When a man cries it can be a surprising experience.
This is especially true if it’s in front of a woman.
Social conventions and gender roles tend to stereotype this as “weak,” but the truth is that in some cases crying in front of a woman can be the strongest thing a man does.
Here are the top things it means if a guy does this.
1) He trusts her
First and foremost, a man is not going to cry in front of any woman he doesn’t trust.
If he’s shedding tears in front of a woman then he trusts her at a deep level.
The strength of their relationship or his knowledge that she will not consider him weak or flawed for crying allows him to let the tears flow.
Crying is an act of trust. It’s hard to open up in front of someone and let them see you break.
This is especially true for a man to do in front of a woman, given the social conventions in most cultures which expect men to be emotionally resilient and less sensitive than women.
2) He’s baring his soul to her
Tears can be authentic or performative, but crying in front of somebody is still a very intimate act.
If a man is crying in front of a woman then he’s baring his soul to her.
He’s showing her himself at his most raw and unguarded level.
He’s ripping off his masks and showing her the hurt inside.
What she does with that and his intentions in baring his soul, is a different question.
3) He’s willing to be vulnerable in front of her
Crying is about the most vulnerable that any person can be, male or female.
One of the biggest things it means when a man cries in front of a woman is that he’s willing to be vulnerable.
This is an admission that he doesn’t have all the answers, that he may not be as strong as she thought, that he’s reached a real low that he doesn’t know how to come back from.
The tears may even be tears of joy or relief, but they are still very much vulnerable.
4) He’s showing you how much she hurt him
If the tears are motivated by a problem between these two, then they can be a sign of how much he’s been hurt by her.
The tears are pouring out of him as an expression of pure pain.
This is the hurt and the emotional devastation coming out in liquid form.
Is it deserved or is he being a drama queen? That all depends on what has gone on between the two of them.
If this woman is his mother or sister then it may be a deeply personal family matter.
If this woman is his partner or an ex, then it may be romantic heartbreak, cheating or another difficulty like being in love but being long distance.
5) He’s begging for forgiveness for how he hurt her
In some cases where a man is crying in front of a woman it can be because he knows he hurt her and wants to ask for forgiveness.
What did he do to need to ask for forgiveness? It’s a question worth asking.
But for a reason which is emotionally compelling enough for him, he’s breaking down in tears and wanting to be forgiven for what he’s done.
In many cases, the sadness and open display of emotion may prompt a forgiveness, or it could be seen as manipulative.
If the tears are genuine, then it’s likely he’s trying to show her that he’s genuinely sorry and that he’s pleading with all his heart for another chance.
6) He feels she is being unfair to him
Ever since I was a child I’ve been very obsessed with justice.
Teachers said I would become very sad and angry about what I felt was “unfair” or didn’t make sense.
I don’t necessarily only mean this in a good way, and I know this can be a fairly typical childhood concern…
The sad truth is that life is often far from fair, and remaining set in childhood patterns of getting upset when injustice occurs.
Nonetheless, when we feel somebody is treating us unfairly it can be emotionally devastating.
This may be why he’s crying in front of a woman, when he feels that she’s being truly unfair to him.
7) He doesn’t know where to go or what to do next
One of the things it means when a man cries in front of a woman is that he doesn’t know where to go or what to do next.
He may be out of options and the tears are a kind of silent cry for help.
The truth is that many cultures consider women to be natural leaders and more emotionally intelligent than men.
Even cultures I have lived in in the Middle East, for example, often delegate women many of the tougher behind-the-scenes responsibilities surrounding household finances, child-raising decisions, and more.
My point is that deep down men know that women sometimes have emotional stability and endurance they don’t have.
They may cry in front of a woman out of desperation and a recognition that they as a man aren’t as strong as they’ve been pretending or trying to be.
This can be a cry for help and also a recognition that the woman has answers he may not have.
8) He’s worried about the kids the two of them share
If he has kids with a woman then a man may cry over worry about their future.
If a divorce is taking place, then he could worry about future custody or the kind of life his kids will have.
If he feels the woman is not a good mother then he may worry that the kids will be neglected or be around inappropriate or harmful behavior.
Worrying about the well-being of one’s kids is very difficult, and if he’s feeling sad about this then he’s going to be touched at the deepest core of his being.
