This is a common scenario: a couple is having problems. The woman is feeling cut off emotionally because her partner doesn't share his internal thoughts, feelings, dreams, fears - the inside stuff that makes him HIM. She is desperate to know him, and feels shut out of his life, even if they are married or share a life together.
For his part, he believes he is sparing her the gory details. Why would she want to know what I'm struggling with? he thinks. Better to figure it out and then present her with the answer once I've got it.
Herein lies one of the fundamental differences between men and women. Men want to get to the end result; women want to share in the process. Of course there are exceptions - men who want to share, women who'd rather not. But often these differences cut across gender lines, and they can make couples communication nearly impossible, because each person feels as if they are reaching out for the other, and being rejected.
She wants to join by sharing; he wants to join by solving. The good news is that both want to join! They just have different ways of going about it. Unfortunately, these disparate methods can lead to emotional distance.
So what do you do? Use an old therapist trick: call the process. That's psycho-babble for talk about what's going on, not just the topic at hand. For instance, instead of arguing about the problem of who's going to take out the trash, talk about why it's important to you (or isn't). If your partner seems like they won't let you into their internal world, tell, them why you want to get in there in the first place - to know them better, understand them better, and love them better. Letting someone in can be scary! Tell them they have nothing to fear from you.
If you're the fixer, remember that you're not in this alone. Who says you have to be MacGuyver and fashion a relationship fix out of paper clips? Let you partner in on what your thinking, feeling, wanting, and share the load. It's much more fun.
Weigh in! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit me on Facebook: Laurel Fay LCMFT.