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So what is disconnect with your spouse and how do I know if I'm disconnected?
Disconnect would be if you feel like you are not connected with your spouse, mind, body, and soul. This could be present itself as lack of communication or quality of communication. It could also surface as lack of physical intimacy, or agreement on matters.
Often times in the beginning of a relationship we feel a strong "Connect" with our mate. Typically we are heavily involved in conversations trying to learn more about one another. We spend alot of time together and there is usually an increased frequency of sexual encounters. This is known as the "honeymoon phase". The honeymoon phase can range from about six months to two years, depending on the couple.
But then the honeymoon phase ends and many people start feeling disconnected with their mate. The long conversations you used to have diminished and the frequency of sexual encounters has decreased significantly. All of a sudden your mate in spending more time at work, they're always tired, or they would just rather watch TV.
Wow! Now what do I do?
The answer is communication.
You need to try and find a way to keep communication alive in your relationship. You need to be able to convey your needs to your mate and your mate receive them. Often times this is very challenging. You may have to seek help for this from a relationship coach or counselor, depending on the type of communicator you and your spouse are.
Tony Robbins describes effective communication as only being effective if you receive the response you want. So, using badgering or pestering is probably not going to be an effective way for you to try and have your needs fulfilled. The better option is try to learn what communication style your mate uses or responds best to. Once you have that figured out, try and approach them in that style.
But how can communication help me to increase the number of times we are "intimate"?
Again, if you can effectively communicate your needs to your mate, then your mate will understand that intimacy is a desire of yours that you want fulfilled. Without communicating this in an effective manner, they may not know that this a problem for you.
Communication is the core of any successful relationship. A relationship in which you feel "connected" to your spouse, mind, body, and soul.
How Badly Do You Want Intimacy In Your Relationships?
This week Susie was at a meeting of all women and one of the participants wistfully told them about the elk. According to this woman, the female elks live and raise their young in the company of other female elks. The male elks come around once a year, the females pick out the best males, mate, and then separate for the rest of the year.
This woman was envious of this arrangement and suggested that humans might be better off to emulate the elk's ways. Because we're students of relationships, we couldn't help but make a few observations, hopefully providing food for thought for you.
If we, as humans, emulated the elk, the people with whom we would have intimate relationships would be kept at a distance. In our opinion, emotional distance and intimacy cannot co-exist.
To us, this is not an issue of gender or sexual preference but rather an issue of intimacy within relationship. We believe that intimate relationships, whether between sexual partners, close friends or family members, are opportunities for spiritual growth and personal healing.
If we find that we are putting distance between ourselves and anyone we are intimate with, then one of two things may be happening: either fear of one kind or another is present or the dynamics are changing between the two of you and you begin growing in different directions, causing emotional separation.
Everyday we receive email messages from people who talk about being in disconnected relationships and having disconnected sex. We've learned from our own lives and from other's lives that disconnected sex does not bring intimacy. It only provides a temporary mask which covers up the challenges within the relationship.
Do you notice the number of ads for Viagra and the number of people using it? Now, we're not being judgmental here--just pointing out that many people are searching for that connection of the heart and soul-- that intimacy that is missing or has evaporated over many years of marriage.
Intimacy is not something that you can fix with a drug. It takes two people truly interested and willing to work for a connection of the heart and soul.
Gary Zukav, author of Seat of the Soul, talks about the new species of human that is being born today. We're no longer here for physical survival as our ancestors but rather for a spiritual awakening.
We feel that this spiritual awakening is happening in great numbers because people are desiring to live more consciously and authentically in alignment with whom they really are. Intimate relationships or spiritual partnerships are helping people to do this.
Most of us spend our whole lives, consciously or unconsciously, trying to find our connection with Spirit. We believe that this is the same connection that we feel in a deep union with another person.
We've found that if there is distance between two people and they want an intimate connection, there's only one way-- and that is to tackle the core issues that they fear may destroy the relationship.
Kenny Loggins, in his book The Unimaginable Life, asked the question that we'll ask you-- How badly do you want an intimate relationship?
Do you want distance and separation like the elk or do you want a deep spiritual connection?
The choice is up to you.
Relationship Advice for Keeping the Spark in Your Relationship
It was pretty interesting as we look back on this situation that happened a few weeks ago.
A friend who we don't get to see very often got to see the two of us in a "not so perfect moment." This was a moment when lots of things were going on around us and we both had some opinions and said some things to each other that needed some healing later on.
The short version of the story is that we disagreed with each other and were disconnected in that moment that our friend was there and it showed.
We all disagree and disconnect in various ways from one another from time to time. It's normal. We feel slighted, not loved, unappreciated or any number of things and these feelings create separations from those we love.
Whether it's your intimate partner, a family member, a friend or a co-worker--it happens to all of us.
We've discovered that it's what happens after you disagree, disconnect and get into your "relationship dance" or your patterns that makes the difference whether there will be "spark" or life in your relationship or not in the future.
