Message Of Connection
The goal of a Message of Connection is to help you spark connection with your ex or partner in a healthy, compassionate way. It helps you to communicate/express yourself effectively and demonstrate better understanding of the situation, your partner, and yourself.
When connection is present in a relationship partners are attuned to how each other feel and think at each moment. By maintaining a connection:
- Partners feel safe and understood - they can trust one another to be treated the way they want to be treated.
- Conflicts get resolved - partners quickly realize why their partner behaved the way they did, and they express themselves effectively, and they make appropriate compromises in order to restore the connection.
When partners experience a disconnect, they feel less safe and trusting and feel more lonely and vulnerable. In unhealthy relationships, the pain and vulnerability experienced by a disconnect causes partners to:
- Prevent themselves from being hurt more by detaching further
- Come up with false explanations for their behavior to make them feel like they still understand each other, and therefore connected (not always a positive belief)
- “He still cares about me, he’s just very forgetful”
- “She’s not interested in what I have to say because she simply isn’t smart enough”
- “What I said wasn’t hurtful, he’s overly sensitive”
- Push partner do something that would restore connection
- “Why don’t you just say you’re sorry already?!”
- Attack partner for making them feel hurt
- The partner feeling the disconnect might feel hurt while the other isn’t, and would try hurting them back, often because they are struggling to express their needs
The first step in creating an impactful message of connection is to effectively diagnose the core issue, the source of the disconnect in the relationship.
- What has been misunderstood?
- What has been misinterpreted?
- What needs are not being met?
If you don’t have enough information to diagnose and assess, switch back to gathering information.
- Greeting/Intro that gives context for what they are about to say:
- I've been reflecting these past few days...
- Since we last spoke, what you/I/we said has been on my mind.....
- If the last interaction involved high emotions, showing ownership of how you weren't expressing yourself effectively
- I went too far when I said....
- I was harsh when I said.....
- When I said......my emotions got the best of me and I wasn't thinking clearly.
- Using examples from your assessment of the core issues of disconnect, highlight what you were feeling/needing/misunderstanding that contributed to the disconnect.
- I felt so much shock, disappointment, and uncertainty seeing how my family treated you. I became too caught up in how hard this situation was for me, I lost myself in it and stopped showing up as the woman you knew and loved.
- I know that traveling to Germany was not something you were fond of, and it occurred to me that perhaps this was because of what you spoke about before, that in your childhood, you traveled the globe and didn't want that lifestyle as an adult. If I had realized, during our time together, that extent of this within you, I would have chosen to travel to you each and every time.
- If appropriate, sharing a concrete actionable step that will feel significant to the ex and is achievable.
- Ending with a sentiment that leaves an opening for connection - potentially hoping to connect again soon. If taking space is needed or has been requested by the ex, showing understanding in a way that allows ex to choose without pressure.
- If you need this time, I understand and will respect your decision....
- I hope we can meet and talk again soon, but if you decide not to, I will respect that decision.
Hey X, after you dropped me off Sunday I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting. I was harsh in how I asked you to find another place and I’m coming to realize I was not thinking clearly at the time and my emotions got the better of me. And then I saw you handle the situation the opposite way. I felt you had control over your emotions in a way I couldn’t and already found another place to stay. I guess I’m trying to say I’m seeing you and how I thought of you differently. Maybe you know what you want and I’ve only given you reasons to doubt that or not be open with me. I hope we can meet and talk again soon but if you decide not to, I respect that decision.
Your words have given me much to reflect over these past few days. You’re right to be angry with how things went down, I too am upset with my parents and myself not only for what happened but for how I handled it. I should have been secure enough in our love to stand up for you, for us. You have never faltered in this and I hope to emulate you in this way. I'm taking the first steps to correct my mistake this weekend, having my parents down for a chat. When it comes to you, I won’t listen to what they say and will physically remove myself from their presence if I need to for that to happen. I understand you needing to have space to process your emotions and I will respect that. Know that I will be holding you in my heart during this time and will be turning my focus to creating better boundaries with my family. I hope we can reconnect soon and get back to the amazing times we had together.
- Connection requires and understanding of emotions - an important part is acknowledging and validating emotions - which usually negates the barrier to connection.
- A compassionate tone to the message is important – incorporating words and phrases that make the reader feel understood and cared about.
- True statements that the you likely wouldn't have been able to identify or wouldn't have told your ex on your own.
- Using "I" statements focusing on the way you feel
- Avoiding assumptions regarding how your ex might be feeling or putting blame on the ex.
- By describing why you feel the way you do, you are validating your ex.
While the compassionate tone is a big part of the MOC, another very important piece to consider is message length. We need to correlate how much we send in the message with how long the relationship was. For example, if you were together for a few weeks, we wouldn't want to send a two paragraph MOC; that's too much for such a short relationship.
We also want to focus on times when it's not appropriate to send a MOC. There are a few instances when the MOC shouldn't be sent;
- you have been overloading the ex with messages
- you have said something similar in person or in a message
- would want to confirm what was said was as close to MOC as possible
- you and your ex have been speaking on good terms
- your ex has requested you stop contacting them
No contact is not always needed and should be reflective of the intensity of recent interactions. Respecting space can be a valuable way of implementing and demonstrating change, as well as providing both partners with time to process and come down from the negative feelings of the break up. Even if a 30 day no contact isn't applicable, it's important to hold space for at least 1-3 days before sending it out.