Romances fade… even the great ones. To prevent this heartache we need to stop the problem before it starts. Here’s one huge reason why relationships fail.
—This article was originally published by our friends at elephant journal; we’re republishing (with permission!) because we love it… and them. Enjoy.—
My heart took a tumble last week when a family member I dearly love told me her long-term relationship had ended. One of the reasons she gave for its demise was that they didn’t talk.
She told me how hard it is for her to reveal her feelings. Her Mum doesn’t really do it, nor her grandmother. The males in the family are worse. Like many of us, she had no model to show her how to sort out conflict or hurt.
Instead of learning to open up, she was taught to shut down.
I understand this—after all, I’m from that same family tribe. I used to be the queen of withdrawing from relationships because I didn’t know how else to communicate. I didn’t know how to express myself before getting to an explosive place.
I’ve worked hard over the years to be able to talk about my feelings. To learn to take responsibility for them and own my emotional landscape. And even now, I can still easily shut down.
What does it look like when I shut down?
I withdraw my energy and communication. I become unavailable; my heart is shut.
Keeping an open heart has been one of the biggest ongoing challenges in my relationships. In those moments when I feel wronged or frustrated or angry—and most of all hurt—it’s a mighty mission to take a breath and choose to stay open and present.
It’s difficult to talk, but what if we don’t?
Communication happens through what we don’t say.
Much is being said when we give someone the silent treatment. Much is being conveyed if we pull ourselves back and don’t engage.
I’ve been with my partner for 12 years, and over that time, we’ve had some major silences. One lasted for a week. Yes, one whole torturous, silent, awkward, uncomfortable week. At the time I thought, stuff you, I’m not going to try and sort this out. (It’s nearly always me that does that.) On days one and two we froze each other out; on days three and four we avoided each other. On days five and six we shifted into a calmer place. On day seven we talked (initiated by me).
Follow us to elephant journal to continue reading “One Big Reason Relationships Fail & What We Can Do” and have a happy day!