As parents, it's inevitable that you're going to feel disconnected with each other. In this episode, I'm going to share what you can do to avoid feeling like roommates. This is for those of us who tend to avoid.
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My name is Jason Polk and you're listening to the healthy relationship secrets for parents podcast. I've worked with couples for over nine years as a couples therapist and relationship coach, and I really appreciate your time and attention. And I hope this can be of great value for you. Thanks for listening.
As parents, it's inevitable that you're going to feel disconnected with your partner. And there are different flavors of this connection. For example, we may tend to be more fighters, we may tend to be more avoiders, my wife and I, we fall in the avoiding camp. And I'm going to share our never ending work to minimize this connection to minimize the result of too much avoiding, and thus feeling like roommates. In another episode, I'm going to share an example the type of work that providers need to practice. But today, we're going to stick with those of us who are avoiders. And let me share a quick story I was working with a couple a few months back, they were doing a couples intensive, which I feel is a highly transformative form of couples therapy, or relationship coaching, whatever you want to call it. Nevertheless, these two partners had a black belt in avoiding so much that had they had my wife and I beat. And they actually had a term for the predicament they were in. And they called each other cost sharing associates. So it's kind of like, hello, this is my so and so we are not married. This is my cost sharing associate. And they weren't necessarily nasty to each other. Their relationship was devoid of connection, and love. And they allowed this disconnection to continue without working to repair it, without moving back into connection and into harmony. And, and let's be real, a lot of our attention and energy is given to our kids. And for my wife and I, at the end of the day, when we put both of our daughters down, the last thing we want to do is to have a deep conversation. In other words, we're so worn out that we don't have an NS for too much connection, for emotional intimacy, for physical intimacy, and definitely for sexual intimacy. And hope my wife is not going to get upset for a little bit of TMI, right there. Nevertheless, our work is to make it so we don't remain there, because fundamentally is not a good place to be. And if we're feeling like roommates, if we're not feeling connected to our partner, to our spouse, then what happens as a result, their inherent and noises are loud. You know, we all have the things we do that annoy our partner. For example, one of our sub issues is mess. And if I'm feeling disconnected to my wife, I may notice all the different socks on her floor, her socks, of course, now mine, I'm perfect. And that's a joke. And I'll get really annoyed with them. However, if my wife and I are feeling connected, and her socks are everywhere, I don't really care that much. That's just how it is. connection can go a long way, and can solve a lot of our problems. But let me share an example of some of my wife and I work that we'll have to continue as long as we're together. So we had an amazing trip with our kids. We had a little bit of freedom. I know that word freedom may sound a little, I don't know, extreme saying that. It may sound bad, but I know as parents, you can relate. And hey, we can love our kids. And also appreciate the time that we are away from them. And of course a we're not trying to abandon them or neglect them, right. But parents, we need some adult time we need our own free time is really important. And thus if we do that, as a result, we're going to be better, better parents. Nevertheless, we were in New Orleans. It was a friend's 40th birthday party. We had delicious food. We had fun. people partied. I watched people party a lot Hello, my 40s. And when I see someone can loose, I can't help but think Man, their next day is not going to be fun. Nevertheless, when we came back after our adult trip, I've been a little bit of funk, my wife has been in a little bit of fun, and what would perpetuate our roommate feelings, or what will perpetuate us feeling like roommates if we don't talk about it. So here is our simple work that you have waited this whole episode for. And that is the talk about it. Now you may be thinking, damn, Jason, I wasted, I don't know three minutes of my life, for you to say talk about it. But let me get a little more specific, if we are in a funk. And that's going to happen, right? There's ups and downs to life, we can always be feeling it, we can't always be full of joy and happiness and gratefulness all the time. Even though we've worked to spend more time there, or at least I do. Pretty sure my wife does as well. If we're in a funk, and we talk about it, this does a couple of things. One, it can help us, especially if our partner provides space for that, and listens to it also helps our partner understand where we're coming from. So if I'm like has been in a funk, I haven't been, you know, feeling being back at work. My energy's been low around the kids, it has nothing to do about you. This can go a long way. Because if we don't know what's going on with our partner, and we do know they're a little bit off, we will make up some stuff that is not usually good. For example, if my wife if I know my wife's in a funk, and she's not telling me why, sometimes I'll go geez, what did I do, we usually don't assume in the positive. And when we share our struggles, who we share our vulnerabilities. This is a form of emotional connection. And we both emitted it we both kind of shared the sentiment. So we can relate that we were both this kind of feeling in a funk. And in a way it is kind of not feeling life. You know, banana, deep, dark way, we just were kind of low energy. So us talking about it, us sharing it provided a form of emotional connection. And so this is our work as avoiders as you can say at our extreme cost sharing associates. Our work is to talk about it. Because we are so good. And just going on the template of being parents and not being partners. And so we have to initiate that connection, whether it's emotional connection, talking about how we're feeling, whether that's physical connection, reaching out for a hug, whether that sexual connection. Hey, you know what, we haven't section a little bit, what do you think? That's not my line. I don't know how that would go over with Jess. Again, I hope it's not too much TMI for her. Also, I've thought of there is a John Gottman app. And this is also in the book The Seven Principles for Making marriage work. One of the theories of the book, and this is a rough paraphrase. If you continue to know more about your partner, or want to know more about your partner, continue to be curious about their life. The idea is you will have more connection, and more harmony. And let me throw out a couple of questions. So maybe you and your partner could do this. And if you're listening at the same time, you could pause it and ask each other this. So what are two of your partner's closest friends? What was your partner wearing when you first met? Dang, I don't know if I know the answer that one. Name one of your partner's hobbies. Where was your partner born? What stresses is your partner facing right now?
And here's one two, and maybe I'll bring this home and have just not do this. describe in detail what your partner did. Today or yesterday, intercede who is your partner's favorite relative? What is your partner's fun this unrealized dream is one, what is your partner's favorite website? And hopefully, it's a wholesome website to saying. And here's one I'll end on this. And that is what is your partner's least favorite relative. And questions like this, I recommend this to a lot of couples, there is an app called the Gottman card decks, that d o t t mam Kardex. And it has a series of questions that you can add, you can ask each other, my wife and I've done it. And it can be a lot of fun, you know, maybe especially the summer times, come in, get your favorite beverage, and sit down on the porch after the kids are down and ask each other that and, you know, depends on how much bandwidth you've got. At the end of the day for my wife and I, we have to keep it sort of surface. There's some deeper questions on there. But we're going to keep them like this. We're not going to get into deeper questions just because we don't have the bandwidth for it. And you need. So this is the work for those of us who tend to avoid and next time I'll share the work for those of us who tend to be fighters. And thank you so much for listening. Hey, if you liked this, I would love for you to give us a review and share this with your friends and family members who could benefit from this information. Thank you so much for listening
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