Relationships, even good relationships, aren’t always easy.
Recently my partner, Joe, had to go take care of some stuff to do with his family on the East Coast. He ended up being gone for three weeks when we originally thought he’d just be gone maybe a week tops. He had a lot to handle, and it was an emotionally draining trip for him. I was trying to be supportive and cool, and not put more emotional stress on him, but communication got strained. I’m someone who likes a lot of communication with my partner. It ate me up that I couldn’t be there with him, and he wasn’t reaching out to me for emotional support (or at least that’s how it felt). Part of me wanted to shut down and close myself off emotionally. But I knew the better thing to do was to communicate my fears, my need for more consistent communication, even though I felt ashamed for needing it. I won’t say I did it perfectly, but I did talk to Joe, and I did tell him what was going on for me, even though it felt super vulnerable. This opened up sharing on both sides that helped to close the emotional gap between us.
In any relationship, it’s inevitable that you’ll get your ego bruised from time to time. It doesn’t mean that your partner did anything ‘wrong’. They just didn’t respond the way you wanted them to. It’s natural to feel hurt when that happens, but how you respond has the potential to either bring you closer together or drive you further apart. You can either turn away and shut down, driving a wedge between you and your partner, or you can turn toward your partner, express your feelings and needs and open up greater communication, strengthening your relationship.
In a recent Love Atlas Talks interview I did with dating and relationship coach, Antia Boyd, we covered lots of great topics…including turning toward your partner, even when you feel hurt. You can see the full interview at www.LoveAtlasTalks.com, but here’s a quick clip: