Successful couples constantly reach out to each other to stay connected — with glances, smiles, touches, cups of tea, nudges, kisses and secret looks of amusement about the people around them.
Or remarks like “How was work today?” “That was delicious!” “What are you thinking?” “Are you upset about something?”
These little gestures, comments and questions really keep your relationship alive.
Psychologists call them “bids for emotional connection,” and happy couples make hundreds of them every day: “Did you hear about…” “You’ll never guess what happened…”
They show you care about each other, and are actually far more important than what you’re really doing together!
And yet we’re mostly unaware of making them.
What’s wanted, of course, is a positive response: “Do tell me!” Not a brush off: “Don’t bother me, I’m busy…” Or no response at all, like a go-away grunt.
Because if you don’t respond enthusiastically, sooner of later your partner will stop approaching you.
And start snapping or sulking instead. And so your relationship slowly unwinds.
And you both start feeling lonely, wondering how you got there.
You got there by rejecting each other’s bids for emotional connection.
Does that mean you should always respond positively?
Of course you should! But it’s not easy if you don’t feel in the mood.
Or maybe your partner’s being too demanding. Or not taking account of what you’re doing.
You could try saying something like, “I’m sorry I’m such lousy company right now — I’m just so stressed…” but even that’s difficult in the heat of the moment.
It’s simpler to go back later and say “I’m sorry I’ve been so irritable lately…” Or “I was so busy last night I hardly even said hello when you came in…”
At least that way you’re making amends for hurting your partner.
And talking intimately about not having been intimate together, which is actually a surprisingly good way to get closer.
Another problem is “fuzzy bidding.” Imagine having this conversation with a friend: “Let’s have coffee sometime.” “Good idea, but right now I’m just too busy.” “Of course, I understand. You’ll call me?” “Sure!”
Of course, you never get the call.
Which makes you wonder whether they really are that busy, or just avoiding you.
A better ending goes like this “…I’m just too busy.” “I do understand.
Do you know when you’ll be free?” “Let’s see — how about Saturday morning?” “Great, see you then!”
No dancing round the issue — a straight answer, right there.
OK, you could get hurt by a definite rejection.
But at least there’s no more uncertainty.
Avoiding being fuzzy is a really good idea.
Being perfectly clear about what you want — and asking for it. Precisely.
More often than not, you’ll be successful, and will be even more confident next time!
And ask yourself whether you’re connecting with your partner often enough.
Remember, successful couples do it hundreds of times a day!