When we are in long-distance relationships, the need to attune to one another is even greater. Dr Gottman has a fabulous acronym to remember in all relationships.
Often, we have awareness, the first step, but we can struggle with the second step, to turn towards the emotion. For example, if you know your partner is angry with you because you were home late, but his anger triggers memories of your father who had anger issues and was unsafe in his anger, then it might be difficult for you to turn towards your partner’s anger.
In a case like this, you might start with a less triggering emotion. You might start with a time when your partner expresses sadness for example.
You could practice:
- Notice the emotion in your partner
- Notice and acknowledge how it makes you feel
- What would it mean for you to ‘turn towards’ their sadness?
- How would it feel for you to step into it with them in a curious, non-judgemental way?
- What might allow them to feel you ‘turn towards’ their emotion?
- Could you openly discuss it?s
- What emotions in others scare you?
- Can you ‘turn towards’ your own emotions?
- What scares you about your own emotions?