Ok, so let’s get real here people. If you read the first post in the series, and the second, and now this – it’s because connection in your relationship just ain’t there. But let’s be clear about something: when you say “I don’t feel like my partner and I are connected” what you really mean is “I don’t feel like my partner is connected to me.”
I mean, think about it, you’re craving for your partner to know your needs, your dreams, your feelings. You want them to understand you. You want them dialed in. You want them to be connected to you. And you feel like they’re not.
But, time out. Think about this: would your partner say that you’re connected to them?
Do you know what your partner’s needs, dreams, and feelings are? What their fantasy life looks like? Down to the last detail? Do you know what deep, dark feelings come up when your partner has a really bad day at work? I don’t mean the words they use – I mean the feelings underneath those words. How it feels in their body when something bad happens?
Maybe you think you do. But if you’re telling me you don’t feel connected in your relationship, maybe it’s possible you don’t.
So todays lesson is in modeling. Modeling is teaching by showing. It’s an interactive experience, which lends well to connection. If there is something you want from your partner, show them what it looks like by giving it to them! Get curious about their experience so they know what it looks to be curious about yours.
Three Rules for Modeling Attempts at Connection:
- Find opportunities to ask them questions. Maybe your partner gets a raise. Ask about what they would do with the raise if they could do anything they wanted with it. Ask about what that raise means to them. Does it feel like enough/not enough? What is their ultimate goal and what’s the next benchmark to get there? What’s the scariest part about reaching higher? You can do this for any topic.
- Work from a framework of empathy. This means not judging, and instead identifying. For a fabulous explanation of empathy, check out this super short Brene Brown video.
- DO. NOT. TRY. TO. FIX. THEIR. SHIT. This one here is straight shot to disconnection. Imagine this scenario: You come home from work. You just want to vent about how your boss asked for your opinion on a big project and then turned around and did the opposite of what you said and favored your co-worker who has no idea about the project and now it’s a mess and you have to clean it up and – you get my point. It was a freaking bad day and you just need to tell someone about it. Your partner interrupts with “well, you should probably request another meeting with your boss and…” Uhh, did you ask for their advice?? Now you have to argue with them about why that wouldn’t make sense and it wouldn’t change anything anyway and man that’s exhausting when you just wanted to get it off your chest and move on. Connecting doesn’t mean fixing. So if you’re trying to model connection and you’re partner doesn’t ask for your advice, don’t give it to them. Offer them a space to be open and let yourself be curious about their experience. That’s what you would want, right?
So go practice, y’all. The next blog will be the last in the series. And if you’re thinking “geez, Cori, all of these blogs about connection just focus on me. When are you going to make my partner do something for connection??” Well, you can relax, because I’ll address that in the final post. Happy connecting!