Bonding Behaviors during a relationship

Submitted by Karezza Korner on
Printer-friendly version

(Anonymous, via PM) I'm female, married, and just went/am going through a very difficult time with my husband (don't really know where we stand completely yet). I found your information about bonding behavior and in two weeks we went from not talking, and him planning to leave, to this morning we ...well it's better, is all I'll say.

(Maso) My girlfriend said, “What do I do when I catch you looking at other girls?’’

I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Make a smartass remark, clear your throat, glare at me a little?”

“No, beside those things to let you know I am a little annoyed. “ I guess I must have looked lost because she continued, “I reach out and touch you. I put my arm in yours. I move closer to you, I touch you somewhere. Do you ever remember staring at a girl when we already had our arms around each other?”

I told her no, that I couldn’t think of any time in particular that I did but maybe I had. She said that if we are connected physically like that, we are invested in each other and that moment. Both people are less likely to be concerned with other people around them. If a person is doing something or looking at someone else, the personal touch of another person makes an immediate connection and draws the two people together. I told her this sounded like one Marnia’s bonding techniques and she agreed.

She told me that after we got back together she did not feel very confident in our relationship. We had been great back home in high school, but when we went away to college things fell apart half way through the year. We got back together at the end of the year and went back home shortly thereafter. Our relationship got better during the summer and things were pretty good when we were both back home, but then we went back to the university again where we had had problems before. Her concern was that our relationship would fall apart again. She said every time I looked at another girl, she felt insecure and wondered if I had hooked up with the girl while we were apart or if I wished we were not together again.

My girlfriend said she talked to her mother who is a therapist (MFT) and told her she was worried about me checking out other girls. It was her mother that suggested the touch technique for us connecting. My girlfriend said her mother told her she has suggested this technique to other women who had this complaint and it usually worked pretty well. That if I immediately responded to her that she probably didn’t have much to worry about except having a pretty normal guy for a boyfriend. Her mom also told her that she didn’t think that my looking at other girls was the real problem. That there was some underlying problem that she didn’t want to address and that her worrying about my looking at other girls was the way she was reacting to it.

She tried touching me when she noticed me looking at another girl. She told me the first time she wrapped her arm around me, I leaned down and kissed her. I don’t even remember when this happened but she said it immediately made her feel better. The more we touched, the better she felt and the more confident in our relationship she became. She also figured out the underlying problem; resentment over the breakup, us being with other people, and concern for our new relationship. She said once she figured that out, she could release the resentment and hurt and work on making our relationship work.

I never realized that she felt insecure in the relationship or felt resentment about the breakup. I asked her why she never told me this stuff, we share everything. She said when she felt that way; she didn’t feel confident enough to tell me, that maybe I would just bolt. She also didn’t want me to think that every time something was wrong she was going to go whine about me to her mom. I know that things have gotten better throughout the year; I know we love each other; I just never realized how she was working on this without me even knowing it. Knowing this now makes me love her even more.

So instead of writing the post I intended to we discussed our issues and the above is sort of the important points we discussed over a couple of days. It seems like whenever we discuss a thread, we learn more about ourselves than just what the tread covers. There are a few things that really surprised me in our discussion. How close what my girlfriend initiated was to the bonding exercises and Karezza, several months before either of us had ever even heard the word. That her mom, a therapist, suggested the method—do other therapists use this sort of “Karezza-ish” type of technique? That both of us really blamed ourselves for the breakup more than each other—I never would have thought we would be at this point remembering the final blowup a year and a half ago.

(Advice to forum member with invalid wife, from another man) I don't know enough about your circumstances to intuit whether naked, or partially naked, as opposed to clothed, cuddling is a possibility, but I've found they satisfy quite different parts of me, in very different ways.

(undying) Here's hoping you two can find a way to connect that relieves stress for her. When my husband was in the army, every day was miserable and stressful for him. Every day when he came home (when he wasn't deployed), we'd jump into bed to spoon and just hold each other. It brought him back to life. Probably it helped him stay sane and us stay together.

Maybe you could play a totally non-sexual pretend game. Have her lay down and pretend she's a baby rabbit. Then lay down with her, explaining that you're the mother rabbit. Make it silly and use a funny voice. Or maybe you could pretend you're a robot programmed to protect her. Or maybe SHE's the robot and you're her recharging station. If that helps. Just trying to help think of a way to break her association of maybe thinking your touch is needy or sexual.

(keygrove) Life with bonding is like tunnel vision lifting so that you can see the beauty of the landscape of life. No esoteric teachings or spiritual beliefs necessary. You get the "known instead of the belief or hope" as Bob Monroe was fond of saying. It's something that anybody can explore for themselves. The 100 day challenge not to orgasm could be re-contextualized as the 100 day challenge to bond. It's something I'm definitely excited to explore. The constant edginess after an orgasm becomes unbearable once you've been exposed to ideas such as CPA and YBOP.



Post from the forum

For my money, naked cuddling is the way to go. I assume this could be negotiated in any relationship worth its salt, especially if the desiring party promises to remain chaste.

If getting together naked for overtly non sexual purposes for, say, fifteen minutes daily, or every other day, is considered too unreasonable a demand, then I dare say there might be good grounds for separation.

There's something about skin on skin contact that has a magical effect. Most magical of all, of course, is how simple and absolutely non analytical it is.

Time has to be made for it, of course. In normal, day to day life, there is no moment when naked cuddling could occur 'naturally', except in bed, where it is usually preceded or superseded by sleep. Initially, making the effort to do this, in the face of all the other demands on our time, might seem odd, or even self indulgent; but when looked at objectively, what could be more logical than being naked with the person you (hopefully) love.

One of the most profound aspects of naked cuddling with full consciousness is what the mind does while the body is in relative repose. What I've found is, it - the mind - seems to expand out of my head, fill the rest of me, and then stray across the borders into the body of the person I'm with.

When sex is an option, naked cuddling can lead to it, almost too easily; but if it's not an option, the cuddling can make that option less threatening.

I'm only musing out loud, here. I have no proof of anything, other than that naked cuddling seems a lot more productive, and is certainly less stressful, than most other forms of communication - especially talking!

Yes, Marnia. Thanks for your

Yes, Marnia. Thanks for your post. This really landed for me. We all have so much experience talking from our minds. That is, how much of our talking is just mental noise? A lot, I would guess. And to me, skin to skin contact is very healing. My thoughts seem to have less juice to them when I'm holding someone's hand. That thing I was so upset about, doesn't seem quite so bad. :)

And that is a good and healing thing.