When We Build Walls in Our Relationships


We all start out loving our mates. This is just how all relationships begin. Everything is perfect for a time and then things start to get more difficult.

This happens to all relationships. When the difficulty begins, that’s a signal that each person has to do some adjusting to make the relationship work. Only most of us have been single before we got into our relationship and we know how to be single a lot better than we know how to be a couple.

We Build Walls and Distance Ourselves When We’ve Been Hurt

Building walls in our relationship can leave us feeling lonely and sad, like the woman pictured hiding behind her wall.

So, when we start to get our feelings hurt, some of us build a safety wall around ourselves so we don’t get hurt anymore. This is a great protection. Nothing comes in and nothing goes out.

But it takes a lot of energy to hold up the wall around us, to not talk to our mate when upset and to pretend to go about our business of life like nothing happened.

Only something did happen. If you build a wall then you got hurt, and this might even be a habit you have had for a while. It does work because it tells the other person that you are upset. But what it doesn’t do is tell them how to make things better.

Building Walls Can Even Make Things Worse

Building walls can not only cut us off from our partner, but can cause an escalation of hurt and distance, leaving us feeling sad like the couple pictured.

It might even raise their hackles. They might then start pretending everything is OK while building their own wall to feel protected from yours. You see how these things get bigger?

I know the person who builds the wall needs to feel safe. Maybe they didn’t get what they needed: to be heard, understood, agreed with. It could be a lot of things that didn’t get worked out. But I would like to ask you if your wall ever delivered you what you needed?

I imagine it didn’t, and when you are behind your wall you feel something about your mate. You might not spend time understanding what you feel but I bet it is anger first and underneath it is sadness. Sadness because you were not seen or heard or valued.

These are important aspects in a relationship. All of us want these things. We want to know our partner really cares about how we think and feel. We want to know that our partner believes in us and values us as a person.

Communication Meets Our Needs Better Than Walls

Communicating, instead of withdrawing, is the key to an ongoing, happy relationship like that of the happily smiling couple pictured.

But putting up a wall doesn’t translate into getting what you want. It just leaves the other person in the dust. If you build a wall, think about what you want to have happen. What you want is very important.

Practice what you need to say to your mate and come from a good place, not the part of you that’s mad. Say how you feel that you often feel misunderstood, and you desperately need your mate to get you so you can feel better.

These are very valuable things to say and receive. Find your way to get what you want from the one who loves you. Teach them. They can and want to learn.

Want to Improve Communication in Your Relationship?

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn how to improve communication in your relationship, by reading Linda’s book, Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help both of you feel closer, more connected, and more loved. 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.

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