The importance of emotional connections
One of the essential elements which hold partners together in a relationship is the emotional connection they establish with each other. Actually, a weak emotional bond is among the most common reasons for problems between the partners. Drifting apart from your loved one is not a thing that happens in a day or two though. It’s a continuous process that might be lasting for a very long period of time And the worst part is that a lot of couples just don’t realize they are on the way of becoming emotionally disconnected.
When are emotional connections formed
The way we would attach to our loved people in a later stage of life had been modeled as early as our childhood. If we had had a secure bond with our first caregivers, the chance of establishing closer emotional connections in future relationships is bigger. On the contrary, If we didn’t establish strong and secure bonds while growing up, our adult relationships tend to be more or less problematic.
The process of emotional disconnection
The reasons for this problem may vary. So may the explanations. According to Attachment theory, we expect from our loved one comfort and security. If the partner gets emotionally distant, we could feel lonely, sad or even rejected. We might start doubting the trust in the relationship or feeling it is at risk. We could even decide the situation is helpless. At this moment we become overwhelmed with the fear of losing our partner and our body reacts through the part of the midbrain called amygdala. It acts as a built-in alarm which responds to the negative emotions by giving us a sense of panic.
How different couples react
Problems, controversy, and conflicts are stressful but at the same time normal for every relationship. And if the emotional connection with the partner is strong, these feelings causing insecurity are seen as temporary and not menacing. We just know there is no reason to feel afraid of losing our loved one. On the other hand, when it comes to partners whose emotional bond is not that close, such feelings can be destructive. They might provoke a strong sense of uncertainty and lead to panic. Another important thing to say is that all of these emotions are actually processed on a subconscious level. So these problems are growing in our subconsciousness for a long time before we even start understanding what’s going on and try to change it.
Why we get emotionally disconnected
In the beginning, the partners are overwhelmed with positive emotions and intense romantic feelings. They are devoted to working things between each other out and put a lot of effort into building the relationship. At this stage, the emotional connection between the partners is very strong and close. Later, however, everyday responsibilities could cause them to take different paths. As their priorities change the focus of their emotions shifts too. Some stress factors that have accumulated so far might also influence the relationship. As a result, the partners get distanced. For instance, being concentrated on different goals like building a career or rearing kids makes them struggle to find a balance between home life, their jobs, and their relationship. And if they don’t succeed in finding that balance their emotional connection weakens. The more the time passes, the weaker the emotional bond becomes until at the end it turns out that the partners have slowly been drifting apart.
On top of that, they tend to spend less and less emotional reserves on the partner. This is when emotional disconnection starts taking hold. Unfortunately, usually, people don’t realize what’s going on until the distance between them has become really huge.
Below are three important steps you need to take to reestablish your emotional connection with the partner:
The first thing to start with is to become aware of what is going on and understand the signs of emotional disconnection.
Here are the most common ones:
- You feel insecure when you talk to your partner.
- You spend less time with your partner than before.
- The communication is not as it used to be.
- The relationship brings loneliness instead of satisfaction.
- You need things your partner can’t give to you.
2. Talk about your problems
Discussing the problems is the key to a successful relationship. Whenever you realize there is one, you should find a good time to talk about it.
Let your partner know that you’re experiencing emotional disconnection. That it’s necessary to reestablish your bond on a deeper level. Ask them if they think the same.
3. Reconnect with your partner
Dr Sue Johnson, a psychologist and primary developer of Emotionally Focused Therapy explains how to reconnect with your partner. According to her, the three most important moments in the process are:
1. Be accessible:
You should become aware of your own feelings. Find out how they are influencing your partner. Check what their feelings or attachment injuries are. But most importantly act openly and be ready to talk about it.
2. Be emotionally responsive
Pay attention to your partner’s needs. Behave with sensitivity and empathy.
3. Acknowledge your partner’s emotions
Pay attention to their emotions. Find out what they are and needs are. But do it in a deep and loving way. Be emotionally there for them.
If the relationship with your partner has become emotionally distant, these three steps are a good way to reestablish the closeness. Sometimes couples just avoid talking about their feelings with each other. They just keep living in the negative pattern of emotional disconnection. In this case, a good option would be to consult a psychologist or therapist.
Finally, what we need to remember is that love is the reason to get together with our partner. But it’s not a reason good enough to stay attached to them forever. People are different and so are their point of views and needs. A long-lasting and happy relationship is based, more than anything else, on a close emotional bond between the partners. And as the Lebanese-American writer, poet, and visual artist Kahlil Gibran said
…Love one another but make not a bond of love: let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.