Marry your best friend - that’s the advice most of us get.
But, when we meet someone we think is special, is there a tendency to expect them to handle our emotional baggage?
For local influencer Naomi Neo, she had unhealthy expectations of her partner to manage her emotional needs.
On the R U Okay podcast with Jean Danker, the 27-year-old was asked by Jeanie Chu, a psychologist invited onto the show, about what felt safe to her - be it a place or a person.
Neo replied that her husband came to mind as “he’s my partner for a reason” and he’s someone she can fully trust.
“But at the same time, because of my trust issues, I feel like even until today - we’ve been together for seven years - there are things where I’m afraid that by telling him, I’ll be judged for,” she clarified.
Tip to overcome trust issues with husband
In response, Chu advised, “One tip that you probably can take away is think about what makes your husband safe for you. You may not have the answer right now, which is fine, but think about that and see whether you can find what makes him so safe for you to open up, and see where you can find that in maybe other people.”
With this, Chu pointed out that perhaps Neo can expand her support system as she may not want to share certain things with her husband but she can share those with other people.
Danker added that we expect our spouses to be “all encompassing” and able to handle our honest thoughts without judgment, hence forgetting that they’re also human.
Said Neo, “By relying on one person, it puts a lot of pressure on this person as well and that’s something that I only learnt about in the last couple of months.”
“There used to be this expectation of my husband to be there to cater to all my emotional needs and to listen to everything that I have to talk about. That’s how it used to be for me as well with past relationships,” the content creator confessed.
In fact, she held them up to this expectation to see if they were “boyfriend material” and if they fell short of it, she found them unsuitable.
“But it’s not them, it’s me. I feel like you should be recognising what’s right to expect of people,” she said, adding that her expectations started becoming “unhealthy” when she wanted her young children to be there for her.
That was the moment she realised there was a problem with herself and that she had to go out and meet people again.
Self-awareness about emotional baggage
Chu said, “What I’m hearing is there’s a lot of pressure for you to hold onto your distress all by yourself. It sounds to me like, ‘Oh I cannot put it on my children’ [and] rightfully so because like you mentioned they’re young, they might not be able to understand, they cannot hold the space for you.”
However, Chu also praised Neo for her self-awareness as she realised that she couldn’t be dumping her emotional baggage on her children who aren’t even emotionally mature yet.
She said self-awareness is the one thing that you have to cultivate yourself and it’s good that Neo has that.
She added, “I think moving on is more of like, ‘Okay, then who can I find to help support that?’ Because we all want to be superhumans and we all want to carry our own issues but it is not possible. And if it’s possible, I think I’ll be out of a job lah.”
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