Leaning In

When wives feel emotionally disconnected for years, these can be some of the most challenging couples. For almost 7 years, negativity drove Amy and Paul apart. But after a bout of couples therapy, negativity is now relatively infrequent. However, the years of disconnect have created an emotional abyss for Amy. She talks about feeling so empty, that it’s going to take a lot to feel anything.

When she got upset, she said Paul responded angrily. Paul shared that he was actually angry at himself for getting to this place. Paul then asked what he needed to do differently. Amy said she was so tired of talking about her unmet needs, that she was no longer going to give him direction. For Paul, it was now less about doing something different, but about being more emotionally present.

I coached Paul to move from anger and hopelessness, to telling Amy he didn’t want her to feel upset. He leaned in and told her he didn’t want her to feel so much despair. Paul shared that their relationship consumed most of his thoughts during the day. So he clearly cared, but needed to lean in and emotionally hold her.