Tuesday, April 30, 2013
How to Be Less Emotional in a Relationship
Finding a way to bring down your sensitivity while you are in a relationship is easier said than done. If you are a more emotional person or someone who falls hard when in love, finding techniques or ways to erode sensitivity can be tough. However, if you have gotten hurt too many times in the past because you’ve jumped in with both feet, use your current relationship to help you pull back the emotion, while at the same time still having fun and engaging in a bonded situation.
1. Examine the state of the relationship. Are you a “love at first sight” kind of person and become overwhelmed with adoration from day one? In the beginning, becoming too emotional can be extremely dangerous and possibly deadly for the relationship. You have to know when to just have fun and see where this relationship may take you and when deep emotion should be seriously considered.
Just started dating. Now is the time to “try each other on” and have fun. If you feel overwhelmed with emotion in the beginning, take a time out to determine why you are so taken aback. Remember--the early dating months is like being on a job interview. You don’t know for sure if this is the right person for you, so discovering each other in a non committal way will help you determine if this is really the person of your dreams.
Migrating possibly from just dates to boyfriend/girlfriend status. At this point you’ve determined that this is the kind of person you could get used to seeing quite often. You are looking for a more committed relationship and hope he/she wants the same thing. During this stage of the game it’s o.k. to be a little more serious and less flippant with the relationship. While you don't want to spring marriage or moving in together at this point, you should embrace the fact that you’ve found someone you can trust and enjoy spending time with.
The relationship could result in marriage or a long term commitment. After you’ve been together for some time, your mate may discover that you feel quite deeply, which may be why he/she loves you. Even though you may know each other on a more intimate level, discern between true productive emotion such as joy, happiness and love versus dark emotion like jealousy or resentment. If you are feeling negative or have detrimental emotions, you will need to have a serious talk with your mate about what you are feeling and why (do you suspect he/she could be cheating on you or does he/she continuously opt for an evening with friends versus being with you).
2. Identify your emotional triggers. Find your hot buttons and learn how to wrangle those under control. Not only will subduing emotion be good for your relationship, it will be better for your mental health in the long run.
Separation anxiety. Do you get upset when he/she wants to be friends or has to do something at night that is work related? Even if you don’t say anything to him/her, do you get upset so that it is disruptive to your life?
Jealousy. Do you have a hard time seeing him/her converse with people of the opposite sex? Or is your honey an eternal flirt? What happens when you see your mate flirting or in a situation where others are doing the flirting with him/her? If there is truly no reason to suspect your mate of cheating, consider how your overt jealousy affects the relationship. Does it bring you closer together or does it drive a wedge between you?
Clinginess. Even though you love him/her so much, showing it by hanging all over him/her or demanding you two be tied at the hip may not be best for your relationship. Tap into your sense of independence and remember that you are two entities that came together for love.
External factors such as family or work. Do you get emotional with your significant other in certain situations such as being around your family or at work functions? Your emotional side may be more tied to situations rather than how you feel in general.
3. Determine how your emotions impact your relationship. Some people love having a very emotional mate, however consider how your overt emotion is affecting your self of being and sense of worth.
Can you separate from this person and function independently? Do emotions prevent you from being an independent person and can you approach life both as a couple and on your own? If your emotions have taken over and seem to be preventing you from approaching life on your own, you will need to determine why you need the other person to be happy or experience an encounter alone.
Does your mate seem to be pulling away from you? Historically have your emotions been a caveat to why you’ve broken up? Has your mate become withdrawn or unhappy because your emotions seem to overwhelm the relationship? If you want the relationship to work, consider how your emotional expressions could be sabotaging it and why.
Adopt the attitude of, “No matter what happens I’ll be fine.” If you go into a relationship thinking that you’ll die due to a breakup or you’ll do anything to keep the relationship alive, you are only doing a great disservice to yourself. Be willing to walk away should the relationship break down.
4. Become more communicative instead of emotional. When a baby cries he/she could be experiencing a variety of emotions or physical feelings because infants have no other communication skills. Luckily, as an adult you don’t have to resort to childish outbursts and can use words instead. Instead of resorting to old behavioral or non verbal mannerisms or emotional outbursts, consider taking a more methodical, communicative approach to explaining how you feel. You can still let the other person know what you are feeling or experiencing, but use your intellect so you can truly convey your emotion.
Identify which emotion you are feeling and write down when and why you feel that way. For example, if you are overwhelmed with jealousy instead of lurking behind bushes or fake plants at the next cocktail party you both attend, write down that you are jealous and when you are jealous. Is it when you are in social situations and other people hit on your mate or when he/she flirts with others? Also, name specific encounters so you can articulate and refer to when and where you felt this emotion. Choose an opportune time after you are not so overwhelmed with emotion to discuss how you feel.
Avoid acting on your emotions as you are experiencing them. Even if you are overwhelmed with love, instead of bear hugging and/or jumping into your betrothed arms, wait for a moment when you can regain your composure and calmly communicate how you felt. Tell him/her why you have come to love him/her and when this feeling washed over you.
Take ownership of your emotions. Often people try to tell the other person that he/she “made” them feel a certain way. No one can manage your emotions but you. Own your feelings but say why. For example, if you are experiencing separation anxiety say, “I feel so alone when you are out of town every week. I enjoy being with you and feel sad and alone when you are away.” However, avoid getting angry at the other person or blaming him/her for how you feel. Own it and resign yourself to doing something about it (like call friends when he/she is out of town or meeting your parents for dinner).
Look at the lighter side of your life. Every aspect of life should not be heavy and serious. Take every opportunity you can to find the humor and levity in situations.
Don’t get upset with yourself for being an emotional person. With emotion comes great creativity and spirit. Embrace this quality and learn how to use it in your favor.
Try not to make him your life. There's more to life then him or anyone else.
If you find that you cannot control your emotions or end up doing something dangerous or illegal that is fueled by emotion, get professional help.