Feeling Closed Off in a Relationship


Feeling closed off in a relationship, like this fighting couple?

Feeling closed off in a relationship might be more common than you think. We often feel disconnected from our partners. We all sometimes wonder why they don’t feel connected to us as well. It’s especially common among people who love each other.

I often hear from couples I work with that they feel disconnected from each other. This might just be one of our human conditions that everyone shares.

But here is the thing that I have been noticing about myself. When my heart is closed and I am feeling some type of way about my husband then there is separation and no connection.

Emotional Moments Can Leave Us Feeling Closed Off

We feel closed off in our relationships, when we're upset like the woman pictured here.

I am in my feelings about what I am thinking about, and the thoughts and feelings tell me in some way that I am separate. I am no longer available to him, to the world, or to whatever is happening. I am in my own tiny bubble wondering why I feel so alone.

This made total sense the other day when I was talking to my husband. He asked me what I was doing that day. I thought, “I have told him several times about my plans and again he has to ask?” and I got a little ruffled. I even said something. “I told you several times. Why don’t you remember?”

He said he knew I had something but just didn’t remember what it was. Then I started to tell myself, “Well, I know what he is doing most of the time.” I try and remember his things. And then I just felt a little bad that he doesn’t try as hard as me. It was a one, nothing more. Not a ten, nothing to get too excited about. But I was just chewing on it, and I know I wasn’t available to him at all. I was in my own world.

Recognizing When You’re Feeling Closed Off is an Opportunity to Reconnect

You can reconnect after feeling closed off, with small gestures such as holding hands like this pictured couple.

He went upstairs to get ready for his day and that’s when my heart told me I was feeling closed off. I was not available to him. I just saw this and understood that what I want from him is closeness and connection. Am I ready for what I want?

In that moment I decided that I must become open if I want to be connected to him before he leaves for his day. When he came downstairs, I said something nice like, “You’re going to have a good day. Who will be there?”

And from that point he talked freely, I talked freely, we connected and enjoyed each other’s company. I even asked for a kiss before he left and we teased each other about it.

Take the First Step to Opening Up and Reconnecting

Taking initiative on reconnecting, like this woman leaning in towards her partner, will help get you out of feeling closed off in your relationship.

That was what I was after. I didn’t know that I closed off when he couldn’t remember my day. I realized I did and opened myself because I saw what I was after. I didn’t want to feel separate from him the whole day. I wanted that closeness.

Don’t wait for your partner to make it nice for you. See if you are open to them. Test your heart to see if it is available and don’t wait until they make the first move. I can guarantee your partner wants connection just as much as you do. Get out of your separateness, like I did. It is so worth it.


Tired of Feeling Closed Off? Want to Reconnect?

Read a Book About Relationships

'Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship.' A book by Linda Nusbaum.

Learn how to be more open and honest through effective communication by reading Linda’s book Safe. Happy. Loved. Simple Skills for Your Relationship. It might just help both of you feel safe enough to open up and feel closer 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.


[Heading image by Riccardo Mion.]

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