My partner closes directly, what to do?
Time and time again I hear the accusation in practice: “We don’t talk to each other anymore. We love each other, but I miss the conversations we had together. If I don’t just want to talk to him about everyday things, but about how we’re doing, he closes immediately..”
It is normal for a couple to want to talk more and more often. It is even quite unusual when both partners mark the same path in their need to exchange. Whether this leads to conflict depends above all on how threatening the partners experience this difference. Because the big problem behind this is, of course: partners who don’t talk to each other can’t resolve their conflicts either.
Close when I want to talk
The distribution of roles is not a matter of gender, but of personality. Above all, previous experiences with losses and fights form the basis for the reaction to an impending conflict: some partners learned early on that any conflict or fight is bad and can lead to the end of the relationship. Therefore, they always strive for harmony and avoid arguments. Sometimes they deepen in frustration until they can no longer control themselves and then become particularly unfair and dismissive. However, this is basically a flight behavior at first, which then turns into an attack when they feel the wall at their back.
On the contrary, the partner who is looking for a conversation is often convinced that everything that bothers him has to come to light and that for every conflict there is a solution, you just have to find it. As fast as possible. So he’s more in attack mode, even if he wouldn’t describe his behavior as such. This is legitimized because it is known: you have to talk about it.
Only a third of all conflicts can be resolved
Two-thirds of all couple conflicts cannot be resolved through a compromise that can satisfy both partners equally. In the long run, it’s not just rotten compromises that destroy relationship satisfaction, but also talking to bits about such conflicts. Because partners work on each other. They devalue each other. They become more and more convinced that we don’t fit in. This is frustrating and stressful. A withdrawal dynamic often arises, putting a lot of pressure on both partners. One partner is always “attacking”, the other partner is “closing more and more”: close directly.
She wants to talk about their relationship and her feelings, but he blocks and backs out, of course it’s a cliché. But one that also has a lot of truth. Because this demand-withdrawal dynamic, where one wants to start conversations more often than the other and prefers to hide behind a wall of silence, actually happens quite often. Of course, women can also hide, but I’ll stick with the cliché, because the couple I want to talk about was exactly like that.
For a while she no longer felt noticed, unnoticed. She felt more like an inventory item than a partner. She annoyed him a lot, he didn’t seem to notice her. She also kept trying to share her thoughts with him. And not at all as an attack, but always spoken from her perspective, without accusations. But she couldn’t communicate with him. And what do people do when they don’t feel heard? They get stronger. And they are increasingly urgent. And they become more desperate. The loved one is next to them, but does not speak to them.