Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.
Gordon was attracted to his wife because she appeared independent, competent, able to handle his anxieties as well as offer comfort and security. After he married her, he discovered that she wanted to be taken care of, play and enjoy her pets – his world crashed. He felt that he had lost the object of his dreams, the security he thought he had garnered, and the tender care that he believed was on tap.
The shock of finding out that the tables had been turned on him made him furious and scared. But he didn’t dare talk about it to his wife Maria. It was too scary a proposition.
- He was fearful that he would have to carry the burden of caring for his marriage alone
- He feared that he would have have sole responsibility for the welfare of his wife, himself and the marriage forever
- He was afraid of being abandoned, because if he couldn’t handle the responsibility, his wife would leave and find someone better
- These pressures brought on a fear of not being able to sleep which in turn
- produced a bigger fear of stress, fatigue, impotence and overall dissatisfaction
Gordon tried to stave of his worst fears by giving Maria space and time to work out what she wanted to do in terms of a career, but as time went on, and she continued playing with ideas, he got the message that she wasn’t suddenly going to get to work by magic just because that’s what he wanted.
He would have to talk to her about the marriage and how they each viewed it, because he couldn’t stand it any more.
Many men grow up in an environment where discussing feelings and relationships are discouraged. They develop a discomfort with it in adult life and often feel that talking about marriage before they tie the knot, or after they are wed, indicates that they haven’t got their act together!
Married men are supposed to have taken care of everything, sorted it all out and be enjoying their mastery of life.
Talking about their marriage may signal that things are not okay, that they are not in charge, that they are weak and haven’t got a handle on things.
They prefer to feel in control by “doing” rather than “being with” – which is exactly the situation when they can’t discuss feelings about the relationship. They buy flowers, or organize a vacation rather than share emotions in their marriage. Of course the “doing” doesn’t do anything constructive!
- She was afraid that would get in touch with her need to avoid decision making and feel ashamed.
- She was fearful of hearing that she wasn’t adequate for Gordon, and that he would leave her.
- Fear that he would tire of taking care of her and that she would have to take over that role again was disheartening.
- Fear that she would bore him and that he would have an affair made her stressed out.
- She feared that if she didn’t start a family quickly, they would have nothing to keep them together.
Opening Up About The Fears and Facing Disillusionment in Supportive Couples Therapy
In couples counseling, both Gordon and Maria notice that they were both afraid of being inadequate and consequently abandoned. Making room for that similarity brought them closer, and more emotionally intimate as they developed a language that both felt comfortable with. They used it to dialogue in therapy, where fear and shame could be acknowledged
AUTHOR OF ‘Now You Want Me, Now You Don’t! Fear of Intimacy: ten ways to recognize it and ten ways to manage it in your relationships.”
Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D. 2015
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Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. Dr. Raymond is not responsible for any reactions you may have when reading the content or using the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Jeanette Raymond.