Because we are social animals, and because it feels so good, we all want to get connected, be connected, and stay connected.
But, we often forget, one of the primary reasons for being connected has to do with survival: Without connection, we simply do not survive.
Problem is, it doesn't seem to be that easy to stay connected.
Why? Glad you asked.
Simple: Survival doesn't necessarily call for us to feel good about one another in spite of being connected.
It's only when we add closeness, love, desire, etc., to the mix that things get dicey.
So, let us assume that we are evolved beyond the Alley Oop stage of human development, and that we wish to remain connected to our partner for reasons beyond those of primary survival.
How, on earth do we do that?!
First, you scratch your partner where he/she itches.
In other words, learn from your partner just exactly what it is that he/she wants from you that shows you care. And if you can't figure it out, ASK DIRECTLY!
Once you know where he/she itches, scratch on that spot! If it seems too hard, or you are not comfortable giving what he/she wants, negotiate! Talk about it! But don't just refuse without dialog.
Second, lose the defensiveness. Basically, defensiveness simply tells your partner that what he/she has to say is not worth listening to. THAT breaks connection. And besides, just because you get defensive doesn't mean you will change your partner's mind.
Just because you feel defensive, doesn't mean you have to act defensive, set the record straight, or be right.
Setting the record straight, being right and general defensiveness all break connection.
Third, be curious about your partner's experience. Just because YOU think he/she should not be having the experience they are having doesn't mean you are right.
Instead of being right, ask him/her for more info about their experience. That sends the message that your partner is important to you. That maintains connection!
Once again, keeping the strong connection you have worked so hard to create means:
1.) Scratch your partner where he/she itches;
2.) Reduce your defensive responses
3.) When your partner is having an emotional experience, ask questions--get curious.
These are 3 powerful ways to maintain connection. Take a risk--try them all.
I am Dr. Jim Hutt, from CounselorLink.com, wishing you a satisfying connection!