Maintaining an Emotional Connection. Surprise! It's Not About Communication
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December 23, 2014

Just because Marriage #2 has failed, it doesn't mean I've stopped searching for information on how to make my next relationship better. Learn, learn, learn. Get used to finding new discoveries. It's a life-long process. I'll never learn everything and I'm OK with that, but it doesn't mean I won't give it the old college try.

Fotolia_59530685_XS.jpgI kept bumping against these articles that talked about Communication being the Holy Grail of relationship problems.  How to communicate better... somehow that one thing is supposed to be the cure-all for what ails the floundering marriage.

I disagree. Husband #2 and I communicated very well over this past year, telling each other our fears and hopes and faults. And yet, hour by hour, day by day, week by week, I could feel my connection with him growing weaker.

I didn't feel like I had his attention. I certainly didn't feel like a priority in his life.

Before painting me with the "Needy" label, take a step back. I don't consider myself needy. I can, and have, lived without the company of another adult for over a decade in my life.  That includes time before and after becoming a mom. I've tended to three different houses on my own, perform my own home repairs, and financially support myself. I see myself without the company of a significant other for quite a few more months and I've actively avoided jumping into bed with convenient men throughout this separation and Marriage #1.

What I'm vocal about is that I am lonely. I'm tired of being the strong one. Sometimes I really would like someone at home to share the joys and burdens of life. I craved attention from Husband #2. That is my confession.

Wanting attention brings a certain stigma, like neediness or narcissism, but is this faulty thinking? I found this on The Chestnut Hill Institute website (a therapy and consulting service). 

I was reading a really good article online and I came across these words, which stopped me in my tracks. 

 A cry for attention is positioned as the ultimate crime, clutching or trivial — as if ‘attention’ were inherently a selfish thing to want. But isn’t wanting attention one of the most fundamental traits of being human — and isn’t granting it one of the most important gifts we can ever give?

And there you have one of the central needs and central conflicts in relationships today.  We want our partner’s attention.  His undivided attention, ungrudgingly given.  And yet we too often feel we need to justify or pay for this attention. 

So let’s put things back in perspective.  Attention is a fundamental right in relationships.  And that’s because it’s a basic human need.  We may not wither and die without attention, but we certainly wither, shrink, starve, dry up, and go dead inside without attention, like a lonely leaf still left on a tree at the beginning of a New England winter. ~ Mira Kirshenbaum and Dr. Charles Foster

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Looking back over Marriage #2, I know that I communicated my desire for attention (in the beginning, not so well... in the end, much better). My pleas fell on indifferent ears and I was accused of neediness. 

What I was trying to do, and maybe not in the best way, was to point out a problem in our relationship... one that I saw as an impending disaster. Without paying attention to each other, we would slowly drift apart.

And we did.

First, he withdrew. Then I just got used to him not being around.

If you are in a relationship that you hope to save, last, deepen, take a look at these 5 Ways To Maintain A Healthy Emotional Connection With Your Spouse written by our own Cathy Meyer.

What do you have to lose?

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