How to overcome not feeling close to your partner.
A video to help with some relationship problems, from Linda Nusbaum, who provides relationship counseling in Long Beach, CA.
I Don’t Feel Close to My Partner: Why Your Boyfriend, Girlfriend, or Spouse Feels Far Away
Our first impulse in relationships is to put forward our best face. We do it at work, we do it with family—especially extended family. It’s habit forming.
We want to show a good face, because we want to be liked. All humans kind of like to be liked. It’s very normal.
Sometimes, people do this in relationships.
We want to show our best side to our boyfriends and girlfriends.
Well, that’s important in the beginning, because we want to be loved. Usually, in the very beginning of the relationship, we’re working on connecting. We both want to feel like we’re falling in love with the perfect person, and may put up a little facade to achieve that effect.
Hiding Our Feelings Keeps Us Emotionally Distant
Keeping that up throughout a relationship—just showing our perfect face—to our husband or wife means that all our other feelings don’t get shown. Feeling distant, like “I don’t feel close to my boyfriend,” is no exception.
We experience a lot of feelings every day. We don’t just feel happy or sad. Those are common, but we also experience things like disappointment, loneliness, irritation, and all kinds of other stuff.
Most of us want to hide the emotions we see as negative:
We don’t want to expose our mate to those “negative” feelings, because we’re worried our partner will be angry or disappointed with us. If they react that way, we feel unloved.
Addressing that worry is where we start.
The problem in a nutshell is that two people that love each other are trying to be too perfect for one another. No one is perfect. We’re all kind of messy. Humans are messy.
Life is messy. Messy doesn’t hurt if we can trust the other person to see our flaws and not leave.
How to Share Feelings and Feel Closer to Your Partner
Openness demands some vulnerability. If we can trust that “I can show this person my messy side, difficult feelings and all,” and know our partner’s not going to leave, that’s a true relationship.
So, how do we get that?
We’re imperfect and fear rejection, so we don’t want to let our guard down. Now, I’m not saying to we have to keep it down all the time. I’m just saying that we need to recognize how we withhold ourselves from our partner, and the way we don’t say things that we think might hurt their feelings.
Express your intent. Tell them you don’t want to hurt their feelings, but tell them you have something potentially hurtful to share. That’s a soft way to get into what you really have to tell them. Try something like, “Honey, I really want to say something to you. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I really need to get this off my chest.”
Avoid just saying something like “I don’t like this about you.” That’s very painful to hear. Nobody likes to hear that.