Yes, emotional intimacy can be resurrected. Even after it has seemingly died. Even for couples who describe high levels of connection and love, interpersonal bonds can erode and seemingly disappear. Usually the erosion happens slowly over time, like mountains carved out by unforgiving winds and storms that tirelessly batter their majestic peaks and slopes. At other times we see a sudden avalanche due to conflict, affairs or other circumstances that bury couples in regret and a deep sense that their love has gone. Or maybe wasn’t even real.
The most powerful experience holding two lovers together rests on the emotional glue they create – unique to them – unique to their love. You could call it sacred because it knows no other resting place than between the hearts and spirits of two committed partners. It stays alive through all the ways they have shared life together, all the ways they have reached out with compassion and care and all the ways they have bound themselves naked, as one, only for each other.
So when emotional intimacy dies, it’s like a piece of the heart and soul gets damaged. Finding and resurrecting that love and closeness takes effort and it definitely takes repair. The glue of love two partners created at one time doesn’t just come back overnight.
So, what are the possibilities? Can love be re-grown from dead soil filled with the weeds of despair and hurt? For some couples, it’s easier than others.
If two lovers watched their love disappear due to complacency, there may be less hurt and more opportunity to revive what vanished over time. Not that this provides an easy path back. When a muscle in the body has atrophied, it takes time to replenish the cells that made it work well. And when emotional connection fades in the distance, you often have two “former” lovers who may or may not be invested in gearing up again.
With couples who have been hurt and wounded over time, reinvigorating their desire for one another and the close bonds they once shared can be daunting. Their confidence has most likely been shattered. Their sense of hope and even belief in their once exciting lover has been twisted and usually drowned out with tears and sobbing that leaves little sense that “we can make it happen again.”
So knowing that love and emotional connection can die, disappear and even vanish, how do we think of regenerating the emotional glue that two lovers once shared – sticky glue that touches the heart soul, replenishes desire and even sets the stage for an amazing sex life?
Knowing there is no magic answer to this, we can identify several ways that vibrant, emotional connection can be grown again. And grow it must.
- Make sure you’re both at the starting gate. Too often we find one partner ready to go while the other is stuck in ambivalence and uncertainty. Be honest about your intentions as a first step toward transparency and honesty. You both need to be in this together.
- Think long and hard about your part. Not his part, not her part. Your part. If you’re too buried in resentment, the kind that says “It’s all him” or “It’s all her”, you won’t get very far. Taking responsibility means you know yourself, how you behave and interact and it shows maturity. Blame is the opposite.
Get detailed about your role in the demise and be ready to share this together. If you don’t have a solid agreement about what happened in your history together, you’ll never be able to create a new one.
- Design and implement a “forgiveness” session or sessions. This means finding a way to say – meaningfully – “I’m truly sorry.” And “Please forgive me.” Forgiveness does more to restore relationships than anything. Your capacity to forgive – yes, we all vary here and some find it easier to forgive than others – is so important to restoration. Without it, nothing much happens.
- Next, take responsibility for your part in the future. What you’re going to do to grow and enhance the relationship. Discuss what may get in the way. If there are areas unresolved, such as a spouse who binge drinks and creates wounds and hurts through his or her actions, be realistic. Problem behaviors need to be solved before trust can grown.
- Decide together what kind of energy you want in your loving connection. All relationships have an energy. When emotional connection has died, the energy – at least the positive energy – has died too. Target a new way of being with one another. Decide what creates that energy and talk about how you’re going to grow and sustain it. If mutual passion isn’t one of the ingredients, you may be in trouble.
- Generate time and attention. Growing love and emotional bonding back, means effort and that means space. Plan date nights, evenings at home watching favorite movies and getaways where kids get left behind. Your commitment to one another gets fostered by focusing on each other in positive ways – not disengaging, which has been part of the problem.
- Finally, learn to not only love your partner again, but like her – like him. Pay attention to her uniqueness, his individuality and honor and celebrate their person. We are all different and couples who celebrate and learn to enjoy the special qualities of their partner, truly touch their heart and soul in powerful ways.
Every couple has to learn to keep love alive. They must keep the emotional glue fervent and burning. Being someone who invests in loving and caring for their lover, takes determination and wisdom. The results of two people sharing love and forgiveness and a deep desire to enhance the welfare of the other, can be astonishing. It feeds love and brings it back from the dead.