It is easy for distance to creep into relationships with the demands of living in our modern world. Whether it be kids, work, meetings, appointments, events….these things can all take away from time with loved ones. Let’s not forget screens. Television, computers, phones, tablets…they provide us with an escape in the hopes to feel connected. These outlets may entertain us but they certainly do not connect us. Sure you can Facebook with people you would otherwise have no contact with, but unless you deepen that relationship with time together and conversations, you will not feel a true connection.
When you allow these distractions to come between you and another….
Slowly the two of you, whether it is your spouse, partner, friend, or family member, start to lose touch with each other. Days, weeks or even months pass and you feel like the two of you don’t connect anymore. Sure you might pass by each other or talk about daily tasks that need to get done, but do you feel engaged during these interactions?
Disconnection can lead to feelings of loneliness, sadness, worry, or anger. You may start to feel uncertain, lonely or even angry that it has gotten to this point. Thoughts about the status of the relationship develop and you question the security in the relationship. A good amount of certainty is needed to maintain a strong attachment in the relationship.
If you are not connecting, then you are not growing together. If you are not growing together then the relationship will die.
Are you watching your relationship slip away from you?
Do you want more? Do you want better?
You can have it, but you need to create it. The goal is to be more conscious in your efforts to build connection. But first decide what the outcome you want is? What would you like your relationship to look like? What would you each be doing? How can you contribute or what will you need to do? These are all good questions to ask yourself.
Take Back Your Relationship
We all have the power to change things in our lives and if this is something you want to change…then decide today that things will be different. You can do your part by implementing these effective tips into your day.
Start by staying checked-in. Don’t walk away, avoid or ignore the issues in your relationship. This does not mean start making a list and giving that to the other person or place demands that he or she change. Think about filling in the gap. Start planning and doing things that will help you to feel more connected! Plan dates, go to lunch, make a phone call, send an email or a card, or talk over coffee. The list of activities to connect can be endless.
What have you done in the past? What might you like to do now? Make a personal list of ideas for connecting and start planning.
Assess what emotional needs are most important to the other person and help to meet those needs in the specific ways in which they would like. Giving to the relationship will help the other to feel loved or cared for and will also help to bridge the gap.
Assert your own needs and communicate clearly. Making use of “I” statements is crucial during these types of talks. For example, “I feel disappointed that we have not spent time together the way I liked before.” Approaching the situation in a non-threatening stance is less likely to invite a defensive response from the other person. Let him or her simply know that this is how you have been feeling and these are your feelings, not how they have to feel.
Demonstrate that you own that these are your feelings and that you recognize that the other person may not feel the same way. Take the time to ask about how they are feeling. “How do you feel about the time we spend together?” Acknowledge his or her feelings and accept how they feel.
Turn your feelings into needs. Present your needs in clear behavioral requests. For example, “I would really like it if we could plan a date each week to spend time alone, or I would like it if you could have dinner with me 2 nights a week.” The clearer and more specific you are the more likely your needs will get met.
Staying connected in your relationships takes effort. It is so easy to lose that in today’s busy world. Think of ways to build connection back into your relationships and be calm, clear and assertive when it comes to addressing your needs. Knowing what is bothering you, owning your thoughts and feelings, and addressing the issue in a conscious effort to get your needs met will prove to be effective.