Do you feel stuck in your relationship? Do you feel unhappy? Do you fight a lot more than usual? All this can cause you to withdraw from your partner. You avoid hugging and kissing. You barely spend any time together. You may be wondering if you are heading for a breakup or divorce. Hold on and don’t rush, because it is a fact that many couples that fight, make up the next day, and then go back to enjoying their loving and affectionate relationship. In other words, there is a lot you can do to ensure that your relationship goes back to being normal and healthy. But first, let’s see some of the warning signs:
Lack of emotional connection.You only talk about topics like your daily schedule and the weather.
Lack of support.Instead of going to your partner for emotional support, you choose to go to your friends and family.
You don’t spend time together.You and your partner don’t spend any time together. Instead, you are on one side of the house while your partner is on the other side.
Lack of intimacy.Your relationship lacks sex. You haven’t been intimate with your partner in months.
You feel angry.If you’ve noticed yourselves fighting more, screaming at each other, and feeling angrier with each other, this can be a warning sign that you have disconnected from each other.
You are defensive.If you both feel the need to defend yourselves and point fingers at each other, this can be also a sign that you don’t have each other’s backs and are disconnected from each other.
You give each other the silent treatment.Staying silent until the other partner apologizes is a sign of disconnection in a relationship.
You criticize each other.Criticism is another sign of disconnection. When you are on the receiving end, it really hurts, and if you the one doing the criticizing, you may think that your partner doesn’t understand.
You keep yourself busy.When you don’t want to deal with all the feelings and thoughts that come up during arguments with your partner, you might start keeping yourself busy by staying late at work, doing the laundry, or going to the gym for a couple of hours. Some think that avoiding each other is positive as it reduces the chance for further conflict, but avoiding your partner only leads to further disconnection.
Unfortunately, disconnection appears differently in each person. The following are the most common behaviors that can lead to disconnection:
- Name calling.
Repairing your relationship.
Once you repair your relationship, the problems you are facing now will become less of an issue and you will both be happier and more loving toward each other. You will learn how to take advantage of challenges to grow closer as a couple. You will be able to turn conflict into a productive moment for deeper understanding in your relationship.
Being connected is one of the beautiful things that make you a couple. It shows a level of trust and intimacy that has been established after opening up to each other and growing as a team. Therefore, don’t worry. Disconnection is a common issue in many relationships. Sometimes it occurs because partners fear connection or lack communication skills. What is common in all of these couples is that partners eventually withdraw from the relationship. If you are feeling disconnected, then it is time to sit down and ask yourself what is best for your relationship. Being a couple means that you should discuss everything with your partner while both of you respect each other’s feelings and needs. The next step is to think about each of your responsibility for this disconnection.
Be responsible for your thoughts.
If you find yourself or your partner engaging in any of the behaviors mentioned in this article, it is time to start reconnecting. Accepting your own responsibility and taking charge of your own actions is the first step. Then, it is important to understand that your thoughts affect your emotions and your behaviors. All of the behaviors mentioned above are triggered by thoughts you have about yourself, your partner, and your relationship. At this time, it is vital to pay attention to your thoughts. What was the triggering thought the last time you ignored your partner? What about when you became aggressive in response to your partner’s comment about your weight? Start to think about what kind of thoughts are triggering your behaviors and then challenge them. Then, transform them from negative thoughts to realistic thoughts. When you start changing your thoughts, your emotions and behaviors will follow.
Intimacy in relationships comes from a deep, compassionate, and loving connection. Partners being intimate with each other means opening themselves up in a state of vulnerability where there is trust and a feeling of safety and protection. Being intimate is letting your partner into your most innate desires and needs.
There are many ways to rekindle intimacy. The first way is through touching each other. When partners touch, they release endorphins that are responsible for feeling good and happy. Another way to restart intimacy is by being kind and respectful to each other. Discuss it with your partner and figure out what has brought you together since the beginning and decide how you want to restart intimacy.
Things you can do to start connecting again:
Open up to each other.
One of the things that brought you together in the first place was probably that you were open with each other at the beginning of your relationship. To start connecting again, you need to approach your partner with the intent to learn from them. Especially during arguments and conflict, you need to be open to learning. Opening up means you stop arguing, defending, or withdrawing yourself and be willing to hear each other with respect and understanding for each other’s feelings, thoughts, and points of view.
Accept responsibility for your own feelings.
When you stop blaming your partner for hurting you and instead take care of your own feelings by being compassionate and loving to yourself, you will develop enough compassion and love to share with your partner.
Focus on the positives, not the negatives.
Usually, when a relationship starts to disappoint, partners start focusing on what they don’t like about each other. Instead of focusing on the negatives, focus on the positives of your partner and what made you fall in love with them in the first place.
Plan to be together.
Individuals who keep themselves busy and forget to make time for each other often feel dissatisfied with their relationship. Whether you are in a fresh relationship or married, you always need to find time to talk, learn, laugh, play, share, and make love. Always set aside time for you and your partner like you did when you were still dating. It is understandable that when living a busy life, it’s difficult to find time, but spending time with your partner should be a high priority if you want to keep your relationship happy for years to come.
Stop being controlling.
While controlling individuals are usually completely unaware of how they try to control their partners, most of their partners are fully aware of how the other person tries to control them. Controlling behaviors include giving yourself up to avoid conflict and rejection and withdrawing and getting angry in order to intimidate your partner into doing what you want them to do. The problem with being controlling is that your partner will likely react by doing similar things to you. This behavior leads to disconnection between you. By becoming aware of your behaviors and being open to learning how to change them, you can eliminate distancing and promote relationship healing.
Still feeling stuck?
Sometimes, you do everything in your control to fix your relationship, but it doesn’t seem to be enough. Sometimes, you feel stuck and hopeless. At this point, seeking the support of a professional relationship coach will be the next step toward finding a solution to your problem. Relationship coaching offers a comfortable and safe environment where privacy, safety, and care give couples the opportunity to grow and for the individuals to grow within their relationship. Relationship coaching can help bring calm to your relationship as it teaches you and your partner how to solve conflict and reconcile. In short, it teaches couples how to build a solid and healthy relationship.
How to suggest relationship coaching to your partner.
You may be wondering if there is a good time to discuss relationship coaching with your partner. The fact is, the best time to ask your partner to accompany you to relationship coaching is as soon as you believe that it could help your relationship. You may wonder how to ask your partner. Easy: just set aside some time to reflect on your own fears about relationship or marriage coaching and what your partner may fear in getting started. Then, allow time for both of you to talk openly about your concerns and, if possible, do some research together to find a professional you both feel comfortable with. Remember, sometimes partners are afraid of seeing a professional, not because they don’t want to fix the relationship, but because it’s like acknowledging that the relationship of their dreams is facing problems and they don’t want to admit it.
Richard B. Miller, Jeremy B. Yorgason, Jonathan G. Sandberg & Mark B. White (2003) Problems That Couples Bring To Therapy: A View Across the Family Life Cycle*, The American Journal of Family Therapy, 31:5, 395-407, DOI: 10.1080/01926180390223950
Stephen J. Bergman MD, PhD & Janet L. Surrey PhD (2000) Couples Therapy, Journal of Feminist Family Therapy, 11:2, 21-48, DOI: 10.1300/J086v11n02_03