Posted: October 7, 2016
"We don't know how to communicate." Those six words speak volumes about an intimate relationship that has shifted into a superficial – and for most, quite difficult – routine. It's ironic that communication can become so mechanical, or nonexistent, with the person we care about the most. When we look at the various relationships that comprise our lives, we can see differing levels of communication in each. We might maintain a cordial distance with a co-worker, but share more with friends and family. Ideally, our “deepest” communication should be with our partner, but familiarity can get in the way. What Happens When the Novelty Fades? During the early stages of a relationship, each discovery is precious. We want to know what the other person thinks and feels about everything. After time, though, the relationship can become as comfortable as an old pair of slippers, and just as much taken for granted. Sure, we could come up with many reasons communication in a couple hits roadblocks, but a couple stand out as important. We may believe to already know what our partner is thinking, so we have no motivation or interest in asking. Often times this is a perception developed over time of how we feel in the relationship. Another reason might be that we're no longer willing to invest the effort in asking or answering questions, as being that emotionally intimate does feel like work for many of us. Roadblocks to Intimate Communication Therapy can help us uncover the feelings holding you and your partner back from truly connecting.
- Is there anger? Anger is a block to effectively communicating at a deeper level, and it is also “the tip of iceberg.” It is what we see, but the real feelings are actually under the surface.
- How about fear? Some feelings can be painful or uncomfortable, and that might make them feel dangerous, so we might go into “fight or flight” mode, both modes helping us to feel safe, but also preventing any connection from being made.
- Do you feel a sense of insecurity? If our partner has done something to shake our faith in them, or they've shown a lack of consideration for our feelings, we will put up a shield to prevent the vulnerability that can result in further hurt.
- Or maybe just unsure…because “unsure” is also a feeling. Maybe it feels like ambivalence, like I want to take a step forward, but maybe there is some danger there. Start there, with “it feels dangerous” and see where it leads. I think of discovering deeper feelings akin to peeling back layers of an onion, one by one. It can be a slow process and it can take work to get to a place of intimacy.