It can feel very lonely and upsetting when you slowly realize that either you or your partner is emotionally checking out of the relationship.
You can make up all kinds of stories as to why it’s happening but the truth is that you probably don’t know for sure.
You just know that the feeling of love and connection doesn’t seem to be as strong as it used to be (or maybe it wasn’t ever there).
Here’s the thing about emotionally checking out of the relationship…
It can part of the momentary natural flow of being human and/or it can also be a wake up call for anyone who wants a strong, vibrant and growing relationship.
Most of us emotionally check out when we get overwhelmed by our thinking about a situation or a perceived problem and we don’t know what to do so we go numb.
It could be fear, doubts, uncertainty or simply unable to respond in a certain situation or a certain moment.
We instinctively pull back from people and situations when we want to protect ourselves from some real or usually imagined threat.
In other words, emotionally or even physically checking out is an attempt to keep ourselves safe.
Our best thinking in the moment tells us to pull back, not speak up or open up–and that will keep us from getting hurt.
And this can all be unconscious, as well as smart in the moment but often it’s not.
When a person emotionally checks out of a relationship, it’s always done because it is the best response that someone can have in that moment based on what’s going on within them, with their thinking, with what they want, desire, fear, and believe is possible.
The important thing to remember is this…
When someone checks out of the relationship emotionally, it doesn’t always mean that that’s the end of the relationship or that they’re going to be checked out forever.
Also you or your partner may have emotionally checked out and it might have nothing to do with the other person.
But it can be a wake up call.
One of the tricks to responding to the wake-up call if you or your partner are emotionally checking out of the relationship is to tune into the feeling that’s between the two of you in this moment.
Is there any time you do feel connected and close?
If yes, take this closeness in, appreciate it and open more into it.
If no, you might invite yourself to first a conversation with yourself about what you want and then your partner.
When this conversation is initiated in the spirit of curiosity and an invitation, exploring possibilities and not making each other wrong…
It can go a long way to bridging a gap that’s come between the two of you.
When you closely listen to one another with an open heart, you’ll both know the next step for the relationship.