Part of being in a relationship is seeing your partner all the time, even if you don’t live with one another. You get used to them being away, and when that routine breaks, it can create a feel of disconnect. Whether it is a week-long work trip or a year’s deployment, or even a day visiting friends, there is always a transition at the reunion. It isn’t always filled with passionate sex and feelings of bliss. We have to accept the fact that we each experienced other things, and need a bit of time to reconnect after the distance that was created. So how do we reconnect after time away?
Be Patient. Simply know that there is a period of transition. If there are issues in the relationship, and you used the time away to identify all the things that you want to be different, now is not the time to process that list. Give it a few days or weeks before diving into your new picture of what you want from the other person.
Communicate. And by communicate, I mean listen. Take turns sharing stories. If the one who traveled shares story after story without asking the one who stayed home about their experiences, that person may feel that their partner views their life as status quo and not that interesting. A major imbalance in talking and listening can lead to one person feeling unimportant. It’s great to want to share our experiences with our partner, just make sure that both people are given the opportunity. If you are the one who was away, show interest in what your partner has experienced, even if you think you know what they were up to.
Be physical without expectation. As we talked about in previous posts, sexuality is more about exploring each other’s bodies than it is about intercourse. Get to know your partners’ body all over again, and as always, ask questions about where and how they want to be touched. Set aside some time to just be with each other physically, letting go of the expectation for it to look a certain way. Simply give your partner a massage, or explore kissing for an extended period, but avoid attaching to that particular picture of ‘the best reunion sex of your life.’
Hopefully in time, you will find what works in your own relationship and learn the best ways to reconnect with your partner. Glue couples share different techniques, especially when it comes to sex. In Tommy and Kia’s Glue Film, Tommy talks about the disconnection that happens with time apart. You miss your partner when they are away and imagine the incredible passionate sex upon reunion, but in reality it isn’t always that way, and we have to work with that. He talks about the need for reconnection, and that “if you run with that in your mind, ‘Oh this should be this way, but I’m experiencing this other thing and something must be wrong,’ boy you can go down a dark road with that kind of a thought.” Simply expecting the disconnection and the need to reconnect can help.
Even though Reid and Allison are in a polyamorous relationship, meaning they have sex with others, their rule is to have sex as soon as possible when they reconnect after time apart. They also talk about the tactic of “filling the tank,” and keeping each other sated with regular sex and physical connection.
The landmine is expecting things to be perfect and easy right off the bat. There is an adjustment to schedules, to learning to relate, to moving back from a “me” to a “we.” It’s easier said than done, but try to maintain an attitude that this person is your teammate and be patient, communicate, remove expectation, and ride out the disconnection as long as it takes.