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Chapter 8: Recreating the Relationship Part III: Emotional Connectedness



“Being the “best you can be” is really only possible when you are deeply connected to another. Splendid isolation is for planets, not people.” – Sue Johnson

Read below to find out ways in which Dr. Rovers recommends building emotional connectedness between you and your partner, or even tips for building connectedness with friends and family.

Chapter 8 Summary: Emotional Connectedness


In this chapter, Martin outlines emotional conncectedness as needed within couple relationships. Intimacy is described as the ability to be yourself in a relationship and to allow my partner to do the same. Emotional connectedness is the ability to balance individuation and intimacy / togetherness in such a way that we can both live and love with a good understanding and appreciation of who we are. We need to do this loving in a space that is secure for both partners. Couples counselling is often needed for partners to best understand each others’ emotional needs. Harmonious couple relationships are, in their essence, emotional connections in a safe and trusting meeting place. Emotionally focused couples therapy help partners create a safe relationship.

It takes two to make love and two to fight, and I sincerely believe that, for the most part, we dance this dance of intimacy, and its corresponding dance of wounds, in equal portions. When couple relationships get stuck and negative spirals seems to be the rule for the relationship, the challenge to change the steps of the couple dance is of utmost urgency for the couple. When both partners admit fault, like insecure attachment style or trauma, seek repair, and greater emotional connectedness, the dance of wounds can become a tango of love again.

When the dance of wounds is fully operative, couples are caught in negative interactional cycles such as criticize and withdraw, over-responsible and under-responsible, pursue and flee. One can never figure out who went first in such a negative spiral. Sure, partners are very willing to point the finger and blame their partner with lines like, “You started it when you….”, but the truth is not at all so clear, for both partners often use a long litany of defences like, “Yes, but you first did….”. Often couples stay stuck at this level of blaming the other, marriage therapy will be needed.

Unlike negative spirals, positive spirals need to be built, block by thoughtful block, step by conscious step, stage by loving stage. There needs to be a willingness to want. The first step in the dance of re-creation of the relationship requires an intimate, continuous, reliable, and predictable relationship with another so that the person can feel secure and loved enough to open up and talk about their wounds so that healing can now begin. So, who goes first?  It takes courage to signal one’s dissatisfaction within the couple relationship and even more so to tell your partner that you want to try couple counselling to rebuild love.