All relationships have arguments let’s look at how you can reconnect.
If you can master this relationship advice then you will know how to turn conflicts and tension in to connection.
So, you had an argument or feel distant.
That happens in most if not all relationships from time to time.
How we repair is really important.
Do you pretend it did not happen and just move on?
This could work for smaller issues but if it’s an attachment fear (we talked about this in my previous video and podcast) that was triggered or if it is resentment or big disappointment then you need to repair.
Now it’s time to reconnect.
We will talk a lot more about how to have repair conversations in another video and podcast for now let’s reconnect a little and get your connection back.
Here are some ways I suggest to re-establish connection and intimacy.
Our eyes are one of life’s most amazing mysteries.
Through our eyes, we let the world in.
Through our eyes we search for each other, we see each other, we connect — or have the potential to connect — with our fellow humans.
We convey that we’re here, we’re interested, and we value the person we’re with in this precious moment.
Healthy emotional attachment is nurtured through eye contact with an available and attentive parent, it helps infants grow and develop.
Although we’re wired with a longing to connect, we may not take full advantage of our eyes, which offer a remarkable capacity to connect us with others.
People often complain that their partner does not make enough eye contact which can leave them feeling lonely and disconnected.
We want to be understood, appreciated and valued.
We want to be seen but at the same time can fear being seen due to judgement or shame and so we avoid eye contact and lose the connection.
When people look at you, what happens inside?
How do you feel in your body?
Do you welcome eye contact or shrink from it?
Is it frightening, tantalizing, or both?
At what point do you divert your eyes?
Is there something inside you that you don’t want others to see?
Being seen is something we long for.
But it can also be terrifying.
What might they see?
Our beauty, our goodness, our wonderfulness?
Or do we fear that they’ll see something ugly about us, whether real or imagined?
Perhaps they’ll see our flaws, our unworthiness, our insecurities.
Part of being a socially accepted individual means our antennae is always silently probing for any hint of being shamed, criticized or rejected.
And it’s trying to protect us from this.
If we look away, we don’t have to bear the brunt of any possible negative perception of us.
We can spare ourselves the shame of being seen in a diminished way.
When you look into another’s eyes do you notice yourself judging them or simply being with them?
Do you tend to put people in a box or do you look at them with open curiosity, spaciousness, and availability to be contacted?
Perhaps if we practice a more open way of seeing people — staying relaxed with our breath and our body, allowing our eyes to soften, being with them and letting them in, we’ll notice how our presence allows them to relax and move toward us.
The more we hold ourselves with gentleness and caring, the more we may find ourselves to be present through our gaze, especially with people we feel close to.
Eye contact, along with the connection it may bring, can become a kind of mindfulness practice.
If it feels right for you perhaps notice how you feel extending your gaze with your partner.
Settling into more relaxed eye contact with a good friend might also bring greater fulfilment.
What is happening in your stomach or heart as you gaze into your partner’s eyes?
Do you experience delicious warmth or expansiveness or a fear of being seen or losing yourself?
Can you stay with your bodily felt experience rather than leap out of yourself as we notice a delightful or threatening feeling?
This doesn’t mean staring at people or making them feel uncomfortable.
There is a natural rhythm of looking at people and looking away.
When it feels right, perhaps we can hold our gaze a little longer, relishing a simple moment of human connection.
Life becomes more fulfilling as we become present to the rich connections that are freely available if we realise them.
Dedicate 5 minutes to just sit or lay down with your partner and gaze in to each other eyes.
Try not to judge them but focus on compassion and see the world from their view. Their story.
Take notice of your own body and keep breathing slowly and deeply.
Hopefully the eye contact has made you feel closer and that will make it easier to become more responsive to your partner’s needs.
When we are emotionally drained or triggered, we can’t be as responsive to our partner’s needs, so that’s why we start by establishing calmness and then some connection through eye contact.
By now you will likely both be ready to listen to the other person’s needs.
We address how to discover and express your needs clearly in another section of this book.
Right now, it’s just important you both take turns in expressing what you need.
Be careful not to fall into any blame traps and tell the other what they did wrong.
