Though it's great to have a chill, laid-back personality, it can actually backfire in your relationship. Love expert Deborah McFadden from YourTango is here to share the consequences of not speaking up to your partner.
Some disagreements are meant to be had.
It happens to lots of people, especially women. You meet the person you believe is your soulmate. You believe you will live happily ever after and you will always have all your needs met because he will know exactly how to take care of you.
Then you get married. You have a belief that it is your responsibility to keep things on an even keel all the time. You begin to work at keeping the peace in your house by never speaking up about what you really think or feel or need. You figure you must keep the peace no matter what, and therefore, you try to be easygoing.
He will just know what you need and want and make sure that you are loved and taken care of because that is what you assumed he would do. After all, he's your soulmate.
You begin keeping the peace in small ways. Then as the children come along, you insist on taking on the "responsibility to keep everyone happy." Your spouse asks where would you like to go, or what would you like to do, or which restaurant you would like to go to, and you respond, "It doesn't matter to me!" in an effort at being easygoing and agreeable.
Then one day, say about 20 to 25 years later, you say to your spouse that you are not happy and you want a divorce. Your spouse is dumbfounded because he believed that you had a great marriage. You did all kinds of things together as a couple and as a family. He goes to get help from a counselor and gets you to come with him.
When he hears from you that you "Never had a choice in anything," he again is dumbfounded. He says something to the effect, "I always asked you what and where you wanted to go or do and you would say, I don't care, you choose. So I would and you would seem to be OK with it. Now you are saying that I always made all the decisions without your input! What are you talking about!?!"
Let's take a look at some things that have happened over time to you and your spouse and where the communication fell apart.
You convince yourself that this is the best way to keep the peace.
Here are five ways that being easygoing and keeping the peace at all costs could be ruining your relationship:
1. Over time, you have begun to feel resentment toward your spouse.
This obviously is detrimental to your relationship. You believed that by deferring to your spouse all the time to keep the peace has been the best way to have a good relationship. However, you are not a very happy person.
You feel neglected, unloved, and uncared for. You haven't spoken up and revealed your true thoughts and feelings because you were afraid that the consequences would be discord. You are so intent on keeping things "harmonious" that you didn't let your spouse know that you were feeling truly unloved and uncared for and that your needs are not being met.
In essence, you have not been truthful with your spouse, but he does not know that.
2. You are feeling more and more disappointed in your relationship.
You believed that your spouse should just know what you need in your life to feel loved and cared for. You believe that if you keep the peace and let him have his "way" about things that he will automatically show you love and care and that he will consider your needs above his own. How disappointed are you when that doesn't happen?
Your disappointment continues to grow over time. You were so convinced that if you kept the peace your relationship would be a "happily ever after" one. Now, all you can think about is how hurt you are that he seemingly does not care about you and neither does anyone else, even your children, in your home.
3. You have set a pattern in your relationship that you and your spouse are always in agreement.
Others look at your relationship and are actually jealous of what they see. They think that you have the perfect relationship and that you are always in agreement. Your spouse believes that you are always in agreement. You have done a great job of teaching him that you will always acquiesce to his desires and that you are actually very willing to do so.
The more you do that, the more your spouse and your children (if you have them) believe you will and begin to expect that you will. You have developed a pattern of giving in and letting others really walk all over you.
4. Your spouse begins to develop a false sense of security in your relationship.
Your spouse believes that your marital relationship is great and that you are always in agreement with each other. The problem is that one of you is lying about how you feel overall in your relationship. That person is you.
You actually feel that your spouse doesn't care about what you think or feel, but really what has happened is he has been lulled into believing that you are both on the same page all the time and that you are as happy as he is with it all. Your spouse believes the lie he has been convinced of over time by you. You've done a great job of keeping the peace — but at what expense to your relationship?
5. By the time you actually reveal the truth about how you feel, it may be too late for your marriage relationship to recover.
Your resentment has become so deep and your pain is so intense that you may feel all that is left is to get out of your marriage. Your spouse may feel so blindsided by your revelation that he is unable to come to terms with it. He will scratch his head and wonder how in the world this happened.
He probably will be very overwhelmed with the fact that the marriage he thought he had has been a lie. He may believe he does not even know that person he thought he knew and believed he had married. He may try to do all kinds of things to show you that he loves you and cares for you, but you may believe that it is too little too late.
When you think about all the consequences, especially the end of a marriage relationship, the fear of telling the truth from the beginning is a much better way to go. You may experience some not so peaceful moments in your relationship, but it is important to work together and talk through each of your thoughts and feelings about what is important to you.
If you have not been telling the truth over the years you've been together, be prepared for your spouse to feel he has been deceived. You can teach him to believe you, but you have to be persistent and continue to follow through with telling the truth. The work will be hard, but you can do it. Stick with it. Don't give up.
If you need help, get professional help to guide you through the difficulty of making these changes in your relationship. You can have a relationship that is based on love and truth, but you have to face your own fears related to what peace really is and that sometimes you have to "rock the boat" a little to get to a peaceful solution.
If you've been working too hard at keeping the peace in your relationship and are about to give up, click here to download instructions we have prepared on how to get started fixing it. We also recommend you call Drs. David and Debbie McFadden at 331-308-0113 for a free 15 to 20 minute phone/Skype consultation. Together, we can figure out how we can help you learn to begin expressing yourself and get back on the road to a happier relationship.
Check out more great stories from YourTango:
- 8 Things You Can Do Now That Help Make Sure You'll Grow Old Together
- 5 Reasons Marriage Feels So Incredibly Hard (and 5 Ways to Make it Easier)
- 8 Easy Ways to Make Your Marriage Even Better Than It Is Right Now