1. To sever or interrupt the connection of or between two things
2. To shut off the current in by removing its connection to a power source
Both of these definitions of disconnection apply to what every couple experiences at various points in their relationship. These bumps are completely normal, so long as it’s not a place you both hang out in all the time. With the global stress and trauma that we’re all feeling, it’s pretty hard to feel connected to anything or anyone and our relationships are suffering. We can come back to each other. And, it’s important to know there’s no quick fix or bandaid. Flourishing relationships take effort.
Here I’m providing you with some enquiries that will help you step towards each other. Some of these may feel challenging. However, coming back into connection with each other is all about the baby steps you’re willing to take.
The first line of enquiry to make is to decipher whether you have pulled away from your partner, your partner has pulled away from you or if you’ve both distanced yourself. This distinction is not about blaming or pointing fingers. This is vital to understand, so that you can approach reconnection with compassion and care.
When You’ve Disconnected:
* Was there an event that created the distance?
* Is it a build up of many tiny moments that created the space between you?
* Is there something you aren’t being honest about?
* What need is not being met?
* Is this a need that you can meet on your own or do you need to make a request?
When a partner pulls away it can trigger an array of emotions, from abandonment to sadness or even grief. Notice what your patterns are. By understanding this, you are acknowledging your own emotional environment and you will be in a stronger position to support your partner.
When Your Partner Has Disconnected:
* Have you had an open, honest conversation with them?
* Have you in a kind way voiced your feelings and your need for closeness?
* Have you asked them what they need?
* Is this a space you can hold them in or do you need support from a friend, coach or therapist?
* What are ways that you can step towards them (ideas below)?
Ways to Step Towards Your Partner:
* Keep inviting bids for connection (making them their favourite meal, sending them a song they’d enjoy, reminding them of all the ways they are amazing).
* Validate their experience without getting pulled into the story of it, especially if you feel it reflects negatively on you.
* What kindnesses can you extend without the desire to be rewarded by their attention or trying to ‘fix’ them?
* Is there something silly you can do together to get you both giggling (a film or a rowdy pillow fight)?
* Physical touch. How can you touch each other more? Holding hands, hugging or offering a relaxing massage are all great nonsexual ways to be in physical contact more.
Ways You Can Reconnect Together:
* Remind each other of your values as a couple
* What do you hold sacred as a couple?
* Where can you both step towards deeper honesty?
* What practices, tools, or values can you lean on to come back to one another?
* Can you both take rest and eat well? A good night’s rest will do wonders for you both, as well as nutritious fuel.
Gently holding space for the other when they are far away is a choice you can make, knowing that these spaces of distance are normal in small doses throughout a relationship. Sometimes we have to move away to come together even more deeply. Be kind with yourself and your partner as you navigate the terrain of connecting back into yourselves and each other.
The Relationship Dojo - Courses for Couples, Blue Belt begins April, 15th. We’ll begin by taking a deep dive into the essentials of connection, communication and coming together. Click here to discover more.
Written by Jamie Lynn, Relationship & Intimacy Coach, Founder of Academy for Intimacy