How To Reconnect With Your Spouse In 7 Steps

The other day I felt pretty checked out.

I wasn’t fun to be around.

Do you ever feel like that? Irritable, grumpy, or just plain dull?

Have you ever felt like all you want to do is pull away from the people you care most about?

Or…

Have you felt like an upsurge in your sugar consumption? facebook surfing, or like you just want to take a nap and turn it all off for a while?

Prior to having any tools, I did all these, and more.

I called it my “funk.”

I wasn’t pleasant to be around…

Everyone annoyed me, so I unconsciously pushed them away…

But then when I finally found space to be alone, I discovered that I didn’t really want to be alone either.

I had to be doing something and when I wasn’t distracting myself, I was only with me, the man in the mirror and I didn’t like who I was, so I didn’t like being with me.

Deep down, somewhere inside of me, I so wanted connection but was bracing against it.

My unconscious habit, that I didn’t know about, was to pull away, shut down, avoid, and ignore.

Hmmm…

…drat…

Is this you? Or, is this your spouse? And…

What the hell is going on here? 

Once I started working on myself and learning about my relationship “issues,” I learned that when I behave like this, there’s much more to the story…

What I found out is that I typically was “triggered” by some relational situation (like a fight or disagreement with my wife), or some insecurity in my life.

Pretty much everyone annoyed me and I was more or less convinced that people “out there” were the problem.

But upon closer inspection, I also discovered that every time I felt like this, I was also disconnected from the person I was dating, friends, and family members.

Notice the “I” here. I was the one disconnected from everyone, which meant that I was also disconnected from me.

Disconnection was the issue…

…and something triggered me into feeling this way, so I had two areas of myself I needed to address. And, it’s really common to disconnect after any kind of hurt, fight, argument, or disagreement.

This was a major discovery, and changed the course of my relationships, forever, by the way…

But why do we disconnect?

In short, disconnection is a resilient strategy we all learned in childhood to escape our immediate experience (emotions, pain, hurt, etc), which very few of us knew how to be with. So, you dissociated or “ran away” in your mind and from your body. If you were a normal kid, you “checked out” “spaced out” or dove into the magical space of your mind.

You didn’t really “connect” with people. You “connected” with stuff. Books, ideas, nature, and the external world.

But on a subtle level, you were alone.

This is the nervous system’s “flight” response and it’s a brilliant coping mechanism in the face of relational upset or challenge.

Knowing this can help you be gentle with yourself when you inevitably “run away” when things get hard in a relationship (Running away can look like you listening to your partner, but you’re somewhere else. You’re a million miles away, thinking about something else).

There’s more…!!

After you discover you are disconnected, you need to find the trigger, or the source.

But we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, how do you know you or partner are disconnected, and what are the signs? Here’s my menu of the 10 most common signs (feel free to leave yours below):

Signs and symptoms I’m disconnected:

  1. I’m no longer emotionally present or available in my relationships. I’m sort of “half there.”
  2. I don’t feel connected to or with my partner
  3. I’m checked out. I feel a low-grade funk. I’m the grumpy guy at the grocery store. General depressed vibe, unmotivated, uninspired.
  4. I’m irritable, easily annoyed. My porcupine quills extend. I’m less approachable and others can feel it
  5. Flatter affect. My face looks serious, dull, and emotionless. If I smile, it’s fake. My face muscles feel contracted.
  6. My skin is sensitive to touch and it feels grating and not good when my partner touches me.
  7. I’m easily triggered by minor things thus I get into silly fights “over nothing” with my partner and let small stuff bother me
  8. I consume, medicate, and distract. Notice if you shop, snacking, checking email every 2 minutes, consuming sugar, alcohol, weed, porn, facebook, movies, sports, and whatever will get you away from what you’re feeling. These behaviors are all pretty normal and socially acceptable (except maybe porn).
  9. I Objectify women which eventually used to lead to porn use (before I quit porn). This one is very common for men.
  10. I isolate, unconsciously pushing people away, but simultaneously feeling sorry for myself and wanting someone to notice me

I’m sure you can relate to a few of these, right?

