5 steps to increased intimacy in your relationship
Many couples feel most intimate when they are making love however, intimacy and sex are not the same thing. Interestingly, many people seek out sex when what they truly desire is intimacy. Sex is only one aspect of intimacy and it involves trust and being vulnerable with one another. Two things that some people, no matter how much they love each other, find very difficult.
In this article we’ll delve deeper into the true definition of intimacy and offer ways to foster intimacy. We’ll also discuss what could be getting in the way of having a closer more connected relationship.
What is intimacy?
Intimacy in a relationship can be defined in a number of ways and is expressed both emotionally and physically. Emotional intimacy defines things such as sharing feelings & experiences and practising open and loving communication with one another. It also involves trusting each other, confiding your deepest fears and aspirations and accepting and loving one another despite your faults.
Physical intimacy can be sexual but it can also be a loving touch, a warm hug or holding hands when you walk down the street.
Whether it’s expressed physically or emotionally, it’s a feeling of closeness and connectedness between two people. A trusting, loving bond and a feeling that you truly matter to one another.
Intimacy is one of the keys to happy long lasting relationships. Some ways to create and build intimacy include:
- Quality time – Create opportunities to spend time alone together doing something enjoyable. Make sure it’s something that will allow you to connect. For instance, if you go to a movie together, go for a drink or a bite to eat afterwards and talk about the film.
- Listen – When your partner confides in you, whether the problem is big or small, take the time to listen and understand. Validate how they are feeling and make sure to ask them if they need help before jumping in to solve a problem or offer advice.
- Look deeper – If you’ve had an argument and your partner became angry and upset, think about what might have been behind those emotions. In arguments, we often become defensive and critical which makes it hard to empathise with one another. When you’ve both had time to calm down, try having a conversation about what you were both feeling.
- Tune in – If your partner seems stressed and busy, step in and help them out if you can. If they’ve had a bad day, make them a cup of tea or do something else for them you know they will like. If you can do this without being asked, you partner will feel supported and cared for. This will also help them trust that they can count on you when times are tough.
- Share – Open up to your partner about your dreams but also your fears. Letting your partner into your inner world will help them know you on a deeper level. Additionally, they will be able to support you better through good times and bad.
Common factors that affect intimacy
For some, achieving intimacy in their relationships can feel quite difficult. There are many things that can get in the way so we’ve outlined a few areas that may impact intimacy in relationships:
Poor communication in relationships is the root of many problems. For a more connected relationship learning to communicate in a healthy, loving and non-judgmental way is critical.
- Unresolved issues
Past hurts, anger, resentment, lack of trust or a sense of feeling unappreciated can be major roadblocks to intimacy.
- External stressors
Money worries, stressful work situations, family drama, or simply not having the time to focus on your relationship can cause tension that will get in the way of your feelings of connection and closeness.
- Childhood trauma
Traumatic events from our childhood can shape the way we form relationship as adults. There are a myriad of ways that these experiences can affect us. For example, if someone has been abused as a child they may find it hard to trust and be close to others.
Relationships are incredibly complex and if you are in a relationship that’s struggling there is rarely a quick-fix. However it is important to remember that little steps can make big changes over time and if you are committed to building a closer more intimate relationship with your partner help is out there.
After doing a thorough assessment of your relationship, an experienced couples therapist will be able to pinpoint exactly where the issues in your relationship lie. They will be able to use this to set you on a path to a closer and more intimate relationship.
At Mindview Psychology, we’re passionate about helping couples to work through their struggles and build stronger connection and intimacy within their relationship. Our CBD practice is both convenient and discreet and provides a safe-space for couples to work through whatever challenges they are facing.
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