Relationship Advice Tips from Dr. Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

razzle20dazzle20close20up1 - Keeping Silent About Your Stress Ensures Your Partner is Emotionally Unavailable To You

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Are you silent about your stress in your marriage?

Do you suffer in silence rather than risk sharing your burden with your partner? Are you afraid that you might annoy or scare your partner if you tell them how overwhelmed you are? Do you think you will be less loved or admired if you express your stress and overwhelm? Then you are doing both you and your partner a disservice. You are depriving yourself of support and you are depriving your partner from being emotionally available and rendering the connection useless. Loretta rescued her relationship from this disaster just in time.


Silence about her stress pushed her partner away and made her sick

Loretta could feel her anxiety rising. Things were getting on top of her. Her boss was in a bad mood making life at work very unpleasant. Her sister was refusing to talk to her about their mother’s deteriorating health. She herself was having more frequent headaches, mini panic attacks and losing sleep. But it made her feel strong to think she could handle it herself. She never confided in her partner.

Restless nights, irritability and loss of interest in sex made Gene worry about Loretta. He wanted to know what was wrong and how to help her. But every time he asked, she just brushed him aside and said ” Oh, nothing. It’s fine, I’ve got it covered.”


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photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Reaching crisis point forced Loretta to share her troubles and receive support, love and understanding
Loretta couldn’t hide anymore. Her migraines were so bad she had to stay home from work. She couldn’t eat and felt like crying all the time. It was just too much. She was falling apart and couldn’t get through her day without excessive worry. She felt out of control.

Loretta reached her lowest ebb. She had to literally stop functioning before she told Gene what she was dealing with. At that point things were so bad that she didn’t have to deal with the shame of asking her partner to share her troubles and work them out with her. That’s when Gene was allowed in.

Gene listened and understood. He felt wanted. He felt important. He felt valuable. He felt like a true partner. He comforted Loretta. He was so relieved to be available to his beloved. That’s all he ever wanted-to be available and supportive.

Immediately Loretta felt easier. Her migraines eased and her appetite began to come back. Instead of starving herself of nurturing and care, she had reached out, and enjoyed a good meal of love, comfort and joint problem solving.


purple - Keeping Silent About Your Stress Ensures Your Partner is Emotionally Unavailable To You

photograph copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

Research shows that keeping silent about your stress in order to spare them, increases the chances of breakup.

A study reported in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 2012 showed that when one member of a couple keeps quiet about their feelings as a sacrifice so as to avoid upsetting their partner, both parties suffer massive dips in their feelings of well-being. The quality of interaction between the couples became more strained and uncomfortable, increasing thoughts of breakups in as little as three months later.

Far from sparing the feelings of a loved one, keeping silent about your experience of the relationship creates a barrier to understanding and repair of hurt and misunderstandings.  When partners were authentic and expressed their genuine emotions irrespective of their tone, the researchers found that the couple stayed close and felt better about themselves and their partner. In other words, speaking sincerely about the relationship with one another made the couple feel more secure because their was more honesty and safety in being true to oneself.

Healthy intimacy developed once Loretta confided in her partner bringing emotional availability

Loretta started to learn that suffering in silence doesn’t make her strong. It just makes her more overwhelmed and less able to cope. Pretending to be strong makes her partner unavailable. Creating a strong partnership by sharing on the other hand, gives her a better chance of dealing with difficult issues before they overwhelm her and make her feel useless. The very thing she had been trying to achieve.


Loretta forged a strong bond of mutual support between herself and Gene when she trusted him to be supportive and caring rather than portray him as someone who would run away or stop loving her

Trusting your partner to be emotionally available avoids stress overload because you bring in the support at the earliest stage. The honesty in the relationship relieves tension and prevents migraine, panic attacks and loss of libido.

Bringing your partner into your world at all times gives you a sense of security and reliability that helps you stay open to receiving the nurturing you need to deal with life’s curve balls.

 Take a lesson from Lorreta’s book and start sharing your burden with your partner and watch the relationship strengthen as you value one another with trust, honesty and emotional availability.

Copyright, Jeanette Raymond, Ph.D.

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Disclaimer: this article is for informational and educative purposes only. There is no liability on the part of Dr. Raymond for any reactions you may have while reading the article or implementing the suggestions therein. Interacting with this material does not constitute a therapeutic relationship with Dr. Raymond.