This has certainly held true both in our own relationship and life and in the lives and relationships of the coaching clients that we work with in person and by telephone.
Since we're creating a series of teleseminars on how to keep the spark in your relationship and how to get it back if it has faded, it started us thinking that one of the important ways to do that is to pay attention to what happens after you disagree and disconnect.
We're offering a teleseminar series on Keeping the Spark Alive in your Relationship or Marriage and How to Get the Spark Back if it seems to have faded starting on February 2.
Recently, one of our coaching clients became disconnected from a friend he worked with. Our client's friend became very angry with him for something that our client had done. In turn, our client became angry because he just couldn't figure out what he had done that was so bad.
Pretty common scenario--Right?
No matter what type of relationship it is, it's what happens after the disagreement or disconnection that will determine whether the relationship grows or dies.
Here are some tips on what to do and how to come back together after a disagreement that we used after our disconnection and we offer them to you to try so that your relationships keep growing in healthy ways:
What the disagreement or disconnection happens, stop yourself from responding in old, harmful ways that have done nothing but keep the two of you apart. Instead, take a few deep breaths. If you do respond in old harmful ways, take a moment to recognize that you have done so.
Let go of clinging to the idea of being right. Everyone sees things differently and looks out at life through different lenses. Chances are, the person you had the disagreement with thinks he/she is just as "right" as you are. So don't cling to your "rightness" and possibly lose the relationship.
After you have yourself under control, listen to the person with an open heart and open mind. Hard to do sometimes but absolutely necessary if you are going to keep your relationship healthy.
Take responsibility for your part in this disagreement--even if it's just to tell the other person that you can understand how they may feel the way they do. Tell how you were feeling and any circumstances that the other person might not know about that may have precipitated the disagreement.
Be open to exploring how you both can repair your relationship and make it better. If you come to this discussion with a strong desire to come back together and a sense of possibility, some ideas will emerge that will help your reconnection.
These are just a few ideas around this topic and if you want to learn much more, check out our teleseminar series.
Signs Emotional Intimacy is Suffering in a Marriage
Marriage quickly deteriorates into a boring, cold, and lonely existence for one or both mates when the couple loses emotional intimacy in the marriage. Emotional connectedness of couples has diminished so greatly today, husbands and/or wives become unhappy in the marriage. Then, the marriage can grow silent, angry, or resentful. This is where extramarital affairs can begin or when divorces occur. When emotional connectedness, also known as emotional intimacy, deteriorates the consequences are detrimental on the marriage.
Generally, couples lacking healthy emotional intimacy do not understand the problem, but they do realize something is wrong in their marriage. Incidentally, their love seems to be breaking down. In addition, it is apparent the marriage has lost its spark and desires. Often times, it is one spouse that is lacking emotional intimacy while the other spouse is happy with their marital relationship and communication the way it is.
The perfectly content spouse does not feel there is anything wrong in the marriage while their mate suffers silently. Then, if the marriage blows up, the content spouse does not have a clue what went wrong. Sadly, the emotionally neglected spouse continually hurts because their emotional intimacy needs are not being met by their mate. This is hard to explain to a mate that does not require the same degree of emotional intimacy or does not recognize their marriage is troubled.
It seems, husbands and wives have become detached emotionally as “one” unit because of the abundant amount responsibilities, financial obligations, or fulfilling their own agendas. From this breakdown in emotional intimacy, desires eventually fade, love dies, and dead, boring, loveless marriage evolve. It is when emotional intimacy is absent that resentments develop, anger progresses, and loneliness sets in. Depression and low self-esteem are also very common in an unhappy marriage.
Over time, emotional intimacy plummets when each spouse’s responsibilities take precedence over their mate’s needs and their marital bliss. Couples are no longer on the same page working to keep their intimacy exciting. Instead they are moving in opposite directions and doing their own thing. Legitimate or not, unfortunately, this moving in opposite directions creates barriers between the couple. Sadly, then the couple grows apart.
Even though husbands and wives are living under the same roof, sleeping in the same bed, and carrying out their marriage commitment, boredom and loss of desire usually takes over their entire feelings of attraction for each other. Needlessly, the neglected emotional intimacy in the marriage has damaged the couple’s ability to maintain intimacy at all levels. At this point, it seems, all the marriage is doing is existing on a daily basis. Unfortunately, when emotional intimacy is neglected or cannot be recognized as troubled, the couple grows dissatisfied and miserable in the marriage. Often times this happen to the relationship before the couple realizes what is going on. Regardless, one or both of the spouses may start looking for alternatives to bring happiness to their life.
Maybe you have heard a close friend or family member confess…I feel all alone in my marriage. What this person is saying is I am hurting, I feel lonely, I feel depressed, I feel angry, I feel resentment toward my spouse. This is only a small list of feelings that may occur if emotionally intimacy is lacking in a marriage.
