So, my girlfriend and I have been together for 2.5 years or so now. Things are very serious, and I definitely see myself marrying her someday. We love each other a lot and we barely fight. When we do, it’s usually short-lived and we don’t leave mad at each other. But on occasion, we do get into bigger fights.
Today, we fought big time for the first time in a while. I explained to her why I was upset and annoyed with a particular situation. I told her why I was frustrated and exactly what I was frustrated about. She completely shut down but was clearly upset. I kept trying to ask her what was wrong and why she was upset, but she continued to shut down. I kept trying to guess what was wrong, but I was so frustrated that I left after about 30-45 minutes of me begging her to talk to me and her literally saying nothing, but occasionally shrugging her shoulders. I didn’t know how to fix the situation if she wasn’t willing to talk.
After I got home, she texted me a picture of some post that she saw online that explained her emotions exactly. It said:
“I completely shut down when I’m upset and it is upsetting my partner. I won’t talk or move I just kind of stare off into space and I am generally unresponsive. This is how my outside reacts. On the inside, I am screaming at myself to move or do something but it is like my body just won’t react. I want to talk to him about why I’m upset but it’s like my body won’t let me. He gets so mad when I won’t respond but he just won’t understand that I can’t. I’m just so afraid that this could end our relationship and I don’t want that to happen. I want to fix this.”
How can I work with her so we can both get what we want? Every time we fight, she will shut down because she is upset. I have no idea why she is upset and I can’t help her. I’m forced to guess what is wrong and what is upsetting her, and usually, I’m incorrect. I can’t fix the original fight unless I know why she got upset, but she can’t talk about it. How can I get her to express her concerns while being mindful of the fact that her body shuts down and won’t let her talk to me when she’s upset.