mitten love

Being Open: The Gift of Being Emotionally Available


6. When You’re Longing for Special Moments With Your Partner

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  • Don’t feel shy and decide against speaking up, being open about the warmth you seek.
  • Do give the gift of appreciation: in notes, or better yet, face to face, let your partner know what you appreciate and love about him or her.

Why We Hesitate to Open Up…

Love doesn’t mean it’s always easy to open up to each other.

Sometimes you just feel shy, or stuck, or tongue-tied, and you don’t know what to say.

First, ouch! Allow yourself to see what hurts about feeling so isolated. Offer the hurt place inside the balm of loving-kindness. You are not ‘bad’ or ‘needy’ to want connection. You are beautifully human.

The pain of missing out on soft, comforting moments doesn’t mean you’re un-likeable, or that you need fixing. It means something is stopping you from opening up. Could you become curious about that?

If so, take a deep breath and ask yourself, what could be holding you back?

  • Is it fear of rejection?
  • Thinking you shouldn’t have this problem?
  • Is it a certain discomfort to talk about your feelings?

No relationship is perfect. All of them take work. Being unsure of what to do or how to fix the problem doesn’t necessarily mean that you or the problem is unfixable. It may very likely be that you just haven’t learned your way around this particular roadblock. Maybe you are struggling find ways to be more emotionally available to help you and your partner grow closer.

Why look at emotional connection trouble as learning problem? Because some of the “relationship lessons” we pick up during childhood may not serve us well when we become adults. So we have to un-learn them.

For example, writes Kendia in Madam Noir, as a child she tended to cry rather easily. But her widowed mother, trying to raise three daughters in difficult times, discouraged her from “being so emotional.” As an adult, Kendia wore her “emotional unavailability as a badge of honor.” Men seemed to accept her “cool-with-it” attitude. That is, until one relationship threw her for a loop.

Kendia met a special man who insisted on knowing what she is thinking and feeling in their relationship. “He made it clear to me that relationships are about feelings, good and bad,” Kendia explains.

Being Open By Choice

By agreeing with her partner to make greater openness a priority, Kendia gained a brilliant insight about love, and the trouble with keeping too much to herself: “I realized that a man who loves you, a man who really cares about you, doesn’t want you to silence yourself to make him comfortable. He really wants to know you, every aspect of you, especially the things that are hurting you.”

Take it slow. Think of something your partner does that makes your life together feel good, and see how you might let your partner know:

  • In a note
  • Face to face
  • With a touch and a smile

It takes effort and determination to learn new ways to show our true feelings. This is especially true if we’ve learned to hide them as children. So, what are some small ways you could open up to your partner?

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