By Antonio & Laura Moore, Relationship Coach | May 17, 2021 | Marriage Means Moore Inc.
Perhaps, when there is a long list of past relationships and heartbreaks, it can make a person prefer living without a partner. However, there is always a fine line between believing that we are destined to be alone and building walls around our hearts; to protect ourselves from further hurt in relationships. It is actually not uncommon to feel like we are destined to live alone when we don’t manage to connect ourselves to someone on an emotional level.
The truth is that hope never dies, even when you start remembering your bad experiences when getting into a relationship. Even when you lay down your defenses and try jumping on the Love Express again, your emotionally clogged relationship ideas prevent it from turning into something more. Moreover, constantly telling yourself you’ll never be in a healthy relationship runs the risk of it becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your belief that there’s no one for you might get further cemented when there’s a string of bad relationships.
However, we cannot let fear rule our emotions and stop us from living a fulfilling life. To remove the destructive emotional clutter from a relationship, we first have to identify the warning signs that keep standing in our way of finding true love. These signs blind us to the possible paths forward and options that we likely have at our disposal but can’t see because of the mind-generated obstructions.
What Emotionally Clogged Looks Like
We have seen how hard it can be to come out of one’s shell once you have gone through a setback. One of our friends’ 7-year marriage ended, because her husband grew out of love with her. The sudden news hit her like a ton of bricks, and she couldn’t stop but think of where she went wrong. She started to believe that she was not worthy of receiving love from anyone. This vibrant woman, the life of our friends group, turned into a shell of her former self. She used to run marathons but was now black-out drunk during the daytime.
Friends and family tried their best to reach out and understand what she was going through but to no avail. All such efforts ended in shouting matches and self-defeating statements from her. She was now emotionally clogged, closed-off to everyone who reached out. We sensed that an expert needed to intervene.
As a result of our insistence, she started to go to life coaching and joined a support group. Once she opened up, she was able to come to terms with what had happened. Time, distance, and testimonies of other people like her in her support group -allowed her to gain some perspective. Thankfully, she has now moved on and is back to her old self.
She is now living a healthy, balanced life and has started to date again. Despite the major strides made by her, she has not left coaching and her support group. She and her boyfriend also go for coaching sessions with a relationship coach since this is new territory for them. One of the things she shared about dating after divorce was that she couldn’t put herself out there and be open to a romantic partner in her emotionally clogged state. She needed the help that she got so she could reciprocate the love that she would deservedly get. Hearing this insight from her made me proud of her and the strides she made. It got me to think deeply about what causes us to close ourselves off to others.
Why Emotional Blockage Happens?
Emotional blockages are intricately connected with traumatic experiences, either from our past or present. That’s why dealing with this particular notion in relationships is often considered a byproduct of stressful life events that we have no way to cope with, at least not on our own.
Usually, the situations mentioned below trigger or activate emotional blockage in our relationships:
- Traumatic experiences, including infidelity, rape, or emotional and physical abuse.
- Loss of a deeply loved partner
- Constant dismissals from exes
- Diagnosis of a chronic illness
When we are subjected to any of the mentioned causes in our past, it becomes somewhat challenging for us to move on with an open mind and heart in our future affairs of the heart.
What Happens When We Hold Back Our Emotions in a Relationship?
Suppressing our emotions in a relationship is a recipe for disaster. In reality, relationships are built on mutual trust and respect. Hence, when a person keeps blocking their partner out despite continuous efforts to reach out to them, the relationship suffers. It takes a psychological and physical toll on the partner reaching out, affecting their quality of life.
Here’re a few things that we can expect to experience when trapped in an emotionally clogged relationship:
1- Instant Anger
Don’t be surprised when your anger management skills take a hit since you’re bottling up your emotions. When we are made to bury our desire to form an emotional connection, it forces us to push back. Once the dam breaks, we can’t rein ourselves from lashing out at people closest to us.
2- Societal Behavior
Similarly, when we withdraw from others and start keeping our distance, it impacts our social skills as well. The emotional unavailability not only tempers our relationships but also deprives us of healthy friendships and professional partnerships.
When we discard our emotions, it leads us to lose hope and be close to breaking down. This emotional state may also lead to substance abuse at some point. For instance, people tend to lean on antidepressants, alcohol, and drugs. When these addiction issues aren’t addressed, they cause us to turn our mildly conflicted situation into an explosive one.
4- Mental and Emotional Exhaustion
Moreover, when trying to suppress our emotions deliberately, we indirectly ask ourselves to keep some specific memory of an event from triggering our stress. However, we can’t forget something on purpose, which means our mind has to work even harder to prevent reflecting on the memory in question. It leads to profound mental and emotional exhaustion.
5- Reduced Lifespan
Lastly, as inexplicable as it sounds, suppressed emotions can cause various health issues, including obesity, stomach problems, and even cancer. In general, medical researchers conclude that practicing emotional blockage can elevate the chances of premature death by approximately thirty percent!
Warning Signs We’re Stuck in an Emotional Blockage Loop
Here are six factors indicating you have the weight of emotional baggage to deal with before getting into an intimate relationship with someone:
1- Wrongful Self-Assessment
Sometimes, it’s the self-assessment that we perform on ourselves, either voluntarily or involuntarily, that keeps us from forming a mature relationship. Thinking we aren’t good enough for our partner or wondering whether we even deserve a chance at happiness forces us to contemplate if not finding our one true love is somehow our deserved fate.
2- Past Guilt
Past relationships that ended on unfortunate notes can also be a triggering point that keeps us from developing an emotional connection with our partner. It could be our guilt of letting someone down multiple times in the past that keeps us from moving on.
