Avoiding Emotions Crushes Relationships

“This (Washington D.C. ) is the most emotionally avoidant city in America.”  David Brooksavoiding emotions, emotionally avoidant, communication, silence

So many young people question whether it’s even possible to have better than an average marriage. All kinds of people stay in half-baked relationships. People drift away from friendship without a single word of explanation. A parent has no real clue what their young adult children are most worried about because the conversations are safely superficial. All of these things happen because we avoid honesty and difficult emotions.

Taking risks by sharing more difficult emotions is not an easy thing to do. It’s easier to carry around a pile of resentments and then cash them in by dumping them out without any real dialogue to problem solve.

One example of very ordinary sharing that might be missing: “I’m upset we’re not having sex.” &  “I’m reluctant to have sex because I don’t orgasm from intercourse & I don’t know how to tell you about that.”  The simple act of sharing this information can lead to a better life for both.

Instead of the courage to say the truth, there is stultifying silence. It is emotional avoidance that leads to deadening partnerships. The tonic of respected differences and disagreement is crucial to vitality.

Avoiding emotions means staying in the comfort of the superficial. Addressing emotions is messy and uncomfortable.

If either partner is swallowing their disagreement, ignoring values collisions or pretending to go along while piling up resentments the ultimate price paid is the distance. You can not truly be known if you swallow your authentic feelings.

Facing uncomfortable feelings and communicating is the only way to build infrastructure and add depth to relationships. “Mom, it’s unfair to make me feel guilty because at the age of 87, safety has to be the first priority.” “Dad, I’m gay.” “I’m very practical and I know that’s when we collide the most with each other.” “I don’t like it when you….”

Stop & ask yourself, who are the 7-8 more important people in your life. Then write down something either positive or negative that has remained unspoken. The real risk of avoiding emotionally is a lack of intimacy, not being known and loneliness.

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11 thoughts on “Avoiding Emotions Crushes Relationships

  1. Karli says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this. You have covered this theme in previous blog posts, but I need to keep hearing it, over and over again, because I keep falling back into “the comfort of the superficial”.

    Thank you again for reminding me of how important it is for me to be emotionally authentic.

  2. Tony Berkman says:

    What has caused this in people’s relationships or have we always been this way? I’m really happy you offered a solution at the end because the truth is difficult sometimes to handle yet as the good book says “the truth shall set you free.”

    • rhodasommer says:

      I think avoiding hard things is part of being human. As we live comfortable lives it encourages us to continue to stay comfortable. Ask yourself what’s the last uncomfortable thing you’ve done? Thanks for taking time to comment! Rhoda

    • rhodasommer says:

      You’re right fear is a massive obstacle. It’s important to define it as worth it long term in order to have a relationship of substace. Thanks for taking time to comment. Rhoda

  3. Tee says:

    I stumbled upon your blog, but it was a serendipitous discovery. Your words resonated with some issues I’m dealing with . Thank you.

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