Oh so frequently I hear the cry in girlie gatherings “I feel like I don’t know him, he just won’t talk about his feelings!” Ladies, is this your mantra now or maybe in days gone by? I know I have been there and put myself through painful coercion techniques often born out of desperation because “We need to talk” has been the persistent mind torture.
It’s an interesting path strewn with expectations about how our men “should” be versus our willingness to know what we want and seek it out without trying to change or interfere with our partner.
As a starting point and with general liberal abandon, women seem to find it easier to express their feelings than most men (gents, no offence but it seems a fact in the majority), in my experience working with couples.
Women complain that their men back away from issues and want to hide in the proverbial potting shed (down the pub!) when they “should” be talking it through. I will go so far as to say that it tends to be men of a certain age, late thirties and above, who find it harder to express than others mainly due to older generation parenting. Stiff upper lip training for boys was the norm then.
We are all born fully whole and alive human beings 100% filled with love and the desire to expand and grow, but our first experiences of life come from the modelling we receive from our caretakers / parents.
Our inner drive as children and indeed throughout our whole life is to feel connected, loved, safe and approved of. Simple and yet so complicated! Our ability to communicate our needs was and is often impaired by the way our parents did it. But many children, certainly from my middle class Brit generation, were taught to be seen and not heard and to be good, quiet, well mannered children. Men were men and boys don’t cry.
Now parents are not to be knocked. In the past they only did what the community demanded of them and that’s all they knew. But we are entering a new paradigm and the old ways just don’t cut it anymore.
We are being called to step up, clear out our inner closets, leave the old days behind and run naked at all levels into the new world where connection, consciousness, love and community awaits…YAY! But there’s a few million of us still not there yet.
Conscious relationships are my speciality. They are nourished and grown with 2 not 1 relationally mature human beings. So what do I mean when I say relationally mature?
People who can connect on a level that works for them, then communicating is not the problem, however that looks and is utterly unique to them.
What to do ladies if you feel your man won’t talk
Decide what you want – First off when you are in the dating game with your new honey, get to know him and all will become clear. The not talking lark will be apparent right from the outset, you just gotta be tuned in. The problem is that the Honeymoon phase rush of chemicals often means you brilliantly overlook this important dynamic. Be aware that when the Honeymoon is over and the rose coloured specs have been thrown down in battle lines a few times, their not talking maybe just “the man” and he may well be ok with it. If you are not, maybe it’s time to pack your knap sack, because trying to change him is not your business.
Know what style you take - Know your style of approach when you want to talk ladies. I have long been a “I need to talk” person because I’m about feeling safe talking and working it through. Safety being the key here. Don’t change but be more aware of your delivery i.e. words and body language.
In the main and as if by some odd fluke, we are delivered a man who will have the opposite conflict style to us. Read my previous communications blogs as to why this is.
Your need to talk will be balanced in scale by his not wanting to talk. The more you want to or insist, the effect on him is the opposite. He will close down more. It’s all about learning how to moderate your approach together. I can help you highlight your communication glitches and help you move into healthier ways to allow the “otherness” in your man be ok with you and him. Call me!
His safety net – Safety is of paramount importance to each person in any conflict. If there is trouble abrewing then his shut down is merely a reaction to what feels better and safe. Recently I observed a family member’s son who is 11. He spends most of his time in family gatherings deep in his little world playing Xbox or some such solitary pastime, which is where he can be himself and let the world go on around him without needing to partake. A non talker in the making.
The thing to remember here is not to judge that “oh he just doesn’t care.” It’s rarely that in my opinion. Maybe he just needs time and space to mull and then he’ll come back to the relationship. If you constantly bang on his emotional doors for answers and help, he will likely back away more.
Yes but if I’m in a long term relationship now and I’ve TRIED! – My first question back at you is, “Have you tried every which way?” I think not. Relationships flourish on knowing all there is to know and if you’ve never sought help then you don’t know it all to make a conscious decision. You don’t just go out and speak Italian if you haven’t studied it. Relationships are the same. I had huge AHA! moments when I learnt the gaps in my understanding of relational dynamics. And if he won’t come along for help? Then you come. The changes you can start to make WILL change the energy and space of the relationship and if by magic he will change. Everything is energy!
And if I HAVE tried ever way? – Then your lack of acceptance is harming you only. Byron Katie in her book, Loving What Is, states that we are all on a journey with ourselves and our relationship is merely the construct of what we perceive them to be. Change that and you’re free of the suffering of “he won’t talk.” So easy to say and not easy to do. If he knows he needs to shift and change but chooses not to then, you have a choice of shipping out or staying for more. That’s your business.
Notice I am not giving you tips on how to change him! Yes by all means offer him the perspective that you can both do it another way but he must be responsible for his change and only IF he feels compelled.
Look for the good – Recent research indicates that conscious relationships have a 5:1 ratio of appreciative content. Conscious couples regularly praise, prize and see the beauty in each other. This might be trivial to some but the power in this is awesome. Love melts the bad and the “not right” stuff, before your very eyes. Try it and you will be surprised to find that the man you share your life with may just need to be told what’s great about him.
Always look to you first – By this I mean, change you every time and without fail. “What am I doing to contribute to this situation?” must be you first question. Victims may not want to hear this. Tough! You create the landscape of your life with thought and deed, every second. Blame others not.
And if he still won’t talk?
Then it’s your choice sister. Try, but nothing should be angst ridden and dense and damn hard graft month in and year out. Nothing! If you seek an expressive alive and deeply connected man, there’s plenty more fish in the vast man oceans.
No-one said that, to get love, you had to go that far. In fact if he won’t talk then where are you not hearing yourself?In Love and Honesty