You’ve made dinner, cleaned the kitchen, and put the kids to bed, but you can’t seem to put down stress from the workday. Now your partner wants to cozy up with you, but maybe being with other people is the last thing you want at the moment.
It’s not that you’re apathetic or emotionally detached. Everyone has times when they feel a little emotionally numb, but that doesn’t mean you don’t care. How do you maneuver through a situation like this without hurting the one you love the most?
It might seem risky to be open and upfront about the issues bothering you, but that’s one of the best steps you can take. Making sure you get enough me time helps, too.
Trust your Partner with your Heart—and Your Words
If you’re stressed or hurting about something, but too worn out to deal with it, you might not want to talk. However, opening up about your emotional wounds can have a powerful healing and nourishing impact on your relationship.
Researcher Brene Brown once said “Vulnerability is about having the courage to show up and be seen.” It’s also one of the keys to building intimacy in a relationship.
Being vulnerable might mean that you need to open up. Start small, but be direct. Phrases like “I really want to talk with you about something” or “Do you have a minute to listen?” can get your partner’s attention and let him or her. Consider this: your partner deserves to know you’ve got something to work through before you can open up in other ways, and you deserve to trust them this way.
There’s always a risk that the other person will judge or criticize what you have to say, or that you’ll feel like they’re rushing in to solve a problem when you only need to release the emotion. In a situation like this, try telling your loved one “I don’t want to do anything about this yet,” or “I respect you so much that I thought you should know, but let’s sit on this for a while.”
At that point, you can decide whether to continue the conversation or whether to change the topic—and maybe the mood. Knowing that someone cares might be all it takes.
Make ‘Me Time’ a Priority
Some emotion-less moments can be prevented if you take more time for yourself. This works in two ways.
First, if you’re taking time for yourself, you won’t be too drained for intimacy when your partner wants to get close to you. Unwind with a solo run, take a bubble bath, or indulge in a piece of gourmet chocolate with something like a subscription to the Chocolate of the Month Club by Harry and David.
You don’t have to do anything big, as long as you’re putting yourself first for a few moments. When you relax into the moment with yourself, you can more easily relax into sweet moments with your partner.
Secondly, putting yourself first sends a clear message to your partner that you know you’re worth respecting and loving. They’ll most likely follow your example to treat you the way you’d like to be treated—even when you feel like you’ve got nothing left to give.
Move Forward with Love
When you’re not feeling especially cuddly, try reaching out to your partner in other ways. Can you find a way to serve your partner or spend time with your partner in a way that isn’t necessarily physical? If you reach out to your partner, chances are they’ll feel it and reciprocate in ways that keep your dignity and feelings of intimacy for each other intact.