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If you and your partner have been sheltering in place during the pandemic, you may find yourselves around one another a lot more than you’re accustomed to. But simply spending time under the same roof doesn’t necessarily translate into meaningful or satisfying connection. Many couples are like two ships passing in the night, in close proximity but not emotionally close. Proximity can create an illusion of connection while feelings of loneliness or aloneness betray the truth.
Quarantining at home these days, it’s easy to get on each other’s nerves. We’re not at our best under the strain of grief and sadness over so much loss, fear for our health and the health of loved ones, perhaps the stress of children’s presence 24/7, unwelcome financial hardship and crises as a nation. If at times we “act out” our pain with impatience, short tempers, dark moods and unkind words, it should surprise no one.
Uncouplings surged during the month of March in China as partners, coming out of their nation’s coronavirus lockdown, filed for divorce in record numbers. “If absence makes the heart grow fonder, the opposite might be true of too much time spent together in close quarters.”i
Sometimes, we just need to vent. We need to blow off steam and get something off our chest. My supervisor drives me crazy! I could just strangle Aunt Louise! The way our kids were arguing in the car, I wanted to pull over and abandon them right there! When we’re filled with emotion following a challenging experience, conversation isn’t necessarily what we’re looking for. A partner’s advice or help doesn’t usually fit the bill. It’s compassion, empathy and a non-reactive…
When you fly, do you pay close attention to the aircraft’s take-off? Maybe not. But don’t neglect your take-off when approaching your partner with a grievance or complaint. Marriage researcher John Gottman calls it your start-up.
Can we ever truly desire what we already have?1 That's the conundrum at the heart of long-term relationships: how to sustain erotic desire when, over time, the mystery and novelty that stimulates sexual interest inevitably wanes. It's a question that has baffled academics, sex therapists, and ordinary folk trying to keep the spark alive.
You know your partner’s age, phone number, maybe social security number. But do you know her triggers?
There were times in our young lives when we asked for things — and sometimes we were turned down. “You’re not old enough.” “You’ve had plenty already.” “I’m too tired to get it for you.” “Don’t be greedy.” It was disappointing, perhaps hurtful, when our requests were denied. Enough of those moments and some of us grew reluctant to ask.