Your Parents and Grandparents Laid a Decent Foundation of Love for You, and Someone Blew It All Up! Not to Worry -- You CAN Fix It! 💫
To Have Your Physical Needs Met Is Vital, But Can Leave You Feeling Incomplete and Lonely.
Can Adults Build New Emotional Connections?
- You and your partner must truly want a relationship with each other. Before you can proceed with anything else in the remainder of this article, you MUST understand the importance of lines 1 and 2 of this section! You will be surprised to know how many people are in relationships that started out AND continued as mere physical attractions. After months of interacting, these couples realize they have nothing in common (except for sex) and do not enjoy being together, yet they carry on until one of them cannot take it anymore. At this point, it becomes a test in resolve. Who can take the pain longer than the other party? What is the answer to determining whether or not you want a whole relationship with someone? DATE! Get to know people. See how they handle crowds and being around other people when they are with you. Determine their hang ups and what type of relationship they want to have. Ensure that your primary love languages are compatible with each other. If things get serious, you NEED to understand and witness their family dynamics because this is how they deal with others, consciously or subconsciously -- no matter what they tell you. Ask them about their parents and try to determine if they have resolved any conflict with them. Give your potential mates (at least three months) to take their masks off and show you if what they have said to you about who they are is really true. Don't try to interview them, just give them time to come out! If you are hot and heavy to enter commitment right now, slow your roll! To women who are in relationships with men, ensure you understand the differences between men and women so you don't assume something is a problem when it's just a normal man thing (that's an entirely different article).
- You and your partner must be aware of how your pasts affect you. So you have decided to stop serial dating and you have honed in on someone you feel is a good match for you. They're not perfect, but they are willing to do something concrete to improve in areas where personal or relationship help is needed. This is the point where you should consider couple's counseling or therapy. Depending upon whether or not you both place a life focus on spirituality, you may decide to choose a spiritual counselor to assist you with your relationship journey. The key point is to deal with personal and relational shortcomings and to come up with healthy resolve and coping skills to be successful in a relationship. If they leave all of the work of finding a counselor up to you, especially when they are the one with all the problems, DO NOT proceed to step 3...go back to step 1!
- Common cultures help in establishing emotional bonds. Many couples, specifically in the west, are entering into cross-cultural and interracial relationships. This adds a new dynamic in that your interpersonal, family and social interactions could add challenges to relationships that are already challenging enough. Time and strength of friendship between the two of you are really important in facing unique obstacles that may be presented inside or outside of your relationship. Give yourself extra time to develop your emotional connections and be sure to have frank, safe discussions about how you will handle various situations as they occur. Spend time with and in the other culture and NEVER act like a guru of the culture you were not born into.
- Purposely create segments of time (Happy Zones) -- one within a 24-hour period -- where both you and your partner are allowed to feel pure, non-sexual happiness in each other's presence. You have five main emotions: anger, sadness, happiness/enjoyment, fear and disgust. Sorry, sexual attraction is not an emotion. ALL emotions are healthy, however if they are out of balance, then the emotional connection becomes unhealthy. Much of what could be considered as out of balance should have been dealt with in numbers 1 and 2, however stuff happens as you go through life so maintenance and recalibration are ALWAYS needed. If you are having trouble naturally feeling happiness, then plan to feel happiness by scheduling an event together (not sex) for a prescribed amount of time (30 minutes to 1.5 hours) where both you and your partner are pretty much guaranteed to feel happiness. You may decide to go to the zoo; for a ride in the car to see a naturally, beautiful landscape or monument; to a Nascar event; whatever you BOTH will enjoy. This is NOT the time to do something that only your partner wants. Also, remember safety is a big part of happiness so NEVER bring up intimate conversations that have taken place between you in a sensitive therapy session or otherwise, to use them as a weapon against your partner in an argument or as a topic of regular conversation. Judgement-free interactions are vital to developing happy connections -- you are in the Happy Zone. You can't fix everything by talking about it all the time, just enjoy yourselves. I am not advocating sweeping situations under the rug, just stressing that Happy Zones are not the place to bring them up.
- Give yourself time to settle into your new sense of emotional balance. It can take weeks or months to develop healthy emotional connections, but it does not take forever. If you have already been broken by previous relationships, give yourself at least a month of happy emotional connections, with a couple of days between Happy Zones with your partner, to allow your new emotional bonds to solidify. Do not discuss relationship issues or problems within a 24 hour period after entering a Happy Zone. Also, I reiterate no more than one Happy Zone in a day, especially if you are in the process of building broken emotional connections. Once you get the hang of a few Happy Zones, you can extend their length, however they should last no more than four hours at a time, and longer zones should only occur toward the end of the first month of emotional tie building. Don't start building emotional bonds by taking a two week vacation to a remote island....not a good idea.