We all seek intimacy. We all want to feel closeness to another person. But how do we develop and nurture intimacy in a relationship? Well, that’s a good question. If you feel your relationship or marriage lacks emotional intimacy, you’re going to learn how to foster it in your relationship.
What intimacy isn’t
Before we even touch upon what intimacy in a relationship is, we need to look at what it isn’t.
Intimacy often gets confused with sex, and yes, it can be a part of intimacy, but it’s more than that. Emotional intimacy means you’re willing to be vulnerable, opening yourself up to your partner, with them doing the same. It’s not about two being co-dependent on one another, one partner trying to save the other, or removing yourselves from the world.
As Alyssa Mancao, LA-based psychotherapist says, “Intimacy involves the desire to deepen your connection in an authentic way. So while some might experience sex as the ultimate act of love, for others, it could be a means of avoiding closeness. Never assume that having sex automatically signals intimacy. It’s about the intention behind it and the feelings surrounding it.”
Intimacy in a Relationship Starts with You
To start the journey of developing intimacy in a relationship, you need to begin by accepting who you are and allowing your partner to see the full you, flaws and all.
Once you openly accept yourself, and take responsibility for what you bring into your relationship, you can start to foster vulnerability in your relationship, with your partner.
7 Tips to Help You Foster Emotional Intimacy in a Relationship
Now, I’m going to share with you helpful tips on how to grow intimacy in a relationship.
Open up to your partner
How can emotional intimacy in a relationship grow if you’re not willing to open up to your partner? Fostering and nurturing intimacy in a relationship is a process.
If you want to feel closer to someone, you’re going to have to take a step forward and make yourself vulnerable. That way, your partner can meet you half-way and open up to you.
Have deep, emotional conversations
Talk! Yes, talk! But I don’t mean talking about the latest episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians. Talk about subjects that are deep and emotional.
During those conversations, you bond with your partner and share intimacy in a relationship. Don’t run away from emotional conversations; instead, embrace them.
See the joys of routine
Over time, you start to learn about your partner and become comfortable with them. Though many people feel predictability is a negative thing, it’s not.
Predictability can also lead to growing intimacy in a relationship. As partners, you’re both comfortable with each other and can enjoy doing things together without stress or anxiety.
But, don’t be afraid to shake things up
While you should appreciate routine, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything out-of-the-box. If you want to experience more intimacy in a relationship and feel new emotions, you need to switch things up.
Go on a last-minute road trip, venture to a new place, take up a hobby together. Challenge each other and spark emotion by trying new things.
It’s really about the small things—I cannot express this enough. Say please and thank you to your partner to help them feel more appreciated. If they went out of their way to help you, acknowledge it. Compliment them when it’s due. These small acts of kindness go a long way.
Go beyond sex
Yes, sex is a form of intimacy, but it’s not the only form of intimacy. Most couples who feel their marriage lacks intimacy, state it’s not about the sex. Rather, there’s a lack of emotional intimacy.
During intimacy counselling, you’ll often hear people expressing their longing for simple acts such as kisses, hugs, and hand-holding. Those small acts demonstrate love and can be more important than sex.
Have a life outside of your relationship
Yes, your relationship should be a priority in your life, but your individual needs will make you a better partner. Don’t give up the things that fulfill you for your relationship. Instead, invest your time in doing things you love. By feeling more fulfilled, you’ll reflect that onto your relationship.
Intimacy is a relationship is entirely possible, but it requires work. If you and your partner are willing to put in the effort and work on your vulnerability, there’s no reason why you two cannot become more intimate with each other.