The Agony of Sharing your Feelings in a “Safe Space”

I have been married for 18 years and divorced for over 5 years now, and I can tell you the moment when I think I understood that our marriage was not going to last. I have converted over the years to be an advocate for mental health services.  Psychiatrists, psychologists, etc, are all important when needing to talk to someone about your issues. 

With that belief, I have been converted to believing mental health drugs can be a big positive to those in need too.  Using these services since I was 19 years old, I was so reluctant and so stubborn to think I had any mental issues.  All the fighting, experimenting (not taking meds), and stonewalling psychologists all just extended my efforts in getting to a better place.  I thought I was right and everyone else was wrong.  That statement is huge in the fact that years back I would never accept this view.  But here I am sharing with you my mistakes and errors so that maybe you will find a quicker solution to your possible mental health issues.

Now with all that said I want to make something extremely clear.  When my marriage was having issues and I was somewhat dragged into couples therapy I learned an important lesson.  Again, I believed in therapy at this moment in my life but what I was not comfortable with being in therapy with my significant other.  If we were going in there to work on basic things like communication or something, I probably would not have had as big an issue.  But going in to discuss why we were failing and how we were feeling is another thing entirely.  Basically you have to share your deep inner feelings and that can be a disaster.

After the therapist’s speech about “This is a Safe Space”, I decided to jump instead of wading carefully into the therapy waters.  Maybe I already knew that this was going to be an issue or maybe I was just oblivious to the situation.  But I went ahead and shared my inner feelings of, in so many words, I was not sure if I was completely in love, to begin with, 18 years earlier when we got married.  Now this is nothing personal to my Ex and we communicate daily co-parenting, helping each other at times and we still have a small business together.  I want her to be happy and vice versa.  But sharing your actual feelings in therapy can pretty much drive a wedge in between you both that may never get removed.  You might not have meant it 100%, but once you say it out loud, with your significant other in the room, you pretty much are not taking anything back. You see there is no “Safe Space” when in these sessions.  Everything said, by both of you, will be remembered, always.  It’s no one’s fault, but we tend to focus on the negative way more than the positive.  And the last thing you want to do is hurt someone you care about’s feelings. 

My advice, both spouses use the same therapist but separately so those thoughts can be shared and then talked out with a professional and not in front of your significant other.

Look, marriage is hard and can be a lot of work.  But it also can be the greatest thing ever, especially when you have kids.  Working out your marital issues is important to having happiness and love.  But we ready though, because you may end up having happiness and love, but just with another person.  And you know what….that is okay, especially if you both figure this out together.


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