Emotional Intimacy

Are you looking to improve emotional intimacy with your partner?

In a new romantic relationship, emotional intimacy happens by itself, and it feels natural. However, the longer you are in a relationship, the harder it becomes to stay emotionally connected. To improve your emotional intimacy, you must first improve your communication. It will help you express your feelings and understand the feelings of your partner. Once you can do that, emotional intimacy comes as easy as it did when you started your relationship.

In this article, you will learn the role emotional intimacy plays in a romantic relationship. We will cover some issues you may face when your emotional intimacy fades away and what you can do to turn it around and feel connected again.

What Is Emotional Intimacy?

Let’s have a look at what being intimate means according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary:

  1. Marked by a warm friendship developing through long association
    Suggesting informal warmth or privacy
    Engaged in, involving, or marked by sex or sexual relations
  2. Of a very personal or private nature
  3. Marked by very close association, contact, or familiarity
  4. INTRINSIC, ESSENTIAL
    Belonging to or characterising one’s deepest nature
  5. A very close friend or confidant: an intimate friend

Intimacy is the feeling of connection and trust, you can develop emotional intimacy through effective communication.

There are two kinds of intimacy: emotional intimacy and physical intimacy.


Emotional Intimacy vs Physical Intimacy

Many people think that intimacy is sex. While physical intimacy does involve sex, intimacy as a whole is created with trust and a connection between two partners.

A healthy relationship needs a balance of physical and emotional intimacy.

Physical intimacy is closeness, touching, kissing, sex. Emotional intimacy is the feeling of connection to your partner.

To have a successful relationship, you need to keep a balance between your emotional connection and your physical intimacy.

Emotional intimacy is being and feeling connected. Physical intimacy is the physical connection you share with another person.

A healthy romantic relationship needs a balance of physical and emotional intimacy. A breakdown in either of these three aspects makes a relationship unhealthy and may lead to many problems and struggles.

Emotional intimacy in a relationship is just as important and physical intimacy.

Having a romantic relationship where you cannot be physically intimate with your partner isn’t healthy. Nor is the relationship where you don’t feel emotionally connected. Either way, you may feel distant from your partner and no longer want to be together.


Why Is Emotional Intimacy Important in a Relationship?

Intimacy is essential in a relationship. Without it, your relationship is not going to survive for long. The level of intimacy tells us how healthy a relationship is.

As your relationship develops, you start as acquaintances who connect at some level. Your relationship can then develop into a friendship where you like to spend time together. If you also have romantic feelings for each other, you may decide to give this relationship a go.

Once you reach a level of a serious romantic relationship, you expect physical intimacy. For a healthy and successful romantic relationship, you need to be physically close to each other.

A romantic relationship without physical intimacy is more like a friendship. Trying to make it a romantic relationship is not sustainable long-term and can become a source of struggle and suffering.

Emotional intimacy is just as important as physical intimacy in a romantic relationship. Emotional intimacy helps you develop a deeper connection that creates a strong bond with your partner. This connection is what will keep your relationship healthy for the long run.


Emotional Intimacy Issues

Intimacy is a connection that you feel with your partner. Some people are afraid of having this connection for fear of losing it.

Ironically, the fear of losing this connection is what can prevent you from having this connection in the first place.

A lack of emotional intimacy can result from you no longer having romantic feelings. You may also develop feelings for another person.

Intimacy issues in a relationship are common. As soon as you lose interest in your partner, your intimacy fades, and your relationship starts falling apart.

The lack of emotional intimacy in a relationship can be caused by:

  • Communication breakdown
  • Lack of understanding
  • Lack of common interests
  • Lack of shared values
  • Lack of excitement
  • A boring relationship
  • Personal insecurities
  • Fear of intimacy
  • Cheating (either physical or emotional)
  • Financial problems
  • Doubts
  • Insecurities
  • Distrust
  • Growing apart
  • Losing interest in your partner and your relationship
  • Feeling disconnected from your partner
  • Drifting apart because of other issues
  • Feeling unheard
  • Feeling unloved

How to Build Emotional Intimacy

  1. Be with each other regularly
  2. Maintain an emotional connection
  3. Work on your communication
  4. Take the time to share your feelings and listen to one another
  5. Have a plan and a timeline for your relationship

As you progress through your relationship, you build intimacy by developing trust and understanding. At each level of intimacy in your relationship, you need deeper trust and understanding. If this does not happen, your relationship stays at a certain level.

While understanding develops at the early stage of a relationship, it takes time to build trust. That’s also the reason why trust is harder to rebuild once it’s broken.

It’s challenging to build a connection with a partner if you don’t trust them or if you’re unable to express how you feel without worry or the fear of being judged.

