He said she wanted him to be emotionally intimate with her. He did not understand what or how to do that, and was truly lost though he stated that he wanted to preserve the marriage.
A patient sought my services at the "strong encouragement" of his wife. Professionally he has done well in the management of others and is known as a problem solver. He said his wife felt unattended and disconnected from him. They had not shared a bedroom in many years. They have 1 son and felt they parented "ok enough." He said she wanted him to be emotionally intimate with her. He did not understand what or how to do that, and was truly lost though he stated that he wanted to preserve the marriage.
He described his childhood as alone and lonely. He is the only child of parents that never married and never really liked each other. His interests generally leaned toward the solitary and private. He agreed with the self-definition of introvert: a person predominantly concerned with their own thoughts and feelings rather than with external things, people or situations. Even in work, he felt more comfortable with the “technology side” rather than working with others as a computer engineer.
Our conversations focused on defining his communication style and honoring it. Helping him become aware of how his introverted nature was keeping him away from his wife, although he wanted to be close. We explored ways to turn towards her quietly and at his pace: walking together with the dogs, short outings with friends (too long creates high social anxiety for him) and sitting together for at least 1 meal/day. We explored his fears of rejection and ridicule from childhood and became aware of how those fears had encouraged his already solitary nature over the years. We talked about how to honor his introverted Self and still engage in social situations, especially with his wife and son.
He reports that his wife has noticed his efforts and has praised him. He is currently back in their bedroom and planning a family vacation. To be continued....