Have you ever felt like communication between you and your partner is never what you would like it to be? You feel separated from them so many times during your conversation. You are trying to connect with them, to express your feelings, emotions and share what you think. But sometimes you feel like the words have the opposite effect, they build walls instead of bridges between the two of you. You long for feelings of closeness and belonging but whatever you try, nothing works.
Let me share with you 3 simple yet powerful ways that I use to create a feeling of closeness and emotional connection between me and my partner. They don’t even need to know about that.
Take a breath between sentences
I discovered that for an emotional connection to happen, we both need to be relaxed. My partner’s mind needs to be released of my expectation to respond in the right way – ‘my way’. Small pause after every sentence or two that I share help them stay present.
How to achieve that? The secret is taking a breath after every sentence or two that I share. It’s simple but powerful. With that, I create a couple of seconds of silence.
Why is the silence so important? With every breath I take, I get more oxygen into my body and automatically release tension from it and from my words. Breathing also brings me back to my body, to be present here and now with my beloved one.
When I pause, I give them the opportunity to take in my words without being overwhelmed with too much information. And in that gap, when my partner is taking in my words, emotional connection happens and they can empathize my feelings when their mind is not preoccupied with my words. We all know that our mind is not designed for long listening, but it will always be present at least for one sentence.
My husband once checked on me right after he explained something to me. And I couldn’t repeat it. That’s how hard it is to be focused and listening to every word for more than one sentence, even when you want to. It takes an effort to stay present and listen for a longer period of time. And when there is an effort, the body gets tense and you know how hard is to listen attentively when you are all tensed up.
Observe the emotions behind the words
It’s not that words and the meaning of the words are not important, they are. The problem is that men usually don’t express their feelings in the same way as women do. Because societal expectations have “taught” men not to display any emotions openly, they learn to use different ways.
As a woman, my usual way to connect is speaking about my feelings. Men usually share their feelings while speaking about everyday stuff or about their adventures or about their interest or even about the work.
I have to admit that I discovered that accidentally while trying to listen to my kid talking. When he starts to talk, he could go on for two hours straight. A lot of times I caught my mind wandering away. Suddenly I became aware that I have no idea what he was talking about. At the same time, I still felt an emotional connection between us. It obviously did not matter to him, if I follow his story, as long as he felt that his emotions are being reciprocated.
I was wondering what would happen if I listen to my husband the same way as I was listening to my son. Could that bring us closer?
So next time that my husband was telling me about his mountain trip, I stopped paying so much attention to his words. Instead of focusing on his story, I started observing his emotions. I looked into his eyes and saw the spark and excitement. While he was talking about the breathtaking beauty of the view from the top, I saw how deeply he cares about nature. Sharing about his trips, that’s where he reveals his true self, his inner stillness, the adventurousness, the joy of simplistic living and the importance of keeping the nature intact for us to enjoy.
I was surprised at how much I discovered about how he feels and what he feels about things that are important to him, about his passions and his character. Suddenly I felt that the walls between us dropped and I became the part of his story that he shared.
After I started practicing that empathetic listening regularly, I become much more attuned to my partner and was able to detect and understand the deeper meaning behind spoken words. I was able to sense what he truly wishes to communicate.
Project your feelings
Just because your partner doesn’t respond the way you expected, that doesn’t mean that they don’t care. Men learned different ways to be close to another human being and to create an emotional connection. It started in their childhood with beliefs such as “Boys don’t cry” or “Be a man”. Such believes taught boys to bury emotions deep inside and pretend that they don’t feel anything. They also learned that to be part of the boy’s groups, they need to pretend that they don’t feel much and if they do, they need to hide emotions to be accepted.
While girls create an emotional connection while sharing and talking about their feelings, boys create an emotional connection by doing things together. When somebody shares their feelings, a man’s automatic reaction is disconnecting with his feelings and hiding them. And that’s why you feel that your partner is on the other side of the wall. So how do you reach beyond that wall and create an emotional connection?
The secret is in non-verbal communication. When you express your feelings with words the automatic response of a man is to close his heart. When you share your feelings just by projecting your love onto your partner and radiating your energy, your partner will stay open.
Focus on your heart and chest area. Shift your attention to breathing in and out. Recall the feeling of love for your partner or you could use the image of a favorite pet, baby or nature and project that feeling onto your partner. Remember, that non-verbal communication and connection can be as powerful as spoken words and it can create the intimacy you desire.