Early warning signs of discontent can alert you to the need for help. You may be losing each other.
Are you tired of watching the Bachelor while your husband gets lost on his iPad. Do you think you learn more about him from his Facebook pages than from what's been mentioned in passing?
Being married means always having someone to turn to. Right? Sometimes wrong. Waking up beside your supposed intimate other and feeling lonely—now that's depressing.
Intuitively you know you picking up some early warning signs. Many couples feel times of disconnect but you are sensing this may be the first stage of losing touch with each other. In my work with couples, I find the seduction of the screens after a day of pressure becomes an easy way to disengage. The dopamine squirt from the quick bit of information about the stock market, the news, your college chums hypes the brain into thinking you are alive.
Yet, these repeated squirts over time can leave you both feeling empty. Without the high stimulation from something new every five seconds, life with your partner can feel like reading the phone book. This neurotransmitter squirt has the power of booze, gambling or other addictive experiences. You want to know what's around the corner. You may have heard of the ATMA syndrome. That's the part of you that once you get addicted is "afraid to miss anything."
The Internet promises an ever present drop of stimulation that leaves you wanting more. Yet it does not fulfill. Tidbits of information about what happened in the news, the stock market, or to your favorite star add up to a whole lot of boredom over time. No amount of continued attention to the screens will be fulfilling.
So, if you feel like you are in a rut and losing the bond between you. Pay attention. If the two of you further down this path losing each other, you can easily wake up to realize that your partner has met someone on the Internet. Or you may suddenly happen to look at your partner's text messages and realize there's a lot going on behind your back.
Of course the fantasy partner there can be all that you want her to be. His interest in you can help you find that finally someone wants to appreciate the real you. Soon the "in love" hormone drug is flowing and you or your partner slips off into the world feeling that you have never felt so close to someone like this in your life.
As a therapist who specializes in cheating, I have a passion to help couples catch this downward spiral long before this distance has developed. Waking up now to the dance of distance can save your marriage.
What's at the heart of this dance? Usually I find that one or both have begun to feel that the other simply does not care. Calling your partner in a crisis only to discover your partner is otherwise engaged only intensifies the sense of "you're just not there for me." Late hours and business travel can leave both of you feeling abandoned.
Do not lose your relationship in this way. You have noticed the early warning signs. Trust your intuition and reach out for help. Time spent in relationship counseling at this early stage can save you and your spouse many years of discontent. For an appointment in NYC or Bronxville, call Dr. Jim Walkup at (914) 548-8645.
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