One example of damaged emotional intimacy is a spouse who is, or seems, emotionally absent. For instance, when you speak to your spouse and they do not hear you, much less, respond, a mate will feel neglected and insignificant. A spouse repeatedly being self-absorbed in personal responsibilities, interests, and hobbies may creates deaf ears and demonstrates lack of interest. Even though the self-absorbed spouse is not intentionally trying to hurt their mate, damage is being done. From the repeated damage, the communicating spouse is left feeling unheard and feeling unimportant. Generally, an emotionally neglected spouse will grow into a silent, hurting mate. Then, the barriers between the couple will grow greater and chances are the hurting mate will withdraw. Then, day by day the couple will grow further apart.
Another example quit shocking and seemingly trivial that falls into “suffering emotional intimacy” is neglecting to carry the trash out for your mate. You may wonder how trash detail is neglecting emotional intimacy, but it is especially if the task is a high priority to your mate. Regardless, how ridiculous or petty you may view this task, it can weight heavy upon your spouse emotions. They may interrupt you as lacking involvement, uninterested, not sharing responsibilities, or uncaring. If this task is highly important to your mate and you do not help with the chore, anger and resentment can manifest. Then, each time you neglect trash detail, this anger and resentment quickly resurfaces. From the repressed anger and resentments emotional disconnectedness may occur and cause severe damage over time.
Once a couple becomes emotionally disconnected, their sex life will quickly feel the ill affects too. It is virtually impossible to come together sexually when there is diminished emotional intimacy in the marriage. Couples grow into sexless marriages, or virtually sexless marriages from damaged emotional intimacy. It is nearly impossible to keep sexual desires and excitement alive when emotionally intimacy is not met first. You have to get the emotional intimacy side correctly balanced to reap the sexual intimacy side of the equation in a marriage.
Signs Emotional Intimacy is suffering in a marriage:
- Couples have stopped talking and sharing their daily events and happenings. Communication has decreased and silence has developed.
- Couples have stopped touching and feeling each other with genuine desire. Little to no intimate interaction is happening between the couple to keep passion alive.
- Husbands and wives have stopped kissing with intensity. Giving spouse’s quick pecks has taken over kissing with passion, love and feelings.
- Couples desire and fire for each other has deteriorated. Instead couples grow into disconnected, loveless marriage from dead sexual interest.
- Spouses are not listening to their mate. When a spouse is not listening, sighs of frustration, depression and body language will certainly become present from the lacking spouse. These few signs are evidence of unhappiness and emotionally hurting.
- Husbands and wives feel their own responsibilities are greater then their mates responsibilities. As a result, one spouse is left feeling unappreciated.
- Husband and wives are meeting independently to attend the same functions instead of taking an extra few minutes to meet in their driveway and ride together as a couple.
- Husbands and wives are not having a set down dinner together as a family unit. Instead couples are grabbing dinner on the run or eating in front of the television where staying connected is impossible.
- Husbands and wives are emotionally damaging their marital relationship by cussing and calling their mate vulgar names. As a result, husbands and/or wives are experiencing anger, unhappiness, low self-esteem, or depression from this form of damaging behaviors.
These are just a few examples of emotional intimacy breakdown in a marriage, but the list goes on and on. It is the stressors of money, bills, working, and child rearing that quickly deteriorates the connectedness between a man and wife. When emotional intimacy diminishes, marriages become cold, distant, and sexual desire decrease.
Without a healthy bond of emotional intimacy among husbands and wives, the marriage may grow into a constant state of misery and unhappiness. Until spouses understand how important it is to stay emotionally connected, and then work to pamper each others emotions, unhappiness will remain, divorces will occur, extramarital affair will continue, and loveless, dead marriages will exist.
When emotional intimacy is suffering in a marriage, sexual desires will fade and spontaneity will certainly die. Then, a couple’s sexual encounters will become distant, cold, and carried out in a hurry up fashion. Sexual intercourse carried out in such a fashion is not making love with passion for your mate. This is simply carrying sex out as a chore instead exchanging love and desire for each other.
Arousing passion and sexual desire will die for each other when you do not put extra work into keeping your emotional intimacy alive and well. Sexual Intimacy feeds off the Emotional Intimacy in the relationship. Today, if you start correcting the emotional intimacy side of your relationship, your entire marital relationship will improve. Then, your sexual relationship will certainly come alive as well.
You have the ability to rediscover the desire and passion for each other that was once burning if you take the first step to make a difference. However, you can not work on the emotional intimacy for a day and expect lasting change, you must work each and everyday from this day forward. You must feed your relationship every day so it does not starve.
Why remain in a loveless or sexless marriage, when a few changes, can save your marriage and renew desire for each other. Then you can live your life out together in happiness and sexual satisfaction.
Illustration from Clyde Mendes column at MetroSexual LA