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  • Writer's picturehanna basel

Bridging the Gap: Exploring Emotionally Focused Therapy and Desire Discrepancy

Updated: Jun 29, 2023

Maintaining a healthy and fulfilling intimate relationship requires effort, understanding, and effective communication. However, one common challenge that many couples face is desire discrepancy—the difference in sexual or romantic desires between partners. In this blog post, we will delve into the world of Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) and its potential to address desire discrepancy, fostering a deeper emotional connection and intimacy between partners.

Understanding Desire Discrepancy:

Desire discrepancy refers to the difference in sexual or romantic desire levels between partners. It is a common occurrence in relationships and can lead to frustration, resentment, and feelings of rejection if not properly addressed. In many cases, one partner may experience higher desire (the pursuer) while the other partner experiences lower desire (the withdrawer). This difference in desire can create emotional distance and strain the relationship.

Enter Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT):

Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is an evidence-based approach that focuses on identifying and transforming negative patterns in relationships. It aims to create secure emotional bonds between partners by fostering understanding, empathy, and effective communication. EFT offers a powerful framework for addressing desire discrepancy, allowing couples to explore their emotional needs and create a stronger foundation for intimacy.

Working with EFT to Address Desire Discrepancy:

1. Understanding Attachment: EFT recognizes the significance of attachment in intimate relationships. It explores how attachment styles can influence desire discrepancy and emotional connection. By helping partners identify their attachment styles and associated needs, EFT lays the groundwork for fostering empathy and understanding.

2. Identifying Negative Cycles: EFT helps couples identify the negative patterns or cycles that contribute to desire discrepancy. These cycles often involve pursuing and withdrawing behaviors, fueled by underlying fears and insecurities. By bringing these patterns to light, EFT allows couples to break free from the cycle and work towards mutual satisfaction.

3. Exploring Emotional Needs: EFT encourages partners to explore and express their emotional needs. By creating a safe space for vulnerability and open communication, partners can better understand each other's desires and emotional motivations. This exploration facilitates empathy, connection, and the ability to negotiate desires effectively.

4. Rebuilding Emotional Bonding: EFT emphasizes the importance of emotional bonding as a foundation for intimacy. Through exercises and interventions, couples learn to rebuild trust, repair emotional wounds, and strengthen their emotional connection. This process helps partners feel more secure and enhances their willingness to engage in discussions about desire and intimacy.

5. Developing Sexual Mindfulness: EFT incorporates techniques that focus on sexual mindfulness and enhancing sexual experiences within the relationship. By promoting present-moment awareness, vulnerability, and effective communication, couples can create a safe and satisfying sexual environment that honors both partners' desires.


Desire discrepancy can be a significant challenge in intimate relationships, but it doesn't have to be an insurmountable hurdle. Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) offers a powerful framework for couples to address desire discrepancy and foster a deeper emotional connection. By understanding attachment, identifying negative cycles, exploring emotional needs, rebuilding emotional bonding, and developing sexual mindfulness, couples can bridge the desire gap and cultivate a more fulfilling and intimate relationship. Remember, with patience, empathy, and professional guidance, couples can navigate desire discrepancy and strengthen their connection, ultimately enhancing their overall relationship satisfaction.

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