How To Stay Connected To Your Partner During Busy Times

"I don't know what happened to us.  We hardly spend time together and rarely have sex anymore.  We used to be so close--now it just feels like we're roommates."

Sound familiar?  

Time and time again, I have clients in my office expressing the same concern. By the time they come and see me they are frustrated and feeling hopeless.  At times, infidelity or some other betrayal may have also appeared.  More often than not, one or both of them are tired and resentful of hearing:

"It's like you don't even care!"

"You're never there for me."

"Why am I the only one who makes an effort?"

All that is heard is criticism and anger.  What they're not saying or hearing is usually what's really underneath:

"I MISS you."

"I LONG to feel CONNECTED to you." 

"I NEED to know I still MATTER to you."

But how do you stay connected when your to-do list is longer than the length of your morning commute?  And who has the energy to listen to the seemingly never-ending list of complaints after a long day?  "NOT I, " said she!  The GOOD NEWS is there are ways to avoid the arguments and they require less time than a therapy session. 

If you consistently implement these small daily habits, you will nurture your relationship, strengthen your bond, and feel more connected to your partner. 

Here are (5) easy ways you can get started today.

  1. Incorporate greetings into your daily routine. How often do you forget to brush your teeth or put on your shoes in the morning?  Hopefully, not often! Chances are it's part of your routine, a priority, and a habit that you automatically perform. So why not incorporate greeting your partner as part of that routine?  Before you leave the house for the day, take ONE MINUTE to pause, tell them you're leaving, and say, "goodbye" with a hug/kiss.  When you get home don't just walk in and mumble, "hi."  Stop, embrace, give them a hug/kiss, and properly greet each other.  The whole process will take 1-2 minutes max, but the positive tone can last for days.
  2. Call, text, email each other throughout the day.  Most of us take a break at some point during the day whether it's to eat or use the restroom.  If you're not, your self-care may need some attention!  Make it a habit to touch base with your partner throughout the day.  It can be as simple as, "Hey, today's been hectic, but I'm thinking of you.  Looking forward to seeing you at home.  I love you."  Or send a flirty, sexy message that sets the tone for a fun evening. 
  3. Eat dinner together.  Make eating dinner together a habit.  Set aside a scheduled time or pick a day of the week that is reserved for meals together.  Schedule it on your calendar like you would an important meeting--because it is! If you really want to kick it up a notch, plan to cook together.  It's a great way to spend time together while working as a team.
  4. Designate, at least, 10 minutes at the end of each day to check-in with one another.  Pick a time of the day designated for your relationship check-in.  Ask each other, "What was the best part of your day? Is there anything you wish would have gone differently?" If you don't feel like talking then agree on what works for your relationship--maybe that's time to cuddle or hold hands. If you can't find 10 minutes in 24 hours to nurture your relationship there may be greater issues that need to be addressed. 
  5. Schedule time for sex.  Yep, I said schedule it.  I can hear the grumbles, "But that takes all the fun out of it! That's not sexy at all! I want it to be spontaneous."  I'm not suggesting you restrict yourself to that scheduled time, but I am suggesting you make it a priority to designate time to connect physically through touch.  Chances are you started the relationship dating and those dates were most likely scheduled, right?  If scheduling sex places too much pressure on you then schedule time for other forms of touch/pleasure.  What about a massage, showering together, or cuddling? Decide as a team what works for you.

Okay, I can hear some of you already: 

"Sure, these ideas sound great, but it's tough to remember to do these things because I'm so busy throughout the day!"

I get it. 

Life is hectic and busy for most of us, so

keep it simple and make it easy.

If you know you get easily sidetracked or struggle with your memory then set reminders.  Most of us have smartphones these days that are capable of scheduling appointments, making long distance phone call...they even allow us to make video calls these days. Phones also have reminders and alarms that we can customize.  Use them! Set yourself a reminder to touch base with your loved one with a fun name like, "Time To Show Some Love."  Or set up and share a calendar (iPhones and Google calendars offer this feature)  with reminders and alerts that keep everyone informed about important dates. Use the shared calendar to schedule your dinner and pleasure dates. You will never have to rely on your failing memory again!

If none of these ideas seem feasible and you're still struggling to reconnect, consider working with a relationship therapist.  Maybe it's time to start exploring deeper issues in a safe, nonjudgmental, therapeutic environment.

Small gestures made on a regular basis can have a long-lasting impact. They become a habit and strengthen the foundation of your relationship. Start with these small steps today or come up with your own ideas.  Your relationship will thank you for it in the long run!