An ongoing complaint Grotto has with me is my inability to "talk about my feelings". He means specifically when there's something on my mind, that I'm still processing but keeping it all inside. He can tell there's something up, and he wants to know what.
This is not a case of me wanting to say something, but for whatever reason not being able to speak up. It's just - I don't want to talk about it right now. Yes, I have something on my mind but I don't know what I think
about how I'm feeling and I'd like more time to cogitate.
Usually Grotto is so frustrated, curious and worried, that he manages to squeeze something out of me (it usually involves a lot of prefacing), after which we have a fraught, strained discussion before we eventually tease things out and I admit I'm glad we talked. (As a separate point, this is not something I've experienced with other partners. I'm keen to see what Ocean thinks about me in this regard.)
Anyway, back to Grotto and me: a recent occasion when this familiar cycle was happening again, we decided to make time at a separate point to have a proper conversation about our communication styles in these situations. The "conversation" conversation, if you will. I suggested we should use the current scenario as a case study (partly to defer me having to discuss it right then, hehe, but mostly because I thought it would be a good idea to not just be talking in general terms. And it would force me to deal with the issue.)
So, a few days ago we talked about talking. I said a few things. That I do my best; that when I'm trying to communicate it's difficult if Grotto says things like "Jesus, why does it always have to be so hard
for you? Why can't you just talk about your feelings
; that I sometimes find it easier to write than to speak about how I think/feel; that at times I struggle with framing my thoughts or feelings properly, e.g. I may have strong emotions that I think are unjustified or non-rational and I feel I need to work things out for myself before I can talk about them properly. Grotto said he wanted to be part of that working out, he wanted me to be more open to sharing with him my internal life. It was a good conversation conversation.
This morning, I tried out some of our new strategies in discussing a couple of heavy topics that had been on my mind. Wow. The talking was so easy. For my part, I had agreed to get to the point as soon as possible, say what I was feeling as best I could, confident that I would have the chance to clarify, frame or rephrase later. Grotto had agreed to be more patient with me, to take what I said at face value, and to give me time to add any qualifications to my initial statement before jumping to conclusions or responding explosively.
I got out what had been rolling around in my head, and possibly contributing to me being more reserved than usual the previous night (I was also quite tired, though). He responded with his perspective, which was really useful especially on a couple of points. Then we had creamy morning sex.
Ahh... as usual, I'm really glad we talked.