He looks at her. Half resigned, half angry and blurts “I can’t deal with your hysterical outbursts no more. I’m out of here!” and slams the door behind him.
If you're used to environments of constant arguing and fighting or where weeks of icy silences are just normal parts of your everyday life you might find it tricky to tell when your relationship is in real trouble. You might wonder if all arguing is bad? And if you always have to feel close to each other?
A good place to start is with Dr. Sue Johnson's 'Hold Me Tight Questionnaires'. You can download your free copies here.
The three main questions she's asking are:
- Is your partner accessible to you? Can you get his/her attention easily? Does your partner show you that you come first with him/her?
- Is your partner responsive to you? If you need connection, will she/he be there for you? Can you lean on your partner when you need reassurance?
- Are you positively emotionally engaged with each other? Do you feel comfortable being close to, trusting your partner? Does your partner care about your joys, hurts and fears?
If you’re currently reading this blog post it’s likely that you feel that your partner is no longer as accessible, responsive and positively emotionally engaged as you long for. Or you might have noticed that you yourself are starting to feel less connected and emotionally engaged and you might wonder if there is a way back from here or if you just have to grin and bear it.
The good news is that your emotional connection can be repaired and a great way to start is by doing Sue Johnson’s full questionnaires either by yourself or even better both of you sharing your individual results with each other.
The next step could be to read her book ‘Hold Me Tight’ and learn about how to reconnect and heal your relationship one crucial conversation at the time.
And if you get sidetracked or stuck during these conversations or if you find it difficult to stay on course and not end up arguing it might be helpful to ask for professional help from an EFT therapist or a couples coach like myself.
With a professional third person present it will be easier to create an environment where you can once more safely reach out to each other, get to the bottom of your current rift and start healing and growing back together.
Keep loving, living and learning.