Being open in a relationship doesn’t always come naturally. Let’s explore how even when we feel most like closing up, being open in our relationship might be exactly what we need.
What “Youth” Taught Me About Being Open
I was at the movies recently watching a new release called “Youth.” It’s about all kinds of people having life changing experiences and what they do with them. The movie kind of stayed with me and mulled around my my mind until the next day when I got it. I realized that some of the characters opened themselves up to a different kind of life while some of the other characters closed themselves down and folded into something smaller. This was my take away from the movie.
And then I thought about us, you know the people in relationships and how we do the same thing. When we are hurt we close up. When we feel loving we open. And isn’t it really that simple? You can see it in yourself even. When you feel understood, safe, and connected you stay open. When you feel misunderstood, worried and unloved you close up.
Why We Usually Close Up When We’re Hurt
It’s just natural. We all do it. Even in the movies. So if it is this simple to understand why don’t all people in relationships just realize they can stay connected to their mate if they are just aware of it and act on it. Well we know it isn’t that simple, that’s why. We close up, all of us, when we get hurt. You are not any different. Everyone does this.
The trick is realizing what you do when you get your feelings hurt. Do you disconnect? Do you get angry. Do you lash out? Learning this about yourself is important. You see it’s not the hurt that causes the arguments and fights, it’s what we do, what we all do when we act after getting our feelings hurt.
How Being Open Helps You Stay Connected
Here’s the answer to staying connected, or at least getting reconnected sooner. Learn what you do to your mate when you get your feelings hurt. If you disconnect, acknowledge it. If you get angry, acknowledge it. If you lash out acknowledge it. And when I say, “Acknowledge it,” I mean to really recognize it in yourself. When you are comfortable observing what it is you do and you don’t blame yourself for being the way you are, then and only then tell your mate about yourself.
Hopefully your mate won’t say something like, “I know that, I’ve been telling you that for years.” Hopefully they will see the courage it took for you to recognize this and commend you for the great step you are taking when you acknowledge it.
Being Open Reconnects You, Too
And now the best part, reconnecting. If you’ve done something, anything that might have hurt your mate, apologize to them. And do it immediately. I don’t care if you don’t know how to say you are sorry. I don’t care if you always say you are sorry. Do it because when you act out of being hurt, well you might just hurt your mate, and that’s why you say you are sorry.
You are staying open to life when you reconnect. And that’s where the good stuff happens. I promise.
Want More Help with Being Open in Your Relationship?
Read a Book About Communicating in Relationships
Can’t make it on Monday? If you’d like some help bringing clarity and connectedness to your relationship, try reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It has tips that just might help you learn methods for clearer communication. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.