Helping you reconnect when your relationship is floundering

Published on April 4, 2013

With the stress of everyday life, it's not unusual for a couple to lose their emotional connection. Our relationship therapists cite a number of reasons why a couple loses connection and ends up hardy talking to each other. Whether it's a new baby, a stressful job, financial woes or difficult life events, the emotional connection in a relationship can break down when the communication channels are down. Disconnection can lead to a relationship breakdown unless both parties make changes.

Here are some simple ideas to help you re-connect with your partner. Keep in mind that sometimes couples requires external support from a professional to help them move past the rut they may find themselves.


1/ Open up the communication channels. You're partner needs to know you aren't happy with the current situation and how you want things to be different. Both parties need to be open and willing to work on the relationship with the goal of feeling reconnected.

2/ Talk. Okay, it sounds easier said than done. But sometimes we need to set time aside from all the day-to-day stresses and responsibilities and really talk to our partner. Setting aside fifteen minutes a night, perhaps once the children have gone to bed, to talk about your day and how you've been feeling can go a long way toward helping you feel connected to your partner. If you don't talk then you won't feel united. Even if it feels uncomfortable or ingenuine at first, it is hugely important to the success of your relationship, and it will feel more natural over time.

3/ Clarify your needs. Tell your partner what you need from them rather than what you are not happy with. If you feel like you need to set time aside to talk each night then tell your partner this. Don't say "You never talk to me," or "We never talk" as these kinds of statements are often perceived as accusations and your partner will automatically become defensive. If you state your need as "I'd like to have half an hour before bed for just the two of us to talk," then this is something your partner can actually respond to. By the same token, really listen to your partner, hear what he or she  has to say and clarify what their needs are.

4/ Be realistic. Try to be realistic in your goals and your expectations. It can take time for a couple to work through their communication difficulties to feel more emotionally connected. You also need to be respectful of who you both are as people as it's not fair to expect something of your partner if it doesn't fit with who they are. For example, if one of your goals is for your partner to cuddle you every night while watching television when he's never been a physically affectionate person previously then this is setting you both up for failure. Try to come to a mutual agreement of what you are both willing to do to make the relationship work.

5/ Seek professional help. If you are both really struggling to communicate openly but you are committed to reconnecting, then seeking professional help from a counsellor may be your best option. Counselling can allow a couple to express their feelings in a safe environment with the counsellor keeping the discussion on track and allowing each of you the opportunity to say what's on your mind.

It's normal to feel slightly disconnected from your partner from time to time. Sometimes a busy lifestyle can get in the way, but it's important to keep the communication lines open so that you don't shut your partner out of whatever is happening in your life. If the disconnection becomes more long-lasting than transient, then you both need to actively take steps toward finding ways to reconnect.

If you are still struggling with connecting in your relationship after trying some of these strategies, then you may wish to seek professional counselling.

Jonathan Lenbuck writes for Associated Relationship & Marriage Counsellors - a group of marriage therapists in Sydney Australia.

Category(s):Couple Counseling, Empathy, Marital Counseling, Men's Issues, Relationships & Marriage, Women's Issues

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