Love

7 Secrets The Happiest Couples Know — And Put Into Practice Every Day

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young couple looking at each other in front of yellow sky, city scape

One of the best things about the early stage of dating is discovering each other. If things go well, it's a time to nurture new emotional connections.

Opening your heart to someone new demonstrates so much optimism for what you can create together. But what if you start to feel emotionally distant or emotionally detached from the person you’re dating?

Does feeling emotionally detached mean that the relationship is doomed, or can the two of you rekindle the connection?

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Many things can cause you to feel emotionally distant from your romantic partner. Life has a way of disrupting your love story.

You can get busy with work or have family issues come up. Perhaps it’s been difficult for the two of you to find time together.

Over time in any relationship, there's a natural tendency for the excitement of the romance stage to wear off. But you can fix that.

Here are 7 things the happiest couples do every day to make sure they never grow apart.

1. They acknowledge conflict.

Going along to get along is not a recipe for deepening intimacy. Conflict can feel uncomfortable but avoiding it does not make it go away. Emotional distance will grow between the two of you if you don’t clean things up.

When you avoid conflict, it can exacerbate the issue over time and lead to a pattern of behavior that creates emotional distance.

Another ugly side effect of avoiding conflict is that eventually, the pressure of unexpressed emotion can explode like a mental volcano. Both of you end up feeling terrible and the cycle of avoiding conflict rolls on.

Just because you appear to be emotionally attached on the surface — because you’re not fighting — doesn’t mean that anger and resentment won’t continue to build and create a barrier to a deeper connection.

You may believe that your people-pleasing strategies make you a nicer person.

Not wanting to seem like a difficult person or avoiding rocking the boat may make you someone who's easy to get along with. But, ultimately, these strategies will not get you the lasting love you desire and will block emotional connection and intimacy.

2. They resolve conflicts.

Maybe you and your partner don’t avoid conflict. Just because you're expressing your frustration with each other doesn’t naturally lead to more connection and intimacy.

If you're not resolving your conflicts and repairing after a fight, you're just as likely to create emotional distance.

Unresolved conflicts have a way of popping up over and over again. You end up in a cycle of fighting, making up, and fighting again. This puts stress on the relationship and creates a power struggle between the two of you.

Emotional intimacy cannot thrive if you don’t feel safe expressing yourself or are constantly at odds with one another.

Resolving your conflicts requires you to accept your differences and to find a more respectful way of discussing them. 

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3. They take care of their inner conflicts.

Inner conflicts occur when two parts of you seem to demand opposing needs. Maybe part of you values your independence, while another part of you wants to be available when your partner wants to connect.

These conflicting desires can leave you feeling emotionally detached in your relationship because your needs won’t feel met. You’ll end up feeling stuck and unable to create a stronger connection with your partner.

Self-sabotage, being emotionally unavailable, and resistance to making commitments are all symptoms of inner conflicts. Unresolved inner conflicts will lead you to feel ambivalent about your desire for love. 

You will most likely send mixed signals to your partner, causing them to wonder whether you're really interested in a relationship or not.

Or your partner may simply be unaware of how to please you, which will cause them to move on to someone else whose heart can be more easily won.

Taking time for introspection and journaling about your conflicts can help bring them out into the open and give you the self-awareness you need to resolve them. 

4. They are emotionally available.

There are many reasons someone can be emotionally unavailable in an intimate relationship. Unresolved trauma, addiction, fear of heartbreak, or being cynical about love are just a few.

Whatever the underlying reason, if you or your partner are not emotionally available, the relationship will never take off or have a chance to last.

Chemistry and great sex can mask emotional unavailability. The excitement of attraction can make it feel like there is something more going on. But true intimacy requires that you share your emotional truth, risk opening your heart, and be vulnerable.

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5. They speak about their needs and desires.

If you keep your needs and desires to yourself and expect your partner to know them intuitively, then you're risking emotional distance between the two of you.

Asking for what you want and having your partner deliver on your request will create trust and an understanding that encourages emotional connection.

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Sacrificing your needs and desires will eventually create anger and resentment. If you're giving and expect your partner to reciprocate, but not explicitly make a request, then you're setting yourself up to be disappointed and creating emotional distance between the two of you.

Having unfulfilled needs will leave you feeling animosity towards your partner and, ultimately, you can end up feeling emotionally distant and emotionally detached.

6. They are emotionally authentic.

Putting up a false front because you think that you’ll be rejected if you share your emotional truth creates an emotional distance between you and your partner. 

Emotional authenticity is the doorway to emotional intimacy. Sharing how you feel is an invitation to your partner to share their feelings.

Emotional authenticity isn’t about your partner's attitude or actions. It's about you and your feelings. Sharing your emotional truth is also how you transform a conflict into a connection. 

7. They own their triggers.

It's normal and natural to get triggered by emotional trauma. The wounds of your childhood and the strategies you developed to deal with them are part of your behavior in an intimate relationship.

If you're not taking responsibility for your triggers, you create an emotional distance between you and your partner.

You aren’t responsible for creating your partner's triggers and vice-versa. Those wounds predate the relationship. However, if either of you blames the other for your triggers, you're creating an environment where intimacy can’t grow.

It's easy to forget that you're projecting your fears and insecurities onto your partner and their behavior. This creates a funhouse mirror effect where you don’t recognize that your partner is reflecting your wounds back at you.

When you take responsibility for what's yours, then you can create a strong emotional bond, where communication is safe and the emotional intimacy in which a lasting, loving partnership is built upon.

Love is a feeling, but it's also a choice and an action. It takes courage to keep your heart open in an intimate relationship. The rewards are immeasurable. Deep down, you want to be loved for who you really are.

The best way for that to happen is to choose love in each moment.  Show up as who you really are — and share your emotional truth.

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Orna and Matthew Walters are Soulmate Coaches who have been featured guest experts on Bravo’s "The Millionaire Matchmaker." They're the authors of the free report, "7 Steps To Soulmating," which can be found on their website. 

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This article was originally published at Creating Love On Purpose. Reprinted with permission from the author.