Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, MS, MPH, CSAT, LMFT #88196

Bella Vida Therapy

Molly Papp, LMFT

You deserve a beautiful life

Sex, intimacy, and relationship therapy

When You Aren't On the Same Page: How to Reconnect With Your Partner

Maybe you have been away on a business trip for a week or spent the past two weekends working. Perhaps you haven't had time or money for "date night" or the kids' schedules have been so crazy there just hasn't been the opportunity to connect an talk. Whatever the reason is, couples often fall out of sync. Let's face it: life gets in the way. ALL THE TIME! Often we get so busy with the day-to-day operations that we forget to tend to our relationship garden. Without daily watering, food, sunlight and love, plants die. As do relationships. Without connecting emotionally, mentally and physically, love cannot continue to grow. I am not referring to the love for a child, family member or pet, but that "in love" feeling. It can slip away as the years go by and you both slowly drift further and further apart.

How do you prevent love loss so you don't end up laying next to a roommate instead of a lover? It's simple but requires daily maintenance. It's all about nurturing each other. We all want to (and need to) be nurtured. First by our parents at birth, then by our friends as teens and finally by our spouses (primarily) as adults. You need to nurture yourself on a daily basis by eating regularly and getting enough sleep. But you also need to nurture your mate, in big and little ways. For example, getting up to greet him when he gets home with a giant bear hug and a sloppy kiss. Sounds silly, but I can guarantee he'll notice the effort. And he will like that greeting a whole lot better than a quick peck on the cheek with a half-hearted "How was your day?" as you finish making dinner. Small touches and displays of affection on a daily basis keep you and your mate physically connected. I will add in intimate sexual contact also, whatever that looks like to your coupleship. (Only if sex is something both of you need to feel connected. If both of you are happy that sex is purposefully not a part of your relationship, disregard this). Even if you don't always feel aroused initially, sometimes having sex for the connection and intimacy is very rewarding. However, do not force yourself (or your partner) ever to engage physically if you are not wanting to connect in that way. Doing so will only breed resentment and fuel emotional separation, not prevent it.

Another strategy is remembering to keep in contact with your partner, even if you are thousands of miles apart. Back in the 'olden days' they wrote letters. Nice touch now, but realistically I doubt any one of us will take the time to break out the stationary and fountain pen. A short and sweet "Love you" or "Thinking of you baby" text or comment a few times a week will suffice. Who doesn't like to feel appreciated? Especially by the person you have chosen to spend your life with.

Also remember to invite them vent to you. Ask questions about the people they interact with regularly either at home or at work/school, and pay attention to what they say. Relationships work best when both people are actively involved and invested. Not when you tell for the millionth time that Kyle is your old friend from college who now works in the office next to yours.

When you two are together, always try to have their back. If they are telling a super long and confusing story about their annoying boss, support their side. Don't try to provide solutions; that is not what anyone wants to hear at the end of a long day. Being with someone means consistently showing they can trust you. In other words, be their cheerleader. Emotionally pick them up when they're feeling low and give them support when they score a big victory. Sorry for the somewhat sexist sports metaphor, but this method works both ways. And men can be cheerleaders too! It is 2016 after all, and I'm fairly certain we've all see Will Ferrell as a male cheerleader in SNL.

Finally, remember to communicate when you do feel disconnected or out of sync. The old phrase of "we are only as sick as our secrets" rings true here. If you are unhappy, say something before it's too late and that passionate love you felt is a distant memory. Start today by being honest with how you feel. You are worth it, and so is your relationship. Nurture it, and it will continue to grow for years to come.