Relationship Advice Tips By Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
At the age of 34 Matt had achieved everything he had set out to do when he decided to prove to his father that he wasn’t a waster. He had an exciting six figure salary job as a buyer of exotic furnishings for a global interior design company. Together with a large upscale home, a beautiful and intelligent wife Laura, and an adorable daughter, he was the envy of everyone in his social world. But Matt wasn’t happy. In fact he was angry and miserable because he felt excluded from Laura’s private world.
Laura initiated sex often and seemed to want it more than Matt did. In fact he often felt that he was more useful to her as a servicing stud than a partner with whom to share secret wishes, insecurities, sadness, uncertainty or joy. He felt used from time to time and reacted with anger by rejecting Laura’s overtures of good food, taking care of household duties or getting tickets for his favorite shows. To him, these were just other ways of fobbing him off by doing good deeds.
Each time Matt tried to connect with Laura she brushed him off as if he were a whining child getting in her way. Just when he thought he would try again, she would suddenly get incredibly busy, or rattle off a ton of things that needed her attention. Other times she would complain about her hard life, pushing him away as just another nuisance.
Taking her away for weekends or eating out to ease Laura’s burden and spoil her just made her angry! She complained that it was a waste of money and pushed Matt to be more responsible. When he tried to be affectionate and comforting during stressful times, she reacted with disgust and snubbed his attempts to get close by mollycoddling her.
So Matt and Laura rarely synchronized their ways of connecting and feeling comfortable with it. When Matt reached out, Laura pushed him away, and when Laura reached out Matt rejected her. Neither of them knew how to make the other feel safe, wanted and needed in ways that the other could receive and respond to.
Caught up in this unfulfilling and unending dance, their marriage became ever more threadbare and unsatisfying.
Have they chosen the wrong partners?
Matt and Laura probably chose each other because they are both longing for emotional intimacy but don’t recognize when it is available and get angry when it comes in packages that don’t fit their expectation.
Do they have communication problems that drowned out their real feelings and needs?
Both lack the language of emotional intimacy and both would benefit from learning it in therapy. Building the foundation of empathy in relationship counseling will enable them to enjoy healthy emotional intimacy.
Is Matt weak for wanting emotional intimacy?
Seeking emotional intimacy is a strength, because you are letting your partner see as you really are, without hiding, pretending or aspiring to be a paragon of virtue.
Does Matt need to grow up, or does Laura need to chill out?
Far from needing to grow up, Matt is right on the money when he chooses to get close to his wife rather than cheating, lying or burying himself in work. However, he does need to update his methods of getting close so Laura doesn’t see him as a cranky baby.
Laura needs to learn that Matt’s intentions are benign and loving, not hostile and selfish. That will take time because she is suspicious and mistrusting, given her past family life.
You can learn more about the subtle ways that couples display fear of intimacy and how to conquer it in my new book below:
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“I couldn’t put the book down! It was such a good read. Dr.Raymond is such an insightful therapist.” Dr. Michelle Cohen, LA Talk Radio host of “On the Couch with Dr. Michelle.”
“Difficult subject but fascinating read. I gave this book 4 stars because though I was dismayed at times by the subject matter, I was riveted by the real life story playing out in my hands. Dr. Raymond takes us through a case study where we hear from both sides of a couple going through marital issues and counseling. I thought that was an excellent way to illustrate the 10 steps Dr. Raymond introduced. The information contained is raw, gritty, and I became emotionally involved in the outcome of the couple’s relationship. Is it all sweetness and light? heck no, but it is fascinating.” Janet Kinsella, reviewer.
“I really liked this book from the very start. Mostly, because it’s different from any other marriage/self-help book I’ve read thus far… in that, the book takes you through an actual case-study of a couple… where each chapter switches focus between the husband and the wife. This book had me captivated and really focused up until the end. Most self-help books get boring, but this one didn’t.” J. Dixon, reviewer
“I found this book amazing! It was enjoyable and well-written, informative and helpful. I read this book for personal reasons and I’m so glad that I did! Shanice Singh (Reviewer) Definitely recommend for a friend and buy it myself.”
“Dr. Raymond’s book is very touching. I laughed and cried with Rick and Christy. Having experienced therapy myself, I know how painful and terrifying it can be to relive hurtful childhood experiences that have been buried for years. I also understand the shame of acting out as an adult due to burying those feelings instead of bringing them out into the light to be understood and processed with someone who provides emotional safety and security. If you are looking for a book on psychology, relationships, working through childhood feelings, this is the book. I say that because out of all the books I’ve read on the topic, this one touched me the deepest. You will come away with a better understanding of how relationships work and possibly a better understanding of yourself by joining Rick in his sessions with Dr. Raymond.” D.L.
“I enjoyed your book very much. I learned a lot about the challenges of emotional intimacy!” Sandy Weiner, host of LastFirstDate radio show!
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Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
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Disclaimer: this information is for educational purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Jeanette Raymond for any reactions the reader may have while interacting with or using the information in this material. Interaction with this article does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]