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23 Things He's Not Telling You (According to Men)

You may be surprised by the things guys tend to lie about.

Men aren't that mysterious. Frankly, trying to read into what your male partner says or does is only going to overcomplicate things… most of the time. The truth is, there are some important instances in which men can be less than forthcoming with their significant others. From how they feel about your phone habits to the truth about that "friend" of theirs, these are the things men won't admit to, but they definitely feel, think, and do behind your back.

He feels rejected sometimes.

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Men are in the habit of trying not to take anything too seriously. However, there are times when he might actually feel rejected, despite giving off that usual air of apathy.

"He's not telling you when he feels that way because he has no precedent for doing so—and might not even register it fully and label it," suggests Mark Borg Jr., PhD, a psychologist and psychoanalyst and author of Don't Be a D***: Change Yourself, Change Your World. Yes, your boyfriend or spouse might not even be consciously registering these feelings of rejection—and as a result, those repressed feelings might be manifesting as anger directed at you.

He feels lonely sometimes, too.

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Shutterstock / pixelheadphoto digitalskillset

Just like he's not going to tell you that he's feeling rejected, "he's not going to tell you that he's lonely," says Borg. "He doesn't have a vocabulary for telling you that, since the kids grew up and the friend group that you spent so much time hanging out with has less reason to exist, he's not doing so well at maintaining his adult friendships. He is embarrassed that he feels like people might not like him and even more embarrassed that he is finding himself 'shy' and reluctant to reach out to other men."

If you're worried that your spouse is lonely, Borg suggests working on ways to get him to open up. "Maybe he needs some support and encouragement in reaching out."

He's afraid of opening up to you.

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Part of the problem is that many men have trouble talking about this sense of loneliness, according to Jacob Brown, a psychotherapist in Marin County, California. "They may even have trouble telling their partner about this secret loneliness, afraid that they will be judged or that their partner will want to fix the situation," he says.

He's annoyed you're on your phone so much.

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We live in a multi-screen era, where watching something on TV is usually accompanied by the occasional scroll through social media. But even though that's the reality of the world today, it doesn't mean men aren't still secretly irritated when you spend most of your time together on your phone.

In a Reddit thread about "what little things women do or say that hurt your feelings but you don't let it show," several men noted that the amount of time their spouses spent on their phones was a major source of irritation.

"Sitting down together to watch a movie or show I'm super-hyped about only to find she's on her phone half the time trawling Facebook," said one Reddit user in response to the question. Another added, "It's basically saying 'I'd rather be doing something else.'"

It upsets him when you only focus on his mistakes.

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We're a long way from the Leave It to Beaver days of traditional gender roles, and guys aren't likely to complain about having to share duties around the house. However, your boyfriend or husband still wants to be admired for his efforts—or at the least, not berated when he forgets to do one little thing.

As one user on Reddit put it, "Clean the kitchen, vacuum, make the bed, take the dog on a super long walk, do the XYZ-whatever project around the house she asked me to do, all on my own accord or because I just like doing something for her. But ultimately, forgetting to throw out a meatball sub that's been in the fridge too long becomes [the] metric by which I am judged. It actually kinda hurts a lot."

He doesn't like being stereotyped.

Dad playing with his toddler son things men won't admit

Speaking of guys doing their part around the house, stereotypes regarding which tasks are for men and which are for women get under men's skin, too.

"I hate when people assume because I'm the working husband that I do nothing," wrote one Reddit user. "I cook meals, pick up the kids from daycare, do the laundry, do the cleaning." Another user chimed in: "When my children were younger… women would refer to my care for them as 'babysitting.' It isn't babysitting if they are your own children. You are being a father."

He has a few secret crushes.

middle aged friends laughing in kitchen

Most men also harbor secret crushes. It's likely not anything serious, and it doesn't mean he's any less in love with you, but there's almost certainly someone out there who gets him acting flirtier and friendlier than usual.

"Men often develop secret crushes," says Brown. "But, if they talk about it, then it becomes an issue, something that has to be discussed. They know it's harmless and that the crush will fade, and talking about it will only spoil the fun."

He has a friend or coworker who was originally an object of his affection.

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You know that female friend of his who's just the full package? Yeah, odds are that he used to harbor feelings for her. "Many men are attracted to their attractive friends, and may have even started the friendship as an angle to get a date with that person," says David Bennett, a certified counselor, relationship expert, and co-author of seven books. "This doesn't mean they will act on their feelings, of course."

That "friend" of his is actually his ex.

middle aged friends chatting and laughing

Whether it's because they want to protect your feelings or are simply avoiding an argument, men are not opposed to telling half-truths when it comes to their exes.

"Many guys will be friends (especially on social media) with people they have a romantic history with, but they may downplay it to their partners," says Bennett. "'Oh, she's just a friend' might actually mean, 'I met her on Tinder a few weeks before we met and we still message from time to time with some sexual tension.'"

He still has baggage from his previous relationships.

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Nobody wants to hear a bunch of sob stories about a person's exes on a first date, but as a relationship builds, it becomes more important for both partners to share details about their past romantic experiences and how they've shaped the person they currently are. However, this isn't to say that the average man actually does divulge such information. Men typically find it easier to avoid the topic, especially if they were dumped or were hurt in some way.

He still checks his ex's Facebook.

