“Why does he try to fix my prob­lems?”

Sunday Mail - Body and Soul - - B+S ADVICE -

ques­tion: My hus­band is a pro­fes­sional mo­ti­va­tional speaker. We met in one of his cour­ses. What I fell in love with is now what I think is go­ing to break up our mar­riage. I can never tell him any­thing about my­self with­out him giv­ing me lists of so­lu­tions. My sis­ter died and I am dev­as­tated, but he’ll go on about her be­ing out of her mis­ery, that I should ap­pre­ci­ate hav­ing had her in my life and what a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence she was. an­swer: Your hus­band’s prob­lem isn’t unique to mo­ti­va­tional speak­ers. It’s a fail­ure to lis­ten. Many peo­ple think if they have heard what the speaker has said, they can prove they were lis­ten­ing, and that they are car­ing, help­ful and em­pa­thetic peo­ple, by giv­ing ad­vice on what should be done about the prob­lem.

Be­cause these peo­ple are so ac­tive in help­ing to solve the prob­lem, they are baf­fled when this doesn’t work. But many prob­lems can’t be solved.

When you tell your hus­band you are sad be­cause your sis­ter died, that be­comes a prob­lem for him. He doesn’t want you to be sad. It up­sets him. So he tries to find a so­lu­tion to your sad­ness so it will go away. You’ll no longer feel sad and he’ll feel bet­ter.

When you feel an emo­tion and want to com­mu­ni­cate it to him, all you re­ally want to do is share how you feel. You want some­one you love to in­ti­mately know what’s go­ing on with you. All he has to do is ab­sorb it. Un­der­stand­ing it has noth­ing to do with fix­ing it or telling you how he feels about it.

It re­quires him to be still, an empty ves­sel poised to take in what you have to say. Some men see this as im­po­tence. They think if there is a prob­lem, there must be a so­lu­tion.

He needs to be­come some­one you can share your ex­pe­ri­ence with, who un­der­stands there is no so­lu­tion, in a way that you feel con­nected to him. Only this will make your lone­li­ness go away. Coun­selling may help achieve this. + Got a ques­tion for Toby Green? Send your query to bodyand­soul.com.au/ ask­our­ex­perts

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