In a recent discussion about how our future together might play out, my Two boyfriend got very quiet. I asked what was wrong, and he said he didn't like something I'd suggested. I questioned him about it because I had a hard time wrapping my head around it, and after we'd moved on from his specific disagreement but we were still on the same topic, he was still quiet. I finally pried out of him that he felt "like a dick" for not wanting something I wanted. I told him he was not, that what he wants is just as important as what I want, and it's okay if we don't always want the same thing.
Things like this have happened before, where he had feelings that were different from mine, but he was hesitant to say anything. I know some part of this is simply that he's not used to discussing feelings with anyone due to being somewhat isolated. But even so, it's sometimes hard to get him to admit when he disagrees with me or even just to let me know what he's feeling.
I feel this goes beyond the male-female communications stereotype and the fact that he has a strong Nine fix. Being a core Nine myself, I don't often try to impose my will on someone - but when I get enthusiastic and impatient there are times when I can be a bit oblivious to others' needs, and I need to know he'll call me on it. So I asked him to promise me he'd speak up for himself when he has feelings I need to be aware of, and stand up for himself when what he wants is different from what I want, and he said he'd try.
The difficulty I'm having is knowing how to approach this for a 2w1 (he's self-preservation, if that helps). Knowing my own tendencies, my instinct is to help him feel as comfortable as possible when having these kinds of conversations (physical comforts like hot chocolate, a warm blanket, etc., and emotional comforts like rubbing my hand up and down his back and/or holding his hand, verbally acknowledging what he's saying, etc.) so he knows that having a conflict of opinion is not driving me away (loss and separation caused by conflict being the Nine's basic fear).
But not being a Two, I don't know that this is helping him feel any better or not. When he expresses his own needs, what can I do to make it less difficult for him? How can I help him feel comfortable and safe? How can I show him that I deeply appreciate it when he does? And is there anything else I need to consider?