Understanding the problem

Partners in a relationship often feel that some of their needs are not met. This can make them feel frustrated, sad, lonely, and worried. Such periods are common and normal, particularly when coping with transitions, life changes, and the demands of raising kids. The danger lies in the ways in which partners cope with these emotions. The strategies used when coping with vulnerability determine whether the relationship spirals up or down.


How do you ‘do’ vulnerability?

Most likely in one of two common ways:

Protest – probe, demand, nag, criticise, attack, blame, and so on.


Withdraw – avoid, dismiss, numb out, ‘reason’, passive aggressive, and so on.

Sadly, these may only give some temporary relief to your emotional hurt, but do not achieve what you really want: to resolve issues and feel closer to your partner. Ultimately, these methods serve to create a greater distance between you and your partner and exacerbate your sense of vulnerability. You become overly sensitive and tend to fight about the most trivial things. You end up approaching the next conflict with even less trust. Defend-attack is now the name of the game.

You want to find a better way.