5 things emotionally stable men never do in relationships

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Katherine Kam relates the following stories of two men who grew up as schoolmates and came from very similar backgrounds. 

Alfred Paine was born into a wealthy family and he grew up with great privilege. “His family wasn’t warm or close, but his parents endowed him with a trust fund at birth and later, an Ivy League education,” she relates. 

When he died, Payne had no close friends. He had a number of broken marriages and his adult children rarely visited him. One of his daughters said that he had lived “an emotionally starved life.”

Then there’s the story of Payne’s classmate Godfrey Camille. He also came from an affluent background and troubled home. His parents were said to be loners, and they were always suspicious of people. 

“I neither liked or respected my parents,” Camille said. 

A college acquaintance of Camille’s described him as “intractable and unhappy hypochondriac” as a young man. 

Because he was needy and unloved, Camille was always coping with one mysterious ailment or another.

But here’s the thing: Camille eventually became what one person called a “happy, giving, and beloved man.” His daughter said that he was a great father. 

When Camille turned 80, he gave himself a birthday potluck party and 300 people came. 

So what makes one man become emotionally stable and have healthy relationships and the other, well, anything but, despite their almost identical backgrounds?

I think the answer lies in becoming self-aware, making a commitment not to repeat a dysfunctional family dynamic, and the subsequent choices they make. 

There are a number of things emotionally stable men make an active decision not to do in relationships. 

Here are five of those things. 

1) They don’t make decisions based on their moods  

It’s surprising how many people believe that just because they have a thought or an emotion, that it must be true and that they need to act on it. 

“Just because you have a thought doesn’t make it true,” says Nick Wingnall from Medium

Even when they are convinced that they are in the right and justified, an emotionally stable man knows that that doesn’t give them the right or justification to create more harm to the people around them. 

Instead, they wait. They figure out if there is any merit to their feelings. They have worked on themselves and their reactions. They have developed coping skills. 

Emotionally stable men don’t dwell inside their heads: they know that just because a thought takes root, that they don’t have to allow it to fester. 

They talk about their feelings with their partner and they work through them. 

2) They don’t make other people responsible for their moods, either 

Zawn Villines’ readers tell her about men who, although they are able to act normal at work, around friends, and around people whose opinions they care about, they are unable to self-regulate their emotions with their partners and families. 

“[Their] moodiness erodes the well-being of a family, destroys every vacation, and makes it impossible for them to ever relax,” she says. 

Villines says that men who are emotionally unstable tend to two “flavors”:

There is the hostile, aggressive version:

“The aggressive man reacts swiftly and angrily when he doesn’t get his way,” explains Villines. “He may smash things, call his partner names, or sulk for days. His bad mood can make the entire household feel anxious and uncertain.”

Then there is what Villines calls the “pathetic, demanding version”: 

“The pathetic man constantly puts his misery on display, demanding endless emotional support from his partner for even the smallest slights.”

She goes on:

“He offers no emotional support in return—and if [his partner] demands it, he may become aggressive. His bad mood makes an entire household feel like they can’t enjoy themselves.

“Entitled man babies blame everyone else, and demand they all suffer through their moodiness.”

This can look like giving the silent treatment whenever he doesn’t get his way. 

He might spend days sulking over trivial matters. If something he perceives as negative happens at work, he’ll take it out on the family. 

If he’s in a bad mood, he’ll make no effort to be pleasant at parties. “He also values his own time and needs over everyone else.”

“He expects effort and affection from others that he never offers, and for which he never shows gratitude. He [also] feels a sense of entitlement.”

Most emotionally unstable me were never taught that they must make others comfortable by regulating their emotions. 

Emotionally healthy men don’t do any of the above. They feel generally responsible for their behavior and their moods, and they endeavor to control both, Villines says. 

3) They don’t take what other people do or don’t do, personally

Emotionally stable men know that the way other people behave and function isn’t about them, says Marc Chernoff from Marc & Angel Hack Life

That’s because they know that most people are so caught up in their own problems, responsibilities, and struggles that the thought of asking how you’re doing doesn’t even cross their mind.

“They aren’t being mean or uncaring—they’re just busy and a bit self-centered at times. And that’s OK.”

Emotionally secure people are also able to consider criticism without lashing out, says Harvard psychologist Dr. Cortney Warren.

In other words, they don’t get defensive. 

“If they receive negative feedback, they don’t take it personally. Instead, they see it as an opportunity for self-improvement.”

Emotionally secure people are empowered, confident, and comfortable in their own skin, she adds. 

“They walk the world with authenticity and conviction, and do what is meaningful to them. I’ve found that this sense of self-assuredness makes them better able to navigate conflict and be vulnerable with others because they aren’t looking for external validation.”

4) They don’t detach from uncomfortable conversations 

An emotionally stable man isn’t afraid to tackle uncomfortable truths about themselves or their relationships. 

They also don’t have something called “intermittent responsiveness,” says the team from Integrative Psychotherapy

“When we are in a healthy relationship, there is a level of interaction and responsiveness.”

But when someone is emotionally unavailable, their communication will reflect that. They will be “emotionally non-present, [and] there is a normalizing of a lack of communication or intermittent emotional presence.”

Emotionally stable men don’t compel their partners to grasp for a response from them and they don’t leave them emotionally starved

They let their partners know without exception how much they matter to them. 

5) They don’t have commitment issues 

You’d be surprised how many people in supposedly “committed” relationships don’t feel secure.

Emotionally stable men don’t have one foot in and one foot out of their relationship. They’re all in—heart, mind, body, and soul. 

When someone is with an emotionally unstable man, they have an anxious, nagging feeling that doesn’t go away. 

“[You feel that] irritable energy because you can sense his energy of non-commitment.”

This energy might come across when he fits you into his free time because his original plans fell through. 

He won’t make sure you’re on his priority list, and when you start feeling bad about yourself, your self-esteem takes a hit.  

Here are some things that emotionally stable men will do 

Wignall says that if you want to be more emotionally stable, there are a few habits you can incorporate into your life.

One is to be skeptical of your emotions. 

Here’s an anonymous quote that reflects this:

“The more aware we are of our ability to misjudge situations, the less the surprise at the feelings they may provoke.”

Also, practice being vulnerable with your emotions. Talk through your feelings with someone you trust. This will help you “get out of your head” and will help you be more objective about your situation. 

Manage your stressors, not your stress, adds Wignall. Practice self-care such as routinely taking the time to unwind so that you don’t snap at other people. 

Also try to be more self-compassionate, says psychologist Emmy Stephens

“Express your emotions in a healthy way, [and seek] professional help if needed. [It is very possible] to become more emotionally stable and improve our overall well-being.”

Pearl Nash

Pearl Nash has years of experience writing relationship articles for single females looking for love. After being single for years with no hope of meeting Mr. Right, she finally managed to get married to the love of her life. Now that she’s settled down and happier than she’s ever been in her life, she's passionate about sharing all the wisdom she's learned over the journey. Pearl is also an accredited astrologer and publishes Hack Spirit's daily horoscope.

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