Though people may guess, and sometimes their guesses may be right, most people fail to find an actual solution. Let’s discuss some of the reasons and remedies which have helped both individuals and couples nurture happier and healthier relationships.
How many times have you asked a loved one how they were, and they replied that they were “fine” when you could clearly see that they weren’t? This is a very common problem that people in close relationships experience, especially with their partners. In any relationship, it’s normal to experience several occurrences when you find those close to you, or your partners, upset over something; and are met with “I’m fine” when trying to find out the exact reason or strike up a conversation to brighten the mood.
People often complain that their spouse or partners “don’t open up” or are very reserved when it comes to their feelings, especially when it’s clear they have something on their minds and are upset over something.
Having to deal with such a rigid and adamant partner, family member, or friend can be frustrating for certain people. The reasons for them not opening up can differ, and it’s more like dealing with an aggressively defensive individual in this regard.
What Could the Different Reasons behind this Be?
You might come across a few very healthy people who refuse to open up, insisting that they don’t like sharing their problems with others and it’s always been a part of who they are. In contrast, you might find some who expect their partners to understand what they’re going through from their simple ‘I’m fine’ response when they’re upset. You might also encounter individuals who are currently undergoing or have had a history of mental illness, that have gotten into the habit of insisting that they were fine when they’re not.
People who are currently experiencing or have overcome mental illness may abstain from telling the truth about how they’re feeling since deep down, they might be worried about being portrayed as sympathy seekers.
Let’s take a look at a few reasons why clinically healthy individuals might refuse to share their feelings and insist on keeping everything bottled up:
1. Your Assumptions May Not Necessarily be Right
An assumption is simply that. So, what you might have assumed from someone’s response of “I’m fine” could be nowhere close to what they’re really going through. It might be something that you’d have never thought of. Your assumption could also be based on certain things that you yourself are insecure about and feel should be addressed. Stay calm and composed. Things aren’t always as bad as you assume.
2. The Reason isn’t Worth Discussing
Many people think that their reason for being upset isn’t worth discussing and may not get the attention they need. Almost 90% of the people who’ve adopted this attitude think this way. They do in fact have something on their minds, but they aren’t convinced that the response they’d attract would satisfy their ego. Oftentimes, the individual would be debating whether the perceived reaction would be appropriate or not or whether they have nothing to give to the other person. However, this doesn’t mean that such people are always in the wrong; not every feeling you have may need to be talked about, and if feelings keep getting dragged out unnecessarily, then there’s the risk of them being disregarded.
3. Wrong Time and Place
There’s a time and place to discuss feelings and choosing the wrong ones may aggravate the situation. If you feel that there’s a problem between you and your loved ones, or can tell that something isn’t right with them, pay special attention to the time and place you choose to discuss such issues. When discussing issues or feelings with your loved ones, make sure to choose a time and place where they’d feel comfortable opening up, and avoid scenarios where forced discussion can make things worse.
4. Constant Pressure
You need to know and should know where to draw the line. Someone who really cares about you won’t constantly nag you about your mood and feelings. When a partner in a relationship constantly puts pressure on their partner to talk to them and discuss their feelings, it comes off as inconsiderate and insensitive. Being somebody’s partner doesn’t mean that you have complete authority over your partner’s emotional ups and downs. Such irritating behaviour would do more harm than good to the relationship. An emotionally healthy partner will only probe their partner when they find the right time, place and atmosphere that their partner feels comfortable talking in.
At the same time, people who are emotionally healthy won’t stop at “I’m fine” but will extend the discussion in their own way. Such individuals generally create an amicable environment and will openly discuss their feelings and what they expect from you; rather than focus on the same point for an excessive amount of time.
5. Lingering Hard Feelings
Even though you’ve discussed your issues with someone (and might have even offered an apology or to make amends) and have agreed to bury the hatchet and move on, there’s still a chance that the other party might still be resentful. Drawn out hard feelings hinder the process of complete acceptance or forgiveness, yet such occurrences are unfortunately very common.
At this point, there’s simply nothing more you can do apart from wait for the other person to accept the situation and move on. Given the circumstances, you’ve done what you could, and hopefully avoided any accusations or argument proving you were right. The amount of time it takes to forgive and forget is now on them and could take anywhere from a few minutes, to a few years.
A word of advice: patience is key. If you continuously probe and nag the other person, asking the same questions even after all the discussions and reconciliation, you will likely make things worse. Take a deep breath and patiently let them come to terms with the situation in their own time.
6. Rigid Personality
Perhaps after all your efforts it turned out to be a bigger issue than you initially assumed it would be. If:
- You’ve already discussed the issue/s
- The other person is still upset, even after discussing the issue/s
- You’ve taken their sentiment into consideration and made everything comfortable for them
You may find that they’ve not moved an inch from where they were prior to discussing the issue/s, and you continue receiving the same response; then you know the person is emotionally unstable and will need to work on managing their emotions before anything else can be decided upon.
Going Through the Healing Process
One other possible reason of a person not opening up is that they’re going through the healing process. When there’s something on a person’s mind that’s upsetting them, we need to keep the emotional healing process in mind, and that everyone has a right to their own personal space.
Some might find the idea of sharing everything with everyone all the time very romantic, however this can sometimes do nothing more than delay the healing process. People with healthy minds and strong will power may want to work out their feelings on their own, rather than making their partner responsible for them.
As a Partner, How Can You Keep the Situation Under Control?
It is imperative that both partners are understanding in such situations. When you live with someone, you start to really get to know and understand them. Let’s discuss a few basic points which will help partners to keep every such situation under control:
1. Do Not Overlook Your Own Emotional Needs
Your own emotional needs are no less important than your partner’s. If your partner has a right to protect their boundaries, then so do you, meaning that it’s very important that you protect your own emotional needs throughout the relationship process.
Relationships are two-way streets; hence it’s important that partners understand each other. In this case, you’ll need to find a way to protect your own emotional needs, while simultaneously allowing your partner to make their own decisions. Sometimes, after understanding their partners’ emotional sides, partners may try to fake non-issues to stir an emotional response, which is why it’s extremely important that you let your partner know your expectations of them – in the long run, this will help to protect you from an emotional breakdown.
2. Don’t Be Impatient and Possessive
Your mood can play a huge role in difficult situations, so it’s paramount that you remain patient and don’t act possessive. Give your partner the freedom of choice, give them their space if they want it. Partners in a healthy relationship should be allowed to choose what they want to share along with when and how they share it. When it comes to sharing their feelings, your partner should be emotionally ready and see you as a friend with whom they can share their issue without any thoughts.
3. Give Your Partner Room to Breathe
Give them time. Don’t chase your partner and constantly nag them to tell you what they’re feeling and if anything’s wrong with them – this will only serve to irritate them further. Your partner has every right to their feelings, so let them make the call as to whether they want to share them with others. Show Mutual Trust and Respect
Trust is the foundation of any relationship – if there’s no trust, then there’s no love. If you have problems trusting your partner, you’ll need to work on them. You need to accept that you’re not always right and that your assumptions might actually damage the relationship. If your partner tells you they’re fine, then you should be able to trust and believe them. Trust that when the right time comes, they will share their feelings with you.
Respect is equally as important as trust in a relationship. If you don’t already, you’ll need to learn to respect your partner’s emotional boundaries and allow them to make their own decisions.
4. Nurture Your Relationship
Nurture your relationship to make it healthier and happier. Trust and communication are two key aspects of a healthy relationship, but so is emotional ownership and the mutual respect of emotional boundaries. Take these steps and you will see a healthier and happier you!