All of us in relationships get our feelings hurt. I know I do. It happened again last night. I worked late and then came home. My husband had prepared dinner and had been waiting.
I felt the pressure but sometimes things can’t be helped. I had some details of my work to continue as I sat down at the table, texting and completing my duties. I was involved with tasks on my phone.
And while this was happening, something was also happening with my husband. He got very, very silent and stopped being there. He was of course sitting there eating, but I could not feel him anymore. I just left.
Have You Felt Distance Between You and Your Partner?
Is this something that you have experienced? Where your partner gets annoyed or something and just pulls in their energy and you can’t even sense that they are there anymore?
It is pretty common in relationships for one person to be pretty vocal: that’s me. The other will comparatively be pretty quiet: that’s him. I say what happens to me; that’s the way I am wired. He doesn’t. He just shuts down and goes into himself.
But I feel it deeply when he leaves. And I bet you feel it too if you have this dynamic. So, what can be done about it? Well, we are not going to change how we are wired. But we can bring this to the forefront and talk about it and hopefully improve the situation when it occurs.
We’re Affected When Our Partner Disconnects From Us
That’s what I tried to do later in the evening. I said, “When you disappear it has an effect on me.” He wondered how it could and I continued to explain it. I was in “education mode” and I wasn’t coming from the heart. I was just telling him how it feels when he disappears and could he remember it has an impact on me.
He said he saw I was busy and not paying attention and he just decided to eat his dinner and be silent. I asked him if he could say something like, “Hey, I am right here. Can you be present?” or something like that.
He said he didn’t know but he could think about it and try. I felt that we accomplished a little bit, but not enough. But when I woke up the next morning I realized that I could also offer something to him in a gentle way.
Reach Out Early and Tenderly When You Feel Your Partner Begins Disconnecting
I could say, “Hey, don’t leave. I am sorry I am busy. Come back. I love you.” I told him this and he felt it. This is what I can do when there is difficulty. And when I said that to him there was a sweetness from me to him and from him to me.
And isn’t that what we are all looking for? A tenderness between us? Find your way to not just criticize when you don’t like something, but to help when you have a problem. I know it took half a day for me to understand what to do, and I figured it out. And the figuring it out is what’s important, because it always leads to something better.
Need Help Closing the Distance Between You?
Read a Book About Relationships
Learn how to feel closer to your partner, by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help the two of you communicate your feelings in ways that help the two of you feel more connected than ever before. Give it a read.
Get Couples Counseling
Come in for couples counseling. Couples counseling can help you and your loved one get the most out of your relationship. It'll equip you with coping strategies and tools for communication that can help you argue less and love more.