PACT Level 3 Candidate
By any chance, are you feeling like a roommate instead of a partner in your relationship? Have you noticed that you and your partner don’t talk to each other when you are both at home except when it comes to discussing bills and logistics? More than a few people feel hurt when their partner does not even acknowledge them. They might complain that their partner doesn’t care about them and doesn’t want to spend any time together. If this sounds familiar, know that you can reconnect with your partner in simple, positive, authentic ways that can begin to repair and reignite your relationship.
Sometimes couples wonder what changed since the honeymoon phase of their relationship or might think they are not in love anymore. As a therapist, I find it helpful to explain that during the early phase of love, often referred to the honeymoon phase, you and your partner spend lots of time together and share new experiences. The experience of falling in love changes your brain chemistry temporarily, helping you both focus on each other and give the relationship the attention it needs. The dopamine rush can feel like the most wonderful high, while increased oxytocin creates a sense of comfort and pleasure in connection with the beloved. In addition, various stress hormones create a focus on and preoccupation with the love object that is only relieved by their presence.
As a couple you become more familiar with each other and, over time, hormonal levels characteristic of the early phases of falling in love return to normal. You will therefore need to explore ways to recreate a sense of otherness and newness in the other, re-activate earlier states of romantic love, learn how to stay connected, and maintain a sense of safety and security that the relationship can provide.
So, how can you recharge your relationship and feel reconnected? This is an opportunity to explore how you’re doing as two adult individuals sharing power and authority to create an intimate and interdependent relationship. As you look at your patterns as a couple, ask yourself how fair, equitable, sensitive, respectful, and cooperative you are being with your partner and they are being with you. Understand that you both can repair, grow, and recreate an exciting love, which replicates the addictive love that was created in the beginning of your relationship.
You may need the help of your couples therapist to address foundational and overarching issues of how you care and nurture your relationship, but the methods below are simple, fast, and can help you bond any time during the day or night.
When you are feeling disconnected and alone in your relationship, of course your PACT therapist will guide and direct you and your partner to feel closer and more united. The therapist is very instrumental in explaining how relationships change and tools that a couple can implement to rediscover a more secure bond. However, in between sessions, when you and your partner need a little boost, you can use eye contact, hugs, and humor to foster the love that you shared during earlier times in your relationship.