Just because a couple is together for quite a long time now doesn’t always mean they “connect” well to each other. Research says that some couples are willing to keep even an “unconnected” relationship for reasons of convenience or that the relationship has become sort of a “security blanket” but not necessarily because they have a thriving and emotionally secure relationship. This is really a sad place to be in; loneliness follow you around. Even if you try your best to connect with your partner your efforts just seem to come up empty.
“How could couples stand to be together and not connect emotionally?”
Simply put, emotional connections are easily destroyed by a broken trust (betrayal), lack of trust, lack of appreciation, neglect, unsettled expectations, growing distance and lack of respect. It’s very strange that even two people who live physically together can grow emotionally apart. They no longer “see” each other nor “hear” each other – their senses are completely shut down. Seems like there’s this unspoken language that says “I am not interested in what you have to say” or “I cannot forgive what you have done to me” or “I couldn’t believe you’d hurt me this bad”. Anger is obviously justified and revenge often becomes the necessary evil. However this idea brings more harm than good in the relationship, more so when there are other people involved in the situation, for instance your children. When a person is hurt, it’s easy to be selfish but needless to say bitterness and resentment only bring more pain. If this situation hurts you more than anything then you need a better emotional connection with your partner before your relationship starts to completely fall apart.
Rule 1 – Agree to make it work
Yes, rebuilding the emotional connection is very possible. Experts agree that intimate communication is a skill that can be learned and re-learned. When you are frustrated and disappointed in your relationship, it’s easy to just give up. But the idea of giving up is also painful especially when both of you have shared beautiful memories together. Mustering the confidence to reach out without expecting your actions to be reciprocated right away is something you must decide to do.
Start by revisiting old memories even by yourself, initially. This will help you focus on your intention to make this effort work. Little by little, start making small talks that show interest in what she says or do. Even if it seems awkward at first, she’ll soon sense the objective in your actions and will likewise reach out. Don’t force anything she is not yet comfortable with. If you were responsible why the problem started in the first place, understand that she might be guarding herself from further painful situation. Be patient and be understanding.
Rule 2 – Seek help
Going by the adage “don’t wash your dirty laundry in public” may be something you and your partner are holding on to that is why both of you are refusing to seek help. Seeking help is simply asking somebody to mediate and help open up communication for both of you until you are comfortable enough to talk to each other. This is not something to be ashamed of. It is but natural that friends or family members would want to help you in this process — don’t send them away; they may be the key in successfully rebuilding your relationship with your partner.
Rule 3 – Start all over
Forgive and accept forgiveness, embrace the change, forget the mistakes but remember the lessons, give respect, communicate more, be responsive of each other’s needs, listen more, love more – these are just some of the things you and your partner must commit to in order to start over.
Starting over is starting fresh; it is also remembering the good times that you held on to together as a couple. This will help you stay focus on your efforts to rebuild emotional connection. Make time for each other and learn to appreciate even the small things.
Don’t throw in the towel yet, no matter how bad it seems. Don’t lose hope either. All couples go through some tough emotional trials and also succeed. The important thing is the willingness to work things out and to make extreme efforts to keep the line of communication open. It is only hard in the beginning when the cause for the emotional “disconnection” still feels fresh and painful. But just like what they always say “time heals all wounds”.