It’s natural for relationships to go through lulls where the level of intimacy or excitement isn’t the same as it once was. One of our therapists at Online Couple Therapy offer some steps you can take on how to reconnect with your partner in order to feel closer again.
Allow yourself to be vulnerable
Take some time to think about what would really make you happy in your relationship. We often get wrapped up in what isn’t working rather than what is or would. Ask yourself what you would like to happen between you and your partner? Do you want it to be more exciting? More affectionate? More romantic? Less routine? Although, focussing on specifics and less general you could set yourself up for disappointment if things don’t flow naturally.
During online couple therapy our counsellors highlight the importance of thinking about what you would ‘actually’ like to happen and the actions needed to facilitate that. It may be easy to think of what you would like your partner to do, but what about you? What could you do that would be a step in the direction you want things to go? Don’t be afraid to be bold!
People often believe they are expressing more than they actually are when they feel hurt or let down. And when their partner doesn’t catch on or respond, this thens adds to their case of hurt. But instead of being honest and explaining how they are feeling, they put up a wall in the misguided hope it will protect them. Yet, in order to receive love, we have to be willing to let our guard down and be vulnerable.
Don’t be afraid to be bold when it comes to love. This doesn’t mean you have to plan elaborate declarations of love. It can be something much simpler. Such as paying a compliment to your partner or being flirtatious and affectionate. Or perhaps breaking the routine with a surprise or giving them your full attention when they are telling you about their day.
Stop point scoring
Relationships often run into trouble when couples start weighing their actions against each other. Although it can be tempting to list all the things you are doing and your partner isn’t, this only leads to resentment. We are then more than likely pull away and become guarded and critical. We may even miss out on some of the things our partner is offering because we are busy building a case against them.
It’s important to remember that your partner has their own things going on. Internally and externally. If they are not giving you the response you would like, it might be because they may be going through something that has nothing to do with you. However, it’s still okay to be there for your partner. It’s alright to let the little things go and to accept that you each have unique and separate things to offer. However, this does NOT mean you should stand by a person who is consistently unkind, ungenerous or isn’t making you happy.
You can always find things that your partner could be doing more of, but you’re the only one you have control over in your relationship. When you get sucked in to a tit-for-tat mentality, you forget that love is not a competition. Being loving and generous, even when your partner is having an ‘off’ day can help you feel close and a choice you can make for yourself.
One of the best things you can do to stay close to your partner is to say what you want directly. People underestimate how hard it can be to do this. People often tell us they are direct. But, in reality, what they are actually doing is hinting, nagging, complaining, demanding – or expecting their partner to read their mind.
Being open and direct can be difficult and can leave you feeling vulnerable. So the tendency is to try and avoid the risk of feeling hurt or let down. Instead, we might make comments in the guise of a ‘joke’. Such as “well, if you ever got home early enough, we could actually see each other.”
Alternatively we may punish our partner with the silent treatment when you don’t feel satisfied. A lot of the time this is because you are listening to your critical inner voice, telling you to protect yourself and to not say what you want. It tells you that you’ll only be disappointed.
Getting close to your partner means pushing past your critical inner voice and saying what you want directly. Try to be open and vulnerable when you express yourself without blaming or sounding victimised or angry. For instance, if you feel your partner has been distracted and unavailable you could say “I miss you. I really like talking to and I love when we spend a bit of time catching up at the end of the day.” Being vulnerable and honest enables your partner to know how exactly how you feel without feeling blamed and on the defence. They are then much more likely to offer you what you want.
Take time for yourselves
At Online Couples Counselling we often suggest that couples take a little time and space in order to rejuvenate the relationship. Particularly when things have got complicated or dull and routine between you. You don’t have to be together all the time to be close. Taking time to do your own thing gives you a chance to gain perspective, miss the other person and appreciate who they are all over again. For some couples, this kind of clarity can come from a few hours, a single evening, or a week or two away. These separations can come naturally and shouldn’t be used to punish or threaten your partner, but to reconnect with a feeling inside yourself.
Be your old self
When couples go through difficult times, they often long for the person they first fell in love. They often talk about how the other person has changed in the relationship. However, it is important to think about how you felt about yourself when you first fell in love. How did you feel about your partner? How did those feelings make you act? In the initial stages of a loving relationship, most people express more curiosity, respect, kindness and excitement toward their partner. They also tend to feel more care and vitality within themselves. Therefore if you think about the qualities that matter to you most and try and uphold them.
Of course, every human being evolves and grows, so it’s not about pretending to be an old version of yourself. It’s also not really about our partner. It’s more about getting back a feeling you had towards yourself, your partner and often your life in general.
There is a well know expression “we fall in love by chance, we stay in love by choice.” It may sound a little unromantic, but it’s true. In the sense that maintaining your feelings toward your partner is often a matter of staying alive to love within yourself. You have to keep opening yourself up to another person and taking loving actions toward them if you want to stay feeling close and in love with them. Most actions we take in the name of love are acts of being vulnerable and undefended. The above tips from couple therapy Bromley are not exclusive but they are significant strides towards staying close.
Online couple therapy
If you would like some professional help in how you and your partner can feel close again. Contact us at Online Couples Counselling today. Request an appointment