No More Tears

4 Feb

Letterbalm Emotional WomanDear LetterBalm: My wife and I have been married for three years. During all this time, she has said she wants me to be more emotionally open with her. She says I’m too logical, that I’m uncomfortable with emotions and reluctant to talk things out, especially when I see she’s bothered about something. I’d be more willing to discuss things with her, but, honestly, she gets so distraught that I don’t want to say anything. I think it would be like pouring gas on a fire. I’m afraid to ask what she’s upset about, so I just keep quiet and try to keep out of her way until she calms down. I admit I’m not comfortable talking about my emotions, but I know this can’t go on between us. I love her, and we want to have kids, but I think we have to fix this first.

–Mr. Rational

You’re a fallible person who wants to do the right thing, and you should be commended. Absolutely, you and your wife need to work things out between you before a child comes on the scene. It sounds like you’re willing to move outside your comfort zone. So, let’s build on that. But first you need to create a tranquil climate so you and you wife can begin to talk. Ms. L.B. suggests you pick a moment when your wife is at ease and undistracted because that’s when you’ll be able to reach her. You need to reassure her that you’re willing to talk about emotions – but you feel more comfortable when everybody is calm, and you’re willing to work with a professional. You may even get to the point where, instead of walking away, you can give your wife a hug when she’s upset. The human touch works wonders. Try this:

Honey, we’ve been going round and round the whole issue of being emotionally open. But every time we have this kind of discussion, you get so upset that, frankly, it scares me. I know you don’t mean to do that, but it makes me reluctant to share my feelings because I’m really uncomfortable. I need us to be calm when we talk about these things, so that we can really communicate with each other. I know I’m not completely relaxed dealing with emotions, I’m more comfortable with rational stuff because it’s in my DNA and it’s the way I was raised. I’ll tell you what. I’m willing to do the work and go with you to a cognitive therapist who can help us work through the different ways we deal with emotions. I love you very much, and I know you love me. Let’s see if we can come to some common ground about this.

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