You might have met your partner online so you live far away from each other or one of you travels quite a bit for employment. There are long periods of time, weeks, even months, where one of you is home while the other is in a different state or country. You try to keep your connection by talking on the phone, email, texting, video calls. You still find that you get disconnected, and one of you almost always feels the other doesn’t really value the relationship. When the one comes back home from being away, it feels like an adjustment to be back and to fit in. The partner that has been home has difficulty with how to relate with and connect with the partner coming back. Being long distance has put strain on your relationship.
It is hard for the one who is at home to not feel insecure. It is natural to feel that the job, the career, is more important than you. If the couple is living in two different places one partner can feel, “if they loved me they will move here with me.” When one person is feeling insecure, they can react by their emotions getting elevated. They could be louder, ask a lot of questions, become opinionated even critical, and they might frustrate easily or get angry. This is a way to try to control the insecurity they are feeling inside. The other partner might feel blamed, helpless, not know what to do, or how to respond. They might hold back, not say anything. They might also get defensive. This is a way to defend from feeling blamed and a way to talk their partner down. This becomes an argument as nobody is feeling heard or desired.
I help these couples slow down their process. We talk about how they are in a place of probably feeling alone and unsure. I help each partner share these feelings including being insecure and alone. We focus on the couple being empathic with each other and not continue with blaming and arguing. When both partners are being open with their emotions, vulnerable, and are able to talk about what they need, I see them feel more secure and close.