Originally Posted by AnnabelMore
Aren't folks doing the massive amounts of processing that (to my mind, anyways) you can't get away from in poly? Is the issue that people don't feel comfortable asking why their partners are feeling a certain way, or is it that the partners won't or can't dissect it for them?
I think one tricky aspect of this is that different people require different amounts of processing and discussion. I know that I tend to want to discuss everything, probably partly from insecurity, partly from feeling that I'm not great at reading non-verbal cues, so I like stuff spelled out, and partly because to me it's part of knowing my partner well. But I have generally had a hard time getting this need met. My husband is simply not a talker; he has become much better at listening to me (particularly if I'm talking about relationship issues that don't make him seem deficient) but getting him to share his own emotions still generally feels like pulling teeth. To some extent he just thinks no one is interested in such stuff, so he doesn't say it. I don't think that's the only reason, but I haven't figured out yet what else is in play.
Similarly my boyfriend is amazingly good at picking up that I'm uncomfortable and getting me to talk about stuff, but it's hard to get him to share himself. To some degree he doesn't like to open up. But also I think he just finds the whole situation less complex than I do, and sees less to talk about. I struggle with this a lot, actually: wondering whether he is avoiding a discussion, or simply doesn't really see what the question is (and admittedly I have a hard time articulating it, like Somegeezer said), or is he rightly perceiving my questions as more a reflection of my issues (eg insecurities) than our issues, and so focuses on me instead.
And it is a tricky balance to strike: I don't want to burden the relationship with my boyfriend with all my personal issues, and I don't want to spend all our time together simply talking about the relationship. Yet at the same time I have vowed not to be in a relationship where I'm always playing by someone else's rules. But if I can't necessarily figure out which paradigm applies to a given situation then I probably can't expect him to either.