September 2016



10 Things to Do When You're Feeling Disconnected in Your Relationship

By: Barbara Ann Williams

There's nothing like being IN a relationship and feeling disconnected. After all, one of the benefits of being in a relationship is to be connected with someone; you know, companionship. When you are, there's nothing like it. But when you're not, you want to know what to do to fix it fast. Here are ten things that will help you do just that:

1. Avoid, or prepare yourself for situations that make you feel disconnected. Pay attention to what's going on with you when you're feeling this way so you can safeguard yourself in the future. Consider these questions:

  • Who are you with?
  • What's the conversation about?
  • What are you thinking?
  • What's your negative self-talk?

2. Talk about your feelings to help you deal with the disconnection. Don't hold those feelings in. Talking about your feelings is important to your emotional health and causes immediate shifts to occur for the better.

3. Change any negative thoughts you may have into positive ones, or those that will help you get outside of yourself and off of yourself.

4. Deal with disconnection by solving problems. Think about what issues show up for you as a result of feeling disconnected, and then do something to reverse it, to feel the way you'd like to.

5. Change what you can about the disconnection and it will affect the end result, rather than focusing on what you cannot do anything about.

6. Ask for support and be clear on what you need that can help, and what you want it to look like for you.

7. Communicate assertively instead of being disconnected. Don't ostracize.

8. Own your own feelings. Don't disconnect because someone else is. Be clear on your feelings and own them, and deal with them.

9. Understand how others may be feeling. This is part of connecting. Listen. Be open.

10. Learn how to connect (associate, relate, bond, unite, cooperate, become one; this is connecting).

While each of these can be helpful in connecting when you're feeling disconnected, not every single one may pertain to you at any given moment. Choose what an appropriate fit is for you and implement. Before you know it, you'll find yourself connecting.

Copyright © 2016 by Barbara Ann Williams and the Relationship Coaching Institute. All rights reserved in all media. Used with permission.

Barbara Ann Williams, teaches and supports Committed Couples about healthy communication--how to have it, receive it, and enjoy it. Her mission and focus is to empower these couples who feel like their lives are moving in separate directions, to come together and connect on a SOUL level in such a way that it creates space for fresh love.

Barbara is a speaker, writer, facilitator, Licensed Professional Counselor, National Certified Counselor, Board Certified Coach, Certified Relationship Coach, and founder and owner of Win-Win Relationships, LLC. Access regular nourishment for your relationship and you'll also get: "9 Secrets To A Splendid Relationship" at

Ask Our Coaches

Should we live together?

Dear Coaches,

My boyfriend and I have been together since just before we graduated from college 3 years ago. Right after we got together I had a great job offer, but I had to move to a different state. We managed our long distance relationship very well, but now that I have moved back to the same city he wants me to move in with him. I think it would be better to wait until we are ready to get married. This is causing us to fight and argue all of the time. I really love him but I'm worried about making the wrong decision. Do you have any suggestions to help me out?


Barbara Williams

Barbara responds ...

What a great question, and a great time to ask the question; BEFORE you've already taken action and have regrets. The best thing to do in times of indecision, especially like this, is exactly what you're doing; ask questions and get feedback and support. Learn to trust your own inner guidance. That's exactly what you're getting when you say "you're worried about making the wrong decision". You know already what's best for you in this moment. Trust that, move forward, and deal with what comes next. But by all means, certainly pay attention to what's going on internally and don't ignore it.

Along with trusting yourself, there needs to be respect from both sides to support your requirements, needs and wants. What's going on now in your relationship is an indication of what's to come. Take note of this. See it as a picture of what your future will look like if you continue in the same direction without anything changing. How does this sit with you? Back up from the situation and give it some space. If you are determined to be together no matter what, you owe it to yourselves to work through this, even if that means separately.

Barbara Williams |

Marcy Rich

Marcy responds ...

It seems you have decided already that you want to wait to move in together. Now you have to decide what is creating that decision for you and what is keeping you from standing firm on that decision. If it is based on your value system, it is probably a requirement and letting go of it for the sake of no arguing and fighting will most likely cause problems down the road. If perhaps it is based on standards set outside of you, such as society's standards, it may not be a requirement. In which case there may be more room for negotiations.

Both of these situations present opportunities for dialogue instead of argument. Each of you needs to be clear on why you hold your position and share it with each other. Then you can probably come up with a solution that fits both your requirements, needs and wants. Perhaps you can both agree that you stay over a few nights a week. Together discuss all possibilities and come up with a plan that works for both of you. You will only make the wrong decision if it is not a decision with which you are totally comfortable.

Marcy Rich |

Lynn Goodacre

Lynn responds ...

Congratulations on reaching out for help so you can move beyond fighting and arguing about this issue of whether or not to live together! You and your boyfriend have successfully navigated about three years of a long-distance relationship which is quite an accomplishment!

When we fight with a partner it's difficult, if not impossible, to hear and understand the other's point of view. Could you and your boyfriend sit down calmly and talk about which needs would be met for him by having you move in with him right away? What needs of yours would be met by waiting and having separate places for now? You talked about wanting to wait until you're ready to get married. How will you know you are ready for marriage? What would need to be in place so you could make a decision that felt right to you?

This issue of when to move in together is a perfect opportunity to practice respectful and effective communication. Once each of you feels understood, and you understand where the other is coming from, you will be able to negotiate a plan that works for both of you. Need some help with this? A relationship coach can help you have fruitful and drama-free discussions so you feel confident about your decisions!

Lynn Goodacre |

Hanna Perlberger

Hanna responds ...

The answer is not about making the right or wrong decision per se; but rather, how do the two of you go about the decision-making process altogether? There are lots of reasons why you could be reluctant to move in with your boyfriend prior to marriage, or at least prior to making the final decision to get married. These reasons can include a sense of values and morals about the sanctity of marriage, wanting to take your time to explore the viability of this being "the one" without the complications of cohabitation, as well as having questions, concerns or reservations about the likelihood of whether this relationship can last a lifetime.

Whatever your concerns, issues or needs are, fighting and arguments are a tell-tale sign that the two of you don't have the requisite communication and relationship skills to handle this conflict in a positive way. Anger, negativity, blaming, etc., causes disconnection not connection. If this is his usual or default response to not getting his way and most of your communications are negative, it's a good predictor that the relationship is headed for serious waters, and you should listen to that inner voice that is questioning this decision.

On the other hand, communication skills and good relationship habits that work for the relationship - instead of against it - are learnable! If you want to pursue this relationship further, especially with marriage in mind, both of you would be well served in learning how to better navigate conflict in general.

An experienced relationship coach can guide you in learning how to listen and communicate in a way that deepens connection, intimacy and trust, and to create a relationship of mutual respect that honors your deepest values.

Hanna Perlberger |

The opinions stated are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the staff, members, or leadership of Relationship Coaching Institute.

This column answers questions submitted by our readers. Submit your question here and it will be forwarded to our coaches all over the world. Each issue, we'll publish a few answers from our RCI coaches.


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