One of the rewards of being in a healthy relationship is the emotional fulfillment it brings. Sharing a deep connection with someone can make the hard times easier and the good times even better. But it’s not unusual to sometimes feel disconnected from your partner. Work or parenting stress, along with the challenges of military life, can cause couples to drift apart.
When this happens, take action to reinforce your bond and strengthen it against further challenges.
Noticing when you are feeling disconnected from your partner
It might seem easier to ignore warning signs in your relationship than to do something about them. But if you don’t address them right away, they can quickly pile up.
- Reach out to your partner if you notice behavior changes. Avoid being confrontational. Instead, have a conversation about it. Be open with your concerns and ask your partner to do the same.
- Take a team approach to identifying the problem. Avoid the impulse to get angry or blame one another. Instead, work together to identify and tackle the issue.
- Focus on finding a solution. Write down your options for dealing with your problems. Talk through each one and consider moving forward on a path that feels right.
- Reinforce your bond by listing what you are grateful for. Seeking out the good in your relationship will remind you of what you love about each other and help you feel more satisfied and closer in your relationship.
- Have a conversation about your values and desires. Describe what is important to you and ask your partner to do the same. You might find you share the same values and desires, but define them differently. Talking it through will lead to a deeper understanding of each other’s needs and expectations.
Reaffirming your emotional connection
When you feel distant from one another, be proactive about strengthening your bond. Here are steps to take:
- Carve out time each day for conversation. Talking about your day builds closeness. Remember to give each other your full attention during your conversations.
- Set expectations for how often you will be in communication during the day. Prioritize quality of conversations over quantity.
- Mix and match time together. Spend time as a couple with family and friends. But also try your best to make time to be alone with each other. Even getting up a few minutes early to have breakfast together before the kids wake up will give you a quick boost.
- Resist using your cell phone when spending quality time with your partner. Put your phone on silent so you’re not tempted to check it.
- Get moving outdoors as a couple. Physical activity outside will boost your mood, translating into positive feelings toward each other. Go for a bike ride, take a hike or even walk around the neighborhood as a couple.
You can find more ways to communicate effectively with your partner in the article, Tips to Improve Communication in a Relationship.
Staying connected while apart
Military deployments or other separations can make it harder to stay connected as a couple. Take a proactive approach to staying emotionally close.
- Make a communication plan. Work out how you will handle obstacles like different time zones. List various scenarios you might run into and come up with solutions for each.
- Share an experience together. Watch a movie while on video chat. Read the same book and schedule a time to discuss it. Start a fantasy sports league as a couple. Play virtual games and use your favorite apps together.
- Send photos, audio clips or videos. This will help you visualize each other’s lives and feel closer to one another.
You can find more tips and resources for every stage of your relationship by visiting Military OneSource’s Re the We page.
If you and your partner need additional support, free, confidential non-medical counseling is available through the Military and Family Life Counseling program on your installation and through Military OneSource.
Non-medical counseling is available in person, by phone, video or secure chat. To learn more or schedule time to connect with a non-medical counselor, call 800-342-9647 or start a live chat. OCONUS? View international calling options.