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Farnaby

How to get needs met without hurting your partner?

6 posts in this topic

Hi everyone! 

There's a recurrent situation that I suspect may have more to do with my own wounding than my girlfriend. 

When we go through a phase where I feel physically and emotionally disconnected from her, I start feeling uncomfortable and try to work through it on my own until it gets too much and I tell her how I'm feeling and what is causing me trouble in the relationship. 

I express it respectfully (such as "I'm feeling disconnected, I miss feeling that you're turned on by me, etc."), but in that situation you can tell I'm upset because of my non verbal language. This in turn makes her feel bad, leading to more disconnection and apologies from her that make me feel even worse. 

I'm pretty sure a big part of this is my own insecurities being triggered and I'm working on that, but at the same time I think it's important not to hide that something is not working for me in those phases, because even if I hide it, it manifests in my behavior. 

Has anyone else experienced this? Any tips on how to express needs without creating more problems? 

Idk maybe the best thing is to not talk about what's missing for me and just work on being in a good mood so the connection happens spontaneously. 

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Need more information. Is there a behavior she does that triggers it? How does it start?

Which insecurities are being triggered?

What is the pattern of self-talk that follows?

What needs are you talking about getting met?

 

1 hour ago, Farnaby said:

I miss feeling that you're turned on by me

 

1 hour ago, Farnaby said:

I'm feeling disconnected

These are quite distinct sentiments. What's the order? Are you feeling sexually not wanted, and then disconnecting to protect yourself?

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Posted (edited)

1 hour ago, Farnaby said:

Idk maybe the best thing is to not talk about what's missing for me and just work on being in a good mood so the connection happens spontaneously. 

That sounds like sweeping it under the carpet, repression.

How about this: can you, instead of just telling her what is missing for you, just be curious and inquisitive and find out if it's actually even true?

Example: "I'm getting a feeling that you're currently turned off by me, and I just want to know if that is just in my head or not. What do you think?"

 

Of course you have to assure her you won't get upset with her if she gives the wrong answer. Provide a safe space for the conversation.

I don't know how you usually communicate. It's important that she can listen to you telling your subjective experience without immediately blaming herself, or you, or jumping to conclusions.

Nonviolent Communication will probably help - did you look into this?

Edited by flowboy

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@flowboy thanks a lot for your advice! 

I'm not sure what comes first. I'm not even sure if I need more sex or more intimacy. I think I need to feel that everything is ok and that usually happens when we're connected, in a good mood, etc.

Behaviors that trigger it: when she becomes more irritable or self absorbed (although I'm usually the more avoidant one) doesn't want to engage in anything sexual. 

Story in my head: "she's becoming less and less attracted to me", "I'm doing something wrong/don't know how to turn her on", "If I tell her she's going to feel worse and it won't solve anything".

I actually don't have any proof and when I bring this up she always says she's still attracted to me, she's just stuck in negativity/worries/stress. She also apologizes and starts worriying that I will leave her.

The problem is I have trouble believing that (I tend to think she says that to not hurt my feelings) and I tend to blame myself for not being able to ignite the spark. 

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Posted (edited)

@Farnaby  Very clear, nicely described pattern.

I can relate to it and have had similar experiences.

Several things you could do here:

  • Do you trip? I have found a modest dose of psilocybin together will expose my patterns with a person in a way that I can not ignore them and help me to transform them
  • This seems like a good use case for cognitive behavioral therapy. You could also try some amateur CBT on yourself.
  • The Work by byron katie - also a use case for that
  • Nonviolent communication - taking a course in that together will probably also help

All what you described points to a lack of trust in some way. Not in her per se, but a lack of trust in the Universe. Trust that everything will be okay. Trust that whatever is, is good. LSD taught me that.

Many people walk around without this trust. A common cause is that their parent did not always come to pick them up when they cried as a baby. This causes a deeply buried sense that everything may not work out in the end. These people end up with addictive tendencies, or anxious attachment, or avoidant attachment, which are two different ways a baby copes with the same problem.

In my case, I am pretty sure that my parents always came, however I had to be hospitalized and away from them as a baby, and deprived of mother's milk too soon, which could explain my addictive tendencies and lack of trust in life.

Anyways.

I'd say you would do well to pick some way (there's many more) to work through this pattern together with her, because it's not a huge problem at all, but might eventually become a self-fulfilling prophecy for one of you, unless you transform it.

Don't bottle it up, don't keep it to yourself and play happy (anymore from now on). That creates distance because you're not sharing yourself honestly. And will just potentiate your untrue thought patterns that follow.

Edited by flowboy

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Posted (edited)

@flowboy wow, thanks for the in-depth advice!

I'm actually a therapist myself lol (you sound like one too^^). Not CBT but I know how it works. 

It's been 5 years or more since my last mushroom trip. Right now I prefer to approach this sober, but I may trip later this year. 

I will look into the stuff you mentioned. In my case I think my mother was emotionally available but she's the fearful/worrier kind and tends to take many things personal (victim mindset). My father is even more fearful, but he used to shut down emotionally and punish everyone with silence. He still does it to some degree. Also very stuck in victim mindset. Maybe that's why I don't have a lot of compassion for people who are in victim mindset lol. I'm sure there's some "trauma" there that could explain what I'm experiencing with my girlfriend.

The relationship with my girlfriend is pretty good communication-wise, except for this part. And you're right about the self-fulfilling prophecy because I used to destroy my previous relationships because of lack of trust and lack of self-confidence. That has gotten much much better, but what I'm describing here may very well be a milder version of that lack of trust, like you said. 

It's as if I become avoidant when she's anxious and depending too much on me and I get anxious when she's more self-absorbed. 

What I mean by not bringing this topic up is not completely hiding it or repressing it, but working through it on my own until I release the stories and uncomfortable emotions, so I can relate to her from a better vibe which seems to work as a positive self-fulfilling prophecy. Not sure if that makes sense lol.

 

Edited by Farnaby

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