It’s common knowledge that men generally cry less than women. And while many of us tend to credit it to stereotype, experts say the reasons for this are both sociological and physiological. That is, nature and nurture both play a part.
Apparently, men produce less of the hormone prolactin, found in emotional tears compared to us. That’s the nature part.
Other studies found that boys tend to be more expressive of their emotions as children than girls. Unfortunately, as they develop and begin to acquire an understanding of societal expectations and gender roles, “masculinity” slowly overtakes that childhood innocence. Hence the nurture.
Nevertheless, men still do cry, and very much so. If you’ve ever found yourself wondering if and why men cry, this post is for you. Sometimes, it’s a groundbreaking event, but you’d be surprised that other times a man sheds tears for the same reasons you do.
- 1 19 Reasons Why A Man Might Cry
- 1.1 1. He's a highly sensitive person
- 1.2 2. He's depressed/suffers from anxiety
- 1.3 3. He's under a lot of stress
- 1.4 4. He's sad
- 1.5 5. Happiness
- 1.6 6. Guilt/remorse
- 1.7 7. Gratitude
- 1.8 8. Anger
- 1.9 9. Shame/embarrassment
- 1.10 10. Grief
- 1.11 11. Pain
- 1.12 12. Heartbreak
- 1.13 13. Reunion
- 1.14 14. Love
- 1.15 15. Art
- 1.16 16. Rejection/trauma
- 1.17 17. Repressed emotions
- 1.18 18. Failure
- 1.19 19. Sex
- 2 FAQs
- 3 In Summary
19 Reasons Why A Man Might Cry
1. He's a highly sensitive person
Man or woman, everyone is sensitive to varying degrees, but some individuals score higher than others on the scale. People like this display higher levels of emotional sensitivity than others, and I doubt it has much to do with gender. They react more strongly to their environment – both internal and external – and get overwhelmed easily, which often leads to tears.
Apparently, up to one in five people is born with the HSP trait, and these men and women tend to cry more than others. They absorb the mood (read: emotions) of those around them and are naturally more empathetic than most. It’s important to note that this is not a mental disorder, susceptible persons are just wired a little differently is all.
2. He's depressed/suffers from anxiety
Human tears are a natural response to overwhelming emotions, which people living with depression are no stranger to. Individuals with this condition may experience crying spells, reasons for which even they cannot explain. Not only can a depressed man shed tears at the slightest hint of emotion, but he may also have trouble controlling the flow once it starts. And that’ just in the milder cases.
Likewise, anxiety can also lead a man to excessive tears, what with the overload of everything, which explains why men with the HSP personality trait are more susceptible to waterworks.
3. He's under a lot of stress
Some men also cry when under a lot of pressure or stress. You may have also been in a situation where nothing seems to give no matter what you do. It can often feel like a physical weight, keeping you down no matter how hard you try to lift.
That point in life where you are needed in multiple areas can only effectively be at one place at a time. Anything can trigger feelings of stress in a man, from work to significant life changes to relationship issues. And sometimes, when the worries reach a peak, all he can do is let the tears flow.
4. He's sad
Sadness is the ultimate tearjerker of emotions. It’s right there at the top of the emotional causes of human tears. Even the big bad D-word thrives on it, given it is a mood disorder that causes persistent feelings of extreme sadness and despair by definition.
Anything capable of evoking feelings of sadness in a person can cause tears to flow. Like women, men cry when something they are emotionally attached to doesn’t go as it should. Like when his favorite team loses or there’s been a death in the family.
Conversely, men also shed tears in response to positive feelings like excitement, contentment, pleasure, and overall happiness. So, you need not freak out if you see tears streaming down your boyfriend’s face following a significant win in a major sporting event or personal success that's been a long time coming.
A man may shed happy tears at his wedding or that of a loved one, when welcoming a baby, or just watching pet videos. In such moments, the tears do not negate the stimulus's pleasantness but rather intensify it, essentially making the joy hit even harder.
