What would it feel like to go to sleep at night and wake up every morning knowing there’s that one person in your life who loves you and always has your back?
If you have that, consider yourself very fortunate. You have the kind of relationship many couples long to have and many single people want to find.
Successful, happy couples often say that they feel their partner is their best friend, is in their corner, and is someone they know they can rely on, no matter what.
But if you’re in a relationship that’s lost its passion or is struggling, you probably wouldn’t agree that you and your partner have been there for each other in any significant or consistent way lately.
In fact, your partner may be the source of your pain and frustration rather than a pillar of consistent love and support in your life.
You’re crestfallen thinking back to how things used to be and how they are now:
You used to be there for each other. Now you’re rarely in the same room.
You used to talk openly and intimately to each other. Now you’re bickering or giving each other the silent treatment more often than not.
There was a time that you could confide in your partner about your innermost feelings. Now your partner uses your feelings against you, because they’re critical, blaming, or judgmental.
You used to have fun together and had a lot of interests in common. Now your partner is having fun without you, or you’re spending more time working or with your friends than you do with your partner.
Why did this happen? What made it all go so astray?
There could be many reasons why your relationship isn’t what it used to be. But for 80% of couples who get separated or divorced, the most common reason they give for why things don’t work out is:
What happens when couples “grow apart”?
Usually, one or both partners no longer feel connected to or in love with each other.
Why does this happen? Here are just some of the ways:
And then one day you look at each other and realize that you don’t even know the person you’re living with. They seem like a stranger to you, because it’s been so long since you’ve really connected with each other.
It’s gut-wrenching to realize that the love in which you invested so much of yourself is now falling apart or fading.
This probably didn’t happen because you planned on it.
And it probably didn’t happen because you picked the wrong partner, either.
You grew apart because of a fundamental relationship skill that is missing in your marriage.
This relationship skill is one of the 5 skills that all happy couples nurture, and almost all unhappy couples neglect.
Simply put, you stopped showing up for each other.
When you don’t show up for each other, it leads to not meeting each other’s needs, not connecting with each other, and growing apart over time.
There are 3 ways that this happens.
What does it mean to “show up” in a relationship?
It means being available to your partner on a consistent basis. It means being present to your partner’s experience of life: what they’re going through, what they’re concerned about, and what makes them happy.
It means being aware of what your partner needs and wants from the relationship, and if it’s reasonable, giving it to them.
When couples fail to show up for each other, it is usually in these 3 ways:
When you don’t show up for your partner physically, it could be because you’re not spending any time together in the same room or even under one roof. Maybe your partner travels a lot for work, and when you ARE home together, he or she is busy with their friends or hobbies, so you’re not spending much time together then, either.
Maybe you like to read and your partner likes to watch TV, or you like to play with your kids and your partner likes to catch up on work emails, so you spend time in separate rooms in the house a lot.
Or, you don’t go to bed together because you get sleepy earlier in the evening and your partner is a night owl, or vice-versa. You’re asleep by the time your partner gets under the covers. You miss out on the opportunity to talk intimately about your day in bed, snuggle, or make love.
Generally speaking, you’re not in the same physical space most of the time. You’re doing your thing and they are doing theirs.
You may not even be fully aware of the effect this is having on your love for each other, and how it might erode your connection over time. You’re just doing what you have to do, or what feels right in the moment, without considering how you’re failing to show up physically for your partner time and time again.
When you were first dating, you’d share your innermost thoughts and feelings with your partner. It’s how you bonded. You could talk about anything.
Now you’re only discussing rote thing like to-do lists, finances, the kids, or what you’re going to do this weekend.
You’ve stopped being curious about why they’re in a bad mood. You don’t ask about what put them in a good mood. You just go through the motions of your day without stopping to consider what your partner is thinking and feeling. Maybe you just assume you know your partner.
Another way you may fail to show up emotionally is when you don’t share with your partner about how much you appreciate them.
All in all, you’ve been taking each other for granted, which means that emotionally, you’ve stopped showing up.
Are you and your partner not doing much together socially? There may be good reasons (you think) why that’s the case.
You don’t like your partner’s friends. They aren’t into your hobbies. You’re an introvert and they’re an extrovert, so you’d rather stay home and read while they go to cocktail parties or social events.
That’s why you find yourselves going to parties alone, spending weekends doing your own thing, socializing with friends your partner hasn’t even met, or sitting home feeling lonely a lot.
What all this means is that you haven’t been showing up for each other, socially. Maybe you wanted to in the beginning of your relationship because of the infatuation you felt for each other. Now that you’ve “settled in” with each other, you aren’t as motivated to accompany your partner for things that don’t interest you.
You assume your partner will be okay with you doing your own thing or them doing theirs. But the reality is, that over time, your decision to not show up socially can have dire consequences for your love.
You see, showing up is what creates a relationship. It’s hard to be in any intimate relationship when you’re not showing up for each other, physically, emotionally, or socially.
Think about a friendship you have that you appreciate and honor. Could you have become friends if you never spent time together physically, never listened to each other, and never did anything fun together? Probably not. And you likely won’t remain friends for long without showing up consistently.
That’s why, if you want to avoid growing apart, and ultimately getting separated or divorced, you must show up for your partner, physically, emotionally, and socially.
Showing up is one of 5 critical skills that all happy couples practice.
If you’re not happy together right now, it probably means you haven’t made a concerted effort to show up. But all that can change, if you take positive steps to rebuild your connection and strengthen the love you feel for each other.
It’s simpler than you may think. Let me show you how…
Over the course of the 40 years I’ve been a marriage and family counselor, I’ve spent hundreds of hours combing through scientific research about what makes relationships work.
What I’ve discovered is that all happy couples are alike in their happiness and all unhappy couples are unique in their misery.
What this means is that couples who stay together and are happy in love with each other exhibit mastery of the SAME powerful relationship skills, whether they’re aware they have these skills or not.
These skills are:
I’ve partnered with Flourish to help people like you restore your connection, and fall deeply in love again.
When you subscribe to Flourish’s free love advice newsletter, I’ll show you exactly how to put each of these 5 critical skills into practice in your relationship, including how to show up for your partner so you can be happier together again.
I’ll reveal ways in which you are unintentionally harming your connection, and what positive actions you can take—some of which literally take mere seconds or even no time at all—to help you get back to a more loving, committed, and happy place with your partner.
You’ll learn how you can improve your connection and fall back in love, even if you’re the only one taking any action at first. You can actually do a lot toward making your relationship better just by your own efforts alone. It’s because of the natural “rubber band effect” of two people in an intimate relationship having a natural influence on each other.
You can start watching my video program at this link, risk-free, and get all my tools and tips on how to show up, tune in, and make your ordinary relationship extraordinary:Start Watching Now
Stop going through the motions and accidentally neglecting to nurture your love. If you love your partner and want to be happy together, you have to show up! I’m glad to have this opportunity to show you how.
May you have an extraordinary day,
P.S. When you subscribe, you’ll get access to an accomplished community of carefully selected experts (like me!) giving you our best insights and strategies to overcome any relationship challenge. You’ll learn:
There IS a way out of the bad feelings, the tears, the anger, and the resentment. The love you have for each other now is a starting point. Let me show you how to use that love to get back to a place where you’re happier together than you are apart.How to Add Positives