Does your partner avoid being emotionally vulnerable with you? Here are 5 things you can do, writes AHSolomon
Strategies to help you create more open communication and emotional intimacy.
over the last 25 years. Constraint questions:Plant the seed of possibility that things can be different by creating a hopeful frame around the problem.Focus us on what is blocking the healthy response. Once we know what is blocking the “solution” (here, opening up) we can start to work on lifting that constraint.
Reflect on the question: “What is keeping my partner from opening up to me?” If you want “extra credit” you can ask your partner this question directly. Some common constraints to emotional vulnerability that I see in my work include:GenderRole Socialization:
If your partner has been socialized in the masculine, he learned early on to associate emotional vulnerability with weakness. He was told implicitly and explicitly to keep a stiff upper lip, to keep his guard up, and certainly to never, ever cry. His intimate relationship with you may be the first and only place he ever opens up. While the amount he opens up may feel only an inch deep to you, to him, it may feel as deep as the ocean because it stands in stark contrast to his other relational experiences. This is not an excuse. It is a context. I want men’s partners to expect the depth and tenderness that foster intimacy because I have seen men grow into this ability. I just also want men’s partners to practice patience. What may feel like resistance is more likely inexperience. headtopics.com
Family of Origin Dynamics:If your partner is from a family that didn’t “do feelings,” these muscles never developed. Again, not an excuse, but a context. What you are wanting and needing is in direct contrast with your partner’s prior experiences.Marginalized Identities:
If your partner occupies one or more marginalized identities, they may well have had times when their vulnerable self-disclosures were dismissed, disbelieved, or used against them. Becoming self-protective may well be a survival strategy that helps them navigate the ways in which the wind is at their face.Read more: Psychology Today »
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