Four years into their relationship Kate and Eli wondered where the fun and excitement had gone. What happened to the thrill they experienced of hugging each other after a day at work? How did they get so bogged down with family duties, housekeeping routines and bill paying concerns? Their interactions revolved around checking in with each other about getting things off the “to do” list. The day to day tasks of life consumed more and more of their time.
Kate tried to make romantic candlelit dinners, but there was always a reason why Eli couldn’t be there or if he was the conversation focused on duties and tasks rather than their connection with each other.
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Eli felt alone and unfulfilled. He no longer seemed to have a partner who was interested in his feelings or experience. He had to keep it in, and escape into sports events on television.
Kate felt sad about their lack of connection. It was as if something precious that they once had had slipped away without anyone noticing. All that was left was a gaping hole. Eli seemed more interested in sports than in her. He no longer suggested weekend activities that they could do together. He stayed up later than her and they had no time for affection or physical intimacy borne from spontaneous or natural desire.
Kate became irritable and upset. She would snap at Eli and then regret it. Eli would feel hurt and withdraw. Any tenderness or affection he may have felt for Kate evaporated.
Kate wanted to hug Eli and recapture those warm, loving, comfortable perfect moments of intimacy that they seemed to have in abundance in their first year of marriage. She wanted to bring it back so badly that she was hurt and scared when her efforts to attract Ellis failed. That’s when her anger would surface.
If it was there once why can’t it be there again? The things I’m doing now worked before, so why aren’t they working now? Kate would mutter to herself, and then take out her frustration on Eli by snapping at him – it had to be his fault since he wasn’t responding.
Eli and Kate both felt a loss of connection. Each one silently blamed the other for changing. They were at an impasse, desperate to rekindle their intimacy fire and bask in its glow.
So how can Kate and Eli rescue themselves from this pit of loneliness and disconnection?
They have to have a new wish for intimacy in the here and now and hang onto it. But they also have to give up the wish to return to the early days and just relive the experience. The new wish is real and achievable. The old wish is a fantasy and isn’t available in the real world.
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That wish to have emotional and physical intimacy at this moment, four years into their more mature relationship holds the secret to improving the quality of the connection with each other.
Tapping deep into that wish is a vision of play: