Does your Partner ignore you, give you the silent treatment, or draw a blank when you ask him to share his feelings?
Or maybe she spends so much time working that it seems she’s married to her laptop?
Or does he dismiss you when you try to share your feelings; maybe you’ve been accused of being needy or clingy?
If so, I imagine you feel lonely and abandoned, and afraid they’re just not that into you.
In this article and video, I’m going to share 3 strategies that have worked for me and my clients to help their partner come out of their shell, open up emotionally, and have you feeling close again.
My partner used to withdraw…until I learned these insights!
What you might be surprised to know is:
About 50% of the population tends to get caught in a pattern of either becoming demanding OR withdrawing, during conflict.
When couples start to feel disconnected, one partner starts making demands and acting clingy, to try to feel close again…
…Which causes the other partner to feel trapped or controlled, and then they pull away more!!
One partner is called needy and the other is accused of being cold or emotionally unavailable.
Does this sound familiar?
It’s a vicious cycle that is very hard to break on your own because you’re too close to see it.
Here’s How I got my partner to stop withdrawing:
I learned that most withdrawers have certain needs and fears in common, and when you give them what they need, the ice melts, and they feel safe and loving again.
Because they aren’t aware of their feelings, most withdrawers don’t know they have these needs and fears.
So let me explain a little bit about what may be going on inside of them, so you stop taking it personally and you can give them what they need to feel safe enough to open up.
Often partners who withdraw learned to shut down their feelings as children because their family or culture said things like “big boys/girls don’t cry; just get over it!”
So it’s not their fault because no one taught them how to deal with feelings except to turn them off.
Here are some of their fears:
When you share your feelings, they hear that as criticism, that they’ve done something wrong. And because they don’t know what to do with feelings, they fear they’re failing and nothing they do is good enough.
They don’t want to feel like a failure, so that’s why they tell you not to have those feelings.
They may get overwhelmed by emotions, fearing that the tidal wave will take you both over into a bottomless abyss, or opening Pandora’s box, and someone will get hurt. So they shut down to protect you both.
They’re also afraid of feeling smothered by your needs if you’re too demanding. They’re afraid of being trapped or engulfed, and losing their freedom.
And finally, they fear that you’ll reject them if they open up, so it’s safer to keep it inside.
So here’s what they need to open up:
Withdrawers usually need you to create a safe space where you can make requests without being critical or demanding. They usually want to give you what you need if you speak in a soft voice, don’t yell, and tell them you want to find a solution that works for both of you so they don’t feel trapped.
So I learned to do these 3 things.
(I teach how to do these things in my 1 on 1 coaching.)
1) Soothe the needs and fears that I just shared.
I learned to tell my partner, “You’re not trapped. I’ll give you all the space you need and I’ll be here when you get back. I want us to work through this together.”
Or maybe you’ll find that one of THESE statements might work:
-“I accept you just the way you are. I’m not going to reject you if you share your truth.” (and then don’t!!)
-“I understand my feelings overwhelm you. I promise I’ll talk in a soft tone of voice and ask for what I need, and then we can work through it together. I want to give you what you need too. How does that sound?”
Can you see how statements like that soothe the fears that I just mentioned?
2) I gave myself compassion for my need for closeness, and I asked myself how else I could get this need met, with friends and family, as I gave him space.
I filled my life with other fulfilling activities, trusting that by giving him what he needs, he will want to give me what I need when he comes back.
I understand that he needs space to accomplish his life mission. And I want to support that, because that’s an important part if you want to maintain a relationship for life.
3) I learned how to express my needs in a vulnerable way, instead of a demanding way.
So instead of getting upset at him, I’d tune into the fear underneath my upset, and you’ll notice the difference between a request and a demand here, because I’d say, “I’m feeling insecure. Can you hold me and caress my back for a few minutes, and tell me that you care about me?”
And can you guess what happened next?
When I did these things, instead of withdrawing, my partner stepped up and started being more loving!
He began to see that his withdrawing made me afraid that he might abandon me.
He could see his part in contributing to my clingy and demanding behavior.
So he learned to soothe and comfort me, and from then on, our fighting stopped and now we enjoy emotionally connected conversations when one of us feels upset!
Would you be surprised to learn there are specific words that you can say and specific actions that you can take, for your specific partner that can instantly and magically soothe them, so they melt into connection and feel all the love sink right back in.
That’s exactly what I teach people how to do when I work with you 1 on 1.
Because these might seem like simple steps, but when you’re caught in the heat of the moment, they can be hard to put into practice on your own!
So if your partner is withdrawing, make sure you schedule a free “Back to Love Strategy Session” with me, so you can learn how to get them to come out of their shell, and experience love, passion, and intimacy once again.
Even if you’re interested and your partner isn’t, that’s ok … because there’s a lot that you can do to turn the relationship around and inspire your partner.
So if you want to save your relationship today, click the link below:
I look forward to helping you feel close again!
And I’d love to hear your thoughts! Post in the comments below: what’s your biggest take-away?