Despite spending a lot of time together during the COVID-19 pandemic, Eileen and Michael were feeling disconnected. In fact, Eileen was worried about their trajectory—becoming too distant with no recovery. A history of negativity took down their relationship and now a quiet void remained.
They were discussing in couples counseling how to reconnect when Michael said, “You need to check in with me.” This felt like a demand to Eileen and she thought he was blaming her for their disconnection.
I asked Michael to restate what he needed, and he said, “I need you to check in with me.” By letting Eileen know what he needed, she had the freedom, and hopefully the desire, to meet that need.
He also recognized that over the last month she made attempts to check-in, and he said, “When you check-in, I really appreciate it.” Rather than just focusing on what was missing, he noted Eileen’s efforts, making her attempts more likely to reoccur. Their connection was subtly rebuilding.