Disclaimer: In Real Life is a platform for everyday people to share their experiences and voices. All articles are personal stories and do not necessarily echo the sentiments of In Real Life Malaysia. If I could write a short letter to all Asian husbands and boyfriends, including mine, it would go like this: Dear Malaysian Men, You guys are actually, quite great. You\u2019re hardworking, and you tolerate us women and our antics.\u00a0 But there\u2019s something that\u2019s nagging us at the back of our minds. The thought is like the tide, we try pushing it away, but it always comes back: WHY DO YOU HATE TALKING ABOUT YOUR FEELINGS SO MUCH!? Sincerely,\u00a0 Frustrated wives and girlfriends everywhere. I don\u2019t get it. My partner can spend the whole day talking about menial things like cars, tech, and movies. But the moment I try to bring up something remotely serious, he shuts down and gives one-word answers.\u00a0 Here\u2019s a \u201cdeep conversation\u201d between me and my husband:\u00a0 Husband: *Talks 20 minutes about the new iWatch that just launched* Me: *Listens because I\u2019m a good wife (or at least I try to be)* Husband: *Stops talking because there\u2019s nothing left to say* Me: (seeing an opening): \u201cSo I was reading this Reddit thread where this girl posted a story. Her husband got mad at his mom for showing his baby pictures to her without his permission. But she feels that it\u2019s not a big deal because it\u2019s just pictures, and they\u2019ve been married for 6 years. What do you think?\u201d Husband: \u201cHmm good question, let me think and come back to you.\u201d Me: \u201cWhy not now?\u201d Husband: \u201cI need to think properly.\u201d Spoiler alert!\u00a0 He never comes back to me.\u00a0 Me every time this happens It\u2019s one of the many ways in which he avoids \u201cdeep\u201d conversation, and it\u2019s highly frustrating.\u00a0 To me, deep conversations are the essence of a relationship.\u00a0 We cannot have a fulfilling relationship without sharing our hopes, fears, and joys with our partner.\u00a0 I used to think, am I the only one going through this? Is my partner not opening up really a serious issue? Or am I just being too emotional and overthinking?\u00a0 Turns out, there are plenty of other women who have their own share of struggles with uncommunicative partners. \u201cMy husband has a tough time opening up to me. He hates talking face-to-face to resolve our issues. So whenever we argue or need to \u2018talk it out\u2019, I text him for him to speak more openly,\u201d says Melissa. Helen, meanwhile, says that her husband completely shuts off from conversations.\u00a0 \u201cWhen he\u2019s extremely stressed at work or when he is having a hard time, he will not communicate that with me; instead he will isolate himself and be reserved or distant towards me.\u201d Sadly, a lot of men don\u2019t realize how important communication is to a woman.\u00a0 The truth is, being closed and reserved to your partner is an unhealthy trait, and it can affect the relationship in the long-run.\u00a0 \u201cWhen my husband doesn\u2019t share things with me, I find myself rather not speaking about things that have been bothering me too. I don\u2019t feel any reason to talk about it anymore. And everything gets swept under the rug,\u201d says Melissa in resignation. \u201cWhenever we have an argument, or are just talking about an issue we are facing, he prefers to keep quiet and \u2018not say anything\u2019 rather than work that issue out,\u201d says an exasperated Helen.\u00a0 For Helen, the lack of communication has taken a toll on her self-esteem.\u00a0 \u201cI tend to blame myself for my husband being reserved. It makes me feel low and unworthy because of our reduced intimacy. Sometimes all I want is some tender, love and care but nope, due to him not communicating his needs and problems, it just pushes us apart.\u201d In the Defence of Asian Men As Asians, we don\u2019t verbalize our emotions easily. Our culture is more of a \u2018do\u2019 than \u2018say\u2019, focusing more on actions than on words. This is even more so for men. Somewhere along the way, our society has made it so difficult for men to express their emotions. Labelling them as \u2018weak\u2019, \u2018unmanly\u2019, or \u2018not macho\u2019 if they are sensitive.\u00a0\u00a0 I asked men why they don\u2019t open up about their feelings, and the answers were quite interesting.\u00a0\u00a0 \u201cI\u2019m scared that I\u2019ll say something wrong, and my partner will get even more upset at me. Sometimes saying less is better.\u201d \u201cWhatever I say will be used against me in the future. Women can really remember anything and everything you say. It\u2019s scary.\u201d \u201cI\u2019m scared to open up and be vulnerable. Because that person can use it as a weapon to hurt my feelings.\u201d \u201cSometimes I\u2019m just not thinking anything, and I don\u2019t have to say long words for every single situation. Isn\u2019t that what your girlfriends are for?\u201d In case you\u2019re wondering, yes their answers were that short. Why are men like this? So I found out more about my husband's family background In my attempt to understand why my husband was so reserved, I found out that his family background played a huge role. I grew up in a highly expressive and loud family. We use a lot of words, in our arguments, in our celebrations, in our love.\u00a0 For me, it\u2019s considered normal family behaviour. Meanwhile, my husband\u2019s family is the polar opposite.\u00a0 They're a quiet bunch, and prefer to show their love through actions such as buying groceries or helping out in the household. Yelling at each other when you\u2019re mad is a huge no.\u00a0 For Helen, his family influence has played a huge role in her husband\u2019s behaviour. \u201cHe grew up constantly hiding emotions and hiding behind four walls as his parents were constantly fighting. Expressing emotions comes in the form of presents or gifts and that is the exact behaviour which he imitates in our relationship. But my needs and affection are completely different. Unfortunately, my husband only knows one way of showing affection.\u201d\u00a0 So what do we do? \u00a0 It\u2019s easy to point fingers at our partners and say \u2018you\u2019re wrong, and you should change.\u2019 But when you\u2019re in a relationship, the reality is much more complicated.\u00a0 Relationships are about acknowledging each other\u2019s flaws, including our own.\u00a0 Just as men are reserved, women can also be deemed as too emotional.\u00a0 This could easily have been an article about \u2018Dear Asian Women, stop being too sensitive. Sincerely, Asian Men.\u2019\u00a0 \u201cIn a relationship, it\u2019s always easy playing the blame game or the victim. I think we as women have to do some self-reflection. Have I somehow contributed to my partner\u2019s behaviour towards me?\u201d says Melissa. Hellen also believes that it takes effort.\u00a0 \u201cOn the positive side, I\u2019m trying and putting extra effort to understand my partner better. We\u2019ve been trying to work on an open communication policy, and regularly check if everything is okay and if we are on the right track together.\u201d As for me, I\u2019m doing baby steps to slowly get my partner to open up to me.\u00a0 I\u2019ve also learnt to not measure his \u2018love\u2019 in words, but rather in the actions which he does for me.\u00a0 Hopefully in time, together we can break this toxic male cycle of always having to be \u2018strong\u2019 and \u2018unemotional\u2019.\u00a0 For more stories like this, read: 5 Unspoken Expectations in a Relationship That Nobody Told Me About \u2014 And How I Faced Them and I Turned Him Down Because of His Emotional Baggage \u2014 And I Don\u2019t Regret It Do you have a story to tell? Get featured on In Real Life by sharing your story here.