When the love of your life is having a tough time, it can be tricky to know what to say to comfort them.
Whether physical tokens of affection or baked goods are your empathetic port-of-call, there’s one thing you should avoid saying at all costs, according to a relationships expert.
Speaking to Women’s Health, New York-based author Dr Jane Greer explained that forcing your other half to talk about their issue by saying things like “come on, tell me,” especially when they’ve said they’d rather not, will only push them further away from you.
Everyone has different ways of dealing with emotional stress and some people may choose to keep things internalized so as not to appear too vulnerable in front of their partner, Greer explained.
Equally, it could be that they feel insecure about what they’re going through and aren’t ready to confront it yet.
Even if that’s not your partner’s issue, there’s a whole range of reasons as to why they may wish to keep quiet, she added.
It could be that they simply prefer to deal with things by themselves, by taking a long walk or exercising.
The worst thing you can do is say things such as “I really want to know” or “maybe I can help,” Greer said.
While your intentions might be good, pushing your partner to confide in you when they clearly don’t want to can conflate empathy with self-absorption i.e. you have inadvertently implied that their problem is about you and how you need to feel you can help them.
This can come off as disrespectful, Greer explained, so if your partner says they don’t want to talk about it, it’s probably best to listen.