How close are you to your partner right now?
Not physically. How close do you feel to them emotionally?
If you think about it and the answer you come up with is “not very,” that should ring some alarm bells.
But I certainly understand how that feels. There have been times in my life when I’ve felt really distant from my partner and other times when it feels like we’re really close and totally in sync.
So what can you do if you don’t feel like the two of you are really clicking at the present time? Does this mean your relationship is in deep trouble?
In my experience, not at all.
But it does mean that things could definitely afford to get better, and that will require some changes and probably some hard work.
So if you feel emotionally detached from your partner, say goodbye to these eight behaviors, and you should start feeling closer to them in no time.
1) Always playing with your phone
It’s really hard to feel emotionally connected to anyone these days because so many people are walking around staring into their phones all the time.
I know that these devices are incredible.
They can open our minds, allow us to learn anything we like, and even let us communicate with more people all over the world.
But the downsides are obvious, too.
It’s undeniable that smartphones and tablets suck us in. Most of us spend untold hours using these devices and focusing on the virtual world.
But that means we’re not paying attention to the real world around us, and that can include our partners. They might be doing the same.
So if you look up from reading this and see your partner across the room also with their eyes glued to a screen, that’s a good sign that this is a factor in your feelings of emotional detachment.
2) Not being fully present
In fact, it’s not just screens that make us not be fully present when we’re with our partners.
Other distractions like work, kids, hobbies, and, of course, stress can keep our minds busy and occupied with other things.
When your partner talks and you’re not fully present, you’re going to have trouble focusing on what they say and remembering what they told you just moments before.
They’re going to feel like you’re not emotionally invested in what they’re saying, and they have a fairly good case. After all, you’re letting other things distract you from what should be more important.
So what can you do?
When you’re with your partner and need to talk, put down your phone and turn the TV off. Relax, breathe, and look them in the eye.
Only once you’re fully present will you be able to notice a much better emotional connection between you.
3) Not eating together
Sharing food is one of the best ways to commune with others.
But in the modern world, the sit-down family dinner is becoming a rarity.
First of all, people are busier than ever (I thought robots were supposed to do all the work and give us free time!?). Sometimes, we don’t even have time to sit down to eat our meals, let alone share them with others.
We also have so many digital distractions that have become even more ubiquitous than in the past. We can hang giant, slim TVs on the wall anywhere or carry unlimited entertainment devices around in our pockets.
So we’re busy and distracted, and many people have decided that sitting down to a meal together isn’t a priority.
But it’s one thing that’s making us more disconnected than ever.
If you want to feel more connected with your partner, try to eat your meals together at the same time. Put on some nice music if you like, but keep the screens turned off. Talk to each other and feel those connections as they grow back.
4) Going to bed at different times
Just like eating together brings people closer together, so does sleeping together.
Hang on! I really do mean sleeping!
Sex may also be a great way for some people to build emotional connections, but not necessarily for everyone.
But if you already share a bed with your partner, one great way to help you stay in sync and connect is to turn in at the same time.
If one of you goes to bed earlier and the other stays up later, you miss something really important. There’s an intimacy and vulnerability involved in going to bed together and falling asleep together.
You can engage in pillow talk, mutual massage, spooning, or just talking about what’s on your minds to help you release things before turning in.
This is a really valuable time that you’re missing out on if you go to bed at different times.
5) Working too much
I don’t know about you, but my workload and my partner’s both fluctuate. Sometimes, we’re both incredibly busy because, as they say, when it rains, it pours.
Other times, we’re both freed up and sometimes, only one of us is super-busy while the other is free as a bird.
This is a tricky dynamic because when one or both of us is busy, it’s hard to find as much time to check in and discuss important things. It’s also hard to find ways to express our feelings.
So what do we do?
We do our best to place strict limits on when we work. No matter how busy we are, we’ve agreed to stop all work-related activities by 9:00 pm (unless the other person’s not around!).
That way, we don’t overdo it, and we still have time for each other.
6) Not taking couple time
In fact, it’s finding this time for each other that is so crucial.
If you’re really busy, this might have to get pared down to once or twice a week. You could set a date night, but that doesn’t mean you have to get dolled up and go out somewhere fancy.
Instead, just reserving time to be with each other is enough to help a lot of couples feel a lot more emotionally attached and closer together.
7) Getting emotional support elsewhere
If you’re going somewhere else for emotional support, it can be easy to start feeling detached from your partner.
Whether you’re working through a tragedy or just going through tough times, your partner should be a primary source of emotional support. The same thing should be true if they’re the ones struggling.
It’s ok to get support from friends and family, too, of course.
But if you bypass your partner completely, it’s going to be hard to feel connected to them.
8) Not communicating effectively
In the end, effective communication is what normally brings people together. And ineffective communication pushes them apart.
If you always text instead of actually talking or rarely sit down face-to-face and express yourselves, you’re missing something valuable.
You’re not letting yourself express the things you need to and not receiving what your partner has to say either.
It’s time to find a better way to communicate that you can both feel comfortable with and confident in.
If you feel emotionally detached from your partner, say goodbye to these eight behaviors, and things can start to change for you.
I’m not suggesting everything is one-sided, and your partner can’t also make changes. But if you want to make things change, the best place to start is with yourself.
With some attention to the issues and a bit of elbow grease, you should be able to bring yourselves closer once again.