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Unable to express my feelings, worried about upsetting him

(9 Posts)
PegPeg Tue 14-Jul-15 00:32:33

I believe that the most successful relationships are based on honesty and team work. If you have doubts or concerns about any area of your relationship, you should be able to express these to your partner so that you can work through them together, ultimately becoming stronger and more in tune with one another.

Unless the problem is an insurmountable difference in what the two of you want in life, then surely sharing and working through each other's concerns can bring you closer together...?

Is it naive of me to think this...?

The problem is, I do not feel I have a fair opportunity to share my anxieties with my partner. The second I begin to express any tiny concern about our relationship, it triggers something in him: he stops listening to what I'm actually saying, the defensive wall goes up, and the rest of the conversation is basically me trying to reassure him that I'm not a baddie who's going to break his heart.

Sometimes I just want to tell him I'm struggling a bit, struggling to always be the strong, secure one in this relationship.... and to actually get some reassurance from him, instead of it constantly having to be the other way around...

My partner constantly needs reassurance that I'm not going to screw him over, to the extent that I get zero room to express my own doubts and anxieties. This is leading to me feeling increasingly overwhelmed by my relationship anxieties, when I really think we should be working through them together, as a team.

I feel stuck and don't know where to go from here. My question is: What to do when your partner is so petrified that you might be having anxieties and doubts, that you feel you can't express your anxieties and doubts...?

Offred Tue 14-Jul-15 01:06:56

Express those feelings I think and if he can't accept them then begin to separate yourself from him.

goddessofsmallthings Tue 14-Jul-15 01:43:47

Have you tried putting your feelings to him in writing?

Have you talked to him about what you believe relationships should be about in general terms without raising any doubts or concerns about the one you're having with him?

What specific assurance do you want from him? Do you feel he may screw you over after you've pumped him full of confidence and reassurance that you won't do it to him?

LazyLouLou Tue 14-Jul-15 09:33:58

At some point you will have to spell it out to him:

His inability to listen to you because he is scared you will leave him is exactly what is making it hard for you to stay.

If he really won't listen what will you do? Put up with it forever? I doubt it.... so he simply must actively listen and discuss this or you will leave, because of his behaviour. He has become a self fulfiling prophecy. The only question really is: Can he change? Or will he wallow in you proving him right?

Either way you need to have the opportunity to live comfortably, at ease.

Good luck

Spell99 Tue 14-Jul-15 09:54:49

Have you tried saying exactly that to him? Just stating you might need reassurance too.

MarkRuffaloCrumble Tue 14-Jul-15 09:55:55

As Lazy says, I think you need to spell it out, tell him that you feel you can't speak to him, but without being able to share what's on your mind, your relationship will be limited.

FWIW, my DP and I have been in a similar situation - I clam up and can't talk about my feelings because he dismisses them as being irrational and gets very defensive, then angry, leading to a spiral of arguments that end with me giving up and ending the relationship on a regular basis!

The thing which has helped us is reading a book called The Chimp Paradox by Steve Peters, which explains why we have certain reactions to a situation, the defensiveness and feeling of outrage and being 'wronged' when someone tries to talk to us about their own feelings.

It is a really easy read, lots of diagrams and lists, so not solid blocks of pyschobabble, and it has completely transformed the way my DP and I interact with each other (I read it too and have tried to implement the strategies in the book, although I readily admit he has done it much better than I have although he had a lot more ground to make up !)

We are much better at talking and listening to each other, we are better at trying to remain calm and to not take every comment as an attack and we are actually much closer now than we have been due to being able to talk about things that bother us.

Even if your DP won't read the book, if you read it (or something else like it, about calm communication and being assertive without aggression) you may find you behave differently and so he will react differently to your calmness.

PegPeg Tue 14-Jul-15 14:20:19

Thanks everyone. I will try to put my feelings in an email. That way, he is less likely to have a knee-jerk reaction and shut me down before I've finished saying what I need to say. I'll let you know how it goes.

Ruffalo - I might order that book, too!

LazyLouLou Tue 14-Jul-15 15:01:03

Good luck. You next problem will be waiting whilst he gets his head around the email. Give him time... and come here and moan before you chivvy him... again, good luck smile

PegPeg Wed 15-Jul-15 19:00:06

Good advice from you guys, thank you. Things are much better today smile

I put my feelings in an email to him (having given very careful consideration to the words I used), and then later we talked it over. It wasn't an easy conversation, but it feels like we have taken a stride forward. I feel more at ease and I think he does too.

Onwards and upwards smile

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