Cecilia was describing her new boyfriend to me.
“It’s fun, it’s exciting, but when I’ve needed him, he isn’t there. It feels like I can’t share everything that’s going on in my life with him, because he tunes out. I think he finds it annoying when I talk too much.” She frowned.
“What’s going on, James? Am I too needy? I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall.”
“Well,” I said, “Sounds to me like you are beating your head against a wall.”
The truth is, some men are like walls.
They’re not interested in an emotional connection. They want a relationship for the fun of it.
And that’s okay if you want the same thing.
But if you’re like Cecilia, wondering whether you’re wrong to want more, wondering whether your desire to feel emotionally close to him makes you needy…
Then there’s something I’d like to share with you.
What you’re about to learn is one of the scientifically-proven secrets to lasting lifelong love.
If you’ve ever felt alone in a relationship, chances are you were missing this crucial ingredient.
Ready to find out what it is?
What Keeps You Together Forever
First of all, let’s look at what it’s not.
The secret ingredient to lasting lifelong love is not chemistry.
It’s not compatibility.
It’s not shared values.
All of these qualities are good, and they may get you to the point where you walk down the aisle.
But they won’t get you through the ups and downs of a life together: the challenges of raising children, facing hardship, navigating illness, and growing old.
There’s only one special ingredient that keeps you stuck together when the stress of life threatens to tear you apart.
It’s emotional connection.
Specifically, a kind of emotional connection called a safe haven.
A Safe Haven Relationship
When someone is your safe haven, you instinctively reach out to them when you are in distress.
When you are hurting, they drop everything to be there for you.
You feel held by them.
They don’t run away from your tenderness, your pain, and your vulnerability. They may feel uncomfortable and awkward, but they show up for you because that’s what partners do.
They are emotionally available, responsive, and engaged.
They make an effort to attune to you: to frown when you frown, smile when you smile, and adjust their energy to yours.
When you ask yourself:
“Is this person there for me when I need them? Am I their priority?”
…You know the answer is yes.
Obviously your partner cannot always be there for you 100% of the time. Sometimes he will be unavailable or insensitive.
But overall you know deep down that your partner will be there for you as best he can when you’re in need.
When You Don’t Have a Safe Haven Relationship
If you don’t feel like your partner is your safe haven yet, there are three things you can do.
1. Talk to him about it.
If he’s open to it, share the concept of a safe haven with him. Ask him what he thinks about the idea. Does this sound like something you’d like to work on together?
You can broach the topic in a more roundabout way by asking him, “Who do you think is the absolute perfect couple?”
Then explore further by asking him, “Why is their relationship so great? What do you admire most about it?”
Find out what kind of relationship he dreams about. Does he envision a relationship where you put each other first and can rely on each other? Or does he envision a relationship that’s fun and casual?
2. Match his level of emotional investment.
Sometimes it doesn’t matter if this isn’t the guy you want to be with for a lifetime. If he’s fun and you enjoy his company, you can stay in the relationship while getting your emotional needs met by friends or family.
This isn’t a long-term solution, of course. But it can work in the short-term.
In the meantime, keep your heart safe by emotionally investing in him only as much as he’s emotionally invested in you.
3. Set your sights on a partner who can be your safe haven.
Not all men want a safe haven relationship. They don’t want a partner who emotionally depends on them.
If you keep ending up with those guys, your best bet may be to start changing what you look for in a partner.
Rather than focusing solely on chemistry and compatibility, look for someone who’s grounded and consistent. He cares how you feel. He shows up for you.
When you start looking for these traits, you’ll start to see them in unexpected places.
Maybe a guy isn’t flashy or charismatic, but he checks in with you to see how you’re feeling. Not all women would notice that, but you will. You’ll smile, knowing this could be the start of something beautiful.