How to Repair a Relationship with an Emotionally Distant Partner

If your partner is emotionally distant, it can be challenging to find ways to repair that relationship. However, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can make the most of your situation and get back on track within no time at all. 

Here are some practical ways to repair the relationship with an emotionally distant partner:

Recognize and Acknowledge the Issue

According to The Hill, men in their 20s are more likely than women in the same age group to experience loneliness, lack of friendships, sexual inactivity, and romantic disengagement. This trend is part of a broader crisis affecting young people across America characterized by declining marriage, sexual activity, and relationships.

Niobe Way, a psychology professor and founder of the Project for the Advancement of Our Common Humanity at New York University says there is a growing crisis of disconnection from ourselves and from each other.

You need to recognize and acknowledge the issue. This can be difficult, as it requires you to face a truth about your relationship that may not be easy for you to accept. However, if something is going wrong in your relationship, then both of you must be able to accept this fact and work together on resolving the problem.

To begin with, make sure that your partner knows how much their behavior affects you by asking them directly about it, and don’t let them brush off or deny any concerns that come up during the conversation. 

Next (and this is where things get tricky), try articulating what emotions are driving these behaviors. It might help if both parties write down some notes beforehand, so everyone has a clear idea of where they stand before starting these kinds of discussions. Otherwise, things could get heated pretty quickly without some preparation ahead of time.

Understand the Causes

To repair your relationship, you first have to understand what caused the distance in the first place. There are many reasons why someone might become emotionally distant from their partner.  Some of the most common reasons why couples disconnect from each other are:

  • Stress related to job, family, and/or finances.
  • Significant life events, such as starting a new profession, welcoming a new baby, or experiencing the passing of a loved one.
  • Exploration of new hobbies or interests or changes in existing ones.
  • Anxiety caused by global crises, such as the pandemic.
  • Additional time restrictions.
  • Challenges related to mental and/or physical health.
  • Unresolved concerns within a marital relationship, including emotional, financial, or physical betrayals.

Practice Active Listening

To help repair your relationship, you need to practice active listening.  According to WebMD, active listening involves setting aside distractions such as phones, books, or tablets and focusing on the words of the other person. However, it requires more than just hearing what they say. The aim is to understand your partner not only at a literal and verbal level but also on an emotional level.

Active listening involves:

  • Listen actively by making eye contact, asking questions, repeating back what was said (in a way that makes sense), and not interrupting or judging their feelings or actions.
  • Don’t defend yourself or argue with them. Instead, simply listen until they have finished talking before responding in any way.

Seek Professional Help

Patch recently reported that 44 couples in New York City filed for divorce on the most romantic day of the year – 14th Feb. According to Steven J. Mandel, a prominent attorney specializing in family law, Valentine’s Day marks the unofficial beginning of divorce season. His reasoning is that, after enduring the stressful period from Thanksgiving to Christmas, couples who are fed up begin to visit divorce lawyers’ offices.

If you are not making progress and feel like you’re stuck in a dead-end relationship, seek professional help. Many therapists specialize in couples counseling in NYC. A therapist can help you and your partner better understand each other’s needs, communicate more effectively, and manage any underlying issues that may be causing distance between the two of you.

A counselor can also help the emotionally distant partner to explore and express their emotions more effectively. Ultimately, couples counseling can aid in rebuilding trust and strengthening the emotional bond between partners, leading to a more fulfilling and satisfying relationship.

Communicate Your Own Needs

There are some steps you can take to improve your relationship. The first is to communicate your needs clearly and assertively, but not aggressively. To do this effectively:

  • Be clear about what you need at the moment without blaming or criticizing your partner. For example, if they’re watching TV instead of talking with you, say something like, “I would like some time with just us right now.” Don’t say, “You never spend any time with me anymore,” because it won’t help the situation at all.
  • Ask for what would make things better for both of you (not just yourself). You may want them to change their behavior in certain situations or spend more time together as a couple, and those are great desires. But think about how both parties could benefit from having these desires met. Don’t only think about how satisfying it would be for one person alone (you).

Build Emotional Intimacy

When you’re in a relationship with someone who is emotionally distant, it can be difficult to find ways to connect. Your partner may not be interested in talking about feelings or sharing their past with you. They might not even want to talk at all.

Here are some tips for building emotional intimacy with your partner:

  • Build trust by sharing secrets and revealing things about yourself that are hard for others to know (like how much money or time you make).
  • Ask questions about the things that matter most to them. What’s important? What do they like doing? How did they meet their best friend? 
  • Go out on dates where there aren’t any distractions (no TV screens in sight), so you’ll have an actual time together.

Give them space if they seem to be pulling away from you

It’s important to give your partner space if they seem to be pulling away from you. If they’re not willing to talk about what’s going on and open up about their feelings, don’t force them into it. It may help if you can find ways of relaxing that don’t involve talking (like reading or listening to music).

Your partner might also need some time alone so that they can figure out how they feel about the relationship and what changes might be needed for both of you as a couple. It’s OK if they don’t want any kind of emotional intimacy right now. Just try not to take it too personally.


We hope this article has helped you to understand the emotional needs of your partner, how to meet them, and how to repair a relationship with an emotionally distant partner. Don’t forget that it takes time and effort for any behavior change, so don’t expect miracles overnight.

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