Focus on what you need, and as the listener focus on hearing their needs too.
If you can’t give it to them for any reason such as it violates your boundaries, your capacity or any other reason, then remember you don’t have to fulfil every need.
It’s not your responsibility but you do have to acknowledge every need and show acceptance and understanding so they feel heard and seen.
And when you can’t accommodate the need then sit with them in their disappointment and show understand for how disappointed they feel.
Ensure them you will be here with them as they process the disappointment.
We will talk more about how to do this in the section on dealing with disappointment.
Now we get to the heart and core of intimacy and connection.
We spend our lives trying to control our circumstances so we feel safe.
We build all these walls and defence mechanisms so people can’t fully see us and therefore can’t judge us.
But in doing so we lose connection and intimacy with others.
I am not suggesting that you go share everything with everyone you meet, that would not be safe or wise.
What I am suggesting is, build trust with your partner by slowly revealing things about yourself and seeing if your partner responds with acceptance or judgement then you can choose to open up more and more over time.
Intimacy and connection happen through our vulnerability or more precisely through experiencing our vulnerability being accepted.
The very place most people are too afraid to go because it exposes us and makes us lose control.
There can’t be strong intimacy and connection without letting go of some control and taking a risk.
Once we realise that the fantasy of “the one” and that only one person can give us what we need, we also lose the fear of opening up to vulnerability.
The scarcity mentality and feeling only this one person can give us the acceptance we need makes the fear overwhelming, and the risk too big to open up.
Once you realise this is a lie and that many people can give you acceptance in this life then it becomes less risky to open up to a partner, because if they don’t have capacity to accept you then someone else will.
This does not mean you should simply dump them because they can’t show acceptance straight away.
It can take time. If they responded by judging you then it’s likely because it triggered some insecurity or fear in them.
Try remind yourself it has nothing to do with you and if you can address their insecurity, anxiety or fear they can likely accept your hidden parts too.
It’s fear that stands between us and acceptance.
If after much work, understanding and trying to help them overcome their fears, still can’t accept you then you must decide if you can live with this or if you want to find a partner that can give you acceptance and deeper intimacy.
Knowing there is not only one person that can accept us makes sharing so much less scary.
Vulnerability is the side of us that we rarely or perhaps never show others as we fear judgement.
It’s the judgement that makes us feel vulnerable, but when we experience acceptance, we no longer feel as vulnerable, we heal and not only experience more intimacy with our partner but also more acceptance, freedom and intimacy with ourselves.
The single most misguided advice is “we have to learn to love ourselves first” as neuroscience has documented we learn to love through our experiences with other people.
So, while I understand that saying “learn to love yourself first” fits our culture of individuality, that we should take care of ourselves and stand on our own feet.
It’s what makes us feel in control if we don’t need others.
We can’t ignore it’s simply incorrect and contradicts everything science has taught us of the human mind.
We do need each other and we learn to relate to ourselves and the world through our relationships.
Our relationships can heal us and teach us to love others and ourselves.
When we are exposed to acceptance our shame dissolves and we feel less vulnerable.
In letting go of control we gain control because their power to judge us loses its grip.
In the desire section you read that we need to keep some things hidden to keep mystery, but we also need to expose ourselves for intimacy. It’s about finding a balance that works.
You might ask “but how will I know what the balance is?” and the answer is simple.
When you lose desire and attraction it’s generally because you are getting too comfortable and too close. What you need is some distance and mystery.
When you feel disconnected you need to share more vulnerability and create closeness and intimacy.
If you feel both closeness and desire then you have found the right balance.
If you feel safe with you partner then try to sit with them. You get 5 minutes, each to share a vulnerability.
Something that you hide and prefer others not to know.
This will likely feel scary and that’s a good thing.
It means you are sharing something vulnerable.
If it doesn’t feel scary you are likely not really sharing vulnerably.
The more vulnerable the bigger the reward can be in terms of connection and intimacy.
The key to turning vulnerability into intimacy is to feel what we share is accepted by our partner.
So, let’s go over the steps of this exercise:
Remember the more vulnerable it feels the bigger the reward in intimacy.
