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Respond to your partner

Posted 24th of September, 2018 at 12:33pm by Sharyn Kennedy

Relationships work when you feel ‘safe’ and ‘connected’ to your partner.

This connection is less about how often you talk, good sex, or spending quality time together (although these things are important), and more about the emotional bonding that develops between the two of you.

Connecting emotionally to your partner is a skill you can learn and practice.

Relationships really work when people use and respond positively to ‘bids for connection’ (Gottman, 2001).

Bids for connection in relationships can be: affectionate touching (e.g., a pat, squeeze, kiss, hug), facial expressions (e.g., smiling, blowing a kiss), playful touching (e.g., tickling, wrestling), helpful gestures (e.g., opening a door, picking up items) or talking (e.g., laughing, smiling, questioning).

Bids for connection (using communication) can work like this:

Your partner makes a bid: “So, how was your day today?”

You Turn Towards the bid: “Things were okay. We finished that big project and I had a good talk with my boss. What happened with you today?”

Your partner makes a bid: “So, how was your day today?”

You Turn Away from the bid: “I have a lot of emails I need to read.”

Your partner makes a bid: “So, how was your day today?”

You Turn Against the bid: “Why do you keep asking me that?”

What you can do:

Notice when people make bids for connection — some are obvious (like the above example) and some are more subtle.

Turn Towards the bid to grow and develop healthy relationships.

Turn Towards your partner as often as you can.

Information adapted from Gottman, J. (2001). The Relationship Cure. New York: Crown Publishers.

Categorised in: Relationships.


About Sharyn Kennedy, PhD.

I help my patients in many ways…one of them is to encourage small, positive actions. Investing in yourself (be it time, therapy … or this book) is an excellent first step. Remember, there’s NO RISK to you so you’re assured a positive outcome. I look forward to hearing your story of transformation! Read more about Dr. Sharyn

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