Communicating in Couple Relationships

Communication in Couple Relationships

‘I have grown too strong, to ever fall back in your arms..’

Stress and strain can impact not only on how a person feels about themselves but it can impact hugely on how you experience close relationships too. Feeling too strong to ever fall into the other persons arms is not necessarily a good thing if that other person is there beside you for the long haul and yet often when stresses build up, couples can feel like there is a distance between them, a distance they did not wish for or want and one therefore that can be hard to understand. And while in certain aspects of life the distance is not that obvious, in other ways it can feel like it would take a quantum leap to bridge the divide. But it is possible to find a way forward and to bring the closeness back.

Having an awareness of the importance of negative emotion can be key in figuring out how to bridge the distance. Negative emotion can have the effect of pushing a person away (psychologically) or drawing them close. Drawing them close can be an important part of what creates the context for intimacy.

No-one is happy and positive all of the time and relationships can be enhanced if we learn to deal with negative emotion in a way that brings a partner closer, rather than tending to push them away. In order to understand how this happens, it is useful to reflect on the fact that negative emotions happen on two levels; Primary and Secondary.

Primary emotions are deeper, more vulnerable emotions such as sadness, hurt, fear, shame and loneliness. They are feelings everyone feels at some point but sometimes we don’t reveal these feelings and therefore they don’t get expressed. These feelings however, are worthy of expression and expressing them to a partner has been proven to have the effect of drawing a person closer. Secondary emotions are the more reactive emotions such as anger, jealousy, resentment and frustration. These secondary emotions occur as a reaction to primary emotions and expressing them can have the effect of pushing a partner away. If anger or frustration is expressed, it can cause the other person to want to move away from you as they can then also feel angry or upset. Sometimes it is worth the risk to express vulnerability especially in a relationship that you wish to be an intimate one. No matter how strong you believe you should be, there is a value and strength in allowing vulnerability to be revealed. Vulnerability matters as do close relationships.. if you want closeness, risk being vulnerable.