Relationships without Walls

Copyrighted by Lorna Tedder. Originally published in Passion to the Third Degree .

I want a relationship where the communication is deep and the walls are few. That’s always the problem in a relationship, isn’t it? Lack of communication? The other person’s communication?

The Long-Awaited Honest-to-God Secret to Being Happy

We pride ourselves on being able to communicate. On telling the other person how communication is a two-way street. On telling ourselves that we don’t allow any walls to be built. But we all create walls, or at least what are interpreted as walls, no matter how earnest we may be. We cut off other people and we isolate ourselves.

I’m angry right now…at all the Great Communicators in my life, past and present, who have expressed what great lengths they’ve gone to in order to communicate with me, with their families, with their colleagues, with other friends and lovers. And if I’m angry, I know why and I know what comes next and I don’t like it.

I woke this morning with an old pattern from my marriage echoing in my head, and I’m beginning to think that it’s possible that my ex and I actually didn’t have the patent on that particular relationship dynamic.

There were many times that this pattern emerged. It began in one of two ways—usually with me doing some small something that was unintentionally offensive or with something troubling occurring in either his work life or his internal life that he didn’t care to share with anyone. In either case, rather than express himself, he withdrew into a shell, leaving me to wonder what the hell was going on.

My Piscean love nature tends to be very responsive to a friend or lover’s moods, so when feeling cut off, I would feel the lack quite deeply. I would attempt to reach out—once, twice, a few dozen times. I’m not even sure now if my ex (or any other man) knew that he was withdrawing, though I certainly seemed to be sure of it then. Whether it was the factual reality or not, it was the emotional reality, and as an empath, I felt deeply cursed.

But after attempts and frustration at trying to keep those highly touted channels of communication open, then came the anger and despair, which I so often feel as the same. Then I, too, would withdraw.

At some point after that, he would miss my connection with him. That’s usually when I got the lecture on needing to communicate more or better and not building walls between us.

If it’s a close relationship, we go with the ebb and flow, build walls and tear them down and rebuild and raze again. If it’s not a close relationship or not close any longer—or, I suppose, not destined to be—I eventually become angry and frustrated and give up altogether. I don’t like that pattern of isolation, frustration, anger, withdrawal. So it leaves me two other choices.

I either keep trying to break down the walls until the other person usually becomes angry with me because they haven’t had time to work through their own issues or…I stay quiet and give them time to work through it themselves and remain open and available for when they are ready to talk. Unfortunately, with the latter of those, even a loving silence is usually interpreted as withdrawal on my part.

To be such a highly developed species and such intelligent people, it’s sad that we go through much of our lives experiencing such aloneness as we walk among so many others who are just as alone.


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