Photo by Ben Green on Unsplash

Repairing Relationships Requires Connection, Part 2: The Canyon Bridge

Relationships often fall apart because we simply neglect them. Sometimes we push away from other people. Other times we just drift apart, and the inertia of life carries us away from others.

Neglect of a relationship might be intentional and conscious. We might choose to do that for a specific reason, such as to protect ourselves from being hurt or because we simply don’t enjoy the way another person makes us feel.

Often, however, relationships are neglected simply because we get focused on other relationships or activities we prioritize more highly. When this happens, we drift apart, because no one is making an intentional effort to hold the relationship together.

Time erodes the connection between us and people from whom we have drifted away. Nothing can really repair this erosion. Time passes, and a void opens up where shared experience otherwise would have been. because we haven’t shared time together and experiences there will always be a bit of a gap. The more time passes, and the more experiences we each have without the other person, the wider the gap will be, until it becomes a canyon.

To repair the relationship with a person who has drifted apart from us, we need to make a new connection with them. This might look like a bridge over a canyon. We may intentionally take the time to catch up, and thereby fill in some of the gaps by sharing our experiences and feelings about them. This gap-filling work, these conversations are always imperfect, because they depend on descriptions of our own memories and impressions. Such descriptions are always less rich than actual shared experience.

Nevertheless, this is better than avoid. These imperfect connections are better than no connection at all. These emotional bridges can link us to other people, and enough of them can reconnect us in meaningful ways, allowing emotional intimacy to return to the relationship.

Love can flourish, even when we have drifted apart from one another, but building bridges between ourselves and others requires effort, communication, and time to restore understanding and trust. The amount of time and effort both people invest in this work will largely determine the strength and stability of the emotional bridges between them.

Build wisely, and, whenever possible, prevent deep, wide canyons from forming, in the first place, between you and those you hold dear.

© 2021 Noel Bagwell. All Right Reserved.

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