Some weeks/months, you feel closer to your partner. Other weeks/months, not as much. Time and the natural course of things usually propel the cycle back around – is there anything you can do to hasten the process? What strategies do you employ in your relationship to rebuild closeness in your long-term relationship/marriage?
posted by booksandwine to Human Relations (28 answers total) 87 users marked this as a favorite
I have been with my boyfriend for seven years – we live together and think of ourselves as de facto married, and so do our friends. I think he’s fantastic – funny (until my sides hurt), kind (e.g. doesn’t like cats, but amazing with our cat), hard-working, ambitious, and really good looking and has a hot accent to boot. I’m very lucky. Our sex life isn’t as great as it could be, but we communicate pretty openly about it, and as it has in the past, it will rebound, so I’m not worried. The last time was recent, and it wasn’t mind-blowing, but it was sweet and nice.
What bothers me more is that, recently (past 4 months or so), I’ve felt emotionally distant from him for no apparent reason. This happens – you get busy, wrapped up at work, wrapped up in other life stressors, and work through things individually and together, and usually, within a month or so, the sense of closeness naturally returns. It has been a little too long this time, and I’m starting to wonder what I can do to rebuild our closeness more proactively. The usual strategies of scheduling date nights, making vacation plans for us, physically reaching out to hug him more, and just talking it through aren’t working this time.
Compounding the issue is that his annoying little habits are getting to me more than usual. I think when you love someone, once you get used to their little habits, the initially annoying ones become kind of funny – for example, he leaves his socks…just around. It really annoyed me when we first moved in together (I’m a bit of a neat freak), but now it makes me smile when I randomly come across a pair of socks, and I just pick them up, no big deal. Recently, my tolerance and patience for his idiosyncrasies have been wearing thin – things that didn’t bother me before are really getting to me. For example, when he shaves, he leaves water all over the counter and doesn’t put away his razor and shaving cream – it takes me all of one minute to clean up after him, but am I going to have to remind him / clean up after him the rest of our lives?
So, folks in long-term relationships, two questions for you:
1. What little strategies do you employ to proactively rebuild closeness when feeling distant?
2. How can I approach his idiosyncrasies with patience, acceptance and equanimity?
Please don’t blow this out of proportion – no, I don’t want to break up with him over his shaving habits. No, we don’t need couples or sex therapy. But any suggestions you have to share about little things you can do to improve your relationships/marriage and weather those times you feel more distant from each other are greatly appreciated. Thank you!