Vail Relationships column: Common ways people disconnect from each other
Editor’s note: This is one of Neil Rosenthal’s previously published columns.
There are so many ways of detaching and disengaging in a relationship that we’re not always conscious of when we are doing it. Here is a list of some of the most common ways people disconnect from each other:
• Making your intimate partner a lower priority in your life. If you do this, then your partner will feel less important and undervalued.
• Not allowing enough quality time together or not doing many things with each other.
• Not paying attention, being distracted, preoccupied or being chronically tired.
• Being a poor listener. Frequently interrupting, talking over your partner or listening for what you can disagree with or argue about.
• Having a defensive wall up, so your spouse doesn’t feel you’re receptive to his or her feelings, requests, hurts or needs.
• Not honoring what your partner says matters to him or her.
• Not showing empathy or compassion for his or her feelings, wants or desires.
• Infidelity. For some, this includes porn, and it definitely includes sex and sexual flirting.
• Being extremely possessive or jealous. This will cause your spouse to pull away from you.
• Judging, criticizing or shaming. How are criticisms offered? The difference between saying something in anger or irritation and saying something from kindness and tact is huge.
• Getting abrasive quickly or frequently. It pushes the other person away.
• Treating your feelings, needs, irritations, sensitive subjects and requests as far more important than your partner’s.
• Withdrawing friendliness and generosity of spirit as soon as you get upset or angry.
• No matter whether you are addicted to the Internet, overworking, excessive drinking, TV, porn, food or drugs, all of these will keep your relationship more distant.
• Incessant complaining.
• Demeaning or belittling words. Being rude. Name calling. Being hateful.
• Taking more than you give.
There are ways of changing these behaviors. You could make your relationship a higher priority, carve out more quality time to be together, give your partner your undistracted attention and presence, be a much better listener, control your anger and be less adversarial, be more kind and friendly, add romance and make sure you create ways to have fun together.
Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Westminster and Boulder. His column is in its 24th year of publication and is syndicated around the world. You can reach him at 303-758-8777, or email him through his website, http://www.heartrelationships.com. The second edition of his book “Love, Sex and Staying Warm: Creating A Vital Relationship” recently hit the No. 1 best-seller list on Amazon.