"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."
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.
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!