communication breakdown

Visitor's Question from a 13-15 year old Male
I have been with my girlfriend for a year and a half now and everything is going good...but when we get into arguments she doesn't want to share her feelings. she'll just say 'yeah, your right' or 'no its my fault'. even when its not and she knows it. she doesnt seem to want to work it out and she just wants forget it all happen ...I want to forget too but I feel we should talk about it so we are both on the same page, then move on.
I kind of knew she was like this after we had started dating for a few months but now it has gotten really bad to where I feel like I am telling her how I feel about *whatever* and then she just says 'yeah ok Im wrong' (and it just makes me upset when she does this and it only makes things wrose). how do we break this habbit? I have tryed to talk to her about it (without trying to be mean) and she just says she shares her feelings enough and Im just being I?

thank you for your time. Advice
Kudos to you! Usually the situation is reversed. It's the guy who doesn't want to talk about things, so good job! Most girls wish they had a guy like you.

As you indirectly pointed out, good communication is key to a good relationship and, as you further illustrated, without it things get worse.

Do you have any ideas why your girlfriend doesn't like opening up about her feelings? Is she embarassed by them? Does she feel they are not important? Is her family also closed? Even worse, are there bad things going on at home?

If she's simply embarassed, try gently letting her know that it is ok. You are her boyfriend and you are there for her and won't find them funny or anything like that. If this is the case and she does open up, just listen and validate her feelings by saying stuff like "I see" or "That makes sense." Don't pass judgement and don't get defensive. When it is your turn to answer, and it may not be right away or even that day (remember she will probably feel vulnerable), make sure you talk to her calmly. Don't yell or anything and ask how she's doing. If she's had her fill, then that's alright as long as you both feel you've made progress.

If she doesn't feel like her feelings are important, then she probably has a self-esteem issue. Basically, follow the same course of action, but also remember to reassure her that she is not only important to you, but to herself and everyone she cares about and who cares about her.

If she comes from a family that doesn't share, this might be something new to her and overwhelming. If that's the case, a little at a time might be your best bet. At first try to start with one minor thing and ask her to share with you and then move on... and let her know that that is 'all for now' so she knows that there is an 'end in sight.' Knowing that may help her see that her discomfort won't go on indefinately and that she, too, has some control over the situation.

Finally, if there are serious problems at her home (i.e. alcoholism, abuse, etc.) then the situation is more grave and can't be simply answered here. Try going to your school's counselors or a trusted teacher. The key to remember in a situation like this is that you can't make her go to anyone. All you can do is open up a door. It's up to her to continue.

Best of luck.

-- from Marc
One of Your Friendly Advisors at

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