Connection cannot be forced in a relationship, even though a relationship is a consequence of connection. We fail to realize that our relationship issues are often the result of a “crisis of connection.”
I recently led a 2-day private coaching intensive for a well-intentioned couple who had ignorantly, innocently, conspired together for years to create a tragic mess of love.
We spent the entire “Weekend Intensive” nestled in a quiet canyon home just outside Los Angeles, working to overcome their excruciating “crisis of connection.”
Intimate relationships only truly work when a real connection is given the highest priority.
Everything else between and around you – sex, finances, work, family (even your kids), friends, lifestyle – must come second, at least most of the time, for intimate love to thrive.
Tragically, most of us get this backwards.
We prioritize intellectual disagreements over money or sex or work or lifestyle while our experience of connection gets as much consideration as a cucumber in a candy store.
Which is a solid example, because wondering why the hell anyone would sell cucumbers at a candy store is a lot like wondering, “Why the hell isn’t this relationship working when I’m doing everything I can to make it work?!”
Connection is The Feminine Value.
All of us, men and women, have been taught for a lifetime to dismiss the “EXPERIENCE OF CONNECTION” in favor of more masculine concerns:
Are we functioning ok?
Do we have enough money?
Is there a point to this conversation?
What’s broken that I need to fix?
Is anyone bleeding?
Thus we seek to create functional relationships – in other words, predominantly “masculine” ones – that inevitably suffer from chronic disconnection, and thus fail to thrive.
It’s like building a big beautiful castle, yet there’s little life inside. Sometimes there’s even outright war within our own castle walls.
Whatever our dissatisfaction, we tend to believe it’s caused by a lack of desired outcomes: Not enough sex or affection, too much fighting or focusing on the negatives, not enough freedom to be me, or not enough intimacy … and we rarely question what that means.
We fail to realize that these missing outcomes are often the result of a “crisis of connection.”
Did you know women initiate 70% of divorces? (American Sociological Association, 2015)
Naturally!! The feminine value is connection, and connection is the most consistently overlooked need that both men AND women need. It’s just that most women feel disconnect, viscerally, more than most men.
Even in my relationship, my fiancé usually feels any disconnect between us long before I do. I’ll think everything is great – mostly because she doesn’t seem upset and no one is bleeding – and suddenly she’ll say in sad tones, “I haven’t felt very connected to you lately.”
“What the f*k are you talking about?”
… is what I’ll think but do my damn best to not say out loud or show on my face because I know better than to immediately reject or invalidate her experience which would only further her experience of disconnect! [phew]
Most women’s sensitivity to “connection” is biologically greater than most men’s. With vastly more Oxycontin and Estrogen, the bonding and feeling hormones, women are literally living in different experiential realities men.
Higher levels of Testosterone in men cause us to be more action-outcome oriented (“Is there a point to this conversation?”) and feel less (“How do I feel? Ok, I guess.”).
Unfortunately, most women don’t have the skills to effectively communicate their experience in a way that men can really hear it, and most men don’t have the skills to listen beneath the details for what their partners are really asking for.