One of the most common difficulties I witness when I meet a couple is that one of the partners can’t show his emotions. And maybe that’s because in our culture men are encouraged to “tough it out” so many are not used to even knowing they are feeling something in the first place.
This works of course, especially when there is business or other financial or important dealings. Not feeling or knowing what you feel has its place. But when it comes to relationships this system can be a problem.
I was walking the neighborhood recently with a friend and we passed by a car parked on the street. The windows were down so I could hear a young couple sitting in the front facing each other and having a discussion.
I heard a few words from the man. He was explaining something to the young woman about how his feelings were hurt. I could feel his earnestness, even after just a couple of moments. I also could tell that he was trying really hard to get her to understand him.
When we love someone and we get our feelings hurt, all of us do something about it. We cope with it differently. Some of us yell at our person to make things better. Some of us leave the situation when we feel hurt. And others freeze up and remain silent waiting for everything to pass.
I often talk about the first two, yelling at our partners or leaving after an argument, but I seldom give any thought to what silence from a mate can do to a relationship. But after working with a couple recently it’s clear that silence, however well-meaning, can have a detrimental effect on how people feel.