It may have taken you some time to realise that you’re sharing your life with someone who isn’t really available for you on an emotional level. Maybe you were so in love in the early days that you thought that their reticence was due to them having been hurt before or because they came from a family that didn’t demonstrate their feelings towards one another.
Whatever the reason, over time living with someone who’s emotional distant can take its toll and it’s not just women who complain about this as men can also find their partners disconnected on a deeper level.
Ideally, it’s better to deal with this early on in the relationship when you start to notice that they’re always guarded when it comes to their emotions; it’s a good idea to let them know how you feel about it. Be clear about what you expect and want from them and if they’re willing to be open with you, the relationship has a good chance of developing.
However, if you’re some years down the line and things haven’t changed you may well feel very disappointed because most of us need strong relationships where feelings are expressed openly. It’s natural to want deep and meaningful interactions with the person we love.
You may find yourself thinking “They seem completely oblivious to my feelings”, “What does it take to get through to them?” or “They care more about their work/the children than they do about me”.
So if this is you and you want to stay with your partner (they’ve got lots of good points and you’re generally compatible), before you get completely disillusioned, how can you manage that? Well, you could try the following and see if things improve:
- Although you may have done so many times before, encourage them to sit down and try to find out what’s happening. It may be that they’ve always been like this, but if you’ve tried talking many times before and they want to change it may be that they’ll need to access counselling to learn how to open up to you.
- Having said that, once you’ve tried to ‘fix it’ and found that you just can’t (we can’t really change a person – they need to do it themselves), try to work out whether you might be able to get used to it. I’m not suggesting that you tolerate something that you find completely untenable, but it may be that they have a lot of good points and it’s worth concentrating on those, rather than focussing on their lack of emotions.
- Shift your focus: give them time to think over what you’ve said and then change the focus to yourself by getting involved in things that interest you, making sure that you’re busy and happy doing things that leave you feeling fulfilled.
- Realise and accept that you can only do so much – if your partner cannot contribute to your relationship in a way that fulfils at least some of your emotional needs, you may need to think about the future and whether you want to live like that. People do manage this because they feel that the positives outweigh the negatives, but you’re the only one who can make that ultimate decision.
You can read my blogs as soon as they are published (usually on Wednesdays) by pressing the ‘follow’ button and you can share them with your friends. You can also find me on Linked In, Instagram (samebutdifferent) and read my FB posts at Same But Different.
#anxiety #familyrelationships #stress #self-esteem #workonyourself