Have you lost the connection?
A relationship is a consequence of a connection. And you’ll know from experience that a connection cannot be forced just by creating a relationship.
So many couples tell me they have lost the connection with their partner, and they not only don’t understand why, but they just don’t know how to get it back.
When we first meet that special person in our life, there is often a really deep connection on all levels. You cannot imagine life without them. Everything seems so easy and effortless. You feel comfortable with each other and share your innermost thoughts, feelings and worries.
You want to spend time together, and you can’t imagine life without them.
Then the daily routine of life gets in the way.
When children join the family
I advocate that your partner should come first — after you, but if you have a baby or young children, you will know they are extremely demanding and time-consuming! Finding time for yourself is almost impossible. OK, I get it. But you had your kids together and you really need to jointly parent them. Once they are grown and left home you will be left with your partner and if you no longer have a connection
it’s going to feel very lonely.
So, sit and talk together and work out how you can jointly parent your kids. As adorable as they are, those little treasures can be extremely
manipulative. I often wonder how they are able to push our buttons so adeptly. They play each parent against the other until you both feel frazzled and give into them and if you aren’t careful you can find you are arguing with each other because they have played you against each other.
The phrase ‘Mummy / Daddy said I could’ is a favourite one. Or if they can’t get what they want from one parent they sidle up to the other trying their luck, and if that parent capitulates, parents can find themselves in a row about it. You have to be strong and ensure you are both on the same page. Putting children first really doesn’t give them a good role model experience. Remember everything you model they will assume is normal and will carry it into their adult relationships.
Work and career
We live in a society where being a workaholic is seen as having a badge of honour. People often have long commutes to work, frequently starting early and finishing late to avoid peak hours travel. Then after dinner, out comes the laptop and mobile, either to check emails
with the excuse, ‘It will give me a head start for tomorrow’. Or, ‘I need to finish this presentation/report as it’s due tomorrow’.
One husband explained to me the reason he spent so much time working on his business was for his family. He just needed 5 years to get it established and then he would concentrate on his wife and family! Needless to say, he couldn’t understand why she was unhappy with that. He had effectively checked out of the relationship and she was no longer prepared to hang around and wait for him.
Redundancy can cause all kinds of issues, not only financial strains on the relationship but also emotional ones too. A sense of shame or failure can affect the person involved and they may retreat into themselves, unable to talk and share their feelings.
These can really affect a relationship, especially if it’s a serious illness. For example, one client I worked with some time ago suffered erectile dysfunction as a result of suffering from Diabetes Type 1. Sadly, he felt so emasculated he avoided any kind of intimacy and was unable to talk to his partner about it.
Others suffer life-threatening illnesses and become so stressed and anxious they withdraw from their partner. Life events affecting extended family. When you or your partner’s parent or sibling becomes ill or incapacitated it’s likely your lives will be affected both emotionally
and physically as they will need extra care and attention. This means one or both of you will need to take on extra responsibilities of caring/visiting etc. which puts extra pressure on your relationship. This can lead to stress and anxiety and relationships can suffer. When one person becomes distracted by any of the things I have talked about, the other may decide their needs aren’t being met in the relationship and they find other ways to get them met.
They may take up hobbies or activities on their own. Spend time with friends or even have affairs. Consequently, things get worse and the relationship often breaks down completely. Each accuses the other with phrases like –
•‘you aren’t the person I met’
To be honest we all change over a period of time. I’m certainly not the same person I was when I was 20. We each mature and grow; it would be extremely boring if we didn’t! It doesn’t mean you have to grow apart from each other, but you do have to put in the work to keep the relationship alive.
What can you do to resolve these problems?
If you regularly read my articles you won’t be surprised when I say you need to communicate. Talk to each other, don’t nag or throw personal insults at each other as it really doesn’t help, and the other person will only remember the words that hurt – however much they are taken out of context and then thrown up at every opportunity.
You really do need to set aside time to talk to each other. If you have lost the connection, then look at old photos of happy times you had together, play the music you enjoy, recall the happy times you had together and start planning new ones. Actually, look at and notice each other – really notice. Look into each other’s eyes, and show your love for each other. Hold hands, cuddle and caress and stroke each other. Sensually, and not like you would do with your grannie!
That connection will encourage intimacy at a deeper level. When you first got together, I’m sure you didn’t grumble to each other about leaving cups lying around or complaining the bin men hadn’t collected the rubbish! If you had, I’m sure your partner would have run a mile.
•Set out boundaries and keep to them. Things like the use of mobile phones, laptops, rules around children. If children are allowed in your bed, you can’t be surprised if you have no connection with each other.
•Set aside time to focus on each other and your relationship.
•Arrange the sharing of chores so that you both have time together.
•Cut down activities. I see couples whose lives are completely filled 24/7 with no downtime. Not only do you need downtime but so do your children. Kids are at their most creative when they are ‘bored’.
•If you are still struggling, then seek professional help. For medical issues speak to your doctor and for emotional ones talk to a therapist. It’s not shameful, in fact, it takes courage and strength to say you want to save your relationship.
By WENDY CAPEWELL