Are you having that feeling that somehow your partner just doesn’t seem to really understand, no matter how many times you try to tell them what you’re feeling? You ask them to be sure to let you know if they are going to be home late, yet they continue to do this. It infuriates you and it becomes another fight. Couldn’t they just take the time to send a text?

Why is this always the fight?

It’s in these moments that one can begin thinking something like “this is just how things will be” – and we find ourselves giving up hope that connection will be restored.

Often times our attempts to solve the problem feel like they keep causing further frustration and the feeling that things didn’t really change. This may be because we are not addressing the issue that is truly the source of our frustration.

Learning to fight the issue, not your partner

For each of us, there is a desire to know that we have secure attachments. Finding where we can feel safe and can be loved, even at our worst. At times something interrupts our feeling of security and safety with the people we are closest with, and we find ourselves feeling a sense of threat to our well-being. This can cause us to react in an effort to thwart the threat that is detected.

  • If our spouse doesn’t respond to our request for communication, it may be triggering an internal feeling of lack of safety. We may not feel that we are in any physical danger, but there is a feeling that we are not valuable in the relationship. This becomes the primary source of concern, and we begin to find ourselves trying to protect our need to feel safe and secure.

As you are able to slow down and understand what it is that is really going on, you can then utilize these steps to help communicate your needs more directly.

  • Take time to slow down and ask yourself what it is that the other person’s words or actions brought up for you.
  • Name the emotion or feeling. It can help to utilize assertive expression to help in explaining what it is you want to communicate (which can help to limit blaming) and instead express your feelings clearly. An example of this might be: “When you didn’t give me a heads up about coming home late, it made me feel not valued and not important.”
  • Allow time for your partner to respond and really listen to them. If needed, repeat back the feelings you had in the situation without placing blame on them or dismissing your own experience.

Bottom line, restoring connection should remain the focus

It’s important that we are able to notice and express our own experience, rather than pointing fingers or trying to defend ourselves. In doing so, you can move into a place of understanding your emotional experience. By helping your partner better understand the impact of these interactions, your connection will increase and further establish safety and security.

At times, it can be helpful to have a therapist or other professional who can help you to identify these deeper emotional experiences as a way to help increase your feeling of connection within your relationships.

Kristi Wollbrink, AMFT
Kristi Wollbrink, AMFT

I help individuals and couples decrease anxiety in order to find meaningful connection.