Love coach: How to reconnect after an argument
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- Published on Saturday, 21 November 2020 10:11
- Last Updated on 20 November 2020
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Arguments happen in all relationships.
Research has shown that arguments are usual and does not mean you can’t have a long and happy relationship.
Couples therapy has taught me it’s how we argue and how we reconnect that matters.
A key characteristic of happy couples is that they turn towards each other after an argument.
They come together and try to understand the other, and while they might complain about the other’s actions, they never make it about their character.
Let’s look at some ways to reconnect once you have both calmed down.
Eye contact is essential. Visual cues are fundamental to interpreting communication.
If you can’t see each other misunderstandings, are much more likely to happen, and it’s easier to dehumanize someone we can’t see.
Make sure you sit opposite each other and look at each other in the eyes, and have undisturbed time for each other.
Silence and put away the phones.
Once you are both calm, touches can be a great way to reconnect.
A hug, a massage, or cuddle release oxytocin that is a bonding and trust hormone.
But don’t do this until the irritation has subsided as how we experience touch is context-sensitive.
Hence why touch can turn you on in one context and make you angry in another.
Being present and responsive to each other’s needs
This was likely the most helpful tip I learned in premarital counseling.
When we are drained emotionally or triggered, we can’t be as responsive to our partner’s needs, so that’s why we start by establishing calmness and then some connection through eye contact.
By now, you will likely both be ready to listen to the other person’s needs.
We address how to discover and express your needs clearly in another section of this book.
Right now, it’s just essential you both take turns in expressing what you need.
Be careful not to fall into any blame traps and tell the other what they did wrong.
Focus on what you need, and try to listen to their needs too.
relationship counseling can help you explore your love languages.
If you can’t give it to them for any reason, such as it violates your boundaries, your capacity, or any other reason, then remember you don’t have to fulfil every need.
It’s not your responsibility, but you do have to acknowledge every need and show acceptance and understanding so they feel heard and seen.
And when you can’t accommodate the need, sit with them in their disappointment and show understanding of how disappointed they feel.
Ensure them you will be here with them as they process the disappointment.
marriage therapy can be really helpful at exploring your needs and boundaries.
Share needs with vulnerability
Now we get to the heart and core of intimacy and connection.
We spend our lives trying to control our circumstances, so we feel safe.
We build all these walls and defence mechanisms so people can’t fully see us and, therefore, can’t judge us.
But in doing so, we lose connection and intimacy with others.
I am not suggesting that you share everything with everyone you meet; that would not be safe or wise.
I suggest building trust with your partner by slowly revealing things about yourself and seeing if your partner responds with acceptance or judgment. Then, you can
choose to open up more and more over time.
Intimacy and connection happen through our vulnerability or, more precisely, through experiencing acceptance of our vulnerability.
The very place most people are too afraid to go because it exposes us and makes us lose control.
There can’t be strong intimacy and connection without letting go of some control and taking a risk.
Once we realise that the fantasy of “the one” and that only one person can give us what we need, we also lose the fear of opening up to vulnerability.
The scarcity mentality and feeling only this one person can give us the acceptance we need makes the fear overwhelming and the risk too significant to open up.
Once you realise this is a lie and that many people can give you acceptance in this life, it becomes less risky to open up to a partner because if they can’t accept you, someone else will.
This does not mean you should dump them because they can’t show acceptance straight away.
It can take time.
If they responded by judging, you likely thought it triggered some insecurity or fear in them.
Try to remind yourself it has nothing to do with you, and if you can address their insecurity, anxiety, or fear, they can likely accept your hidden parts too.
It’s a fear that stands between us and acceptance.
If, after much work, understanding and trying to help them overcome their fears, still can’t accept you, then you must decide if you can live with this or if you want to find a partner that can give you acceptance and deeper intimacy.
Knowing there is not only one person that can accept us makes sharing so much less scary.
Vulnerability is the side of us that we rarely or perhaps never show others as we fear judgment.
It’s the judgment that makes us feel vulnerable. Still, when we experience acceptance, we feel less vulnerable; we heal and experience more acceptance, freedom, and intimacy with ourselves and our partner.
The single most misguided advice is, “just love yourself.” Neuroscience has documented we learn to love through our experiences with other people.
So, while I understand that saying “learn to love yourself first” fits our individuality culture, we should take care of ourselves and stand on our own feet.
It makes us feel in control if we don’t need others.
It feels safer.
We can’t ignore it contradicts everything science has taught us of the human mind.
We need each other, and we learn to relate to ourselves and the world through our relationships.
Our relationships can heal us and teach us to love others and ourselves.
When we are exposed to acceptance, our shame dissolves, and we feel less vulnerable.
In letting go of the control, we gain control because their power to judge us loses its grip.
In the desire section, you learned that we need both closeness and attachment and novelty and individual expression.
It’s about finding a balance that works.
You might ask, “but how will I know what the balance is?” and the answer is simple.
Often when you lose desire and attraction, it’s because you are getting too comfortable.
What you need are some distance and novelty.
When you feel disconnected, you need to share more vulnerability and create closeness and intimacy.
If you feel both closeness and desire, then you have found the right balance.
If you feel safe with your partner, then try to sit with them.
You get 5 minutes each to share vulnerability.
Something that you hide and prefer others not to know.
Sharing a vulnerability will likely feel scary, and that’s a good thing.
It means you are sharing something vulnerable.
If it doesn’t feel scary, you are likely not sharing vulnerably.
The more vulnerable you dare to be, the bigger the reward can be between connection and intimacy.
The key to turning vulnerability into intimacy is to feel what we share is accepted by our partner.
And, remember, practice makes better. If you need help with this then online marriage counseling might be a good option.