Men, do you feel that your partner is trying to control you?
Does she point out everything you are doing wrong? Does she always think she knows better?
Do you think to yourself 'I'd better keep quiet just in case I say the wrong thing' or 'I just want a peaceful life'?
Perhaps you find yourself being defensive, irritated or feeling like you need to justify yourself?
Do you end up feeling that whatever you do is never good enough for her or that you are inadequate in some way?
First of all, you are not alone. I hear this from many of my male clients.
Secondly, your irritation is understandable because you are picking up on the fact that you are being 'led' on an energetic level.
When your partner tries to control you she is leading you and you know deep down this doesn't feel right.
Please know she is not doing this intentionally. It is highly likely that she is unaware she is doing this.
In general this is what is happening: she is sensing and feeling that something is missing in the relationship (she is right, something is missing on both your accounts) but she doesn't know how to put things right.
Her underlying fears of being rejected and being out of control, are getting covered up by the need to try and control her feelings and the outcome of any situation. It just so happens that you end up bearing the brunt of this.
Essentially your partner or your wife, is trying to get her needs and desires met but is not communicating them in a way that helps her get fully heard by you.
What happens to you as a result?
As I mentioned above you may become irritated and defensive. You may find yourself becoming passive aggressive or shutting down. This is why many of my female clients feel frustrated by their partner's lack of communication or apparent unwillingness to address issues that they see as important.
However, it can feel difficult to have an open and transparent conversation with your partner about the impact of her behaviour when you have shut down or you feel like you are being attacked.
Unfortunately, if any conflict doesn't get repaired, it serves to compound any tension and disconnection that already exists in your relationship. This can become a slippery slope over time and can contribute to a lack of physical intimacy and feelings of loneliness. The one person who you should be able to share everything with starts to become a stranger.
This is when many women turn to their friends for the support they are seeking and men often numb themselves or spend more time on their leisure activities. You may find that both you and your partner are burying your heads in your work all the while your relationship is growing apart.
What is the first things that needs to happen in order to readdress the balance?
It generally takes two to tango so it always pays to take a closer look and get very curious.
Ideally we are looking to create a situation where a couple are working together not against each other.
Unfortunately societal conditioning does a great job at driving a wedge between men and women when it comes to heteronormative (heterosexual) relationships. This becomes more apparent over the long-term and can get exacerbated with any stress life throws at you. Concerns about children, finances, work performance and health issues and so forth can all take their toll on any relationship.
The missing factor in your relationship is the fact that feelings and emotions are not being acknowledged in a truly healthy way.
In the United Kingdom for example, despite greater provision for mental health issues, there is still much stigma attached to so-called 'negative' feelings. We are wired to try and run or avoid our own discomfort. Historically men have been handed down messages like 'grown men don't cry' and 'man-up' and unfortunately this has created a dysfunctional relationship within our own psyche.
To be honest, many women, although seemingly more in touch with their feelings, can tend to be emotive and reactive. Their feelings can be taken out on their partner. This of course is not healthy either.
Even in the self development world there is an over focus on 'being positive and grateful' to the point that the majority of people are denying themselves a more intimate relationship with their own feelings.
How can we create an intimate relationship with our partner if we are unable to do that with ourselves!?
It is not a case of having to discuss every single feeling that comes up for you. However, wouldn't it be good to know that you can say what is going on for you without fearing that you will be criticised, 'fixed' or rejected?
We are all human beings with feelings after all and the truth is any negative feeling that comes up is always an opportunity for you to create connection in your relationship.
The framework of healthy relating that I offer my clients helps you make the most of these opportunities for connection and intimacy with yourself and your partner. This framework builds in nuance because not all situations are the same and men and women have different needs in their relationship.
In a nutshell, a man feels loved, alive, more dynamic and pro-active when he is given the freedom to lead himself.
He feels appreciated, respected and loved when his partner can see his efforts. He wants to meet his partner in her needs and desires; to be the hero. He also wants to feel trusted to do what it takes in his own way and on his timing.
When this dynamic is in place he is able to provide an energy of safety within himself, for his partner and the relationship.
A woman, on the other hand, feels safer, more trusting and loved when she is truly seen and heard on an emotional level (even though many women don't realise this). When her wisdom and insights are taken onboard she feels respected. She needs to be able to trust that her partner can meet her and that he will be a man of his word. She certainly doesn't want to feel she is having to do everything or is having to be the lead in certain tasks or decisions.
The thing to remember here is that when the above isn't in place and your relationship is struggling, it is because your conditioned behaviours and thinking are leading you both.
Much of this is not your fault. Although, you are never going to change things if you don't take responsibility for the fact that you have been complicit, albeit unknowingly.
Making a commitment to learn how to undo these behaviours so that the real, empowered you gets to show up, is the best thing you can do.
The good thing is, when you start the process of 'un-doing' you start becoming more of who you want to be. When there is love still left in your relationship, in most cases it will only benefit.
If the above resonates and your relationship is in crisis or it seems to be moving that way please let me know if you would like to chat about how I may support you. I offer complimentary consultations, which you can book here.