It can be hard to connect with your partner if you keep doing things that keep you disconnected. I invite you to gain some awareness on the things that disconnect you from your partner or prevent your partner from connecting with you, and let’s also discuss some ways that you can grow and deepen your connection.
Lying or withholding information is a sure way to destroy a connection with someone. The lie not only keeps you from being your true self with your partner, but it also prevents you from connecting with your partner in a genuine way. Lying severs the trust that grows in healthy relationships. Withholding information, thoughts, and feelings is just as damaging as a lie.
Control and coercion can destroy your partner, and it also makes safety inaccessible, which means your partner will not likely be able to show up in a genuine way, because they’re trying to protect themselves. Connection relies on two people having safety and autonomy. When control enters, fear follows. To maintain a connection that is genuine, both partners must be free of control or coercion.
Lack of Accountability is a connection killer, and an intimacy killer. Being accountable for your thoughts, feelings, and actions is essential to staying connected. No one can be perfect, because perfect doesn’t exist… so healthy relationships thrive when partners own up to their mistakes, take responsibility, and make changes that honor themself and the relationship.
Heal and Regrow:
For connection to heal and regrow, you must address any or all these issues listed above first. It would be like trying to grow flowers when your garden is being set on fire, daily, over and over. Often, with the couples I work with, I find that there are subtle bids for connection that one or both partners do, in order to reestablish safety, and get to a place where the fires are all out and connection can regrow.
When there is a rupture in the relationship, a wound from major conflict, or when one partner is desiring to be close with the other, they will make a bid for connection. Sometimes this is a grand gesture that is a direct and clear request to connect or repair the wound (like coming to you and saying I’m sorry, can we talk). Sometimes it’s not so clear (when your partner looks at you after a big fight and smiles).
Here are some questions to help you explore what’s happening when your partner makes a bid for connection.
- When your partner makes their bid for connection, are you aware and how are you responding?
- Are you turning toward your partner? Accepting this bid and making space to connect?
- Are you turning away? Ignoring the request, or not present in the moment to see it?
- Or are you turning against? Are you shaming, criticizing or harming your partner when they make a bid to connect with you?
- What influences the way you respond to your partner’s bid for connection?
Connecting with your partner can be really scary. It requires a sense of vulnerability, which many of us are not okay with.
That fear you’re feeling may have kept you safe in your harmful family, or an abusive relationship, but it’s also what’s keeping you from connecting with others. Therapy is a great place to start when overcoming these fears. Your therapist is a safe person, who will nurture you and comfort you as you allow yourself to be seen. When you allow yourself to be seen it’s a sign you’re healing!
Knowing what you’re thinking, feeling, and what your needs are will help you show up authentic in your relationship. When you are your most authentic self you create space for a deeper connection with your partner. You’re likely not going to feel connected if you show them a version you think they want. But when you are vulnerable and show them the real you, that’s when you can feel the connection!
Sharing your thoughts and feelings with your partner, although scary, is essential to relationships. Connection and intimacy thrive on the openness and safety between two people. The leap of faith at the beginning of a relationship is scary, exciting, and can feel so good. It’s the start of something amazing. I invite you to continue to use that same excitement to jump into scary territory during hard relationship times. Being vulnerable, sharing your thoughts and feelings, even after 20 years of marriage can be scary, but is SO NEEDED.
Through relationships we are seen and heard. We are also able to witness and hear others. It is through these intimate moments, when we are vulnerable, that we create our deepest connections, with our loved ones, and with ourselves.