“Every couple needs to argue now and then. Just to prove that the relationship is strong enough to survive. Long-term relationships, the ones that matter, are all about weathering the peaks and the valleys.” ― Nicholas Sparks
How to Connect with Your Partner Even if You Feel Distant
The dynamics between distancers and pursuers can complicate any relationship. Both patterns are natural ways of dealing with stress, so it’s really a question of compatibility.
Distancers deal with stress by withdrawing and tend to be men. Pursuers deal with stress by seeking more attention and tend to be women. Ironically, if our partners have a different orientation, both approaches tend to produce the exact opposite results than what we want.
Once you understand that distancing and pursuit aggravate each other, you can make changes that will strengthen your relationship. Select the strategies that match your style.
Wait 3 months. We all tend to be on our best behavior when we start dating someone new. Consciously or unconsciously we may be downplaying the habits that undermined our previous relationships. It may take a few months to see how people usually respond to stressful events.
Empathize with differences. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Imagine how they’re feeling. Respect the choices they make.
Accept accountability. Our happiness depends more on our way of thinking than on any external events. Focus on your own behavior rather than trying to change your partner.
Avoid taking things personally. It’s easy to feel abandoned or put down if the one you love avoids spending time with you or nags you. Realize that it’s their way of coping rather than a statement about you.
Choose to feel connected. We can always decide to feel connected. View your partner with love and concern even in the midst of conflict.
Strategies for Pursuers
Make the first move. Pursuers are likely to feel the most dissatisfaction with a relationship. Take the initiative to change your way of interacting.
Curb your enthusiasm. Your partner may respond to your intensity by drawing away even more. Try talking less and turning down the volume.
Practice small talk. Take a break from heavy issues. Warm up by discussing funny cat videos first.
Spend time apart. Nurture your independence. Take up a hobby. Schedule a night out with friends.
Offer more praise.Nagging rarely produces the results you want. Remind yourself of what you love in your partner. Thank them for making breakfast or picking up the dry cleaning.
Strategies for Distancers
Recognize the risks. Relationships often break up when pursuers find the status quo intolerable. You may need to take action if you want to stay with your partner.
Explain yourself. It may be okay to go on doing the same things as long as you give a little advance notice. Let your partner know you plan to work late or want to watch a ball game Saturday afternoon.
Reach out more. Demonstrate your affection and suggest activities that you can enjoy together. Cook your favorite dinner side by side and watch a romantic movie. Hold hands and kiss each other goodbye.
Share household responsibilities. Take an honest look at how much you’re doing around the house. Clean your rain gutters before your spouse asks you about them. Surprise them by doing a load of laundry when it’s not your turn.
Communicate your needs. Speak to your partner directly and tactfully about what you need. They’ll be likely to regard anything you have to say as being better than getting the silent treatment.
We often have tendencies for both distancing and pursuing, and they emerge in different aspects of our lives. The important thing is to control your behavior and work towards healthier ways of dealing with stress. Your efforts will be rewarded with more loving relationships and greater peace of mind.
From time to time, we all experience unfortunate events, situations, and traumas. Although traumas might involve physical injuries and damage, they can also be emotional. If unaddressed, the results of these emotional experiences can last for years.
Today, we’re focusing on the emotional aspects of trauma and what you can do to expedite your recovery. Do you have old hurts that could use your attention? You can also use this as a guide the next time you experience an intense situation that leaves you emotionally smarting for a while.
These trauma coping strategies will help you heal.
Compliment yourself on making it through. You’re here and you’re alive. Whether your trauma involved only emotions or physical injury as well, the fact is that you’re strong enough to have survived.
Allow time to recuperate. You may not be completely recovered by next week. Healing from emotional trauma takes time and rest. In the evenings after work, allow yourself some time to relax.
Take it easy on yourself. Depending on your emotional trauma, you may still be going to work and carrying out your everyday life while you’re healing. Maybe you didn’t finish every task you wanted to complete while at work. Remind yourself that you’re doing what you can to get better and will soon be as efficient as ever.
Think positive. Long known to conquer many afflictions, thinking positive thoughts will help you speed up your healing. When you’re thinking troubling thoughts like, “I feel so sad today,” remind yourself, “I’m taking important steps each day to feel better.”
Find moments in each day to do what you like to do. Even if it’s just for 30 minutes a day, sit outdoors and watch the birds, work on the bookshelf you’re building, or check out your social media websites. Staying in touch with the things you love will speed your recovery.
Let yourself cry. If you feel emotions building up inside you, it’s quite natural to want to release them by having a good cry. Crying will provide some relief and help you leave some of your pain behind you. Go ahead and cry.
Listen to the music you love. Nothing brings joy to the soul in quite the same manner as music. Your prescription is: listen to music each day for at least 15 minutes. Some days you’ll find yourself extending that time a bit and maybe even singing along. Music will help you heal.
Pamper yourself. If ever there’s a time to indulge in the creature comforts you love, it’s whenever you’re healing from trauma. On your day off, lie on the couch and read a book. Play games all day with your kids. Take a nice long walk with your best friend.
Watch situation comedies on television. Laughing is good for your emotional healing process. You’ve probably seen a few comedies that you find humorous and entertaining. Now’s the time to ensure you watch a few every week. This is a bit of healthy escapism.
Incorporate physical movement into your day.Provided the doctor says it’s okay, engage in some physical activity each day. Go for a swim. Lift weights, or get on the treadmill. Physical exercise releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones.
Surround yourself with the people you love. Play with your kids. Talk to your partner. Call your best friend. Invite your brother over for a visit. Remind yourself of all the positive people you have in your life and take advantage of their loving care and support.
Recognize when you need professional help. Allowing your emotional injuries to prevent you from living a full life is unproductive, at least after the initial few weeks or months. Instead, call a local mental health professional to help you sort through your challenging times.
Healing emotionally after a trauma takes time, patience, and effort. Put the above strategies into action to speed your emotional recovery. Trust that you’ll be better soon and discover the rich, full life that’s waiting for you.