Remember, the first step here is to recognize and be aware that I somehow lost connection…

…This took me quite a while to figure out. I would not have been able to see it on my own.

I needed trusted guides, great friends, and a powerful woman in my life.

Once you recognize you are disconnected, the second step is to find the source (see below), and the third step is to get connected again asap (see below).

Why?

Once you reconnect to you, it’s like the sun coming back out after a dismal cloudy day.

If you can learn how to re-connect with you and get back in your body, and back in your heart, your life is simply brighter, you can accomplish more, you are more powerful, clear, and on point.

Being in your heart is where the “goods” of a relationship are housed.

When you come back into your heart, you’re also WAY more attractive to your spouse.

It feels freakin’ amazing to come back home to who I am.

Okay fine, so how the hell do I get there?

Here are 7 steps to reconnect with your spouse after disconnection. 

  1. When did this feeling start?
  2. What caused this feeling? What happened in the past few days/weeks that is noteworthy?
  3. Isolate the incident, event, or relationship fight or issue that “triggered” you into feeling this way.
  4. Get in your heart/body.Disconnection is another form of dissociation and not being present, in our bodies, or in our heart. “Drop in” to yourself through music, nature, movement, stillness, or whatever works for you. You must find a way back in to that giant heart of yours.
  5. Dive in and feel it. That’s right, just Feel like you mean it. It’s just like a wave and will pass soon.
  6. Get in-relationship with a close friend. Find the closest person in your life and ask them to “connect” with you. I find that one of the fastest ways back to self-connection is through another person. Try owning what is happening. Start by saying “I’m scared” or something else that is vulnerable and true (I go through this process extensively in my trainings and classes) to your friend or lover. Be as truthful as possible about your immediate experience.

This one works every time if you know how to do it.

  1. Commit to taking care of the root issue. If you know how to find the core issue that got triggered in the first place, and begin to clear it, it will set you free. Getting to the real issue next time you get triggered like that, you will be less and less likely over time to get “taken out” by that experience.

The beauty here is once I reconnect to me, I can now reconnect to you. It’s the only way. Unless, your “way back in” is to reconnect with your spouse using step 6.

Okay, but what if my partner is checked out?

Ask them if they want your help to come back. If not, drop it. That’s their journey to make and you can simply share the impact on what it’s like to be in relationship with them.

Example: Honey, when you are _________ (their behavior), I feel ___________(impact).

“Honey, when you are working all the time and looking at your computer or phone instead of me, I feel sad, alone, and hurt. You can keep doing whatever you’d like, but I prefer feeling connected to you.”

————

Prior to any inner work, I spent months and years feeling the above signs and symptoms and thought it was normal and like I just had to live this way.

I was checked out most of the time in relationship, partly because I didn’t know how to be present, and partly because I had no idea what was going on with me, nor did I have any tools.

When my girlfriends tried to help, I mostly got defensive and denied anything was going on.

So, don’t try to help your spouse. You’ll typically just get a lame response. It’s their journey to make.

Just share the impact.

Now that I have tools, it’s a pretty straightforward process for me to re-connect after I let a subtle trigger take me out. Plus, I want to reconnect. It feels terrible to be disconnected.

Once I recognize the above signs and symptoms (Some of these are so subtle it’s tricky to catch on quickly. Sometimes, it might take me a few hours or a few days), I know that I must make it a top priority to stop, drop, feel, deal and get to the real issue.

What about you?

Remember, the goal of any great relationship is to grow, foster a strong connection, and a secure homebase that you can return to when the inevitable triggers come up.

Want to learn so much more? Register for a free web class: The 3 Keys To Work Through Your Differences

2 Comments

  • Keisha

    Reply Reply November 19, 2015

    Extremely helpful! Thank you so much!

  • Colleen Mason

    Reply Reply June 9, 2017

    This article really helped me. I have always disconnected from myself when I am scared or stressed and it only works partially. It has also caused me a lot of problems. Now I feel more connected. Thank you Jayson, all the best to you.

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