There comes a time in every relationship where we feel a little (or a lot!) disconnected from our partner

For years, we have been spoon-fed images of perfect relationships in books, television, and movies. Media often only shows the ‘good’, rarely showing us glimpses of the real adversity we face in normal relationships. This leaves many of us questioning our relationships and connections. After all, shouldn’t true love come easy?

Unfortunately, there comes a time in every relationship where we feel a little (or a lot!) disconnected from our partner. It’s just part of the natural ebb and flow of being committed to someone. Healthy relationships are always changing and shifting which might lead to new challenges. This doesn’t mean you “just aren’t meant to be” together, it means we need to work on finding ways to develop intimacy and communications skills to reconnect.

If you are feeling disconnected from your partner, here are five things you can do to bring intimacy back into the relationship

1. Open the lines of communication

Being part of a couple requires more than one person, and that means two very different people are bringing their own past experiences and expectations to the relationship. To further complicate things, each partner has different abilities to communicate effectively. Thankfully, communication is a skill that can be learned and improved upon.

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One way to reconnect in a relationship is to improve the lines of communication. Make sure you stop and listen to your partner, be open, strive for honesty, watch your partner’s nonverbal signs, and stay focused in the present.

Instead of dwelling on the negative, challenge yourself to do one unexpected thing for your partner every day

2. Show a little kindness

Instead of dwelling on the negative, challenge yourself to do one unexpected thing for your partner everyday. Leave a little appreciation note, make coffee in the morning, do an extra chore, buy some flowers, or arrange a date night. The possibilities are endless, but according to research hailing from the University of Michigan’s Survey Research Center, these frequent small acts of kindness go a long way in promoting happiness in a relationship. According to Terri Orbuch, Ph.D., a marriage researcher from the University of Michigan, “People may feel taken for granted. By doing these small tasks on a regular basis, you’ll help your partner feel noticed.”

3. Nurture yourself

Sometimes the best way to improve and reconnect with a partner is to focus on meeting our own personal needs.

To quote Neil Diamond and Davy Jones, “you need love to love”. Give yourself permission to find a new hobby, get adequate sleep, enjoy a spa day at home, take a hike, garden, read, binge watch that new series, or exercise. Grabbing some alone time can happen organically, but it’s perfectly acceptable to take time apart. It allows us to enjoy “me” time and grow as an individual so we can have stronger “we” times.

4. Get intimate

Physical touch is a great way to strengthen a relationship and it doesn’t have to be strictly sexual. Simply holding hands or hugging are also important ways to keep a relationship healthy. According to an article from TIME, experts claim that touching calms us and every time we do it, we send our partner a positive message.

People who are comfortable with meaningful touch, those small acts of touching in the kitchen or sitting on the couch, have been shown to be more happy, talkative, emotionally stable, and engaged. There is also evidence that this group tended to be less anxious or suspicious of other people.

“Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in every day”

5. Be thankful

“Everyday may not be good, but there is something good in every day.” This popular saying helps remind us that even on the bad days, we need to find the blessings in life we are grateful for.

Researchers are finding that a grateful attitude can cause a boost to our moods and lead to happiness. We need to apply this tactic to our relationships, because couples often become too comfortable with each other and forget to express gratitude for everything our partners do to meet our needs. Take time every day to let your partner know that you are thankful they are in your life, helped take out the trash, or did the laundry. By switching our mindset, we can let our partner know we value him or her and reconnect.

What advice do you have for the times someone feels disconnected from their partner? Share with us in the comments section!

Gwen Lewis is a writer and makeup artist based in Southern California. Because of her passion for beauty and health, she hopes to help others not just look great but feel great! In her free time she loves to stay active and has just taken on learning how to surf. If you want to learn more, follow her on Twitter (@GwenEveLewis)