3 Ways to Deal With and Love an Avoider

saying what's on your mindWhile we don’t like labels, the term avoider stood out to us when we read a recent question from a reader…

Here’s her question (used with her permission)…

“So, my husband is now an atheist although he went to seminary years ago. He wants to travel for a couple years on his motorcycle when he retires in a few years, none of which I knew about until his almost-affair. What I’d like to hear you talk about is how to accept the changes that come later in life when you’ve tried to talk about the future but your spouse says, ‘Hey, we could be dead by then. Why discuss it now?’

This woman was obviously blindsided by not only her husband’s desire to travel for a couple of years on is motorcycle when he retires…

But also about his “almost-affair.”

It’s also pretty obvious that her husband had been keeping his thoughts from her for maybe a long time.

When you have an avoider in your life who doesn’t share what’s going on inside him or her…

*There’s probably fear that he or she won’t be understood…

*They might not feel “safe” to talk about hope, dreams and what they’d like…

*They might be worried about how you might react…

*They might actually love you and not want want to hurt you by talking about what they think you might not like…

*That it would be too uncomfortable to talk about it and it’s better to hide the truth rather than to create waves.

But to the partner…

It can certainly feel like being blindsided when the truth finally comes out.

So what do you do when your partner or another loved one is emotionally unavailable and avoids talking about subjects that he or she finds uncomfortable?

Here are 3 ways to not only deal with and avoider but also to love him or her…

1. Question the stories you make up about this situation

We all make up our own stories about situations and the way people act to try to make sense out of it all.

But what we don’t realize is that everyone else has his or her story that’s usually very different from ours about the same situation.

One of our friends told us about a phrase that she uses when she finds that she’s getting agitated by a story she’s making up about a past event or a fearful future.

She asks herself this and it brings her to a place of calm and into the present moment…

“Is this the truth?”

When you are with someone who avoids certain topics or sharing certain emotions, to see it as fear standing in the way of the two of you.

It’s helpful to bring yourself into the present moment and see the facts and not the stories you’ve made up.

As for advice for our reader with the question…

There are a lot of stories that could be swirling around in your head…

*Maybe you think he’s changed and that he doesn’t want to include you in his future plans…

*Maybe he’s just doing the best he can and his best thinking about what would make him happy just seems ridiculous…

*Maybe he won’t do any of the things he’s thinking about right now but you’re still hurt that he didn’t talk about any of this.

Bringing yourself back the present moment from an imagined lonely, upsetting or heartbroken future to THIS moment and the reality of the truth of this moment is critical to finding the connection and love again.

Stick to the facts of what’s present right here and right now.

Tune into what you want for your future and see if it matches what your husband wants.

Now’s the time for honesty not only from him but from you as well.

2. Ask a question deeper out of curiosity when there’s an opening.

When someone avoids the intimacy of honest sharing, asking a question from honest curiosity can allow the person to open.

A person who tends to avoid anything he or she perceives as unpleasant often chooses to be with a person who likes to engage with others–who is more out-going.

And the “engager” often does the emotional work for the person who avoids and fills in the gaps of what the avoider leaves out.

If you’re an “engager” and can see yourself in this scenario…

Stop yourself from either making assumptions or filling in the gaps and ask a question that will help you understand what the other person is thinking.

Advice for our reader with the question…

Maybe you overreact normally and maybe you don’t…

But now you have an opportunity to find out exactly what your husband has in mind for the future and what you do as well.

Ask questions in a neutral way without accusations so that he will open to you.

We know that you feel like you’ve been treated unfairly but if you want to explore a future with your husband, find out if there is common ground to build it.

3. Know that you are okay no matter what

When we’re faced with change, whether it’s change in a person close to us, in ourselves or in our situation…

It can certainly be cause us to feel unbalanced, uneasy and all sorts of emotions.

If there’s one thing we know…

It’s that change is happening all the time and nothing stays the same.

When we don’t make up fearful stories about the change, we can flow better with the changes that happen in our lives.

When we know that we’ll be guided through the change and that we’re okay, it all goes so much easier.

Advice for the reader with the question…

As we said before–Take this moment to discover what you want and listen to what your husband wants.

Find out if there’s an intersection of your desires for your future.

When you open to the unknown, it’s amazing what opportunities can appear.

If you’re with someone who avoids sharing emotions and have a question, Ask it here…

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