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Advice from a Couples Therapist On How to Turn Toward Your Partner, Not Away

Idit Sharoni

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I'm a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist based in Miami, a relationship podcast host, and an educator. I help couples transform their patterns of communication and heal after infidelity. 


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As a couples therapist, I will tell you it’s not uncommon to miss opportunities to connect with your partner. You may have had a difficult day at work. Or be struggling with some personal challenges that leave you feeling stressed and disconnected. Leading you to not return their attempts to connect, or even react negatively when they reach out to you. However, when you don’t turn into their bids for connection or their attempts to engage with you, the relationship can start to feel strained and disconnected.

But if you want to have a healthy, happy relationship, it’s important to learn how to turn toward your partner. Rather than away. Fortunately, there are some simple tips and strategies that can help you cultivate more positive, supportive interactions with your partner. Whether it’s making time for meaningful conversation, or simply listening to what they have to say, small acts of connection can go a long way in building trust and intimacy in your relationship.

Make an effort to Turn Towards Your PartnerShows a couple turning towards each other smiling. Represents how a couples therapist in miami, fl will support you on your journey turning toward your partner.

The idea of you and your partner being a “happy couple” hinges on your ability to turn towards each other, rather than away. Happier couples have a lot more turning towards acts towards each other than away. This means that when one partner makes a bid for connection, the other is able to respond positively. And encourage the relationship to grow. For example, when your partner makes a complaint like “You’re making us late again.” You can turn away by ignoring or reacting negatively such as “I’m only late because I had to feed and bathe the kids with no help from you! ” But let’s try to imagine what would have happened in the parallel universe where you had turned toward your partner instead.

You can first realize you have an opportunity to turn toward them. Use the idea of the parallel universe to your advantage and reflect on what a response that is turned toward would look like. In the example above, you might try saying, “I know you’re frustrated, and I’m sorry that I’m not on time. I promise to be more mindful of time from now on.” By turning toward your partner, you are strengthening the bond between you and showing them that they matter. You’re positively responding to their bid for connection, which can help to strengthen your relationship over time. You turned towards your partner and acknowledged their frustrations. Not away.

How Many Times  Do You Need to Turn Towards Your Partner?Shows a couple cuddling on the couch. Represents how a couples therapist in florida will help you bond.

Bids for connection, whether they are a reach for a hug or a complaint made to your partner, are all created equal. It’s essential to respond to as many as possible in a positive manner to maintain a happy relationship. According to Dr. John Gottman, the relationship expert who pioneered this concept of turning towards, couples that are “just okay” have a ratio of 5 times they turn towards each time they turn away. This ratio is helpful to consider when you’re struggling to connect with your partner.

For example, if you find that the “negative” interactions in your relationship far outnumber the positive, it may be time to make a concerted effort to turn towards your partner more often. Because it seems that you may be missing many opportunities to build the connection and turn toward your partner. By making a conscious effort to turn toward your partner, even in small ways, you can help to foster trust, intimacy, and positivity in your relationship.

Turn Towards Your Partner More Than You Turn AwayShows a couple hugging. Represents how a couples therapist in florida will give you tools to strengthen your relationship.

You may see the bids for attention and affection that are coming your way, but you may think “I’ve got a million things to do, I can’t turn toward my partner right now.” You’re missing these opportunities to connect with your partner, and as a result, your relationship will suffer. To achieve happiness as a couple, you need to turn towards your partner much more often than you turn away. At least 5 times more.

You have to decide whether you’re going to take the opportunity to turn toward your partner when they bid for your attention, or if you’re going to turn away and miss out on the chance to foster connection. Remember that in the “parallel universe” where you had turned towards your partner? Not only did you improve your relationship, but you also saved time and energy. You in the parallel universe is not having to salvage a relationship that might have otherwise fallen apart. In the parallel universe, you’re also not eating dinner in silence and wondering what might have been. That you turned towards your partner and took the opportunity to build a stronger relationship.

So, the next time your partner bids for your attention whether it’s by going for a kiss after a long day at work or negatively commenting on your lack of household responsibilities, it’s important that you make the choice to turn toward them instead of turning away or ignoring it. Because by choosing to turn toward your partner, you’re choosing to improve your relationship.  Which is a decision that you, and your partner, will be happy you made. 

Interested in Couples Counseling in Florida?

You don’t have to wonder what could have been. If you’re struggling to turn toward your partner, or if you’re noticing that the negative interactions in your relationship are outweighing the positive, couples counseling can help. You’ve made it here because you’re ready to turn toward your partner and make a real difference in your relationship. If you’re ready to start your journey:

Other Services Provided By Idit Sharoni – Relationship Experts

You’re ready to take the opportunity to turn toward your partner. To choose connection over disconnection. However, you need some help to get there. You’re needing experts who have the tools and experience to help you along the way. Our therapists at Idit Sharoni – Relationship Experts provide a wide range of services to help you build the relationship you’ve always wanted. One where you’re turning towards your partner more often than you’re turning away. Our Miami, FL-based counseling office offers many different services online besides Couples Counseling, including Affair Counseling, Communication Counseling, and Infidelity Recovery Programs. We also offer online therapy sessions for other types of relationship issues.


Shows a couple smiling towards each other. Represents how a couples therapist in florida will help you foster a connection.

I'm Idit Sharoni, your podcast host.

I'm an expert on relationships and infidelity recovery. I'm a licensed marriage & family therapist, a podcast host, and the founder of Relationship Experts  - a Couples Therapy & Coaching private practice.

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