If you think about it, your guy would be the perfect CIA operative. After all, he's calm, cool and, well, emotionally distant. You don't have to shatter his cover to get him to open up and enjoy the relationship, however. Emotional barriers will come down when he has developed trust and feels comfortable in the relationship.
Change Your Reactions
Changing your approach can open the door for different results, advises Michele Weiner-Davis, author of "Getting Through to the Man You Love: The No-Nonsense, No-Nagging Guide for Women." You can do this by examining your usual reactions to your guy's walled-off feelings and evaluating whether or not they are productive. For example, if you usually end up crying, "If you loved me, you would tell me what's bothering you," flip the script. Instead, you might say, "I'm sorry you're feeling bad. I'm here if you need to talk." Taking the pressure off of your guy to open up may end up making him feel comfortable enough to do exactly that.
Love Him Unabashedly
Letting your actions show the man you care about that you accept him unconditionally helps him let his guard down. As you show your partner love, you begin to receive love in return, according to couples therapist Harville Hendrix in the "Oprah" article "The Key to Letting Love In." In doing so, you'll begin to let go of some of your own emotional barriers that you may have been unaware of, creating a healthier relationship for both of you. For example, when you give your guy a hug instead of a critical eye even after he showed up late for your son's violin recital, he'll feel your love even when he feels flawed.
Many people in his life before you may have had poor interpersonal skills, contributing to his emotional wall. When you listen to him without criticism, the man in your your life begins to feel safe, says Hendrix. Show empathy by responding to his statements with phrases like, "I know that must have been really tough to get the courage to call your dad after he abandoned the family." As he begins to see you as a trustworthy person who won't judge or gossip, emotional barriers to intimacy will begin to disappear.
Paradoxically, the barrier may come down once you quit trying to get your guy to share his feelings. Take off the pressure by living a full life in which your happiness is not dependent on his emotional openness. You'll discover your true self while providing him with the space he needs, says dating coach Jane Garapick in her article "Three Things to Do When He's Emotionally Distant." You'll wind up feeling more confident and have more to bring to the relationship, while fully enjoying your life with your children without feeling preoccupied with his emotions.
- Oprah: The Key to Letting Love In
- Getting Through to the Man You Love: The No-Nonsense, No-Nagging Guide for Women; Michele Weiner-Davis
- Your Tango: 3 Things to Do When He's Emotionally Distant
Elise Wile has been a writer since 2003. Holding a master's degree in curriculum and Instruction, she has written training materials for three school districts. Her expertise includes mentoring, serving at-risk students and corporate training.
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