Most Helpful Guy
It is not a question of freedom. It is, rather, a question of being hurt. This is deeply rooted in human psychology.
Females tend to be expressive. They communicate their feelings openly and while this can lead to conflict, on the whole that studies show that women are apt to develop more intense friendships. By contrast, men are less verbal. They express themselves more by deeds than words and this tends to be somewhat self-isolating.
In this connection, by the way, a weird paradox. There is an expression. For a woman, there is no sex until there is love. For a man, it is not love until there is sex. Put simply, sex means more to a man than to a woman. For a woman, it is simply one part of a relationship, For a man, it is something deeper - which probably explains your bfd's reluctance.
In a nutshell, for a man, a failed relationship is isolating and the feelings of loneliness get no natural outlet. Men therefore, contrary to popular belief, tend to - not always but generally - tread more cautiously. They look for more reassurance and try - as far as is possible - not to do things that they fear might negatively impact the relationship.
Add in that men, not being expressive, are not as good as women at reading emotions. You can say all the right things and there still tends to be a nagging doubt. It is not rational or logical, but it is rooted in fear of loneliness and is therefore all the more real for that.
Finally, to that you must add changing cultural trends. There is an undertone of hostility toward men in the popular culture. Even things that deserve real condemnation - such as sexual harassment - tend to tar men with one brush, and when it comes to marriage, the penalties for failure are often - legally and financially - steep. So to fear of loneliness men add a sense of legal and moral risk as they enter any relationship.
Again, this is all not necessarily logical or rational, but you are dealing in feelings. It is not less real for being illogical.
What to do? There is an expression - Pay a man a compliment and you will get a million miles out of him. Be reassuring. Pay him a compliment - ESPECIALLY when he does something for you. (Thank him for being good to your child. Similarly, if he helps around the house, also express your appreciation.) Where sex is concerned, if you are ready, tell him that when he feels ready nothing would make you happier than to feel his arms around you.
Then, after all this, be patient. This will take time.
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