Guilt, remorse, and similar emotions can also bring men to tears. You may not be familiar with men crying for these reasons, except maybe remorse, if you have been mostly surrounded by traditional men. The best of us hide our fault, but this lot goes the extra mile to avoid showing ‘weaknesses’ like culpability in front of a woman.
Funny enough, it’s this type of man who goes to lengths to hide certain feelings from you that cry the most in secret but, I digress. The point is, men sometimes weep when they feel bad about something like the bazinga moment your ex realizes he shouldn’t have let you go.
Some men can brave it through significant physical pain levels, heartbreak, and even death without shedding tears. But the floodgates come open in near-miss cases, when a loved one comes this close to danger and makes it. The sense of fulfillment from overcoming an obstacle, big or small, can also reduce a grown man to tears.
An overwhelming appreciation for the universe, #gratefulforlife, and all that's got him where he is, or a kind act from someone else can both equally move men to tears.
Have you ever gotten so mad all you could do was cry? Like every attempt to respond just somehow ends up in warm liquid trickling down your face. I have, and over time I have seen many women cry when they get angry, too, from the silent tears to your everyday hissy fits blamed on dear, old hormones.
However, in my experience, men shed angry tears way less than women do, probably because anger is one emotion men have always been allowed to express freely. In comparison, women are conditioned to internalize feelings considered too strong and try to be cheerier and more happy-go-lucky. But yeah, it doesn’t mean men don’t have it, also, because they absolutely do.
Shame is one powerful emotion I feel we don’t talk about enough both in men and women. It’s the underlying cause of most people’s mental, spiritual, and perhaps physical battles. It can make you sever relationships, push you to unhealthy coping habits, depression, anxiety, addiction, and even suicide.
The feeling keeps us honest, but it can also overwhelm you so much that tears become a much-needed form of release. So, men may cry in situations that make them feel exposed, inadequate, unworthy, embarrassed, or similar emotions, although what that means to each one may vary.
Death is an obvious trigger for the waterworks, most people cry when they’ve lost someone. But then, not everyone grieves a demise with sniffles, especially when it comes to men, for the aforementioned stereotypical reasons. You may have seen or heard of cases where even a parent's loss doesn’t drive some people to tears.
However, put them in front of an old Yeller-type film, and you have a sobfest on your hands. Besides death, heartbreak, opportunities lost, or a bad investment can also cause men to grief and, consequently, cry.
Tears, being a natural response to sensory overload, is a standard signal that someone is in physical pain. Nonetheless, it is also as likely to be brought about by the more abstract kinds of pain, like the emotional or spiritual type.
Emotional tears play a biological role in managing pain and stress by releasing higher levels of the hormone that acts as a natural painkiller as well as other stress hormones. While a lot of the physical part is reflex, men are also encouraged not to hold back tears in emotional distress situations as they are just as natural.
Heartbreak is a potent tearjerker in women, no doubt, but big boys also cry when their hearts are breaking. They may feel an extra need to keep it low-key, but men sometimes also bawl their eyes out at the end of a failed relationship.
Some guys can hold their own through mourning a loved, lost soul, but grieving the living is what breaks their camel’s back. Heartbreak can turn even the strongest of us – men and women – to mush, and those who manage to cry through it are some of the lucky ones.
Men also cry happy tears at reunions, especially those involving their favorite pets. Like a male dog lover can form macho all day long and crumble at the sight of a lost puppy reunited with its owners. Or videos of military officers being welcome back home by their eager pets after going away on duty for so long.
Events like high school reunions can also be a weepie for men, some from nostalgia, others from trauma. Basically, if it can make women cry, it’s very capable of tugging at the male folk’s heartstrings as well.
Some people describe falling in love as a heady mix of all things good and scary. A feeling that is both exciting and frightening, so much so that it can drive a grown man to tears. Happy tears, anxious tears, ‘here at last’ or whatever you may call it.
A boy can well up at a situation that ordinarily wouldn’t move him so much if it involves someone he loves. Talking or thinking about things he is genuinely passionate about may also cause tears to flow due to zest.
