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The beginning of a relationship is always fun, you don’t have to worry about how to connect with your partner then. There is so much hope and excitement and unknown. The longer we’re in a relationship with someone, the less unknown things become. Things that are known can lead us to believe there’s no room for progress or growth.
This is where many people start to wonder if their relationship is sustainable. Long-term relationships are hard work. There is a lot of resistance to making a relationship work. Outside factors like time, space, and money impact your environment. Relational factors like family and friends impact perspective about romantic relationships. And you have internal factors like self-worth and confidence that play a role in your relationship participation.
Maintaining a healthy long-term relationship and staying emotionally connected can be difficult for a variety of reasons but the most important factor is the way you care for yourself.
Reasons You’re Disconnected
Finding out how to connect with your partner on a deeper level takes understanding how you became disconnected in the first place.
Uncovering reasons you’re disconnected starts with individual work. It’s easy to approach your partner with a list of items you think they should change to improve the relationship. Being able to judge someone from the outside is a way people trick themselves into believing change is easy. Change is hard, which is exactly why looking outward is easier.
Looking inward means finding the areas of yourself you want to show differently. This can be in regards to your communication, vulnerability, or boundaries. Relationships can be disconnected because there are not clear boundaries and they can be disconnected because one or both partners are using unhealthy communication methods.
The best way to determine if you’re using unhealthy communication is to seek out examples of healthy communication and begin practicing.
Reasons you’re disconnected from your partner:
- Your communication is unhealthy
- You lack vulnerability
- You have unclear, rigid, or non-existent boundaries
- You’re not taking care of your personal needs
- You’re not clear on your feelings
- You have unrealistic expectations
Don’t Focus on Your Partner
None of these reasons are about why your partner is disconnected from you, because that’s not your problem. Becoming more connected in a relationship takes understanding where you are in regards to connecting and then evaluating whether your partner has the capacity and awareness to make their own determinations about connections.
Relationships with goals and plans operate in a healthy way. Each person knowing their individual needs, and the needs that are being met through a relationship, can make intentional choices about their own behaviors.
Judging whether your behavior is bringing you closer to your goal of being connected or farther away from the goal leads to creating healthier communication habits.
Judging whether your partner is moving toward the goal of being connected or away from it allows you to determine when it’s time to evolve your boundaries.
How to Communicate and Reconnect
Wanting to feel close with your partner is a vulnerable truth to admit.
People often feel more comfortable using blame by saying, “You never, you always, you don’t… anymore.” These approaches allow you to hide the vulnerability that comes along with asking someone to care about your feelings.
How to communicate and connect with your partner on a deeper level:
- Identify your core feelings
- Use emotion words
- Use ‘I’ statements
- State clearly what actions/behaviors you want or need
- Use your partner’s love language (if you know it)
Letting your partner know you want something more is a great step to reconnect. It also helps to know that your partner may also be harboring feelings they’ve not yet found the courage to share. Opening up about your own feelings is a great time to ask your partner to consider any needs they may have.
Give your partner time to think about their feelings and needs as they may need to process their own vulnerability before opening up. After asking for their consideration of your feelings, set up a time to talk again so your partner can take time and space to think and respond.
How to Connect with Your Partner Over and Over Again
Connections don’t maintain themselves. Every relationship requires maintenance so it’s important to check-in consistently. People grow and change. Your needs, goals, and aspirations will change all throughout your life.
Staying connected with your partner depends on healthy communication and a willingness to look inward before outward.
When you’ve come to a place of reconnection, it’s a good time to create a relationship plan. A relationship plan will help you both refer back to the agreements you made when you were in a healthy and connected mindset. Knowing that your agreements may need to be altered allows you to have a plan in place to sit down and discuss those changes.
A relationship plan is not about knowing exactly how the relationship is going to play out but instead designing how you want the relationship to function through various areas of life.
Foundation for all Healthy Relationships
Taking care of your own needs first is how you create a steady foundation for all of your relationships. You are your first priority, your inner voice is the most important voice for you to listen to.
Taking care of your basic, foundational needs and communicating in healthy ways will provide you with strong, healthy relationships.
If you’re struggling with how to improve your relationships and stop fighting, work inward first. When you are fighting, it’s because you’re trying to get something and being met with resistance. You can get exactly what you want, healthy, stable, loving relationships. It will take work, and there will be resistance, but when you take care of yourself first, you’ll know exactly how to cultivate supportive, happy relationships.
Healthy relationships depend on:
- Healthy communication
- Shared goals
- Aligned values
Working on building healthy relationships can be done step by step when people are focused on how they’re showing up and asking for what they need. When you know how to show up and ask for what you need, you’ll know how to identify partners who are capable of the same.
Every person goes through phases of unhealthy behaviors and romantic relationships are often the first to suffer. When unhealthy behaviors creep in, relationships aren’t doom, they require care and attention to be brought back to good health.