The tears are an expression of the concern and love he’s feeling for his kids and hoping that the woman can also take part in ensuring their wellbeing.
This is his way of appealing directly to her heart and trying his best to communicate how emotionally intense this is for him.
He worries about the future these kids will have and is appealing to the mother’s heart to care for them and do what’s best for them.
9) He’s doubting his own strength
Many women have a strong emotional response to seeing a guy break down…
This is especially true if he’s a “macho man” who’s not customary to opening up in his emotions around women.
Many women report feeling humbled, for example, on seeing their dad break down in front of them or in seeing a strong brother or war veteran reach the breaking point.
Realizing that we’re all human at the core and don’t always have the strength that others imagine is very humbling.
Men have moments when they doubt their own strength.
This could be from financial problems or other issues that are affecting them which seem out of their control.
It could be health issues which are cropping up and making him worried for the future.
It could be his own behavior or taking the women in his life for granted that humbled him and made him break down.
Men may be stereotypically strong, but on the inside, there is still always the small boy who wants to know he is loved, accepted, and doing well for those around him.
10) He’s playing the victim to manipulate her
Sometimes tears can be the way that a man tries to get his way.
The stereotype is that women use crying as a way to make men feel bad and give them their way, but men definitely do it, too.
There are some guys who have learned to use their tears to get what they want.
This can, unfortunately, be especially true if he’s a man who’s had a hard past or is dating or involved with a woman who knows he’s had some emotional or psychological issues.
By tearing up and staring at the window or lying in bed with tears streaming down his cheeks, he could be using his secret weapon:
I’m sad, so give me what I want.
He doesn’t want to go on a trip, he wants X, Y, or Z? Well, as soon as he brings out the waterworks, suddenly anything that his woman does become cruel and uncaring.
She feels like she has to comply or else she’s putting his mental and emotional health at risk.
The ultimate and awful example?
A man who threatens to harm himself if his girlfriend or wife leaves him, forcing her to feel she will be responsible for his literal death if she leaves him.
It’s a shady move but some guys absolutely do this, using their emotional vulnerability to manipulate and control their partners.
11) He really wants another chance
Somewhat in the manipulation category is when a guy is crying because he really wants another chance.
The difference here is that wanting another chance with a woman isn’t necessarily manipulative. It may simply be very heartfelt and raw, coming from deep inside him.
His love for this woman has brought his tears to the surface and he can’t stop them from spilling out.
You’ve got to at least respect that level of emotional authenticity.
12) He’s breaking up with her
Emotional breakdown can be the natural conclusion to a relationship and is often what happens when a man is breaking up.
When a man is about to break up, all the best memories from the past and worst episodes may spring to mind.
It’s the closing of one chapter with a woman he loves, or at least a woman he loved.
And he can’t stop himself from feeling overwhelmed.
Tears often come when we least expect them, and breakups are certainly one of those things that can be far more emotionally devastating than either person expects.
You start out by thinking you’re just saying goodbye and moving on and that’s that…
….But before you know it you’re sobbing like a child and losing control.
13) He’s reached the end of his rope in general
Crying isn’t always a choice. Who you do it in front of is also sometimes not fully chosen.
When something very tragic has just been learned about or a certain point of emotional breakdown has been reached.
He may simply have reached the end of his rope and have nowhere left to go.
He may be experiencing depression, sadness, personal loss and a difficulty accepting mortality or illness.
Crying in front of a woman can be a humbling act for many men.
It’s a way of admitting that at the end of the day all of us human beings are in the same boat and no gender or other identity exempts us from the pain and tragedy of the human experience and what it sometimes brings.
Let it rain
When emotions are genuine they can boil over into crying.
For men, crying often doesn’t come easily, especially when they’ve been raised in cultures which see men as needing to be strong or emotionally reticent.
But the truth is that in the right context, tears can be a transformational event for a couple.
Tears aren’t weak, they’re real.
Life can get all of us to a point where we cry, men or women.
There’s nothing wrong with that, and if crying is the start of a new chapter in your relationship then it’s a great thing.
I recommend once again to talk to a love coach at Relationship Hero.
They know what they’re talking about and they’re able to guide you through some of the rough patches if you’re a man who’s feeling especially emotionally raw or a woman who wants to know how to support her man while he’s going through a low point.