How to eliminate emotional distance in your relationship
A new study published in the academic journal Couple and Family Psychology tries to understand why being in a relationship can feel like a daily grind of moving between the stages of separation and togetherness. The study attempts to decipher this delay in relationships and provides insight into how couples can develop the skills to deal with it.
There are a number of things you can do to prepare for a relationship delay or even reduce it:
Become aware of what makes you "stuck". It is important to know yourself and when transitions are easiest and hardest for you. Once you have this awareness, if you know that an upcoming transition may be difficult for you, it can be helpful to intentionally think and act in ways that will make the transition easier.
Include a "jet lag" period in your schedule. We can also use calendar reminders and alerts to remind us to start thinking about or planning for the next phase so we're prepared when it happens. For an upcoming reunion, this mental process might include making plans for you and your partner or thinking about your last reunion. We can also act differently by beginning to engage in activities that prepare us for the phase change. For example, if you have trouble separating from your partner, don't let the first thing you do on your own be something repetitive or boring. Instead, plan an activity for yourself that will engage your mind in a positive way.
Normalize the feeling of "jet-lagging", especially in long-distance relationships. Research shows that a period of readjustment after a breakup can be common in long-distance relationships. Be patient with yourself and know that if you're taking more time to get back into your individual routine, that doesn't make you needy or codependent. Or, if you need time to readjust to being with your partner, that doesn't mean you're a bad partner. It may just be part of the process.