This post was updated on Nov 29, 2022
Most people who’ve been in a long-term, committed relationship can recall times when it felt like you were spending all of your time together. You will also likely remember that there were times when you started feeling more distant or drifted away from your partner. This can be a sign that you’re starting to grow apart. However, it’s not necessarily a bad sign. It might be a result of changes in your career, complications with family and/or friends, a consequence of boredom with everyday routines etc.
Many people struggle with understanding what to do with this felt sense of boredom. Rather than blaming yourself or each other, you may try to understand the nature of your unexpected emotional disconnection. Rather than let it turn into emotional neglect that can lead to challenges, you can seek professional help and learn how to improve intimacy in your relationship.
What Does It Mean To Be Emotionally Detached?
If you feel emotionally detached, it means that you feel disengaged or disconnected from the feelings of people around you.
It might manifest itself as the absence of motivation to be involved in the emotional lives of other people, or a lack of capacity for it. It can be a reaction to a stressful period, which is often temporary, or it can be a trait of your attachment style, especially if it was developed as a way to cope with traumatic events in life.
How Do You Get Emotional Detachment?
If you had traumatic experiences as a child, detaching from the feelings of others can be a means to survive and keep negative emotions at bay. There are other scenarios that can lead to emotional detachment as well:
- Experiences of significant loss, such as a separation from a primary caregiver, parental divorce, or death of a parent or sibling.
- Having traumatic experiences growing up, including natural disasters, immigration to a different country, and going through life-threatening situations.
- Spending childhood in foster care or challenged adoption home.
- Experiences of emotional and/or physical abuse.
- Experiences of physical and/or emotional neglect.
Remember, not all people who have survived emotional trauma in childhood or adolescence develop emotional detachment or other avoidant behavior. Some people will try to trauma bond with their romantic partners, idealizing them or reliving their trauma, and many will be able to recover and start healthy relationships.
How Do You Know If You Are Emotionally Detached In Your Marriage?
Here are some of the possible signs of emotional detachment in a relationship:
- You take each other for granted.
- You have stopped listening closely and started shifting focus from your relationship to other interests when the focus needs to be on your relationship.
- You no longer respect your mutual rituals, i.e. you don’t have breakfast, dinner, or go to bed at the same time.
- When on a business trip or away, you only communicate routinely and don’t really want to call each other to check in.
- You have a fear of engulfment i.e. loss of boundaries with your spouse, which wasn’t the case in the past.
- Getting lost in your job and career role, using your work responsibilities as an excuse not to spend time with your significant other.
- You have trouble finding ways to balance your personal space and intimacy.
- You seek reassurance and resources for your emotional needs from other people. This doesn’t have to take the form of adultery or flirtation. However, it can take the form of emotional infidelity.
What Do You Do When You Feel Disconnected From Your Partner?
If you want your relationship to be healthy, you will want to resolve it. You can start by looking at events that jeopardized your connection. You can also look up similarities with your past relationships, and see whether you’ve ever withdrawn the way you do right now. And, if you have no history of being emotionally detached, you might just need some personal space and your detachment is just temporary.
It’s possible to reconnect by working on your relationship together. You may join a relationship workshop to help you pinpoint the causes of your emotional distance and work on bonding with each other again.
How Do I Emotionally Reconnect With My Spouse?
First, you may check whether the nature of your disconnection or detachment is traumatic or situational. Track down the source by taking your time and reflecting on the causes.
- Get To Know Yourself Better
Try to learn more about your needs and past experiences that you might’ve hidden deep. A relationship coach may help you discover your common relational patterns and attachment style. Then you can work through the wounds that keep you from having a successful relationship.
- Give Yourself Time
Be patient and gentle with yourself, so that you can be fair and caring for your spouse and your relationship. Sometimes, it will take you more than a short period of time to gain understanding and find a way to not avoid emotional intimacy.
- Recall Important Milestones Of Your Relationship
Reflect on the good times and the bad times. It may put your whole relationship into perspective and give you valuable insights.
- Try To Get Into Their Shoes
Try to see your relationship from your partner’s perspective. Talk to them to understand their position better and understand their wants and needs. Then share yours and find common ground to rebuild your relationship.
- Make Efforts To Rekindle Your Connection
You could do this with small gestures or by introducing the spirit of excitement and surprise. It’s a good idea to be creative and show that you care. Rebuilding your relationship on honesty, trust, and self-awareness is more likely to be successful, and a little effort often goes a long way.
How Can My Relationship Benefit From Experience-Based Intimacy Coaching?
Whether you’re looking for a way to restore the warmth and passion in your long-term relationship or to work on your own patterns of attachment, you can count on our relationship advocates to PIVOT from your old ways and learn something new.
You can pick the type of coaching you feel most comfortable with, and steadily. Give us a call today and embark on a journey toward a healthy emotional life.