Question: Dear Luise: Is there any way to help a person who hides their emotions to learn to share them? I’m in a rocky relationship because I’m a person who shares where I’m coming from and my husband is pretty shut down. I feel lonely and invisible and don’t know what to do about it. Joyce
Answer: Dear Joyce: We don’t change people. They are a “come as you are” comedy unless they choose otherwise. In all probability your husband doesn’t want any “help”.
There are reams of books out there on this subject, since men often are not into easy disclosure and many of them don’t even have a clue what to disclose. It’s been my experience that very few have any inclination to learn.
A person is conditioned from birth by role models, disposition, and circumstances. I read one time that by the age of seven, we’re pretty complete regarding our take on life and our response patterns to it.
I know how easy it is to think that all is well when you fall in love. Opposites attract and the chemistry that hits us can cover up a lot. Or maybe we put on rose-colored glasses. It’s not uncommon for people to enter marriage and then notice that all is not well.
You can stay. You can make a life for yourself that fills your need to interact with others in an intimate way that is non-sexual. Many women gravitate to their friends because it’s such a familiar issue. And there are countless activities that may hold your interest.
Or you can go. Both options can be very difficult.
What you can’t do is create your husband being another person. You can talk with him and ask if he would like to become more outgoing and forthcoming. Once in a while, that’s a possibility. But usually the die is cast and it stays that way. What’s right for him is wrong for you, but he’s not wrong.
How would it feel if your husband wanted to “help” you be less verbal, less emotional and more self-contained? Do you see that he would be settling his values over you? That’s exactly what you’re doing, isn’t it? It’s time to face the music and make some decisions. Blessings, Luise