Being in a positive and successful relationship requires compassion, care, and lots of communication. It’s a mix of emotional and physical intimacy that forms and flourishes over time, becoming deeper and more meaningful as the couple grows together.
But what happens when the emotional side of things becomes unbalanced, or disappears entirely? If you feel that your partner isn’t holding up their side of the bargain in terms of their emotional availability/stability, it’s time to reassess the relationship and get to the root of the problem. Because without emotional intimacy, the connection is lost.
A Calm Conversation
You’re noticing a change, and it is causing you to panic. What happened to your partner’s emotional side? The shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen to your dreams and doubts have vanished, and you feel like you’re left with a shell of the special someone you once relied on.
It’s time to talk. Don’t spring it on them; rather give a heads up that you have been noticing a difference in their mood, behavior, and attitude. Put aside your sadness or frustration and approach the matter with curiosity. Perhaps they are going through something that’s making it hard to be there for you. Find out what’s going on and go from there.
Clear your mind of the worst-case scenarios and see what develops. It could be as simple as they’re getting too comfortable with the relationship and they’re forgetting to focus on your needs. A conversation may not be a cure, but it’s a step towards solving the problem.
Keep the lines open for further discussion as required. No blame, no bickering.
Ask for What You Need
Your partner isn’t a mind reader. Even if things were once perfect, or close to it, over time, changes come. It’s only natural for a relationship to ebb and flow. If you want your partner to listen more intently, share their perspective more proactively, or just be by your side when you’re in a slump, you need to express your desires clearly.
If you expect them to know what to do all the time, you’re only setting yourself up for a letdown. You may need to be specific in terms of instances when you need their emotional side to step up to the plate. If you’re too general, they may not know how to help.
Sometimes, when a partner becomes emotionally unavailable, they’re no longer interested in continuing the relationship. This form of distancing is the start of a split. Conversations may become surface-level, they don’t notice your emotions, and they don’t share theirs with you.
Rather than cutting ties swiftly, this lack of emotional intimacy can linger until one of you decides that the relationship is no longer healthy. If you’re willing to give it another shot, counseling could help. Seek out a therapist, religious figure you trust, or an online resource or self-help book you can both benefit from. Otherwise, realize that your emotional bond has been broken, and it’s time to move on.
Remember, it takes two people to make an emotional connection thrive. Be sure you’re putting forth the same emotional effort you expect in return.