Ask Layla

‘My partner has built a wall around her emotions and doesn’t want to let anyone in’

Ask Layla: My girlfriend’s emotional disassociation is making our relationship really difficult. I’ve suggested therapy so she can work through the trauma of her past relationship – but she’s not yet willing to, and I’m at a breaking point

“Addressing a partner's reluctance to open up emotionally can be frustrating, leading to constant guesswork about their needs,” says psychologist Layla Collins

Question

I’ve been with my girlfriend for three years and despite us having a happy, loving relationship, she struggles with having emotionally open conversations, and she gets frustrated when I try to encourage her to open up about feelings. It’s like she has built a wall around her emotions and doesn’t want to let anyone in.

I’ve been understanding and empathetic around this behaviour because I know it is largely due to her ex-partner, who ...