Imagine the following: Someone you’ve been seeing for 3 months walks up to you and the next thing you hear is: “I don’t feel connected to you.”
Although you’re shocked and a kind of heartbroken, you’re still optimistic that it’s just a throwaway comment and not something that’s intended to be serious. Because you know how much you love this person and also how much they love you in return.
But after a lengthy conversation, you didn’t just learn that your partner doesn’t feel close to you, you also learned about the disconnection. And the shallow, superficial emotional connection in your relationship.
The truth is, you’ve also felt it. You don’t feel that connected to your partner either. And you know that to some extent, things just seem more superficial than otherwise.
Sounds cringe-worthy, right?
That’s what happens when there’s little or no deep alignment and connection between two lovers that goes beyond just physical attractiveness, having fun together, surface-level dialogues, or even intellectual similarities.
Because for a relationship to truly thrive, there needs to be a deep “soul-level” emotional connection between the two parties involved.
But why is it sometimes too hard to achieve one of the core reasons we crave relationships in the first place? Why is it sometimes so difficult to feel a secure, deep, and intimate attachment with someone?
One answer I can only think of now is, that we sometimes find it hard to let our guard down and pave way for genuine intimacy to bloom.
Very often, we build protective walls around our hearts to save ourselves from being hurt or threats to our egos.
The problem? These walls don’t only keep threatening things or people away, they also make us prisoners of our fears — they close us off from love and positive feelings from and towards others.
This in turn, just make it difficult for us to connect emotionally with other people, and worse, relationship with them is also difficult.
So, here are signs you’ve built emotional walls around yourself in your relationship:
You’re deliberately walking on eggshells
Being so afraid of saying or doing something wrong in a relationship can be a sign that you’re being abused by a narcissistic or manipulative person, but doing so when you literally have no reason to is another thing entirely.
If you’re always terrified of upsetting your partner, second-guessing your thoughts, words, and actions around your partner even when your partner isn’t critical and judgmental, it’ll be kind of difficult for the both of you to feel connected to each other.
Even though acting overly cautious around a romantic partner can often be attributed to the way such a partner has behaved or reacted in the past, sometimes one’s insecurities and people-pleasing nature can also force him or her into a constant state of anxiety in a relationship.
You might have the most considerate, understanding, and loving partner one can ever wish for.
But things will quickly turn sour due to a lack of emotional connection when you idolize or put them on a pedestal so much that you feel unworthy of a relationship with them and can’t afford to upset them or mess things up.
What to do about this:
Instead of creating a huge emotional wall between you and your partner by shying away from your authentic self out of fear of messing things up, open up to your partner about sensitive issues including your emotional distress, fears, doubts, or insecurities.
Don’t rob your relationship of the benefits of the emotional connection that comes from supporting and understanding each other. Be yourself around your partner.
At the end of the day, we are all humans who are bound to make mistakes that’ll hurt or disappoint others. And you’re no exception.
Tiptoeing emotionally around your partner out of sheer aversion to messing things up will build an unhealthy emotional barrier between you and your partner.
That’s assuming you’re not with an emotionally abusive partner whose constant criticism, judgments, and devaluation have forced you into such a survival pattern of living. And if that’s the case, you might consider walking away from such a relationship.
But if not, then for the love of God, don’t shy away from your quirky and unique self. And hell, don’t mold yourself into what you think your partner might like.
You’re using this manipulation tactic
One of the ways some people get in the way of the strongest type of glue that binds couples together (emotional connection,) is by being unassertive enough to ask for their wants and needs and instead, using insincere methods to meet their ends.
In a world where meeting each others’ needs can breed deep connections, many people out of insecurity, resort to using manipulation to meet their ends whenever they want something.
Specifically, these people resort to making others jealous on purpose to get their attention.
They use guilt to get others to do something even when the person doesn’t want to.
They act overly nice and in the process make it seem like the other person also owes them to be nice in return or even something else.
They might even withdraw purposely to make the other person dependent on them.
