He had gone out with his brother and hadn’t told me what they were doing. My mind raced with possibilities about where he could be and why he wasn’t answering me.
I didn’t trust men easily. My past relationships have been filled with physical and emotional abuse, belittlement, lying, and cheating. He’d shown me nothing but love, but the baggage from my past still affected the present.
He thought he was protecting both of us from a conflict by not saying anything at all. But I filled that silence with all the insecurities left behind from the men in my past.
I found out later that day that he didn’t have his phone near him, because they were playing volleyball. As I’ve written previously, his playing volleyball in the same league as his ex had caused a lot of conflict in our relationship. Even though he wasn’t playing with her in this particular game, he didn’t want to tell me about it.
I was so angry that he didn’t tell me about his plans and left me guessing. He felt blindsided by my need to talk about his avoidance of conflict. He was even more overwhelmed by the strong emotions his silence had evoked in me.
That evening we had a big argument. After we settled down, we started to talk more about why we acted the way we did.
I learned that his closed off nature was a learned habit that I had to be patient with. I found out that his fear of conflict was as potent as my fear and insecurities and we had to work together to find a balance.
He learned the importance of talking to me about the things he was feeling. He found out that no matter how painful it might be to share his thoughts and feelings with me, it would be better than letting me mentally fill the silence with the worst things of my past.
Keeping the lines of communication open has allowed me to feel more connected, less isolated, and better able to overcome those negative thoughts. He realized that he felt isolated too and found that he appreciates having someone to share his feelings with.
If you don’t discuss your history, your method of communication, and your insecurities, they will overtake your relationship. But if you are open with one another and have a conversation about these things then conflict can be navigated more easily and effectively.
If you approach one another with dedication, open communication, and understanding, love can triumph as it did in my relationship with my now husband.
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