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.
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What Feels Like Connection for You?
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(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?