Jump to content

Young Widow Forum

Register to view blogs.


I am so inexperienced at communication....

Recommended Posts

I may or may not need some advice.... I'm not sure...


I have always been extremely independent.  Like......extremely.  I am the one everyone goes to, I am the one everyone depends on - and really, I've been the doormat.  


After growing up in a family that didn't communicate well, I attended some counseling and had a lot of couples counseling with DH early in our marriage.


One of the things that the therapist really felt strongly about was the idea that people don't make you feel things - you choose how you feel.  And you can choose your response to a situation.  

I get that.  It's the idea that "you made me feel...." is not necessarily fair, but instead, say "when you....., I feel...." and own your response....


But it has lead me to internalize a lot.  I got to the point with DH that I just owned everything and never expressed anything.  


So.....  the other night, I knew NG had had a very long day... said he was going to take a shower and then come over.  He took a shower, and fell asleep.  Called near midnight and apologized.  

So, rational me says... he was asleep, what's he to do?  He can't call me and tell me he's asleep.... and I knew he was exhausted. 

But emotional/hormonal/irrational me was worried sick, and then pissed off, and then felt hurt and disregarded and unimportant and insecure.  And then I started to wonder if he was really at home asleep, or if he had something else going on (which is totally out of bounds and I have no reason to not trust) but I started to distrust....  (A woman's brain is an incredible piece of work.....) 


So, he called at about midnight and apologized and explained..... and I told him I understood.  I only shared the rational thoughts with him.... but kept the rest to myself.  


And now I'm still hurt and frustrated, but isn't that my problem?  Not his?   I mean, why make an issue of it for him if he simply fell asleep?......  Aren't my feelings my problem?  


Share this post

Link to post
29 minutes ago, RyanAmysMom said:


And now I'm still hurt and frustrated, but isn't that my problem?  Not his?   I mean, why make an issue of it for him if he simply fell asleep?......  Aren't my feelings my problem?  



Well, you didn't ask for advice but, me being me, you shall get some. :) 


Yes, your feelings are, in this case, your issue. Let's look at the facts of the case; You were hurt by NG not coming over. NG tried to come over but accidentally fell asleep. NG further knew you were hurt, scared, or uncomfortable by his absence. NG called and apologized to try to make it right. 


Mountain, meet molehill. 


Please, just let it be and try to quit worrying about worrying. :) 


Best wishes, Mike

  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
Posted (edited)

I sort of disagree about feelings. I think feelings are what they are. Understanding your feelings and acting according to that understanding about yourself and others is a whole other story. I have had similar feelings when NG is busy and doesn't always let me know what his schedule is. I worry (his work can be dangerous) and I feel a little taken for granted that I am waiting around. We have talked about this, and he is a little better about letting me know if he is going to be later than expected.This goes a long way in me "feeling" that my time has value. But we wouldn't have gotten here if we hadn't explored the feelings. 


He called, presumably as soon as he woke up and realized what happened. And you said you knew how tired he was. Seems straightforward. I don't think it warrants a deep heart to heart, but if you tell him how you felt in the hours you were waiting, well, maybe next time, the expectations would be set a little different. "I'm going to shower, but I am tired. Let me call you after and if I feel like I need to lay down, maybe we should try for a different night..." Something like that. 


Not expressing feelings in a contructive way can lead to resentment, and resentment is the ultimate relationship killer. 

Edited by hachi
incomplete thought
  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post
Posted (edited)

Okay....another opinion...I'm in a similar camp as my friend Hachi...


It seems he legitimately fell asleep.  You became worried and had other feelings.  They are legitimate feelings, but it doesn't seem reasonable to blame him for anything.  However, I'm a firm believer in communicating with your significant other.  So....if I was in your shoes, I would talk to him about the feelings you experienced and the thoughts that went through your mind when he didn't call when you expected.  Otherwise, it is possible that you will build resentment if something similar happens in the future, and he won't know your experience from this time, and he won't have important knowledge to be able to address your needs (to know he is okay if he is late, etc) in the future.


Communication and intimacy go hand in hand.





Edited by Wheelerswife
  • Like 3

Share this post

Link to post

It’s been almost 7 years since I was widowed, and I’ve noticed my irrational thoughts/fears have quieted down to more manageable levels. But, in the beginning of my relationship with my bf, I had quite a few moments of driving myself to a quiet madness with various flights of fancy about the many potential reasons of why I had not heard from him when I was supposed to. I’d never been like this before so I know it was a reaction stemming from unresolved widow stuff. It was really intense even as I knew it was (probably) not true and would try to talk some sense to myself in order to feel calm and in control. 


