Did We Miscommunicate?
Using Full Empathy, read this and see if you can relate. Sometimes people ask me what went wrong in the relationship to end up even considering divorce. This is more common than you might believe.
“You’re seemingly not open to connecting. You seem surprised maybe that I’m here. I thought we discussed it. Did we have a miscommunication?”
He came over after work and she didn’t greet him at the door, and said, “Oh, you’re here.”
He continued, “You’re not really verbally affectionate so you might be glad I’m there, probably yeah. So much guessing on my part. I don’t really know. I don’t know how to match your indifference and flat affect while keeping connected to you.” Her face didn’t indicate she was happy to see him and he was excited to see her and he smiled and had inflection in his voice. She tells him she’s happy but it doesn’t seem like that to him.
“Do you care that I came over? Would you mind telling your face? It is such a struggle to see your face when you are excited and compare it to when you see me. If you do not want to see me, then we should do something about it. Do we break up or spice it up or talk about it or ignore it and hope it goes away?”
He asks her to be accountable for her behavior. He is direct about it and perhaps more aggressive than he needs to be, but this is also a repeated dynamic for this couple. She tells him that she is happy, while having a poker face and not demonstrating in other ways that she is happy he is there.
He offers to go home and just meet up when she wants to. She insists she is happy he is there.
He wants to connect with her, using words, not just cuddling and being intimate physically.
He keeps bidding for their attention and they are distracted.
“You tell me repeatedly how exhausted you are. I figured that out the first time and saw it in your face. You are wiped out. True story- I should go home at this point and let you do what you need. You tell me details of your day but don’t really seem to want to discuss it more, or tell me anything but the facts, just tell me -not a true dialogue -so I listen. My preference is to know you, not about you. To hear how things affect you and how you process them emotionally and mentally so that I can know you better. You don’t seem to value it because it is a fairly rare happening. I reciprocate and you don’t follow up or ask questions to get to know me better. It just feels shallow and is not filling me.” She talks at him, not with him and he wants to be a partner, to do it together. He is telling her in strong words, how hard it is for him.
Put yourself in his shoes and experience like he experiences it. He has tried many different ways to express himself and she doesn’t seem to get it. What would you suggest?