Norah writes, “I’m 24 and I have never had or have seen a functioning relationship. Starting with my parents and going on to past relationships. The two serious relationships in my past ended because of lies and broken promises. Now I am with the man of my dreams and my own insecurities are destroying our relationship. I have never been able to open up and talk about my feelings to someone I am in a relationship with. Even when it’s something small. I try so hard to get past this, but whenever he asks “what’s wrong” I say “nothing” or make up an excuse “I’m just sleepy; it’s been a long day.” It kills me inside that I can’t tell him, but I just clam up, and physically can’t get the words out of my mouth. Every once in a while he does get me to open up, but I can’t do it without hysterically crying. I don’t understand what scares me so much about talking about my feelings. HOW DO I GET PAST THIS!?!?! I can’t take it any more, and if I can’t figure out how to starting getting over this, my relationship will soon end. Where do I begin to pick up the pieces? Please help.”
I understand how you feel. If I have never swam before, it is natural for me to be terrified of water and have all kinds of scary thoughts of drowning. So if you I had to learn to enjoy a nice beach vacation in Barbados, what will I do? Start small. It will be a terrible idea for me to jump right into a 12 feet deep pool or in the middle of the Caribbean Sea. I will first need to overcome my fear of water by hanging out in the shallow area of the pool and then gradually trying to go deeper. After increasing my comfort level with water, I might even go inside the sea waves but come right back if I feel scared.
That is exactly what you may consider doing. No man is perfect and who knows if this man will break your heart too, but isn’t life about taking risks every day? You have to give him a chance and hopefully things will turn out great. If not, life is not about brooding over the past. It is time to wipe you knees and start running again.
So instead of trying to change overnight and turn into this great communicator, try one small step at a time. For instance, if you felt totally ignored at a meeting at work and felt bad about it, share that with your partner. It is OK to share with him that you did not like the way things went at work today. You will realize that he will not make fun of you or mistreat you for sharing a secret with you. And like my analogy with swimming, you will be able to improve.
I can also suggest another way to be more open about your feelings. Do you know what a blog is? Go to blogger.com and using a made-up name create a blog where you can create an online journal anonymously (do not include any real names of pictures of people). Learn to share your thoughts by writing them down. See how you will open up little by little online and you can then use the same technique and confidence in your daily life.