Getting Closer in Your Relationship Starts with You

Getting Closer in Your Relationship Starts with You

Distance is deadly to a relationship.

We’re not necessarily talking about physical distance when you and your partner live in different parts of the country or even world. We’re talking about EMOTIONAL distance.

When emotional distance forms and gets bigger, it blocks intimacy and passion. It turns even minor disagreements into a really big deal. It puts a damper on affection and sexual attraction AND it can mean breakup or divorce.

We know how easy and fast distance can develop.

You and your partner get busy. You have jobs, kids to care for, home maintenance and repair, extended family members who need you and your own health and well-being to attend to.

It can be exhausting!

Your relationship connection gets pushed to the background– until later when you have more time and energy– and, unfortunately, is never made a priority. THIS is what happens when distance forms.

THIS can be the beginning of the end for a couple who might otherwise have a happy relationship.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Intimacy and love don’t have to die away. The spark and passion can keep growing and your connection can become stronger and more delicious. And, you have the power to help this happen.

Getting closer to your partner always and every time starts with you…

If you feel shut out and ignored by the one you love, this statement might be annoying to read. After all, it’s not you who is cold and distant. It’s not you who never has time for your relationship.

It is difficult– and maybe even feels impossible– to get closer to someone who seems uninterested in or unwilling. It’s helpful to remember what you can and you can’t do.

One thing you truly cannot do is to force your partner to change. If you’ve ever tried to make someone you love be different, you know how futile this is. It’s important to know when enough is enough and maybe it’s time to decide whether to stay in or leave your relationship.

If you’re going to stay with your partner, then it’s time to stop trying to change him or her and start figuring out what you can do.

Look at your own habits when it comes to intimacy, communication, openness, criticizing, being judgmental, closing down, opening up and more. Own your role in the distance in your relationship and begin to respond differently to triggering situations.

Ask yourself the questions below to better understand the distance between you and your partner. Remember, this isn’t about making yourself (or your partner) “bad” or assigning blame. This is about affirming your own power as you open up to improvement.

#1: “How do I push my partner away?”

Recall the specific and observable ways that you tend to push your partner away from you. Maybe this doesn’t happen all that often and maybe it does. Think about what you usually do when you feel triggered, vulnerable, defensive, distracted, stressed out or overwhelmed.

What would help you stay present and close to your partner, even when you’re upset?

Make a list of some alternatives to what you normally do. Even if you don’t think these alternative responses will work, write them down on a piece of paper anyway. The next time you feel your emotional walls coming up and your impulse is to push your partner away, remember this list and invite yourself to try one of these alternatives.

#2: “How does my partner reach out to me?”

It might be clear to you that your partner is “always” the first one to shut down when things get tense or just busy. You might feel like the “only” one who ever puts in the effort to bridge the distance.

Our question to you is this…

“Is that really true?”

Could there be times when your partner actually does attempt to get closer to you? Maybe this doesn’t happen frequently, in ways you were expecting or at the moment when you were open and available, but it did happen. Your partner DID reach out to you in some way.

Right now, think and see if you can find one example.

Just recognizing that you aren’t the only one in your relationship who tries to bridge the gap can be a big a-ha moment. Acknowledging this helps you make an important shift.

#3: “Where could I soften with integrity?”

Distance in a relationship is often accompanied by rigidity. A difference or disagreement crops up and both people harden around “their” way. It might be about how best to pay bills, raise children, how often to have sex or any other little or big issue. When each person digs in his or her heels, communication comes to a standstill and the distance between them increases.

Think about a sensitive subject in your relationship and notice your thoughts about it. Be on the lookout for thoughts and beliefs that feel very solid and rigid, whether these are about what you want or what you believe your partner wants.

Next, invite yourself to take a slow and deep breath and soften by saying to yourself something general like, “I soften around the subject of money.”

Know that softening is very different from caving in or sacrificing your needs. When you cave in, you are essentially giving away your power. You are squelching your own voice to appease the other person.

When you soften, you open up to communicating about this topic. You remind yourself about how important your partner and relationship are to you. As you and your partner talk and listen to one another, you expand your perspective of the situation and you start looking for the best solution– instead of only “your” solution.

This is how to not only resolve tricky problems in your relationship, this is how to melt the distance and move closer to the one you love.

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