3- Blind Stereotypes
While first impressions matter, it’s not always the best course of action to judge our partner based on blind stereotypes. We can decipher this problem easily when the roles are reserved, and we find ourselves in a similar situation but as the victim this time. When people are too quick to judge each other without getting to know their partner better, relationships automatically become clogged from the start.
4- Unrealistic Expectations
It’s impossible not to set some expectations for the person that we’re romantically involved with. However, that doesn’t mean we should raise the bar so high our opinions start sounding like unrealistic demands. When we choose to focus entirely upon what our partner isn’t doing for us, their expressions of true love fade away into the unknown.
5- The Make-Believe Incompatibility
Similarly, we are bound to get ourselves trapped in an emotionally clogged relationship when we start assessing how someone is ‘obviously’ not compatible with us, even though we find them appealing. Contrarily, it’s when we let go of the idea of perfection and take it one step at a time that we begin realizing what the future might hold for us.
6- Comparisons with People and Experiences
Furthermore, when we compare each new person in our relationship with our past partners who hurt us, we can’t move forward. When there’s a lack of unwillingness to trust someone, the future is nothing but hypothetical strands of nothingness.
How to Unclog Our Emotionally Clogged Relationship?
If you want to unclog your relationship and establish a strong emotional connection with your partner, forge an unbreakable trust and bond with them first. Here are ten tips on how anyone can do that without overwhelming their partner mentally or emotionally:
1- Make Time to Understand Them Better
We can’t expect to overcome our past insecurities when we don’t have an inkling of what our current partner desires. Hence, the first thing you can do to unclog your relationship is to make time for your partner. Pay attention to what they share with you while also looking past their words and into their actions.
Furthermore, it’s healthy to step back at times and place ourselves in our partner’s position to observe what we might do when faced with a similar situation. That way, we can cut off our unrealistic expectations before they unknowingly take root.
2- Develop a Sense of Trust
It’s crucial to realize and acknowledge that there’s no love without ‘trust.’ This essential building block creates a gateway to an emotional connection that doesn’t come overnight. It takes some time to build secure feelings for another being when trust is developing naturally. However, once it is instilled in place, there’s no emotion strong enough to tamper with it afterward.
3- Allow Yourself to Be Emotionally Present
When there’s trust between two people, they make it a habit of sharing their thoughts and dreams. After all, if we can’t allow ourselves to be emotionally available for our partner, what’s the point of getting into a relationship in the first place? Ultimately, when we allow ourselves to be open with each other, endless possibilities come forth for establishing a solid connection.
4- Show the Affection They Deserve
Showing your partner the affection they deserve, whether in a long-term relationship or its early days, is of paramount importance. Appreciating each other with words and physical adoration keeps the love alive while preventing any negative notions from entering the relationship. Moreover, displaying affection can be as simple as kissing your partner good night and good morning every day or making them coffee when they’re tired and cuddling up with them. Simply put, you don’t necessarily have to go to extremes to make your affection known.
5- Always Fight Fair
Fighting fair means we must stray away from mentioning the hurtful past and stay in the moment, even when we’re angry. When couples make accusations that hit an unintended mark, their effects stay for a long time before anyone can move past them. That’s why it is vital to take a time-out when ‘stating conflicts’ becomes a ‘heated battle.’ It is always through constructive communication and mutual respect that couples find themselves untangling from an emotionally clogged relationship.
6- Listen and Talk in Equal Parts
As important as it is to listen to our partner’s needs and preferences, we also need to say our part after giving their concerns adequate consideration. We must listen without interruptions and talk without hesitations when it comes to reigniting the emotional sparks with our partner. Not to mention, that’s the key to keeping our emotional blockage at bay while alleviating the stress factor from our relationship.
7- Take Off the Rose-Colored Glasses
If there’s one thing that effectively puts a hindrance in a budding relationship, it’s when we start taking things for granted and expect our partners to meet our unreasonable expectations. Relationships not only become emotionally clogged but also toxic when we don’t give our partner’s demands the same importance as we give to ours.
8- Focus on Solutions
Bring up and communicate about problems that need to be fixed for making the relationship work. However, once these issues are acknowledged, all your focus must stay upon coming up with solutions rather than targeting the person who was presumably at fault. Because once we start pointing fingers and making a big deal out of it, our partners may not be emotionally willing to approach the subject matter the next time there’s a conflict that needs to be resolved.
9- Self-Care is Important
Moreover, carving out some time for ourselves to practice self-care is the best thing we can do to keep our relationship from going downhill. When we prioritize taking care of ourselves, it’s a clear sign that we’re moving towards a better path in our life romantically and professionally. By taking time to explore and reflect upon your actions, no matter how much time it takes to detangle your emotions, you start seeing positive results in your relationship.
10- Talk It Out with a Relationship Coach
Lastly, seeking help from a relationship coach is the best investment you can make to work out your emotionally clogged relationship. You can talk it out with a life coach to get to the problem’s crux that’s impacting your relationship or get involved in a couple’s coaching session. In both cases, it’s always a wise decision to take this final step to sort out issues that keep obscuring your path to true love. After all, an experienced therapist can see the full picture when we’re still trying to climb the frame’s boundary due to their ability to delve deeper into the emotions. They help us resolve our ‘whys,’ which is an absolute necessity to get to the ‘how’s of fixing a problem.
At Marriage Means Moore, we promise to bring the best out of your relationship in less than ninety days. To make that happen, you can start by scheduling an appointment session with us. In the meantime, you can visit our blogs section to go through the resources that we have put together for creating healthy relationships. You can also pick up a copy of our book, How Communicating Saved Our Marriage, which is a detailed guide regarding how to encourage constructive communication with your partner the right way.