I did express some of this to my boyfriend. I let him know, very clearly, that this was my issue. I owned it completely because the poor man had done nothing wrong, it would have been unfair to be angry at him and pick an actual fight over the stuff going on in my brain. But, at the same time, I did want to give him a window into my world. For us, it helped him to understand me better and to be better about staying in touch and when- for whatever reason he is unable to because life happens- he is very sweet and apologetic, even as he knows it’s not his fault, he’s just sorry about knowing I got worried. Although, I do recall in the very beginning that it was a lot to take in, a lot for him to process and decide whether this was something he could take on. 


When we make ourselves vulnerable to another person it is an act of trust, a show of faith in them that they can know all (well, most) of us and accept us- and vice versa. 

  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post

I understand what you're saying.  I met my now husband about 5 years ago, just under a year and a half after my husband died.  It was long distance for two years and then he moved here but still traveled a lot for work and job interviews and trips back to the UK for family stuff.  it took me a while to figure out that I (and my daughter) still re-experience some trauma related to people leaving, even just for the day (all people, not just my now husband). 


My late husband was in and out of hospitals and hospice so many times I lost count.  Every night that he was in the hospital or in hospice, we'd go to bed not ever knowing if he would ever come back.  That got deeply ingrained in our psyches and even physiologically.  At first when my now husband would leave, I held that in.  I tried to act like I was fine and cool as a cucumber but I eventually broke down - I will never forget it - it was the day after the 2016 election and we'd been up most of the night and I had an 8:30 am meeting and he had to go to a job interview for a few days in another state - and I just folded.  Completely melted down in the driveway.  It was like a scene from a movie. 


Since then, we have gotten much, much better at communicating and managing these moments when he goes away.  He also became much more attentive to communicating with me while he is away.  Its made a big difference.  But he didn't know I was experiencing any of that because I didn't tell him until I finally hit my breaking point and let it out.  


I must sound like the world's most codependent human being and maybe I am but it was an aspect of my grief that I didn't know I had until our relationship started.  He didn't know it because I hid it until I couldn't any longer.  


Telling him gently and in a non- defensive way how you feel in those moments could go a long way in resolving or improving that dynamic.  Its not trivial if it doesn't feel trivial to you.  

  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
10 hours ago, Toosoon2.0 said:

Its not trivial if it doesn't feel trivial to you.  

👏 👏

  • Like 1
  • Thanks 1

Share this post

Link to post

Thanks for your input everybody...  I really do value all of the advice and experiences - thanks for sharing.....  


I have so much to learn about "adulting" and communicating...  But...  I'm willing to own it, and to work on it...  


I think part of learning about this is figuring out it takes courage to communicate....  



  • Like 2

Share this post

Link to post
21 hours ago, RyanAmysMom said:

 it takes courage to communicate....  

in a nutshell


Share this post

Link to post



Another piece of advice (you sort of asked for it :) )


I'm also not very good at expressing my thoughts and feelings. It actually got better when Cathryn died because I had such intense feelings, they had to get out somehow or I would have burst! One thing that changed a lot for me is that I developed (not purposely - it just happened) a strong need to understand WHY I was feeling what I was feeling.


Not just the sadness, guilt, etc. - those are the typical results of what I was going through and were kind of easy to understand. But other things popped in that didn't seem to make sense. For example, I might be reading a book and a particular paragraph made me tearful. It might have nothing to do with anything in my life - just a random paragraph. But I had to  try to understand why I reacted to those words in the way I did. It helped me so much to understand who I was and who I was becoming.


You might want to do the same - WHY did you react to the situation as you did? It might not be just the obvious fear of losing another loved one (then again, that might be all it is). Only you will know, once you look deeper.


As far as discussing this with your NG, you know the relationship best and can decide whether it will help or not. While communicating our feelings is usually a good thing, depending on the circumstances of your relationship and this specific issue, it might be better to work it out for yourself.


I hope this helps.



  • Like 1

Share this post

Link to post
6 hours ago, MikeR said:

- WHY did you react to the situation as you did?


I had to laugh when I read this, Mike!  You hit it exactly!  I spent a long time trying to figure out what feeling came first....  What led to the whirlwind of irrational emotional crap?  


A couple of days later, when I was less hormonal, and less emotional, I brought it up and we talked about it - partly because something similar happened a few days later.... (And Maureen - that resentment was seriously building at that point!) 


And his response was gold:  "It's ok honey, I know you get lonely and look forward to seeing me. I know you're disappointed when I'm busy." 


And that was pretty much exactly it.  The night I almost lost my mind, I was so lonely.....  and not just lonely for him....  but longing for several things in life that aren't accessible right now...  (like....all of my security and comfort!)


He understood me better than I did - and already knew all of my complaints - and I felt HEARD. 


We're working on the communication - it's hard to communicate expectations with someone new when you've been in a long term relationship - they just become second nature.... and having to bring that kind of communication back to the forefront in a new relationship is exhausting!  But so worth it!  


Thanks everybody!  




  • Like 4

Share this post

Link to post

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.