glasses and was highly emotional.

In a school situation I became a target to be picked on. In seventh grade, after losing my temper with a bully, I picked up a desk (yes, the desk) and repeatedly hit him with it. Needless to say, I was put into counseling. I was told that I wasn’t allowed to hit people with desks, chairs or my fist. My temperament changed from one emotion being anger to becoming so frustrated that I would cry. Needless to say, this really didn’t help my situation.

The stereotype for men is that we are not allowed to show any emotion as children or as young men. We all know the phrases “big boys don’t cry”, “don’t be a baby” or “shut up before I give you something to cry about”. Our culture often shames and ridicules men for being emotionally disconnected and ignorant of the relationship process. The culture then praises men for their sexual conquests. Then, as men, we get married and become emotionally cut off from our spouses. This happens because we are never taught to deal with our emotions, much less the emotions of our spouses. The emotional disconnect continues to grow and develops into marriage problems.

When the spouse starts to talk about problems that occurred during their day men have a great need to fix it. Men do not understand that the easiest way to “fix it” is to emotionally connect with their spouse by simply being there. They cannot understand that by simply listening to your wife actually contributes to fixing the problem. Unfortunately, that’s not what we do. We want to put on our toolbelt and actually fix something. At that point, women get frustrated with men because they feel we do not listen and men become frustrated with their wives because we view their talking about her problem as “whining”.

Here are some tips to resolving these problems

1. Do not name your children Ronald or give them a nickname that is associated with a Disney character.

2. Parents need to allow their boys to feel their emotions. If your son is hurt emotionally or physically, allow them to cry. Hold them in a loving manner and tell them that it’s going to be okay.

3. When your wife is talking about her day, do not interrupt her. After she is finished, ask her in a caring tone on a scale of 1-10, “is there anything that I can to do to help the situation?” If the answer is a 3 or lower, all you have to do is smile and nod your head and paraphrase back the situation that frustrated her, ultimately allowing her to feel heard.