Posted by: Frustrated | 2009-08-13

Communication non existent

Good evening CS, I would like to enquire whether there is a deeper underlying problem if one person in a relationship has such a phobia about cleanliness and neatness but refuses to communicate or resolve problems when they surface in the relationship by saying that he will not discuss the problems as he does not want to get hurt any further and he keeps quiet to avoid conflict. It even went so far as him saying that he needs alcohol to relax at the end of the working day. He also felt the need to rely on a young female colleague for transport to and from work as he currenly does not have a vehicle even although his partner was willing to fetch and carry him to work until such time that he was able to obtain a vehicle. The work colleague also had no problem to work late to accommodate him with the transport problem. Am I reading too much into their working relationship and is our relationship heading for disaster?

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Our expert says:
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That phobia sounds more like an obsession or compulsion, but that's merely ME being tidy. Obviously, one can only spculate about the reasons for someone else's behaviour, and needs to discuss this calmly with them at a carefully chosen time, to discover more. I'm not sure what your theory is ; it seems as though you feel if they are so fussy about neatness in the physical surroundings, they should be neater about the relationship issues, instead of sweeping them under the carpet, as it were. Sounds like the person has been badly hurt in a previous relatonship, and sees any discussion of relationship issues as likely to inevitably lead to further hurt, rather than to solutions. And maybe he is also under stress at work. THe transport issue may not be sinister rather than practical, but again, you can't know this without discussion.
Would it be possible to start a alm discussion with him about how you appreciate his devotion to neatness in the house, but worry that, perhaps because in a previous relationship he was hurt in attempts to resolve emotional issues, now he tolerates those being very untidy and you would rather work with him and a marriage / relationship counsellor to tidy up the relatonship for both your sake's, and make it happier and more comforting for each of you

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