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Why men don't give reassurance (and how to get some in 3 easy steps!)

Lauren Gray

Dear Lauren,
 
When my boyfriend and I get into a fight he remains withdrawn for the rest of the day and isn’t as affectionate as he usually is. I can’t help but worry I’ve ruined things and he’s having doubts about us.
 
I feel desperate for reassurance that we’ll be okay. I ask him to say something nice to make me feel better.  He tells me he loves me and we’ll be fine, but can I trust that what he’s saying is truly how he feels?  He still seems so distant and cold. Am I going to push him away by my need for reassurance? 
 
-Jennifer

 

What’s wrong with a little D-O-U-B-T?
 
Great thinking Jennifer! Yes. Your need for reassurance can push him away.
 
When you seek reassurance about his love for you, it’s especially frustrating for a man. In his mind, of course he loves you! Why else would he listen to you talk about your day, help put the groceries away and pay for the movie tickets?
 
When you express doubt, he takes it personally and assumes you doubt because he hasn’t been doing a great job at being your boyfriend.
 
When he gets the message over and over again that he’s not doing a great job, he starts to believe you and eventually he’ll stop trying, throw in the towel, and walk away from the relationship.
 
Scary, huh?
 
And yet, how do you STOP needing reassurance? Is it even possible?
 
 
Why women need REASSURANCE (the real reason)
 
It’s easy to make assumptions about women who need reassurance.
 
They’re insecure.
They’re “needy.”
They’re drama queens.
They’re unreasonable.
They’re paranoid.
 
Sure, some of these may be true, sometimes. But most of the time, they’re NOT.
 
In Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, John Gray explains that one of a woman’s primary love needs is reassurance. That’s the way women feel love from their partner. When a man repeatedly shows he cares, understands, and is devoted to his partner, her need for reassurance is fulfilled. She knows she is loved.
 
However, when he pulls away and withdraws emotionally, temporarily NOT showing that he cares, her need for reassurance naturally makes itself known.
 
Men commonly make the mistake in thinking that once a woman is happy and secure in a relationship, then forever more she should know she is loved. End of story.
 
This is not the case.
 
A relationship isn’t a one-time fee investment; it’s more like a subscription service. You need to regularly make deposits of effort and love in order for a woman’s need for reassurance to be fulfilled so that she feels loved in the relationship.
 
A woman cannot ditch her need for reassurance, that’s not realistic, but she CAN learn how to get it in a way that doesn’t frustrate or alienate her partner.
 
 
Why men don’t give reassurance (and how to get some anyway!)
 
Men tend to misunderstand a woman’s need for reassurance – interpreting it as a complaint that he’s not a good enough partner. Because they don’t understand the REAL reason women need reassurance, men don’t automatically support that need.
 
Therefore, you need to learn how to get the reassurance you need from the partner you've got…even when he’s cold and withdrawn.
 
 
How to get the reassurance you need in 3 easy steps:
 
Step #1: Give him the words you want to hear.
 
You actually did this when you asked for him to “say something nice.” But the magic happens when you’re even more specific and ask for the words you want to hear.
 
When I use this tool in my relationship, I like to say:
 
“I know you don’t have a ton to give at the moment. That’s okay. There are words I’d like to hear that would help me feel better. If there's a part of you that can connect with them in a genuine way, would you say this to me:
 
…I love you. This is just a fight. We’ll get through this.”
 
Be patient as he mulls over the words, and then when he speaks, allow those words to reassure you.
 
Step #2: Believe the words; ignore the delivery.
 
I get how you might have reservations about step #1. After all, how do you believe him when he’s simply repeating the words you’ve asked him to say?
 
The trick to believing his words, even though the delivery sounds like a cold and angry parrot, is to understand his language of love: how HE naturally expresses his love.
 
Men do not intuitively express their love through WORDS.
 
…They can and do, but it’s usually because it’s a special occasion or it’s because they’ve learned the skill of expressing their love through words in order to make their lady happy.
 
Men more naturally express their love through ACTIONS.
 
When you ask him for the words you want to hear and he says them, he’s taking the action he sees will make you happy. Ultimately, it is his ACTION that proves his love. If you ask for something and he delivers, that’s love.
 
 
Step #3. Ask for reassurance in his language.
 
After he’s said the words you want to hear, let him pull away and withdraw to his cave. When he returns, use your new smarts and do not show any D-O-U-B-T. Do not seek reassurance in the OLD way.
 
After cave time, the goal is to set up a scenario where he can show you his love, reassuring you that you are loved, using his own intuitive love language – ACTION.
 
You can achieve this goal by asking him to do something for you. For ex: “Would you make me a cup of mint tea?”
 
When he does, respond with genuine delight and appreciation. In that moment, you get to be reassured that he loves you, not just through his WORDS but through his ACTIONS, the ultimate language of love on Mars.
 
With love,
Lauren




read more blog posts from Lauren Gray
  • Nerdzz
     8/4/2016 12:29:03 PM
    First off, thank you for these videos Lauren! So, a while back my fiance has communicated to me his need for mental space (his cave) after a fight. I understand that it is his way recover, and I don't want to interrupt that process. I definitely feel the need for some kind of reassurance, but I don't feel comfortable with his, as you say "grumpy parrot response." I can trust what words he is saying, but I find myself very sensitive to his bad tone of voice. Hearing a bad tone of voice is one my main struggles to deal with and I don't know why. It disheartens me as much, if not more than the thing I was actually upset about. It is not like he ever raises his voice at me, and he is not abusive, but if I sense any kind of coldness it makes me very uncomfortable and makes it hard for me to properly convey what I need. When I make known that I feel very discomforted, it makes him frustrated all over again. Do you think it is best that I go find my own source of comfort until he is ready and able to give me the right kind of assurance I need? ...
  • Lauren Gray
     4/29/2016 5:15:37 PM
    Jill, You're welcome! My pleasure.
  • Lauren Gray
     4/29/2016 5:15:01 PM
    Marge, you're so welcome. I'm so glad this blog was reassuring! And...keep an eye out because I've got a great blog coming up on dating "Narcissistic" men.
  • Jill
     4/25/2016 7:09:44 AM
    Brilliant! Great insight and something that must affect most couples. Thanks for an excellent post.
  • okmarge
     4/24/2016 3:25:03 PM
    Thank you thank you! Yes you reassured me! I have a gentleman friend who does not express his love in words but in actions. He even told me so! What I need is to quit doubting him. I have told him I need reassurance from time to time. He said he wouldn't be doing things for me if he didn't care and want our relationship to continue. He is narcisstic and this has been a learning experience for me. Marge


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