Do you sometimes feel a mile wide gap between you and your partner?
It’s not uncommon because there are so many reasons why you can feel a distance growing! For example, you’re on different growth paths, you’re too tired after work to connect on a deeper level, or you’re so comfortable that you’ve unknowingly made assumptions about each other.
Regardless of the reason, the feeling is the same. It’s confusing too. The gap doesn’t mean that you don’t love each other. In fact, you might be more in love than ever!
After all, you’re there for each other. You support each other and have conversations together. You’re intimate with each other…
So why do you feel alone?
The answer is because you crave something deeper.
Many of us do because humans are hardwired for connection.
It’s in our DNA.
We crave the feeling of belonging.
As individuals, we want to be seen and heard. We desire to feel loved. We want to know that we matter to another person.
And our intimate relationships is one of the places where we seek these things the most.
For many of us, it’s simply not enough to connect on a surface level. Superficiality doesn’t satiate us. It doesn’t quench the thirst within for more.
More unapologetic expression.
It’s why we can feel lonely - because a lack of depth simply scratches at the surface of our being. We’re not satisfied talking about everyday tasks, weekend commitments, and vacation plans.
We want to get under the skin.
We want to peel away the layers of the onion.
We want our partners to take off the mask and show us who they really are - and we want to feel safe enough to do the same.
But how can we create this experience?
Break bad habits
Take a step back so you can get clear on any bad habits that might be a barrier to the depth you desire.
Some common barriers to look our for are as follows:
1. Too much screen time.
Do you automatically default to your phone during the moments in-between? Are you constantly distracted by notifications and an urge to ‘just take a look’?
When we’re too tightly drawn to our tech, we disconnect from the physical things in front of us.
Time to create some screen-free time in your relationship. Agree together times when you’ll put your phone away so it’s just the two of you.
2. Too tired to make an effort.
This one stings a bit, but it’s common! When you’re tired after a busy day or exhausted from taking care of the kids, household chores, etc. etc, all you want to do is put your feet up and switch off!
While it’s not your intention, this habit creates a disconnect - because you’re not speaking together.
The less you talk, the more disconnected you feel.
This habit can be a tough nut to crack, but there are numerous steps you can try. For example:
• Plan weekly or monthly dates nights (the Date Night Challenge is packed with ideas).
• Review your evening routine and look for opportunities to claw back time and energy. For example, can you get the kids in bed a bit earlier? Are there ways you can reduce the pressure to do chores?
• Turn off the TV. Don’t nurture the habit of Netflix and chill in the evenings. Choose something you can do together like taking a bath, playing a game, or cooking a meal that you love.
3. Stop assuming!
Most of us aren’t mind readers. What’s more, our partners do change - as do we. It’s inevitable because every experience we have shapes and influences us in some way.
What you like today, you might hate tomorrow!
Individual growth can create challenges in long-term relationships if you make assumptions about each other.
This is why we have to tell our partners what we need and what we want.
• Be honest about why you’re upset.
• Understand what needs to happen for you to feel love (discovering your Love Languages will help).
• When you feel triggered, tell your partner what’s happening.
• Ask for your needs to be met.
These types of conversations can be uncomfortable because they are so honest.
But they can also close the gap on loneliness. You’ll feel more connected. You’ll feel closer because you’ll know each other better.
Creating a habit of talking about the real stuff also protects your relationship. If you each feel safe to express what’s real for you, there’s an opportunity to work through it when it shows up - rather than allowing it to fester.
4. Move beyond small talk
When most of your conversations barely scratch the surface, it’s hard to feel connected. After all, these are the types of discussions you’d have with a stranger!
We crave soul-deep intimacy with our partners and that means exploring topics of conversation that are stretching, revealing, and expansive.
As strange as it sounds, many of us struggle to know how to start a different type of conversation. Humans are creatures of habit. We like to stick with what we know because that’s predictable and therefore safe.
Who knows what you’ll discover about your partner and yourself as you explore them.
Relationships take work. Yes, this reality doesn’t feel romantic or sexy. After all, that’s not the narrative we’re fed by movies and fairytales. Instead, we’re told that when you find ‘the one’ everything becomes perfect and effortless!
But that’s not reality!
So know it’s ‘OK’ to work on your relationship.
Investing in relationship work doesn’t mean your relationship is failing. In fact, the opposite is true. In the same way that you work on your fitness, your job, or your personal development, we can work on our relationship - making it better and better over time.
And as you ‘work’ to feel closer, that mile deep gap will begin to close,
Until you feel more connected than ever.
Empowering you to transform the loneliness you feel in your relationship.