It is not uncommon to hear women who participate in my online coaching program talk about their men and report “my husband is a closed book to me, I don’t know nor understand what is going on in his mind…”.
I’ve often heard confessions of finding this trait intriguing in the beginning of the relationship; he was the big mystery she had set out to solve.
But for some reason she couldn’t get through to him, or he didn’t let her in.
What started as being intriguing soon became concerning. How could you live with someone who does not open up, who does not share their thoughts and feeling and who does not talk?
Eventually this “you are a closed book” is uttered with a sigh of annoyance and accusation. Which is hard to fathom for both of partners.
He, in his view at least, did nothing wrong. So what’s the problem?
But for her, what once was intriguing feels now like too much hard work. She is tired of trying to extract his thoughts and feelings. She is not an expert psychologist. She has her own struggles to deal with. She too then withdraws into her shell.
Two people living two separate lives.
And that is not enough for a loving, intimate and respectful relationship. At least not in my view and obviously not in the view of many women who report these kind of scenarios.
The result is that not only the communication stalls, but also the connection and the commitment get lost along the way.
What you can do…
It is not about the amount of words you say. I know a lot of very talkative women who live together with a more quiet-type of man – and they are happy in their relationship. It is not about the quantity in your conversations ~ it is all about the quality.
If you are living with a “closed book” type of person, first of all accept them as they are. You won’t be able to change them. Only they themselves can change and open up.
Don’t expect that you can be an explorer solving the last big mystery on earth. If your partner is that kind of mystery to you, accept it and stay intrigued. You might not solve the mystery but eventually you might see a change.
And if you are the person, who everyone regards as a “closed book” maybe just try to be a bit more trusting. Understand that you are in a relationship because you don’t want to be alone, because you want to see, feel, touch and love another person.
Just being in a relationship does not cut it. You need to feed that relationship with thoughts, deeds, money and words. Communication is the fuel for any good relationship and good communication is a two-way street.
What’s the benefit?
This is a very challenging question you could ask yourself and try to see the situation from a different perspective. If you see or are part of this consistent “closed book” behaviour, you could ask “what is the benefit here?”
“What’s the point?” I hear you say, “There is no benefit at all!”
But wait, don’t give up so easily. There is a benefit. Maybe you need to look deeper and think deeper. Every behaviour that follows a repetitive pattern is a solution to something. Most of the time we just don’t know the deeper root cause of the behaviour.
When you look a little bit deeper you might be able to isolate some reasons behind his quietness.
Perhaps your partner was hurt in the past and has trust issues, but is learning to be vulnerable with you slowly over time.
Perhaps your partner is happy to just go with the flow, keen to make you happy and enjoying the path your relationship is taking.
Maybe your partner has just always been a quiet type – he is introverted with everyone but most himself when he is with you.
Your scenario will be personal to you and your partner, but there is a solution behind the behaviour pattern. Your realisation might not be the solution to the stalling communication in your relationship but it is a first step to better understanding your partner and their behaviour. With understanding comes acceptance and that would help both of you to be more relaxed.
If you feel that your partner is like a closed book and you don’t find it intriguing anymore, but just concerning, it is time to have a closer look at the state of your relationship as a whole.
My relationship quiz may give you the answer – it only takes 5 minutes to fill it in and you get your score at the end. It’s anonymous, it’s fun and it is amazingly accurate.
Afterwards you could ask your partner to have a go as well and you could compare scores and insights, which is a great starting ground for talking about your relationship and more.