So many couples that come into my office practice for help with their relationship claim that they are stuck, isolated, and disconnected. They’re in distress, having found that they’re in a place where they don’t know where to turn. They are unable to find that connection that was lost, and often they’re not even sure quite how it happened.
Is it possible to go to sleep one night in love and feeling close to your partner and to wake up the next morning feeling like you’ve been sleeping with a stranger? That’s not what happens. More often than not it’s been a series of relationship problems, little slights, disagreements, hurt feelings and resentments that have built up over time until the “last straw”. It’s not like a light switch that one day you are loved and then the next day its off so you aren’t loved. That one thing that pushes you over the edge to where you no longer feel anything positive about your relationship with your partner and everything they do from that day forward reinforces your negative perception. This gets chipped away a little bit at a time. Once you are there, you don’t see any way forward. You can’t find a path to getting back together to feeling close and emotionally connected. Looking back, you may be able to recognize these 5 things that can erode your connection.
- Not feeling loved – It’s so important that you both learn each other’s love language, what you need to feel loved, and be committed to doing that for each other. It’s easy to overlook, but can do irreparable damage to your long term relationship health. Show love to each other every day. Never take for granted that your partner feels loved by you simply because you’re still together. You need to tell your partner this on a daily basis with no excuses.
- Not feeling heard – The most respect you can pay to your partner and your relationship is to listen to your partner (even when you don’t feel like it). We all need to feel like we’re being heard. Listen with intention to understand. Not to reply. Your partner doesn’t necessarily need for you to give them advice; they may simply need a sounding board for their feelings. On the flip side, if something is bothering them, you need to listen and attend to that. It’s your responsibility and commitment to let your partner know they are being heard and you’re attempting to internalize what they’re saying to you and take it to heart. Make your words and actions consistent and go together. We all have things about our partners that we wish would change, but I would challenge you to work on changing yourself instead. Do more looking inwardly than outside of yourself looking to your partner. No fault finding.
- Being taken for granted – Gratitude and appreciation needs to be shown daily. Small things become big things if you don’t keep common courtesy, manners and kindness as a part of your interactions. Are you romancing and courting your partner every day? Your partner does a lot for you, as you do for them. Neither of you should feel like that’s an obligation or a responsibility. You need to tell your partner how grateful you are for all the good things they contribute to your life. Don’t take for granted that they will simply do things for you out of the goodness of their heart if you don’t show appreciation. You risk losing your connection this way.
- Lack of authentic communications – Small things may become the big things if left unsaid. Resentments can build if you’re both making assumptions about what the other is thinking and feeling. It’s crucial that you take time together to sit down and communicate deeply, authentically and without reservation about those things that matter in your lives. It may be painful to be the one who reaches out, but if you do it in the spirit of love and kindness, you can accomplish great things together.
- Not feeling important to your partner – When you are in a love relationship for the long term, it’s easy to fall into a rut or routine. You can casually dismiss your partner and assume you know how they will feel or react to a given situation. You may be ignoring your partner and giving the bulk of your attention to your social life, career, studies or hobbies. You may be making decisions about important matters without consulting your partner. This creates a problem in the relationship if your partner is being passed over and not treated as important to you as these other things. Your partner is the one person in this world you should be making a priority in your life. They should always feel like (and be) the most important person in the world to you.
Your partner and your relationship have to be a priority in your life. If you don’t treat each other as important and as vital to each other as the air you breathe, you are at risk of losing that close emotional connection that is crucial to a happy and successful long-term relationship where you both feel you matter, and that you both feel like the most important person in your partner’s world.
If you watch out for and catch on to these 5 things as soon as you get a sense that something is going wrong, you can address them right away before the harm can be done. Talk with your partner about the way you feel. Together you can mend those small hurts before they take a large toll on your connection.
Make it a habit to check in with each other regularly and do at least an annual check-up on your relationship status. Check out The Couples Expert’s favorite one here: https://www.thecouplesexpertscottsdale.com/?s=annual+relationship+check+up