Into every relationship some difficulty or tension must fall. It invariably happens when the two people have differing needs, desires, expections, wants, limitations, boundaries. I have a friend who says there are no conflicts, just differing wants and needs. I think he’s delusional. What happens when your differing wants or needs abuse my right to live peacefully in my own space? Conflict is what happens, among other things.
I have another friend who shared with me today of his experience with several women who seem to be out of touch with their emotions or, at best, who are unable to admit that the emotion they feel is anger. So…instead of dealing openly and honestly with the emotions, these people chose to shut down and, well, get vicious or go silent. I wanted to say that women aren’t the only ones who are out of touch with themselves and their feelings.
My last marriage was rife with attempting to deal with a man who was incapable of addressing his emotions in a healthy manner. Well, I personally am not the psychologist of the world, but I’m not afraid to face the yuck in myself when I need to. No, it isn’t ever all that fun, but in the end, it is a much more practical and healthy way to go than to try to pretend the problems away by ignoring them. I tend to want to deal with things straight up rather than ignore them. This didn’t work well in that marriage as you can imagine.
I am currently dealing with the same situation with another friend. Platonic relationship only. But I recieved an email that said something was bothering him. (I’m thinking, “What could possibly be bothering him?”) Then he went silent. I didn’t know what to make of that so, I gave it some time and responded with, “I’d be interested in hearing anything you have to say.” Silence. Two days of silence, which wouldn’t be a problem really, had he not said anything. I would just figure he’s busy with life, as I’ve been. But, I can’t help wondering if he’s playing some kind of control game here. If he needs time to process it, great! I have no problem with that. Take all the time you need to deal with whatever it is you are feeling. But…how hard it is to drop a note to that effect? Or am I simply expecting too much out of the average individual?
Why can’t people simply make the attempt to figure out what’s bothering them and then ask honestly for what they need? Sometimes life and friendship require that people have those difficult conversations. One thing I’m certain of, I simply won’t last long in a relationship with someone who is unwilling or incapable of having those conversations when they need to be had. This doesn’t mean I expect everything in life to be a big serious, introspective discussion either. It just seems to be pushing into the realm of cowardice when folks avoid having those difficult conversations.