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Old 12-30-2012, 06:33 PM
GalaGirl GalaGirl is offline
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Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 6,328

My husband has always had difficulty expressing and talking. He just shuts down. I have asked him what you have said above, in similarity to how you have said it, and I get nothing, he becomes a wall.
Ok, so he cannot receive it in this manner at this time. Does "shut down" mean "emotional flooding?"

If so, could find ways to communicate that help him get past the flood, help him feel emotionally safe, and YOU get what you need for your emotional health too.

I think, it makes him very insecure, to hear how I feel. He thinks that he is not enough for me, etc.
You THINK? Or you KNOW because he told you so? (Sorry if it sounds nitpicky.)

He thinks he's not enough?

Or he knows he's being neglectful in his marital duties?

Which I can understand and I try to explain to him that it is not that way but he just doesn't choose to hear it.
He fails to hear you? Or he hears but does not BELIEVE you?

Again, sorry if it seems nitpicky, but if you are digging for where the root problem is, being very specific could help shine a light in dark corners and hint at possible solutions. It's hard to screw a nail with a hammer. Right solution for the problem. What IS the problem? And if there's several, take it one at a time.

If he's not hearing you, it's about communication. If he's hearing but not able to believe, it's about willingness to change beliefs. Or it could be both -- communication problems and belief problems because one is affecting the other.

All he thinks is that polyamory means that I want to sleep with other men. I told him that is not the case and I have never said I wanted to sleep with anyone else, I said that I don't know what the future holds and I can't say that someday down the line that may be different, but at this point I just want to be accepted as who I am and to be able to express myself.
Could he be insecure right now and wants some "There, there, poor baby." Could you "there, there" him a bit?" to soothe ruffled feathers? Some of that could be your track record -- you have been monogamous and faithful all this time and aren't going anywhere. You do not want to REPLACE him.

Rather than him getting all twiddly on feelings and thoughts, he could focus on your behavior and how to you behave towards him. Remind himself of this when he's in the "Aaaaah!" place.

Could you just keep that other part to yourself for the time being? That seems to be the scary thing for him -- fear of the unknown future. Which could include you "suddenly betraying him." Reassure you would NEVER betray, would never cheat on him. That's true isn't it? Even if you end up in polyship way down the road it wouldn't be because of a cheating start? (Don't promise him things you cannot keep, but do promise the ones you can if it helps calm him down.)

You could focus it on what you want more of -- TALKING. Heart to hearts. If hearing scary things about future like that shuts off the talking... well, it's on you not to bring it up at this time til he's stronger in his "I feel safe and secure" bucket. THEN you can talk about future dreams when he can handle hearing more at a time.
  • What kinds of things would you like to get back? What kinds of things do you want to share?
  • What is he willing to listen to in that sharing that doesn't trigger him? Could ask him what he needs to feel emotionally safe or LEARN to feel emotionally safe.

But behaving like "I want to talk about nothing ever so I can feel emotionally safe and never have to experience feeling yucky" is not reasonable solution. It's not even really safe. It's fear of the bogeyman outside the door but not wanting to look outside to KNOW.

If he fears losing you, what does that behavior do for him? Does it help him fill up his "I can handle emotional things" and his "I feel secure in my marriage" buckets? Does is help empty his "I feel fearful" bucket? Nope.

What does it do for you? Alienates you and creates emotional distance.

Even if NO other person EVER uses his car, he still puts gas and takes it in for oil changes, right? Maintenance to keep the car running well? Even if NO OTHER partner ever shows up in your relationship (currently monogamous marriage shape car), isn't he responsible for helping the marriage "gas fill ups and oil changes? "

His behavior of closing you off from heart-to-heart talking is doing what then for the "marriage car maintenance?" Is it constructive in keeping car in good running shape for many future years of enjoyment? Or destructive by being neglectful of the car needs and it's going to be run into the ground and fall apart? Just because of the people in the car not tending to it right?

You are not asking for new passengers. You are asking for gas and oil changes at regular intervals you can enjoy riding around in the car with him. Can he do that? Is he willing? Gas and oil?

Since he's not great at talking about feelings "direct" could finding a metaphor he can get a handle on and understand help move this forward? In a way that is non-triggering for him (his need) and emotionally satisfying (your need?)

I'm guessing on the needs there. Could check those are actually it.

Also guessing on metaphors I just picked "marriage car" from the air. Could ask him what COULD work for him... and then stop there. Revisit later.

Sometimes being part of the process can feed the "I am safe and secure" bucket, if you do it in little bites. I know you feel starved but outsource some of that til he gets up to speed. If the goal is getting him more comfy with emotional talk, overwhelming him at the starting gate isn't feeding the "I can handle this" bucket in him.

Hope that helps some. Sorry it's rambly.

Hang in there.

Last edited by GalaGirl; 12-30-2012 at 07:09 PM.
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