Connection with the people who are important to us is a vital need for all of us. Our brains are hard-wired to share love and connection with others. Many of us know that infants and children need a loving connection with their parents to thrive, and that many emotional problems result when this connection is not available.
Each of us experience connection differently, and for a relationship to thrive, we need to understand what connection means to each of us.
What Feels Like Connection for You?
(You might want to print this out and mark the ones that are important to you).
I feel connected with my partner (or, deleting the physical and sexual items, with a friend, parent, or adult child) when he or she:
__Shows me in many ways that he/she cares about my feelings.
__Is open to learning with me when we have conflict.
__Shares his/her thoughts and feelings with me.
__Listens and gives me his/her full attention when we talk.
__Is physically affectionate with me without a sexual expectation.
__Desires to make love with me.
__Initiates sex with me.
__Is responsive to my sexual advances.
__Makes plans for us to have fun together.
__Lets me know that time with me is very important to him/her.
__Is interested in hearing about my day.
__Notices when I get my hair cut or get something new.
__Tries to understand what is going on with me when I'm upset, rather than get angry, problem solve, or withdraw.
__Is there for me with kindness and compassion when I'm hurting, even if what I'm hurting about concerns something he/she did.
__Keeps his/her word.
__Never threatens the relationship, even when we are having a hard time with each other.
__We laugh and play together.
__We do fun things together - dinner, movies, social events, vacations.
__Stands up for me when others are mean to me.
__Supports me when I need support.
__Supports me in doing what brings me joy, even if it is not what he or she wants to do.
__Buys me gifts that are meaningful to me.
__Cares about how his/her spending affects me.
__Supports me in doing work I love, even if I don't make a lot of money.
__Enjoys cuddling with me.
__Lets me know in many ways how much he/she appreciates me.
__Our conversations are a two-way street.
__Never deliberately says things that he/she knows are hurtful to me.
__Takes responsibility for his/her feelings rather than blame me.
__Takes responsibility for his/her health and wellbeing.
__Is interested in what interests me.
__Enjoys small-talk with me.
What Creates Disconnection for You?
__Anger, blame, ridicule, sarcasm, threats - any kind of attack and verbal abuse.
__Withdrawal, resistance, indifference, shutting down.
__Being silent, closed, refusing to talk about the issues between us.
__Physical violence or the threat of physical violence.
__Being a victim, sulking, pulling, poor-me tears.
__Harping, nagging, explaining, defending.
__Being parental, judgmental, critical, having to be right.
__Shutting me out with various addictions - alcohol, drugs, pot, TV, computer, Blackberry, telephone, video games, porn, and so on.
__Spending money when we can't afford it.
__Being so frugal that we can't enjoy life.
__Not taking care of him/herself by eating badly, lack of exercise, being overweight.
__Talking on and on about him/herself.
__Lack of interest in me, my interests, my feelings, what is important to me.
__Expecting me to give myself up for him/her.
__Not concerned with how his/her behavior affects me.
__Giving others a lot of attention but ignoring me.
Once you finish with these lists, you might want to share them with your partner, a friend, a parent, or an adult child.
To begin learning how to love and connect with yourself so that you can connect with your partner and others, take advantage of our free Inner Bonding eCourse, receive Free Help, and take our 12-Week home study eCourse, "The Intimate Relationship Toolbox" – the first two weeks are free! Phone or Skype sessions with Dr. Margaret Paul.
Connect with Margaret on Facebook: Inner Bonding, and Facebook: SelfQuest.
This article was originally published at Inner Bonding
. Reprinted with permission from the author.