Originally Posted by sparklepop
I believe in open, honest, regular communication. No blame crap - just "this is how I feel, I'm working on it, I wanted to be honest, you don't have to change anything" OR "I'd find it really helpful if you altered (x) behaviour/situation" If I feel like crying, I'll cry. If something's on my mind, I'll bring it up. If I need something, I'll put it out there. // My GF does not believe that we always have to be entirely honest about how we feel - we should internalise our emotions and work through them solo; only asking for help when it is absolutely necessary, if at all.
To me there's a huge difference between being honest about how you feel, and sharing each and every feeling that crosses your neural pathways.
Examine the situation carefully. Are you
the one saying your girlfriend is dishonest by not sharing every feeling she has? Or has she
literally said "I don't think we need to be entirely honest about how we feel?"
In my husband's case, he often has knee-jerk reactions that are a product of his upbringing. He recognizes them as such, and it takes him a while to process them and figure out what he truly thinks and feels about something. He doesn't always report his knee-jerk reactions, because he knows that they're irrational and that reporting them will just create animosity with no real purpose.
I'm looking for outside perspectives on how this kind of things works in your relationship. I'm not perfect and I'd like to hear your thoughts. Do you just accept communication differences?
I think you have no choice but to accept different communication styles. Partners with different styles of communication need to work together to find common ground. But if your partner is taking it a step further and basically refusing to communicate important things, that's a different issue.
My husband has always struggled with emotions, they were pretty much banned in his family growing up. He feels things, but he doesn't know how to express them, and he often feels a lot of guilt for having "negative" feelings. He's gotten so much better over the past 6 years. A lot of that has really come from me giving him a safe space to express himself without judgement. He had to start small - little experiments in trust. When those went well, with me showing gratitude, support, and encouragement for expressing himself, he gradually built on that to the point where now he's really good about telling me when I've done something to upset him. I can tell that he's still tentative and it doesn't come as a second-nature, because he almost always precedes it with "You told me to tell you when something is bother me..." and follows with "See? I'm learning to express myself, like you said!" It's cute.
And for my part, I think I've toned down somewhat on the brain dum with himp. I'm an external processor, I like to talk things out with another person and get to the bottom of what's bothering me. Otherwise, I just send myself in circles and never really get any answers. I think having my girlfriend has really helped that component in my marriage, actually, because she's the same way. So now when I need to process my emotions, I go to her. She provides an outside perspective without judgement or criticism. But she's also not afraid to tell me when I'm being irrational. That being said, she's far more irrational that I am, so sometimes she probably validates feelings I have that I should probably not simply accept at face value. :P
blame and apologies
I believe in both parties saying sorry after most arguments; sorry for any miscommunication and upset. GF has a hard time saying sorry.
Ideally, everyone will feel remorse for the hurtful things they've said. But it doesn't always work that way. Some people feel justified for what they said, especially if voices were raised on both sides and they were just following the flow of the exchange. So if someone doesn't feel remorse, then there's no reason for them to say sorry. For me, the only thing worse than no apology is a token apology you don't really mean. That's being manipulative at worst, and flaky at best. Then they get to go "What!? I said I'm sorry, what more do you want?" Well, I want you to actually feel bad
about being a jerk, that's what.
Apologizing means saying "I was wrong." Some people don't like to admit when they're wrong, either seeing it as a sign of weakness. If you're not willing to admit that you were wrong and you made a mistake, then what could you possibly have to apologize for? "I'm sorry that you were wrong and you couldn't understand my point of view" doesn't make anyone feel better.
In the case of someone who never feels the need to apologize, I can't imagine myself sticking around for long. It just reeks of self-entitlement and perceived infallibility.