Q I’ve been dating my boyfriend for about two and a half years, and it seems like for the last four or five months our connection has become less and less. We both seem to want similar things in life, so I’m hopeful things will turn around, but I’m just not sure how to go about turning it around. Any suggestions?
A “Connection” is one of the most frequent words to come up among both my dating coaching and matchmaking clients, men and women alike, when they describe the kind of relationship they seek. I believe being understood and appreciated by one’s partner is important. While your question does not contain any details regarding the particular circumstances of the diminishing sense of connection with your boyfriend, the timing of the diminishing connection gives me a hint as to what may potentially be going on. I appreciate that you believe there is enough fundamental compatibility between you and your boyfriend to motivate you to reclaim your connection. As such, I will answer your question in a way that will provide you with a possible explanation, as well as potential solution, and at the same time provide general guidance to other readers grappling with a similar situation.
Let’s begin with the timing issue. The euphoric experience of falling in love generally runs its course within about two years. Dr. Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages, discusses how “the being in-love” state gives us an unrealistic illusion which inevitably ends when, typically after about two years or so, we return to reality and each individuals emotions, thoughts, desires, and behavior patterns begin to assert themselves. It is then that we must consciously choose to meet each other’s emotional needs to feel loved.
One challenge many of us face in meeting our partners’ needs to feel loved is that we and our partners many times speak different emotional love languages.
There are five different “love languages:”
Words of Affirmation (words of appreciation and encouragement)
• Quality Time (focused attention/enjoying time together)
• Receiving Gifts (visual symbols of love)
• Acts of Service (errands/chores)
• Physical Touch
Dr. Chapman’s book suggests that you and your boyfriend ask yourselves three questions to discover your respective love language(s):
1. What does your partner do/not do that hurts you the most (as the opposite of this probably represents your love language)?
2. What do you most often request of your partner (as your requests likely reveal what would make you feel the most loved)?
3. How do you express love (as your way of expressing love may indicate what makes you feel loved)?
So the two of you may wish to consciously express your love for one another in each other’s love language, as a means of reclaiming the sense of connection you enjoyed in the past.
Jasbina is the founder and president of Intersections Match, the only personalized matchmaking and dating coaching firm serving singles of South Asian descent in the United States. She is also the host of Intersections Talk Radio, a monthly lifestyle show. www.IntersectionsMatch.com.Jasbina@intersectionsmatch.com.