Many of us have the experience of feeling unseen and unheard by our partner.
For example, Kristy asks:
"My partner is a good sharer and easily talks about his feelings, his day, his dreams, his struggles, etc. Unfortunately he is not a good listener. When I talk, he seems to look away and it feels like he is not really hearing me. And after our conversation, he doesn't remember things I've said accurately. I'm seeking connection, but feel pretty invisible. Any thoughts on how to take care of me in this situation?"
Kristy, there are two separate aspects to this that I want to address. The first thing you need to explore is how often you are invisible to yourself. How often do you hear and attend to your own feelings? How often do you connect with your Guidance and take loving action for yourself? If you are not doing these things, then the energy you are projecting out is being reflected back to you in your relationship.
When your partner looks away and appears not to hear you, do you say anything? Do you move into an intent to learn about why he isn't interested in what you are saying? From your questions, it sounds like in the conversation with him, you are not attending to yourself and are therefore making yourself invisible.
The other issue concerns possible reasons why he isn't listening:
• He could be narcissistic and only interested in himself. If this is the case, the only way this can change is if you are much more proactive in stating what is happening in the moment. However, there is always the possibility that this won't change.
• He could be feeling pulled on by you to connect with you. There is nothing wrong with wanting connection with him, but if you are not connected with yourself, then you will be making him responsible for filling you up and he may be resistant to this.
• The third reason is what I stated earlier — that he is reflecting your own invisibility to yourself. Self-abandonment leads to feeling invisible, both within yourself and within a relationship.
Kristy, taking care of you in this situation means, first of all, learning to stay present with your own feelings and your Guidance, and taking loving action in your own behalf, so that your inner child feels seen and heard by you. This includes speaking up with him with an intent to learn, when you experience him not listening to you.
If you conclude that he is self-centered and just not interested in listening to you, then you might want to seek out some help for your relationship. If the two of you take the "Loving Relationship" course, it will lead to discussion about what is going on between you, and what will need to happen for the relationship to heal.
If he is unavailable to working on the relationship with you, and if feeling invisible to him feels unacceptable to you, then you may need to decide whether or not he is the right partner for you — not an easy decision.
Since you cannot make him change, you would either decide that you fully accept him exactly as he is, or you would need to move on.
Sometimes, a partner accepts listening without being listened to and finds other ways of connecting. Sometimes a partner finds friends who listen, which can somewhat make up for not being listened to in the relationship. Sometimes, learning to listen to yourself and your Guidance can be so fulfilling that it becomes okay to not be listened to.
There is no right or wrong option – it just depends on you and on what you want.
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