How to Experience Deep Love & Connection With Your Partner (ROCD)
As humans, we crave connection and belonging.
Belonging and connection are emotional needs; they are equally important to our other needs, such as food and shelter. As the psychologist Abraham Maslow put it, “The need to belong is a major source of human motivation.” Even feelings of power, achievement, and approval all come down to our fundamental need of belonging.
We want to look a certain way, act a certain way, and behave a certain way because ultimately, at the core, we are seeking this sense of connection.
With Relationship OCD, we recognize these feelings of belonging with our partners—partners who offer us love and acceptance, and who remain humbly committed as anxieties or other feelings are stirring within our bodies. Perhaps we feel guilt in these moments—a need to run, without exactly knowing why. And as we seek answers to life’s hard questions, swirled in obsessive thinking and anxieties, we may fall deeper into despair and shame.
Ultimately, we wish to belong, to connect. It is inherent in our blood and our psyches—and yet, often, we feel afraid of forming those connections, and how those connections might bring new emotional challenges along with them. Our anxieties, unrecognized traumas, wounds, fears, and self-loathing may block our hearts from reaching out to connect with others. If your mind is asking, “What if I don’t want to connect with my partner?”—rest assured, it is fear that doesn’t want to connect, and trauma. Because ultimately, as human beings, our psyche and hearts do want that connection. It is simply that our minds have built-in protection mechanisms, which can interfere with those connections at times.
How do we bring about that sense of depth and connection with our partner?
How do we foster that connection when our minds and bodies are “shut off” in terror, resistance, hatred, sadness, guilt, numbness, apathy, and/or anxiety?
How do we experience deep love and connection with our partner when we experience Relationship OCD?
First, we must recognize that we do have that instinctual need to love and connect. What this means, then, is that our ability to connect is present. We are capable of connecting, with friends and with our partners—even if those connections can involve an array of difficult emotions. Connection can be complicated: There are internal elements and blockages that can prevent us from feeling and experiencing these connections in a way that feels comfortable to us.
Second, with Relationship OCD, we must unleash the grasp of “needing to feel” a certain way—the pressure to “feel butterflies” and harbor infatuations; the, dramatic “in-love “ feelings of depth and certainty and excitement. We must come to a place of full recognition and acceptance for ourselves—at this time, at this moment—for how we are feeling, and what we are experiencing. We must surrender to being totally human, and to feel all the feelings that come along with it: anxiety, grief, anger, numbness, and so many more. We can meet ourselves here, in this reality, without expectations of needing to be another way.
Acceptance is no easy task. Many of us have built blocks and walls around our hearts so as not to feel, or to feel less intensely. We manage our feelings in this way because we are resisting ourselves, craving control over our minds. Because we wonder, What if I release my emotions and lose it all?
If acceptance is difficult for you, know that you’re not alone. But it helps to recognize this need in ourselves: To begin to accept the ways we resist our own feelings and the emotions that are uncomfortable.
Third, with Relationship OCD, we must recognize that in order to experience deep love and connection with our partner, we must experience deep love and connection with ourselves.
When we learn to experience deep love and connection with ourselves, we learn to not have anyone else hold our happiness in the palm of their hands. We step into fullness, empowerment, and aliveness. In doing so, we are ultimately responsible for our own pleasure, happiness, and fulfillment—no one else. This idea can be painful for people to hear—especially because our psyches have sought fulfillment and completion from the people around us since birth (see the extraordinary work of relationships expert Harville Hendrix for more on this topic).
But, with the work we are doing here, we learn ultimately that the depth and connection must first come within. In that way, we are not dependent on our partner to give us that happiness or sense of purpose; we are not dependent on another to hold the keys to our happiness. We must seek that happiness within ourselves, with our partner as a source of love and support in the journey. This is an empowering dynamic. I want to emphasize, though, that it can be scary, too.
It is okay to feel scared, ambiguous, resistant, and numb to this new idea. But I believe it is true: In order to feel the truly deep sense of connection and love that we crave with our partner, we must make that connection in ourselves.
This means working on self-compassion, self-acceptance, fulfilling our own needs (activities, pleasures, hobbies), taking responsibility and ownership for our lives, without another doing it for us—because our inner lives are not their job or responsibility.
This also means working on releasing and letting go of hijacks (Alexis and I coined the term hijacks to refer to the beliefs/stories we tell ourselves that keep us small and wounded. They may be beliefs that have been picked up by our family, peers, society, etc. Beliefs that keep us feeling small and stuck in our Relationship OCD)
When we come from a place of inner, self-fulfillment—when we learn to release guilt and shame, to take away our hijacks, to take responsibility for our own happiness, and to do the work this requires of us—then we can experience the deepest love and connection, as we’ve been craving our whole lives.
Then CLICK HERE for our 28-Day Program with Founder of Awaken into Love, Kiyomi LaFleur and Licensed Therapist, Alexis De Los Santos. In this program we guide you toward what it means to find self-fulfillment and love within yourself. It is a very personal program, as you get interaction with the both of us. We give you a planner called S.A.F.E geared toward experiencing that love within you and then connecting with your partner. We go over hijacks, beliefs, and the blockages holding you back, while teaching you how to remove guilt and shame. We then offer activities for you to share with your partner, to foster a sense of deeper love and connection. These are tools that you can use for the rest of your life, and are for you to keep! If you’re ready, click on the link above and we will see you on the inside.