But only share something that is very vulnerable with a partner you trust and when you have previous experience of revealing smaller vulnerabilities that they have been accepted.
While the reward is bigger for sharing bigger vulnerabilities, so is the risk if it’s not accepted.
That’s why I always recommend testing the water with smaller vulnerabilities to see how they are received.
Once you have a lot of trust built then share deeper ones.
After you share it’s likely that you partner will get triggered because what you shared could bring up insecurities or anxiety, fears or attachment wounds within them.
For example, if you shared a sexual fantasy of multiple partners it might make your man feel insecure that he is not good enough or that you might want to leave him.
Do NOT try to avoid “negative” emotions when sharing vulnerability because part of the process is that your partner also gets a chance to heal from their wounds when they get triggered.
This is just as much a healing exercise as it is a road to intimacy.
So, you feel freer, accepted and loved and they too feel less anxiety, fear and more freedom…. That’s what I call win/win.
So, if your partner is triggered, they can’t show genuine acceptance, that’s why you must deal with this first.
Remind yourself that their reaction has nothing to do with your vulnerability but are unprocessed and unhealed wounds from their past.
Get them to follow the 3 steps above if they are very triggered.
Physical movement, deep breathing and attachment reassurance.
The third step you must be part of.
I recommend they get professional help to deal with their wounds.
This could be someone trained in EFT (emotional focused therapy), Somatica Method or somatica experiencing by Peter Levine, or you can contact me here.
If you had not had this experience before then I can tell you it’s one of the most wonderful experiences we can have as a human being.
To feel completely accepted and seen by someone we care deeply about and are attached to.
While it can feel nice to be accepted by strangers it does not have nearly the same healing impact. as being accepted by someone we are strongly attached to.
This is the space where love, intimacy and connection flourish.
So as the listener, your part is to use empathy to understand your partners world, needs and desires.
This starts with a curiosity to understand your partner rather than judge them.
Imagine you are a child without these pre-recorded ideas about the world and what’s “normal” or how people “should” act, think or feel.
Imagine you don’t have all your attachment wounds, insecurities that you are not enough and fears that you will be left alone.
Instead, you know you are enough and your partner wants to be with you.
That’s why they are here sharing these vulnerable parts with you in the first place.
It’s because they want to deepen your connection and attachment to feel closer to you.
If they reveal they have a foot fetish and only get really aroused by feet, rather than viewing the world through the lens you have been given, a pre-conceived notion of what is “normal” or “good”, try instead to look for the opportunity to learn more about your partner and their world. This is the beautiful diversity of human emotion and behaviour.
When we stop being scared and can let go of our own categorisation and judgement (these are just a way to seek control and feel safe) then we open up curiosity and empathy.
Different is not dangerous.
A foot fetish, while you might not understand it, is not a danger to you or your relationship.
Unless you judge and shame your partner, so they stop sharing their real selves with you.
If you welcome them in their vulnerability, then a foot fetish could be an interesting way to learn something new.
Often, we feel threatened by new as we feel safe with what is familiar.
The new parts you see in your partner does not negate what’s already known and familiar to you, neither does it mean your partner doesn’t want you anymore, in fact it’s just the opposite.
They share because they want more closeness and this is a perfect opportunity to build it.
It’s ok if you feel “negative” emotions or get triggered.
It’s normal so don’t judge yourself, just go back to step two and work your way through the process until you feel safe again.
Find your inner child’s curiosity where judgement. has not had time to manifest yet.
When you find it, you will feel empathy and can show your acceptance.
So how do you show acceptance?
Once you have dealt with your triggers and found the place of curiosity then it’s time to express the acceptance you feel for your partners vulnerability.
This can be done in multiple ways here are just a few suggestions.
Show how much you value and appreciate their vulnerability and that what they shared is welcomed with you.
While words are powerful, experiences are even more powerful, so if the vulnerability they shared does not overstep your boundaries or capacity then you could live out an experience. Involving their vulnerability so they get to experience acceptance in action.
You can still use words before, during and after to express your enjoyment of sharing this experience together.
This was the longest video or podcast to date. I hope you practise and get tons of value from this.
Have fun and see you soon.