If a man displays these 10 behaviors, he’s probably deeply unhappy in life

Part of what makes humans so tricky to deal with is that we don’t always just come out and tell each other what we’re feeling.

That’s especially true when it comes to negative emotions like unhappiness, anger, and loneliness.

And it’s even more true when it comes to men. Men are socialized from an early age not to focus on their feelings, and certainly not to burden other people with them. Over time, this can make men unwilling and even incapable of sharing their emotions in a healthy and constructive way.

That can make trying to figure out when a man is unhappy something of a guessing game.

However, there are some signs that can help. If there’s a man in your life you care about, ask yourself if he is displaying any of these behaviors. If he is, he may be deeply unhappy with the way his life is going.

1) He complains a lot

All men are different, so how they handle unhappiness will vary from one individual to another.

Constant complaining is one way that some men deal with unhappiness in their life.

Of course, it’s important to be aware of what the man in question is normally like. After all, some people just have a habit of complaining no matter what.

But if you notice that a man has started to complain much more about the things that are bothering him, it’s worth considering that he has something big on his mind.

Unfortunately, men will often complain about anything except the issue that is really bothering them. They may complain about the weather, their boss, or the hopelessness of their favorite sports team.

All of it is a way of deflecting from the real issue that they are not comfortable addressing.

2) He goes silent

Another way men deal with problems is just to shut down.

Sometimes, this is a way of avoiding conflict in their relationships. They may worry that if they speak out about what’s bothering them, it will create more problems by upsetting the people they care about.

“Men are particularly reluctant to speak up about their own needs and desires in relationships with women because they have been socialized to be emotionally self-reliant and to feel ashamed of needing anything from anyone,” writes psychotherapist Avrum Weiss.

But Weiss also points out that, “Men are hesitant to speak up about their needs in relationships because they worry that speaking up will make things worse.”

This often leads men to falling silent when they are unhappy, especially in a relationships.

This can seem like they are giving the dreaded silent treatment, which can often be a manipulation tactic in relationships.

But instead, a man’s silence may be more about his desire to avoid conflict and not burden you with his negative feelings.

3) He starts spending an unusual amount of time alone

We all have a different tolerance for time spent alone. Some people – me included – need regular alone time to recharge their social batteries and face the world.

Other, more extroverted people get their energy from being around others.

The important thing to notice is any change in a man’s habits. If a guy who used to love to be around people suddenly starts spending a lot of time by himself, that can be a warning sign.

He may be distancing himself to avoid bringing other people down with his negative feelings.

4) He starts working more

One of the most common ways men deal with unhappiness is to throw themselves into their work.

Psychotherapist Charles Allen points out that having a job is closely linked to self-worth and self-esteem. This is especially true for men, who tend to get self-esteem from accomplishments more than women, who instead get it from the appreciation of others.

So if a man is feeling unhappy with the direction of his life, he may seek out more of those feelings of power and self-respect by working harder.

Work can also provide a way for men to distract themselves from their problems. Many men would rather simply work harder than sit down and talk honestly about their feelings.

So if a man starts throwing himself into his work and pulling late nights at the job, it might be because he is trying to drive away negative feelings by being productive.

pic1903 If a man displays these 10 behaviors, he’s probably deeply unhappy in life

5) He stops taking care of himself

This side of unhappiness cuts across gender lines.

“When you live with depression, self-care can sometimes feel unattainable,” writes psychologist Deborah Serani. “It’s important that depressed people realize, as well as family and friends of loved ones who are depressed, that having trouble with self-care is not due to laziness, or not trying hard enough or from weakness.”

Depressed people, Serani writes, may have trouble with:

  • Attention
  • Decision-making
  • Emotional control
  • Emotional functioning
  • Foresight
  • Judgment
  • Planning
  • Memory
  • Willpower

If a man you know used to regularly go to the gym or take part in physical activity but has recently stopped, this might be the reason why.

Likewise, if a man who usually takes a lot of pride in his appearance suddenly stops caring, it might be because he is deeply unhappy.

6) He starts engaging in destructive behaviors

Again, this is something depressed people of any gender often do.

Often, people seek to escape negative feelings by abusing substances like alcohol and drugs. But although this can happen to anyone, male or female, there are differences in how this substance abuse shows itself.

Men are more likely to use illegal drugs, and tend to use higher quantities, making them more prone to overdose. Men are also significantly more likely to be alcoholics than women – up to four times more likely, according to one study.

It’s not just substance abuse. A man who is unhappy may engage in all kinds of destructive behaviors, ranging from unprotected sex with strangers to driving too fast.

7) He gets angry

Being raised to believe that expressing emotions is unmanly leaves many men with a limited emotional range.

Anger is often the only emotion men consider acceptable to show, and so they often channel feelings of sadness, worthlessness, loneliness, and depression into anger.

“Men have been encouraged to be more overt with their anger. If [boys] have a conflict on the playground, they act it out with their fists. Girls have been encouraged to keep their anger down,” writes psychologist Sandra Thomas.

In psychology, anger is considered a secondary emotion. It’s a reaction to some other feeling a person doesn’t want to confront. This can be fear, loss, loneliness, or something else.

If a man has a shorter temper than usual, it could be because he is channeling other negative feelings into anger to avoid facing what’s really bothering him.

8) He seems hopeless

For those men who are more willing to talk about their feelings, you may notice a change in the way he talks.

Has he adopted a negative view of the future? Does he seem to have no hope, whereas before he was more optimistic?

People who are unhappy often can’t see past their current unhappiness. They project it into the future, losing hope that things can ever be better.

This is a reliable sign of depression, so if you notice it in a man you care about, it’s definitely something you want to encourage him to talk about.

9) He no longer takes interest in things he used to enjoy

This is another classic sign of depression, in both men and women.

However, men are often more passionate about their interests, so if that changes, it can be much more noticeable than it is in women.

A man who is unhappy will often lose interest in doing the things that used to bring him joy. Whether it’s going out with his buddies, playing sports, or working on his car, he may stop spending time on the things he used to love.

Sometimes, it may simply be that he has lost interest in a former source of pleasure. But other times, it can be a sign of a man who is sinking into depression.

10) His sex drive disappears

If you’re in an intimate relationship with a man, this can be a sign of serious trouble.

As a society, we like to pretend that a man’s sex drive is simple, straightforward, and constant. But that’s not the case at all.

A man’s libido can rise and fall at different times for a variety of reasons, both physical and psychological. However, unhappiness, depression, and low self-esteem can all have a very damaging affect on a man’s desire.

Again, the key here is to notice a change. If a man use to enjoy frequent sex and no longer does, it may be a sign that he has lost his former spark for life.

Spotting unhappiness in a man

Everyone is different. But men often show unhappiness differently from how women do it, and keeping an eye out for the signs can help you spot warning signs in the men you know.

Men are famously bad at talking about their feelings. But if you’ve noticed these signs in a man you care about, try to get them to talk to you about what’s going wrong.

Ryan Frawley

Ryan Frawley

“Ryan Frawley is a France-based writer with a passion for psychology, philosophy, science, and anything that attempts to answer life’s biggest questions. Reach out at ryan@ryanfrawley.com”

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