WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU FEEL ALONE IN YOUR RELATIONSHIP
One of the best feelings with a partner is when you feel emotionally connected to them.
Life flows easier, you know that they “go et” you and that they have your back. But what does the opposite of this feel like? It feels like they don’t want to get to know you better or understand what matters to you. It feels like your presence in the room doesn’t matter to them. If you voice a need, they are defensive and it might start an argument. Or, you feel alone even when your partner is in the room with you.
Disconnection like this from a partner you love feels bad. That “feeling lonely even when you’re not alone” can feel intense and aching. It’s like a sad longing, with an emptiness in your center.
If you and your partner are both willing to try something new and be vulnerable with each other in new ways (or perhaps in ways you used to be when you were first together), you can take steps to fill the empty hole. So, what does make you feel close to your partner? In my book From Madness to Mindfulness: Reinventing Sex for Women, I suggest an activity to help couples figure out when they most feel connected and in love with their partner:
“Get some paper and pens and sit down quietly together to each answer the following six questions:
1. I feel most in love with you when . . .
2. I like you the most when . . .
3. I’m most proud of you when . . .
4. I feel most intimate with you when . . .
5. I feel most nurtured by you when . . .
6. I wish every day we could . . .
Approach these questions from a positive perspective. For example, you could write, “I like you the most when you’re doing something that you’re passionate about, and you express that happiness to me.” On the other hand, a negative answer to that question, or a backhanded way of approaching it, might be, “I like you the most when you’re not nagging me about doing chores around the house.” I’m sure you can see how the first response is helpful and loving and the second one is snippy and negative. Other than that, there is no right or wrong way to answer these questions, and it’s fine to expand on your answers if you feel inspired by what your partner shares.”
I’ve coached many versions of this exercise with clients over the years, and it’s a really beautiful activity to observe. It’s common for at least one of the individuals to tear up, especially when they hear their partner’s response to when they feel most proud of them. As well, the answers to Question #6 can be quite poignant, and when the couple adopts a, “We can definitely do that every day if you want!” attitude, it can make all the difference for their relationship.
This is a simple process with meaningful and actionable results. It’s also a short enough activity to come back to repeatedly over the years, to make sure you’re not drifting from each other. Enjoy this connection time and remember that we all want and deserve to feel loved and nurtured.