What to do about this:
I used to have this deep-seated feeling of inadequacy — I usually felt like I’m not good enough or worthy of the things I wanted hence, I lacked the guts to directly ask for them and resort to cutting corners to meet my most times selfish ends.
I used to be so afraid of being turned down because it often seemed like proof that I wasn’t loved in return.
Hell, I used to be dead scared of the vulnerability of being turned down due to my neediness.
Well, the truth is, what seemed like a painless and less risky way to communicate my wants and needs held me from connecting emotionally on a higher level with my ex-partners.
Yes, cutting corners is easy. Being vulnerable and putting your ego on the line isn’t.
But if you want to connect emotionally on an extraordinary level with your partner, you need to be vulnerable enough to share your wants with each other, meet each other’s needs, compromise where necessary, and understand each other.
You’re kind of cold and judgemental
The easiest way lots of us have missed out on connecting strongly with our significant others is by putting up behaviors that reek of frail self-esteem and prevent us from being vulnerable in this case: being cold and judgemental.
Sure, we might not want to be too invested and accessible or only being reactive and protecting ourselves from being hurt by others, but these aren’t enough reasons to be either or both icy distant and judgemental with the people we care about — we’ll only be getting in the way of enjoying deeper connection with them.
If you want to be genuinely and deeply connected to someone, you need to show up, put in the effort, and show them that you care about them. Because even if the worst happens, you’ll always survive.
If you want to build a strong emotional connection with someone, you need to avoid viewing their actions, thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, through the filtered lens of your black and white beliefs. You need to be more empathetic and understanding towards the underlying emotions (usually pain, fear, shame, sadness, etc) behind their actions, feelings, etc.
You can attain greater levels of intimacy with people when you’re less judgemental and not trying so hard to be that “cool guy.”
Quite often, it’s the fear of coming off as needy that forces us into icy coldness but the truth is, vulnerability is the real act of non-neediness.
On the other hand, it’s the constant subconscious comparison of our moral standards and beliefs with the actions of others that forces us into judgemental tendencies which are just unfair.
What to do about this:
Whenever you find yourself slipping into the wall-building habits of being judgemental or cold, ask yourself if you can relate to the deepest emotional motivations behind the actions your subconscious mind is trying to judge.
And on the other hand, ask yourself of things you can do to get closer to the person your subconscious mind is pushing you to distance yourself from.
You wouldn’t want to only have shallow and superficial relationships all your life.
Well, being judgmental or cold is one of the easiest routes to a litany of shallow and superficial relationships.
You’ve been avoiding for so long
Fighting less and loving more is one of the core promises of the dating industry. And thus, it’s the thing a lot of people chase after at all costs that they even go overboard with it.
Constant full-blown fights or arguments with a romantic partner are indeed an obvious sign that something is wrong somewhere.
Hence, it kind of makes sense to try to control relationship disputes to fight less and love more or even avoid them entirely.
But in reality, running into conflicts in relationships is just inevitable irrespective of how perfect or fairy-tale-like things seem in the beginning.
And trying to avoid them at all costs will not only affect the connection between you and your partner but will destroy the relationship in the ugliest way possible than anything else.
Some people often find themselves trying so hard to avoid getting mad at their partners because of a strong urge to avoid conflicts in their relationship.
They have this deep-seated lack of trust in themselves and their partners that prompts them into the unhealthy fear of conflicts.
To be specific, it’s a lack of trust in their partner’s reaction that prompts them to always expect negative reactions from their partners if they assert their feelings.
And also a lack of trust in their abilities to deal with possible conflicts that completely cripples them from opening up about their anger, pain, frustration, insecurities, and other not-so-cool feelings.
What to do about this:
Being vulnerable and courageous enough to walk through even the toughest of problems with your partner will always bring you closer on an emotional level after the issues are resolved.
Too often, some of us resort to stonewalling and pretending an issue doesn’t exist or simply ignore it.
We might even go as far as deliberately dodging conversations and enduring uncomfortable situations instead of opening up and addressing the issues.
All of which do nothing but pull us farther apart from the people we are supposed to be closest to.
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This post was previously published on medium.com.
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