Did you know that our brain expects to have a certain amount of engagement and connection and if we don’t we can actually suffer from emotional starvation? Sounds pretty intense, huh?
Well let’s simplify it a bit so that we can really understand why connection is so important and how to rebuild it if it’s faltering.
First, as I said, our brain is wired for connection and it’s also wired to code isolation as danger. It makes sense if we think about previous (or maybe current) relationships where there wasn’t connection and we responded in a distancing and protective manner. If there isn’t connection we aren’t going to be vulnerable…our brain simply won’t allow for it. So let’s all agree that we’re hungry for a sense of belonging and connection and if we don’t have it, we’ll see the relationship as unsafe.
As our brains are hardwired to have the interactions we need to survive, we can start to see why connection is important for our survival in relationships. We can also see as to why folks in emotionally disconnected relationships will sometimes build relationships outside of the partnership in order to have those needs met.
Connection is essentially the ways in which we feel seen, we feel heard and we feel accepted in our relationship. Emotional starvation sets in when that connection is fraying.
So how do we feed our emotional connection and rebuild it if’s faltering?
Well we have to begin with healing the trust and safety that may have been impacted during the broken connection. We can’t reach for connection and be reassured and soothed in the ways we need if we don’t feel safe to do so.
So step 1 is work on healing the safety and trust.
Next we have to prioritize the importance of a connected relationship. I see so many couples in my Sacramento therapy office that have simply forgotten to pay attention to each other. It hasn’t been intentional or malicious, it’s been more of a slow erosion away from each other, but man is it painful when they look up and realize the distance between each other.
So step 2 is really shifting the priorities of the relationship.
And lastly you have to be willing to feed each other. In order to repair an emotionally starved connection, you have to willing to meet your mate’s needs. You can’t go into the interaction being resentful of their needs or criticizing them if they’re different than yours. You have to value the importance of your mate’s needs and trust that as you feed them, you will get fed too!
Step 3 is being ready to meet your mate’s needs and open to having your own needs met too!
So, if you’re relationship has been emotionally starved or you’re struggling to heal the connection between the two of you, don’t be afraid to ask for help. An emotionally connected relationship is beyond amazing and so worth the work it takes to get there.
As always, I want to hear from you! I want to know what your journey through connection and love is like and how you’re applying these tools in your relationship.
Send me an email, firstname.lastname@example.org, give me a call, 916.955.3200 or comment below.
I can’t wait to hear from you.