Why is it that women who are trying to conceive, especially those going through treatment, so often say their husbands/partners won’t talk to them? Won’t open up, tell them what they’re thinking?Women already bear most of the physical burden of the infertility process, and feel the most responsible when there’s a failure.
Why then, do they also have to feel like they’re dragging feelings out of their spouses?
This is a common theme, and it’s the focus of the couples’ day which is always a highlight of the Mind Body Class for Infertility I’m teaching right now at the Lotus Room in Tampa.
The Secret To Communicating
The secret is realizing that men and women react differently to the frustration of not getting pregnant.
The key is changing the way you communicate.
Women tend to feel some relief just talking about it. They may fall into the habit of bringing up fertility concerns at random, unexpected times and expecting their husbands/partners to respond in kind.
But what if he’s enjoying a TV show, on the computer, or trying to relax over a meal?
Sometimes women have already made up their minds about how to tackle the problem. The men in their lives may find that expressing a different point of view will bring a frown, or a rebuke. So, out of fear of upsetting their partner or of being misunderstood, they retreat in silence.
Techniques for Communicating
One of the techniques we teach in the Mind Body Class is called paired listening:
- Ask your partner for uninterrupted time to talk about what’s on your mind.
- Don’t ask for a response. Don’t expect your partner to fix it!
- One partner talks, the other listens without interrupting.
- Allow yourself to really hear your partner’s opinion, understanding that it might not be what you what to hear.. but better to know, than not know.
If you give your partner space to express an opinion without you becoming defensive, you may find you’re really on the same team!
The couples who’ve learned this skill in past Mind Body Classes say it has enabled them to finally say what’s in their heart, without fear of hurting their partner.
What has worked for you, in trying to get your partner to open up? You can share your experiences in the comment field below.