Relationship Tips on Reconnecting with your Partner
We all know that we were all a bit on autopilot during the height of the pandemic. You and your partner got through this challenging time, and like most of us, did the best you could. We took each day as it came. We put one foot before the other. There were those times we let things slide since we were all in one space together with nowhere to go. But now school is back in session, and while Covid is still a factor in our lives, we are starting to get back to normalcy. And, gasp, your partner is getting on your nerves again. This is part of the ‘getting back to normal’ part, and now that we can have space both mentally and figuratively, the regular life stuff is hitting us again. We connected with expert Life Coach and author (If It’s Not Right, Go Left) Kristen Glosserman on getting back to a healthy relationship with the one you love.
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As kids return to school and new variants pop up, making for the uncertainty of our next steps, how can couples get back to connecting without being in survival mode?
Connecting, really connecting, with your partner is like anything else: if it’s important to you, then you’ll have to allocate time and energy to it. So, if you have found that partnership was de-prioritized over the last year or two, you want to bring it back to the top of the list. Remember, it’s about energy; wherever we put energy is where it will grow. My husband and I have designated one night of every week as our date night. I talk about this, and how “Love is a Choice” in my new book, If It’s Not Right, Go Left. As a couple, Marc and I are very consistent with our date night, giving each other one night a week alone, just the two of us, where we can have that space every couple needs. With back-to-school, so much of parents’ energy goes into the children and their schedules and needs. I know every parent is completely tuned in to that right now. Still, it is important not to lose sight that you still have a partner, and that area of your life still requires energy and effort.
On our date nights, Marc and I stay conscious of the direction of our conversation, agreeing to talk about something other than the children or work. We’ve managed to create a discipline around our communication. It’s a practice, like yoga, and it’s something you start small and keep getting better at. Whenever we catch ourselves slipping in a negative direction, we use healthy, positive communication to stay close instead of drifting apart. Just by using positive language with your partner, you really can control the energy dynamics. The other night, my husband and I were bickering, and the next morning we both said, “I want love.” It works.
For date night inspiration, why not try:
• A new activity together, like going for an after-dinner walk or jog.
• Playing tennis or going bowling, just to shake things up a bit.
• Trade places in the kitchen, where Marc is awesome. I have my traditional favorite repertoire, but he challenges me with new-to-me recipes, such as Beef Wellington or cooking up a whole fish.
• Try to adjust your mindset and get on the same wave as your partner.
Remember, it’s about the shared experience more than anything else. So be spontaneous, and jump in the car for a mini-adventure; just a short distance from your home base, there could be something new and exciting worth checking out. COVID made it hard to travel, so Marc took us exploring nearby in the Hudson Valley, where we discovered some amazing places together.
After 20 months of total togetherness, how can couples maintain a healthy relationship as couples spend more time apart?
I think it’s about finding the value and benefit in change, any change. Change is hard, and change is good: that’s an important lesson in my book. So this newest change—more time apart instead of total togetherness—can be a good thing if you choose for it to be. Just think, now we have an opportunity to be on our own, to put a little more energy into our individualism and independence. Then, we can come back together and share that experience with our partner. It’s healthy when we choose to see change as a positive; that’s a great mindset. In any partnership, too much time together or apart—or anything too extreme—doesn’t benefit anyone. So yes, we got used to a lot of togetherness, and maybe it was too much. Embrace change by recognizing that there has been something beautiful about all this time together, and now it’s OK to do things differently. Recognize that there will be less time together, and choose how best to spend that limited time. YOU get to choose. Now, we can focus on the quality, not the quantity, of our time together. We can make those together moments count!
I recommend that you choose one night to be a family and stay home and cook. We like to do that with an early, cozy dinner on Friday or Sunday. Where will your moments be? How will you enjoy the time together you do have? Choose those moments because if we don’t choose, they won’t happen. With everyone’s schedules altered and in flux, we may have to create some new traditions… great! Change is hard, and change is good!
At the end of each chapter in my book, I give readers ThinkWork, my version of homework for grown-up success. So ask yourself these questions:
• How can this time apart be beneficial to me?
• What do I want to accomplish on my own?
• What would I like to create more space for?
• When is the best time for us all to come together?
For the full list of advice, visit NewYorkFamily.com.