Man Checking Facebook Things He's Not Telling You

"He's probably not going to tell you how often he checks his ex's social media pages," says Borg. If you do find out that this is the case, though, don't automatically assume that he's still in love with his last lover. If the breakup was bad, he could just be peeking around for another reason…

And he still compares his life to theirs.

man fidgeting in front of a laptop Things Men Won't Admit

Sometimes, men will keep tabs on their exes just to compare themselves to the guy who filled their shoes. And unfortunately, it's likely that he's also comparing his current life—that is to say, you—with that of his former flame.

"He's not going to tell you how he compares himself to new boyfriends, husbands, etc., and that, sometimes he also compares you and your family (including kids, pets, whatnot) to his ex's life," says Borg. "And he's definitely not going to tell you when he thinks what he's got going on doesn't measure up, and how he feels about that."

He compares himself to everybody else, too.

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It's not just his ex's life that he's comparing his to. Guys naturally gauge their success and personal progress on how they stack up alongside others in their orbit like friends, family, and coworkers. In some cases, this can be a healthy thing, inspiring a man to improve himself; but just as often, it can be an unhealthy habit that means only appreciating something when others don't have it.

He's drinking more than he's letting on.

Men Drinking Beers at the Bar

There have definitely been moments when your partner's drinking got way out of hand. But do you have knowledge of these moments? Doubtful.

"Many guys will downplay some of their bad habits, like how much they had to drink when they were out with their friends," says Bennett. "Some guys will even continue bad habits (like smoking) after they told their partners they have quit."

Things got a little crazy at that bachelor party.

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Men are experts at compartmentalizing, and while he probably behaved himself for the most part at that bachelor party weekend or guy's night out, there's a good chance you're not getting the full truth of what was discussed or done. Whether that's how much he drank or about that lap dance, there are some things that are just a little more fun when they remain something of a secret.

He's doing it without you more often than you think.

man at computer

As the saying goes, there are two types of men: the ones who masturbate and the ones who lie about it. No guy should be broadcasting their masturbation habit, but if he's implying that he never does it, it's pretty likely he's selling you a bill of goods.

"Watching porn is a hidden pleasure for many men," says Brown. "They don't want to talk to their partner about it because it's personal. If they talk about it with their partner, it becomes a part of the relationship rather than something that's only their own. And they may not want to admit just how frequently they do it."

He wants more attention.

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Guys aren't supposed to be the ones looking to be showered with attention, fathers especially. But while he's not going to say it, your man wants to be the center of attention every once in a while.

"Although he loves your devotion to the children, he sometimes feels left out," says Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, a licensed clinical professional counselor and a certified imago relationship therapist who runs private marriage retreats. "He is your full partner in parenting, but he doesn't want to compete for supermom's attention."

He likes nice things, too.

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While women often get stereotyped as being the ones who like nice things, guys are fans of material items too and take just as much delight in well-selected gifts. Whether it's a nice fountain pen, a leather journal, or a fun new gadget, such objects can trigger a high level of satisfaction in a man—perhaps more than he'll ever admit.

He likes to feel appreciated.

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Everybody likes to feel appreciated. And while your man might put up a stoic front, it means a lot to him when you express your gratitude and let him know that his efforts aren't going unnoticed. "He wants to know that you appreciate him for everything he does for you. He wants to know that you appreciate him for who he is," says Slatkin.

He urges folks to keep in mind Dr. John Gottman's 5:1 ratio of positive to negative interchanges found in successful marriages, in which every one negative remark is balanced by five positive ones. "While we may feel so busy with life's to-do list that we forget to express our appreciation, we seem to find time to share a complaint or frustration with our spouse," Slatkin points out. "Try carving out a few minutes each day before bed where you share with your husband what you appreciate about him and why."

His sense of worth is tied to being able to provide for you.

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"If your husband is currently out of a job and you are experiencing tension in your relationship, it is no wonder why," says Slatkin. "He needs you to understand how hard it is for him when he can't provide because he feels like a failure. When you get anxious about your financial situation it makes him feel even worse because he has let you down. Realize that money is an extremely charged issue for both of you. Any discussion about the topic will be smoother if you are able to be more sensitive and focus on crunching numbers instead of battling fears."

He's overwhelmed and afraid to show it.

Stressed Man Looking at Papers

"Life can be very scary," says Brown. "We are constantly faced with important decisions (jobs, houses, partners) and forced to face important responsibilities (supporting our family, taking care of aging parents, running a household). It can all feel overwhelming. And rather than sharing their fears with our partner, men often think they have to push down their fear only show confidence and strength."

He hates how you tease him sometimes.

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Relationships are meant to have some friendly teasing. However, a guy is never going to let on when some of those so-called playful remarks you make are getting under his skin.

"When you make a joke about how he can't find anything, that he doesn't listen to what you say, or that he is a hermit, he doesn't find it funny," says Slatkin. "When you criticize him in public, he feels shamed. After a while, these remarks begin to chip away at his trust in you as his loving partner."

He loves you.

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This is something every man should say more than he does. Expressing affection doesn't come as naturally to some men as it does to others.

"You are his world, though you may not think so. He does not always have an easy time expressing his feelings or sharing verbally, though he does show you in other ways," says Slatkin. "While you may prefer a hug or words of endearment, he may demonstrate his love when he buys you your favorite snack or mows the lawn." And if you want to show him that you love him, too, here are 40 Ways to Be a Better Wife After 40.

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Alex Daniel
A journalist based in Brooklyn, New York. Read more