Relationship Challenges

Learn how to make deposits when your emotional bank account is empty.

Your Emotional Bank Account is empty! What, how did this happen? Does this mean that one more withdrawal could make it overdrawn, or worse yet close it? This can definitely happen after you have been in a relationship for a while.

Learn what to do when your emotional bank account is empty.

In the beginning you put your relationship first. But, now you have work, home and a family. This doesn’t leave much time for your relationship. What happened to date night? Can you remember the last time that you went out on a date with your partner? If the answer is no, then you are at risk of becoming overdrawn.

There are many ways to build back up your emotional bank account. It’s important that you start to prioritize your relationship, again. If you have been in a relationship for a while, then you know relationships are about giving and receiving.

Here are 10 ways to build your emotional bank account:

  1. Listen to your partner.

    This is one of the kindest things you can do for your partner. I have seen a lot of couples in my practice, and I hear this a lot, ‘I don’t feel heard.’ Set aside time each day to talk about your day with your partner. Make sure you both get a chance to speak.

  2. Touch your partner.

    Everyone likes to be touched by the one they love. You can hold hands or rub up against one another in a playful way. After you have been in a relationship for a while, this one can be overlooked. Make sure you touch and play together often. This will help keep the spark alive.

  3. Make sure your partner knows they come first in your life.

    This is how your partner knows you have their back. This is what everyone wants in a relationships. There are many ways you can do this. One of the best ways is by being empathetic. The next time you are listening to your partner. Make sure you listen with empathy.

  4. Take an interest in your partner’s dreams.

    Do you know what your partner's dreams are for the future? Does your partner want to travel or invent something? If you don't know, then ask. You don’t have to have the same dream as your partner, but you do need to be supportive. Even if it sounds corky to you.

  5. Call or text throughout the day.

    Now I know many of your are thinking, I already do this. Sure, you text about logistics or what to have for dinner. But, when was the last time you texted your partner, just to let them know you are thinking about them? Or, just to say I Love You?

  6. Tell your partner how much you appreciate the little things.

    This means saying, ‘thank you,’ a lot. Thank your partner for listening to you last night or folding the clothes. This is one of those small things that can go a long way.

  7. Admit when you are wrong, and apologize.

    Sounds simple, but can be one of the hardest things to do in a relationship. This is actually one of the best things you can do for your relationship. Even if you think you only had a small part in it.

  8. Make time for romance, and initiate sex more often.

    Okay, ladies this one’s for you. After working with many couples over the years, I’ve heard the men say this one way more often. Now, I know men and women view sex differently. So, it would be helpful to have a conversation about it.

  9. Be willing to work on compromise with your partner.

    This one doesn’t have to be that difficult. Start gently with a conversation. Ask your partner about their beliefs and what they need from you. This will let your partner know that you care, and will also build understanding in the relationship.

  10. Don’t put yourself last in the relationship.

    I’m sure you know about putting your oxygen mask first in an airplane. Apply that to your relationship. It really is true you can’t help anyone else, unless you help yourself. This means you need to prioritize and plan. One thing I have seen so many people give up when they are in a relationship and have a family, is sleep. Make sure you get enough rest, this will help you think more clearly and your mood.

Start today with just one of these tips. As the week goes on, continue to work more of these into your relationship. After a while, you will see a change for the better in your relationship. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither was your relationship. It will take time, but it will pay off in the long run.

It’s really the little things that make a BIG difference in a relationship. Don’t forget to say thank you or tell your partner what you appreciate most.

If you liked this article, then go to Relationship Challenges. There are many more tips on how to build a happy and successful relationship.

Lianne Avila is a Marriage & Family Therapist helping couples in San Mateo, CA who are looking to rebuild a close emotional connection and get their relationship back on track. Please subscribe to Lianne’s newsletter on to learn more about her services and expertise.

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San Mateo, CA 94404

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