Art is an all-encompassing term for the product of human imagination that can evoke feelings of appreciation in others. Art isn’t just the perfectly finished strokes of paints and sculptures we go to the gallery to see. It is about beauty, music, food, dance, poetry, and movies.
For men, it is also sports, documentaries, commercials, holiday songs, and anything that can basically make them feel things. This emotional power that art has over us is more than enough explanation for how and why it makes people (men and women) cry.
Human beings handle trauma and rejection differently, some women cry while some boys act up. Not all men can bite their lips and keep them together after experiencing such emotional pain. Some men straight up break down in tears, sometimes right in front of the person dishing the pain.
Some take it so hard that it damages their sense of self for a significant amount of time in more severe cases. Crying also happens in response to the emotional effects of trauma, such as agitation, anxiety, and depression, so a man who’s a survivor may shed a tear or two from time to time.
17. Repressed emotions
Not everyone has the fortitude to process things the right way at the right time. Men who are under a lot of pressure, for instance, may think they do not have the luxury to slow down when overwhelmed. Likewise, the perpetually-okay guys, whose answers to how are you is always that they are fine no matter who asks.
Unfortunately, our body and mind can only take so much, and repressed emotions eventually come to the surface whether we like it or not. There are other ways to process feelings quite alright, but bottling things up sooner or later ends in tears no matter your gender.
Failure is a legitimate fear that men and women have, and experiencing it can cause members of either gender to cry. However, it can hit an average male more profoundly than his female counterparts because men’s brains are apparently wired in a way that makes them more prone to fear of incompetence.
As I stated earlier, any feeling that overwhelms us can get the waterworks going, and sadness, dejection, powerlessness, and other failure-related emotions are right in that ballpark.
Finally, men can also cry during or after a round of lovemaking. Clinically, it is called postcoital dysphoria (PCD), and it can either be happy tears, a sigh of relief, or full-blown melancholy. It can be a purely physical reaction to an out-of-body experience like an intense orgasm or signal something mental brewing underneath.
Although the whole emotional rollercoaster associated with sex always seems more up the alley of women’s issues, it also affects the ‘stronger’ gender. They may not release the bonding oxytocin hormone as we do, but trust me, a mind-blowing session in the sheets can cause men to tear up just as well.
When a guy cries, it can either mean he has a healthy sense of self-awareness and isn’t afraid of expressing himself even at the risk of appearing weak. Or that he has repressed his emotions to a point where he’s no longer able to hold the tears in.
When some boys fall head over heels in love, especially for the first time, the feeling can be so overwhelming that it makes them want to cry. But then, not all men are like this. Some don’t feel that profoundly, and those who do may find ways to let it out other than crying.
Anything capable of making a man emotional can cause him to cry. In a relationship, it may be the fact that he is finally being treated the way he deserves (happy cry) or the exact opposite. Loving someone and being loved back with the same energy can also make them well up, and sometimes, it’s the lack of something vital that does it.
There is no such thing as a universal list of what girls like in boys, the things that attract A might be the reasons B wouldn’t be interested. That said, women generally tend to appreciate guys who have no trouble getting in touch with their emotional side more than those who do.
A good round of lovemaking is one of the best ways to relieve stress, and sometimes the feeling afterward can be so good it causes you to tear up. Unfortunately, happy tears are not the only type people shed after sex. Some cry after making love because they find the act triggering or physically painful. For others, it results in a bit of melancholy for religious, moral, or no apparent reason.
Men cry when they feel things, either physically or emotionally, and sometimes their tears flow for no obvious cause, too, just like you. Remember, that they generally cry less than women doesn’t mean it applies that way individually. So, don’t freak out if you meet a guy who cries a lot more than you are used to; it happens.
On the other hand, everyone has a personal angle to sensitivity, and I’d be interested in hearing yours. So feel free to let me know your thoughts in the comments and also share the article if you liked it.
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.