Vail relationships: More on emotional Viagra | VailDaily.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Vail relationships: More on emotional Viagra

Neil Rosenthal
newsroom@vaildaily.com
Vail CO, Colorado

VAIL, Colorado ” Editor’s note: This is the second of a two-part series.

Let’s say it’s been years since you and your partner have talked meaningfully about what you liked, loved, admired, respected or found attractive about each other. If that’s the case ” or close to it ” we can assume that, although the two of you remain together, and perhaps even still have sex, that most of the warmth has left your relationship. Your relationship just doesn’t feel that close anymore.

So what can you do to warm up the relationship? What needs to occur for the two of you to emotionally reconnect so you’re feeling closer and more intimate with each other?



Probably, you already know the answer. Most of us know what we can say or do that would create warmth and help our partner soften toward us. I’m not talking about grand gestures such a surprise trip somewhere or dozens of flowers but rather small, doable, non-extravagant gestures that you could make a part of your day-to-day interactions that may ultimately mean more.

Ellen Wachtel, who presents this idea in her book “We Love Each Other, But…” says: “When people are angry and hurt they gradually stop doing the things that make their partner feel warmly toward them. Often this happens without any plan or conscious decision. Few of us actually decide to withhold or punish, although of course this can happen. Rather, when we feel hurt and angry it just doesn’t occur to us be emotionally generous.”



Here’s Wachtel’s suggestion: When one person breaks the cycle of withholding and acts emotionally generous, the atmosphere of tension and/or distance begins to soften. So think about it. Did your significant other like it when you left notes? Sent cards? Gave flowers? Cooked a favorite meal? When you invited her out on a date? When the two of you did more things together or as a family? When you did one of her chores unexpectedly? When you let him sleep in? When you were more romantic or seductive? When you went out of your way to gently teach or nurture a child?

You don’t have to already be feeling warm to do those things that are likely to warm up your relationship. You can be feeling rather hurt or withdrawn or miffed, and still do positive gestures of goodwill, with the desire to communicate that you value your partner’s happiness, and that you are making daily efforts to nourish and nurture your relationship and to help your partner and you feel closer to each other.

What you are shooting for is to soften the atmosphere of tension and distance with emotionally generous behaviors which are intended to rekindle the feelings of greater warmth and love. Your partner may not reciprocate, and certainly not immediately, but be patient and continue to reach out anyway.



You may be wondering why you should be more positive and complimentary when your partner is not. The answer is that sometimes it only takes one person to change the energy and improve the atmosphere in the relationship and the hope is that once your partner feels more appreciated and valued, he or she will begin to warm up to you.

Think about it. What could you possibly lose by doing this?

Neil Rosenthal is a licensed marriage and family therapist in Denver and Boulder, Colorado, specializing in how people strengthen their intimate relationships. He can be reached at 303-758-8777, or e-mail him from his Web site, http://www.heartrelationships.com.


Support Local Journalism