It can happen gradually, as time passes. You realize, one day, that although there is still love, there is no real connection anymore between you and your partner. Or perhaps you realize it suddenly, and perhaps what you realize - even while you acknowledge that there is still love - is not that there is no real connection anymore, but that there never was one.
Do We Connect Because We Are In Love?
Most people look for connection with their partner by the mere virtue of the fact that they are "in love". Beyond that, perhaps they have tried to choose a partner from a similar social environment, or someone with similar intellectual and educational requisites. Interests, hobbies, professional and social aims and personal goals in life may be of prime importance, as is the desire to form a family, educate the ensuing children within a particular religion or philosophy, and so on. Evidently a good sexual connection tends to be of high importance with the majority of individuals as well.
The subject here is not whether the couple no longer even likes each other, or one of the two has found a new partner outside of the relationship, or finds the other partner hateful, boring, disgusting, or any number of other equally negative adjectives. Quite the contrary, in the situation I am describing, the partners continue to harbor loving feelings for one another. So...what changes? (See also my article Marriage in the 21st Century: Could Cutting Edge Spiritual Psychology Make it Viable Again?.)
As the years go by, it is possible that hobbies and general interests change in one or the other of the partners, that sexuality wanes, that even goals and aims in life have begun to shift due to any number of events that may have occurred over the years and affected one or both partners in a myriad number of ways.
The children are now no longer dreams in their parents' minds, nor are they adorable babies, but may be teenagers, and may appear to no longer be members of the human race (for a time), and may have caused further distances between the parents as they struggle to understand how best to be parents to these difficult people in that in-between stage we call the Sturm and Drang of adolescence.
Basic Attractor Factors
But the loss of the clarity of all or some of these elements is not what I am referring to when I speak of connection. A "real" connection in a love relationship goes far beyond the basic attractor factors that pull us to other people. These serve to do that initial job of getting us together. The chemistry, the physical attraction, the conversations that show us that this person is on the same page as we are (or not, as the case may be, but perhaps because they are not, we are even more attracted), the desirability of precisely that person within the parameters of our particular "world", are some of the mechanisms that help us understand - in hindsight - the reasons we actually got together with a specific individual.
But these still tell us nothing of the real connection.
What is the "Real" Connection?
The real connection has to do with our inner self. It has to do with our inner energy and, as David Hawkins, author of Power vs Force would put it, our "inner power." In other words, the real connection has to come from a place where that which an individual truly is, on a level that goes way beyond the everyday mundane human things we all do in life, connects him or her to the partner's same inner self.
That's rather a mouthful. What you may be starting to get a glimpse of here, is the fact that this inner self is the part of you that you can only get to know if you decide to get to know yourself. Not necessarily by going into therapy or counseling, but simply by taking that most sacred and necessary journey into yourself, looking at yourself with total honesty, in order to begin to understand not only why you are as you are, but also what you can truly make of yourself in the greater scheme of things. (See also my June 2006 Newsletter: Finding a Meaning For Your Life.).
Such an inner knowing - which unfortunately most people tend not to spend too much time on, due to the fact that in our society such a quest is given a lot less importance than the quest for socio-economic abundance and prestige (also very important, but the inner quest should at least be on the same level as the outer one), brings us into a place where the type of connection we can form with others goes way beyond the connections referred to in the earlier sections of this article.
Such a connection to the self - due to the importance an individual places on the inner knowing, or the inner quest, brings about the possibility of attracting people into one's life that are on a similar search.
But what happens when someone who has not given this much thought, reaches the point described in the first few sentences of this article, and realizes that although there may still be love, there is not, in fact, a real connection with the partner? And believes, furthermore, that because there is no real connection, there is no longer much of anything holding the relationship together, which generally means that sex has also loosened its hold and is no longer very attractive for either of the partners.
If this couple could come to understand that what has been lost (or what never was), is not the change of goals and aims, or the change of interests in life, or the difficulty with the children, but the fact that neither of the two ever developed their own connection to their inner self. Without such a connection, the outer, energetic (which also means "sexual", among many other things) connection to the partner can never be as strong, as with it. With such a connection, the "spark", that so many people feel was lost after the honeymoon remains strong - and continually grows - throughout the lifetime of both partners. Just think what a difference that would make!
How to Get There
So what can you do? First of all, it's never too late to start. Any time is a good time, the main thing is, that you start. It is sort of like waking up from a deep sleep. The more you wake up, the more you begin to take in. Secondly, the "how" to start varies greatly. You might, for example, read some of the articles on my website or blog to give you ideas. Or the resources for coaching relationship issues in the Life Challenges at top of most pages on the Trans4mind site. Or you might follow an intuition you have had, that has nothing to do with any of the above, but simply speaks to you and you know that if you follow it, it might let you see something important more clearly. You can read many of the transpersonal, spiritual, and integral authors available to all of us. Much is even free on the web in the form of e-book downloads - many in the Trans4mind eLibrary. You might decide to first have an all-important talk with your partner in order to explain that you want to venture out on the as yet unexplored path of self-discovery, but you would really like to do so together. And the connection you seek may begin to flourish more quickly than you could imagine.
Gabriel's new book: Emotional Unavailability & Neediness: Two Sides of the Same Coin (2014)
Neediness and emotional unavailability are two sides of the same coin because both are based on a lack of self love, a fear of love and the hurt that love can engender due to the vulnerability that being in love generally evokes. A person may live out one side of the coin (neediness) in several relationships and then - in a new relationship - may find him or herself living out the other side of the coin (emotional unavailability).
Emotional unavailability and neediness do not tend to be deliberate because there is never anything consciously deliberate about the way a defense mechanism arises in childhood. A man who refuses to commit should not blithely be judged as being manipulative or callous although on the surface he may very well appear to be so. Furthermore, the older he gets, the more of a history of this nature he acquires, and hence the more those who sit in judgement reach the conclusion that they are right. The same could, of course, be said about the emotionally unavailable woman. Another case in point: a woman whose neediness may appear as emotionally manipulative, generally also does not behave this way in a deliberate fashion. And again, the same could be said about the needy man.
This book dissects the causes of these defense mechanisms, paving the road - for those who wish to change the inner landscape of their emotional constraints - to live and be able to love more freely.
"We cut off from our emotions - and we're emotionally unavailable to others, even those we love - because we do not feel capable of even embracing ourselves. Perhaps we were taught quite the opposite, that self-respect is arrogance, that emotions are weakness, or we are ashamed of our past. Instead of learning empowering lessons from our experience, all the influences upon us cause us to learn that we do not deserve to connect empathically with others, and with ourselves. It's time to relearn such lessons and this is the book that shows you how, in the unique and powerful way that Gabriel always expresses her wisdom." ~ Peter Shepherd