“I really believed that we had a connection – and he said that he felt it too. But now he’s blowing hot and cold and no longer seems so interested. What has changed his mind, and how do I reconnect with him?”
This is something I have been asked more times than I can count, throughout the years. Maybe not always in those exact words, but usually pretty close. It led me to ponder the actual meaning of the term ‘connection’, when used in this context. Although an online dictionary describes connection as: “a relationship in which a person or thing is linked or associated with something else”, I don’t think that that is what my lovelorn customers are talking about. They mean something more intense and intimate – a recognition between two strangers who just seem to ‘get’ each other. The question is, would this be something that would simply burn out within weeks… or days, even?
Technically speaking, a true connection would have to be a two-way thing, involving both parties, otherwise it couldn’t be described as a connection. However, experience has taught me that men and women tend to have very different interpretations of romantic connection – and that – mostly – women take it more seriously than men. There are different kinds of connection that could easily be mistaken for the ‘real thing’, and here are four of them:
The flirty connection
Some people are accomplished flirts; they are play-actors, enjoying their own performance, but who find it thrilling when the flirting is enthusiastically reciprocated. However, they also like the challenge that comes from flirting with someone who is a little shy or coy… but who continues with the process, rather than removing themselves from it. Claiming to feel a connection is a common port of call for this person, and means nothing to them. Okay, there is obviously some degree of attraction involved, but still; the connection is physical, short-term, and shallow. In defence of the average, seasoned flirt, the intention may not be to deliberately fool and hurt the object of their brief interest; they aren’t serious, and they naively expect that to be understood. However, there are serial-flirts amongst both genders who have issues that lead them to deliberately hurt others by getting them on the hook before dumping or blanking them. But, it all still comes down to that one basic, bottom line, fact: if we don’t allow ourselves to be easily seduced by the idea of a romantic ‘connection’, it can’t hurt us!
The sexual connection
It is all about physical attraction and conquest. The sexually-motivated sweet-talker knows for sure that flattery, attentiveness, and a confession to experiencing a connection like never before, tends to have a high success rate. They might even be willing to play the game over a period of weeks… because it is all about the chase and the end result. They may quickly lose interest after the event, or keep their ‘victim’ on the hook, never actually dating them or including them in everyday life – but showing up every now and then for sex, or expecting sexting. Again, it all comes down to that one bottom line fact: if we don’t allow ourselves to be easily seduced by an obviously sexy ‘connection’, we can’t be hurt by it!
The needy connection
People who struggle with low self-worth and a belief that they are unlovable, can sometimes ‘fall in love’ with anyone who shows initial interest or is particularly attentive toward them – and men are as vulnerable as women! If a love interest is claiming to feel an intense connection within a very short period of time of associating with you – talking about love, even – this is not a genuine, healthy joining of two hearts, minds, and souls: it is desperation! To someone who is hungry to be loved and appreciated, hearing these declarations of passion can feel wonderful. However, if it truly is real, there is no need to go rushing in at a zillion miles an hour; the relationship will naturally continue to develop and grow. If it isn’t real, it will have fizzled out within days, weeks, or, at the latest, months – along with the supposed connection!
The friendly connection
Two people get chatting, and a friendship develops. There may well be a bit of a spark, a bit of under-lying romantic interest… but it remains, to all intents and purposes, a friendship. However, one of the ‘friends’ believes that there is a deeper connection, and is sure that the other person must feel it, too. They begin to over-analyse the situation, looking out for validating signs that the connection is mutual – only to become frustrated when there is no progression from being flirty mates to committed partners, with the usual end result being a falling-out and a parting of the ways. This situation becomes particularly fraught because of unexpressed, underlying emotional and sexual tension. There have been hints, but little or no action. Eventually, a crack appears and an argument is picked, generally not about the fact that one of the two believed that more was going on than was. More often than not, the argument will be about some other issue entirely, which is then (unconsciously) used as a smokescreen. Unfortunately, unresolved issues tend to get in the way of honest communication, and so the focus remains upon a connection that was meant to be… but never was.
A connection is a starting point, not a destination!
There always has to be something that brings people together, and not just in romantic relationships. It can be physical, it can be emotional, it can be a mutual interest or cause, it can be an unconscious attraction based on non-obvious elements (such as similar past experiences). A connection is only a starting point, not a destination. A feeling of connection does not automatically mean that something was ‘meant to be’, which seems to be a popular belief. And, as I said earlier, the sense of connection can be much stronger on one side than the other, and different in quality and nature. More often than not a man’s version of a connection is very different to a woman’s, and he can be baffled when she takes it more seriously than he does – or even oblivious to the fact that she is feeling it so deeply. We need to stop idealising the notion of romantic connection, making it the be-all-and-end-all of dating. Connections are like stepping stones: some will lead to a brief experience, others to something more long-term and meaningful… and they are all equally important in their own way, because they all change us in some way. If you have suffered because of a connection you were convinced was real and meaningful, but that didn’t progress in the way that you hoped it would, don’t become all bitter and twisted! Continue to be open to connections of all kinds, reminding yourself that they are merely little opportunities to do a bit of exploring!