A romantic relationship is simultaneously the source of the greatest security and comfort, while being the scariest and riskiest place to be vulnerable. When someone is the most important person in the world, it is only natural to feel insecure.
When we are emotionally disconnected, we feel more insecure in relationships.
This is because emotionally safe and close connections are necessary for humans to live full lives. Everyone needs a strong connection to at least one other person. As children this is usually a connection to parents or siblings. As we grow up, this may changes to close friends. For most people, this important person is usually their spouse or romantic partner.
Humans are biologically hardwired for connection. When we don’t have connection, it can cause a host of medical and mental health challenges. And the loss of a connection can be traumatic—in fact, it is well researched that going though a break up can cause trauma symptoms similar to PTSD but on a smaller scale.
Because of the importance of this connection, the idea of being disconnected from my partner is inherently terrifying. This can cause a lot of fear, anxiety, depression, guilt, and embarrassment.
It is normal to feel insecure and have strong emotional reactions when the relationship bond is threatened with disconnection.
The key to managing this insecurity is building a relationship where sharing vulnerability is valued and treasured. It is through shared vulnerability that we can increase our emotional connection, and repair the relationship when there has been a moment of disconnection. Couple therapy can help you take the risk to be vulnerable while also training you how to create the emotional safety for you partner to be vulnerable with you.
Elizabeth Polinsky, MSW, LCSW, is a marriage counselor and couple therapist specializing in working with military members, veterans, and their families. Liz is located in Norfolk, Virginia, and provides online counseling services throughout Virginia, South Carolina, and Arkansas. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker Virginia (#0904011022), South Carolina (#11302), and Arkansas (#7735-C). She is also licensed as a Resident in Marriage and Family Therapy in Virginia (#0730000567) under the supervision of Dr. Victoria Holroyd at The Relationship Center at East Beach.
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Hey, I'm Elizabeth Polinsky and I am a marriage therapist in the Hampton Roads area. In Communicate & Connect, I provide educational tips for relationships, with special application to military relationships.