Men who are deeply unhappy but unable to express it tend to display these 8 subtle behaviors

Unhappy men–a seemingly universal demographic. 

A major problem men still face is that they are not often conditioned to express emotions and feelings. 

This outdated social norm results in men who are often deeply suppressed; men who thus tend to seek out alternative, unhealthy outlets to feel better about themselves. 

But this shouldn’t be. 

It’s 2024, we have to collectively encourage the men in our lives to be forthcoming about their issues, rather than keeping them hidden, indefinitely eating away at them. 

So if you have an unhappy man in your life, consider it time to start guiding them through the process. 

But first, you have to get familiar with signs. 

In this article, I’ll take you through the subtle behaviors of men who are unhappy in life. 

Let’s get to it!

1) They withdraw from social activities 

Once you become unhappy, things you used to enjoy often become tedious. 

Everything feels a little tougher to pursue–and social activities with friends tend to be included on that list. 

Perhaps at one point, you used to pride yourself on the fact that you had a full social calendar. 

You were motivated to see people and catch up, exchanging anecdotes and well-meaning banter. But when you realize that you’re unhappy, your priorities begin to change. 

You begin to feel that being around other people is a real chore. Instead, you opt to spend your days and nights on your own, in your safe space, where you can ruminate uninterrupted. 

Sure, longing for a bit of solitude is natural, even healthy. But when you’re alone for too long, this can be concerning. 

2) Their sleep patterns are inconsistent 

When you’re completely at peace with yourself, your sleep patterns tend to reflect that state of being. 

But when you’re unhappy, the opposite is true. 

Men who are dissatisfied in life tend to have erratic sleep patterns. Many will experience insomnia, and frustratedly toss and turn until the wee hours. 

Meanwhile, others will oversleep… sometimes ten, twelve, fourteen hours a night. Sometimes even more.

I’ve been around depressed men who were capable of sleeping for a full twenty-four hours, only getting up for the occasional bathroom break or a bit of food. 

The bottom line: irregular sleep patterns almost always indicate underlying mental distress. 

3) They get really irritable 

When a man gets suddenly more temperamental, snapping over seemingly minor issues and inconveniences, then this points to something deeper. 

It’s not rocket science: when you’re unhappy, you’re more prone to blowing up. 

I’ve been there. 

During the pandemic, I was under tremendous daily stress, as I witnessed my hard-earned business fall apart in real time. 

My days were filled with calls from irate, unpaid suppliers, reading through subpoenas from other unpaid suppliers, and trying to find money to scrape by and survive–often to no avail

And because of the turmoil I was going through, I admittedly became incredibly irritable, for at least a year. Possibly two. 

People noticed. My relationships suffered considerably. 

I would lose my temper with my live-in partner; I would be condescending and snide towards relatives; and I’d even go on full, rage-filled meltdowns when I’d encounter stress of any kind at the wrong time. 

I’m hardly condoning my behavior… but the fact remains: my change in mood over that period was directly linked to what I was going through.

Thankfully, things have since improved for me since then. Fingers crossed. 

4) Their appetite and weight fluctuate 

pic man eating Men who are deeply unhappy but unable to express it tend to display these 8 subtle behaviors

Much like sleep patterns, sudden fluctuations in appetite can also signal a deeper problem. 

When you’re unhappy, you can end up on either extreme of the eating spectrum. 

Some people will barely eat, feeling deeply unmotivated to chew and ingest food, which will invariably lead to unwanted weight loss. 

When you’re unhappy, you can also eat too much.  Gorging on junk food can provide you with a temporary, chemically-induced, break from your problems. 

Many have discovered that food is an escape, a stress response, from the tedium of the world–and once you start getting into the habit of binge eating, it’s a hard cycle to break. 

With overeating, you can expect significant weight gain, among other health issues. Not good. 

5) They use drugs and alcohol (more often)

Speaking of escapism, it’s no secret that many unhappy men will turn to drugs and alcohol to self-medicate for their internal strife. 

I remember when I was in my early twenties and my first real girlfriend broke up with me. 

Being young, and still incredibly emotionally immature, I didn’t quite know how to process my grief and other feelings. 

So I just acted out the only way I knew how at the time: by going on alcohol-fuelled benders several times a week. 

Sometimes, I’d get blackout drunk. Most times, I would regret something I did or said–a price I was willing to pay to avoid going home and being alone with my thoughts.

Looking back, it was a dark period for me. I’m glad I eventually got over it. 

So if you know a man who has been drinking or taking drugs or prescription pills a bit too much, take this as a red flag

He needs your help. 

6) They look dishevelled 

Perhaps in the past, you looked like you were something straight out of a GQ catalog. 

But then life happened, and you became hardened. 

Slowly but surely, your motivation to dress appropriately began to wither. Eventually, your grooming and hygiene suffered too. And the situation continued to deteriorate as the days and weeks went by.  

Men who stop caring about their appearance often are unhappy in life

So if you come across a man who was once consistently well-dressed and clean, looking like a veritable slob, complete with ketchup stains on their stale, unlaundered t-shirt, there may be something deeper at play.   

7) Their work performance declines 

In case you haven’t noticed, a common behavior among unhappy men is their general apathy toward life–a sentiment that can often extend to the office. 

Some men might have the skill of being able to mentally and emotionally compartmentalize work from personal issues. 

But most men (like myself) don’t have that capacity. 

So when a man is going through emotional distress, more often than not, a noticeable decline in work performance will occur. 

Once your level of concentration is compromised, your output will inevitably suffer too.  

Final words 

Unhappy men are everywhere; so if you know one, then it’s worth reaching out. 

As established, many of us are not trained and conditioned to deal with emotions healthily, so we act out in unhealthy ways–which if left unchecked, can sometimes have dire consequences. 

Most of us cannot deal with our trauma alone. Sometimes, reaching out alone can be a catalyst for change. 

Picture of Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham

Lucas Graham, based in Auckland, writes about the psychology behind everyday decisions and life choices. His perspective is grounded in the belief that understanding oneself is the key to better decision-making. Lucas’s articles are a mix of personal anecdotes and observations, offering readers relatable and down-to-earth advice.

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