HOW DO I IMPROVE MY RELATIONSHIP WITH A GOOD MAN WHO IS KIND OF CHECKED OUT?

DEAR DALI MAMA:

I am in a long-term relationship with a man who is very kind and polite to me but he is almost on autopilot and I feel like he never really listens to me. When I try to talk about my feelings, his eyes glaze over or he becomes even busier with work. How do I improve this relationship? I am not happy but I also care about him a lot and don’t want to leave him.

—Is There More Than This? (United States)

DEAR I.T.M.T.T.:

You can do your part but ultimately the relationship will not change unless he himself is willing to make some changes. Sometimes when people are working too much and perhaps not sleeping enough, this lifestyle can affect their cognitive functions such as focus or the ability to really listen. Another factor could be that some people feel overwhelmed when dealing with emotions (theirs or someone else’s) and they check out even more than they already are because they get overwhelmed and go unconscious to what’s going on around them or even inside of themselves.

Perhaps you can simply tell him how much you care about him and say that, because you care about him a lot and you’re invested in the relationship, you’d like to figure out a way that you can connect on a deeper level with each other. One thing you might want to try is couples therapy (and possibly individual therapy for him). Maybe you could also explore meditating together, or a grounding exercise like yoga or couples’ yoga, or spend more time together outside in nature where they are less distractions. You might even want to explore orgasmic meditation or tantra as well to help you both connect more deeply.

If he is unwilling to make any changes, you will need to decide whether the pleasure of being with him outweighs your feeling of not being heard or feeling like you are with someone on autopilot. Also, I encourage you to examine if this feeling of not being heard or of being on autopilot is something inside of you that he is simply reflecting back to you. I encourage you to work too to own your voice and your own consciousness and see if you start to notice some changes in him as you are working on yourself.

Much love.

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