Question: Jaci from Portland, OR asks:
On the relationship part of this - - - I recently tried the "All is well" thing. My fiancé never talk about his feelings so if he gets mad at me, I usually don’t know why. So I panic - when I see that he is acting different - it’s always so obvious that something is wrong and so I rack my brain trying to think: What did I say? What did I do? Did something happen that I didn’t notice? Etc. Well, when it happened the other day I just decided to ignore it because he gets over things fast anyway. It seemed to be better, because I wasn’t suffering so much and he seemed to get over it quicker because I wasn’t looking at him strangely wondering and asking him "Are you okay?". But here is my question about this: If I keep doing this, could he build up resentments toward me that I will never know about, since we never discuss these things? Could he also be stuffing feelings that will someday explode in my face and end in divorce? He goes from being a fun-loving, playful, affectionate person to a cold, quiet person with a wall-up. Or maybe this stuff isn’t even about me - it could be about something inside of him that makes him depressed and I’m taking it personally! I don’t know what to think. But isn’t it bad, if the love of your life (by the way, he tells me that I’m the love of his life too) but isn’t it bad if he can never talk about any feelings? He tells me that he loves me, but he obviously has a problem being truly intimate with me if he can’t discuss any deep desires or fears, etc.
Answer: REALationship.com Expert Team:
Jaci, congratulations on using the "all is well" strategy to cope when your fiancé is sulking/walling off. While this strategy will help both of you, you are also right to be concerned about his inability to express emotions.
Emotional expression in the relationship is so important that I would go as far as telling you not to get married until he is able to freely express himself.
You are right to be worried that he will accumulate resentments and that someday he will explode. Or, worse, he will just stop loving you and maybe have an affair, or work too much, or get a hobby he is so passionate about that it consumes him.
While it is possible that his walling-up has nothing to do with you, it is much more likely that it does have to do with you. Walling-up is a common strategy people use to punish their partner for doing something wrong. Unfortunately you can’t figure out what you have done wrong - most people are not able to figure it out in these situations - because the "wrong" thing is all in the perception. Only your fiancé has his perceptions, his point of view.
Get him to talk to you, every time he walls up, or don’t marry him. Here are some words to start the process of getting him to open up:
"Honey, I can see that you are withdrawn. I bet I have done something that either made you angry or hurt your feelings, or offended you. I know you will get over this soon, but we need to talk about it. If you don’t talk about what’s bothering you, I will not know what to do differently next time. And worse, if you don’t talk about your feelings they will go into a bag of things I have done wrong that you will never get over. Please talk to me now as this walling-up is not healthy and not how people who love each other should behave."
Good luck with your situation!
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