To stay emotionally connected in your relationship, you should have clear and open communication.

Take the time to formulate your thoughts and ideas in a way that is easy to understand for your partner.

If you don’t take care of how you say things, your partner is likely to misinterpret your message and respond to it in the wrong way.

Partners may have doubts, frustrations, and insecurities about themselves or their relationship. This can lead to you negatively interpreting your partner’s messages. If you do, you will respond defensively, creating an argument.

By working on your communication, you can avoid arguments and have a healthy relationship.


How to Increase Emotional Intimacy

  1. Work on your communication
  2. Share your feelings and needs
  3. Talk about the future of your relationship
  4. Making plans about things you both want for your life together
  5. Listen to your partner.

You can maintain emotional intimacy with your partner through trust and effective communication.

You can ask some questions to build intimacy and learn more about your partner.

Questions You Can Ask to Build Intimacy:

  • What are your likes and dislikes?
  • What’s important to you?
  • How do you feel about…?

Intimacy Building Exercises

  • Playing games together
  • Going on holidays
  • Sharing a hobby

Emotional Intimacy Skills

To make a relationship more intimate, you need to improve your communication. Expressing yourselves openly and freely will help you build the connection and help you have a healthy relationship.

Talking about your feelings, sharing your thoughts and ideas are the things that build trust and make your relationship stronger.

Many couples communicate without giving it much thought. But good communication is essential for you to stay emotionally connected with your partner.

It’s worth taking the time and learn how to communicate effectively. Without taking the time to learn to communicate effectively, you risk having a lot of misunderstandings. These misunderstandings can quickly become issues that can strain your relationship.

Knowing how to express yourself and listen to your partner will help you build a relationship based on harmony and understanding.


Emotional Intimacy with Yourself

Emotional intimacy with self is the connection with your heart and your feelings.

The main cause of the disconnection from yourself is ignoring your feelings, not taking responsibility for them and making other people responsible for how you feel.

By learning to be present in your own body and recognising your needs and the feelings you have, you can start building a connection with yourself and others.


Conclusion

Intimacy is an integral part of a romantic relationship. A healthy relationship requires both physical and emotional intimacy.

Maintaining emotional connection requires clear and open communication. You should feel free to express your feelings without being afraid that your partner will judge you.

If you are in a serious, long-term relationship, you are bound to have some intimacy issues sooner or later.

When you do, it’s worth addressing them as soon as you can to avoid unnecessary problems, resentment and a toxic relationship.

If you find that your relationship became a struggle rather than enjoyment, it may be time to reassess your relationship. A healthy way to approach intimacy issues is to discuss them with your partner as openly and honestly as you can.

Just because you are having some problems, it doesn’t mean you have to go through emotional turmoil and stop caring for each other.


Help and Advice with Emotional Intimacy

Tips to Strengthen Emotional Intimacy in Your Relationship

  • Work on your communication.
  • Take time to formulate what you want to say so your message is easy to understand.
  • Take time to listen to your partner and hear what they want to share with you.
  • If you have any doubts or insecurities or your feelings change, try to share them with your partner as soon as you become aware that they exist.
  • Make your relationship more spontaneous, fun, and exciting.
  • If you find that your relationship became a struggle rather than enjoyment, reassess your relationship with your partner.
  • You should learn to listen to your partner. It’s very likely that they also have doubts and insecurities about themselves or the relationship.
  • Be there for your partner to help them open up and support them through their journey of self-discovery. The better your partner understands themselves, the more love and romance, joy and happiness they can bring into your relationship.

If you don’t know how to create emotional intimacy in your relationship and need professional help and advice, we’ll be happy to help! Check out our coaching options here.


Frequently Asked Questions

Does physical intimacy lead to emotional intimacy?

Physical intimacy is built on emotional intimacy. As long as you remain emotionally connected, you can develop deeper physical intimacy. However, emotional disconnect makes it nearly impossible to have physical intimacy. Keep in mind that physical intimacy is more than sex. It is sharing the physical connection with someone with whom you feel connected emotionally.

Can a relationship survive without emotional intimacy?

A lack of emotional intimacy can leave you feeling distant. When the distance is big enough, the relationship breaks. Couples may still choose to stay together, but such a relationship is unhealthy and can even become toxic.

Why is emotional intimacy hard to achieve in relationships?

Emotional intimacy depends on good communication. Good communication is something that requires constant improvement. When partners do not dedicate enough time and effort to improving their communication, that leads to problems. Frequent arguments can turn into fights where partners are no longer on the same side and see each other as enemies. In such cases, emotional intimacy slowly dissipates, and the relationship becomes unhealthy.

Why do I feel uncomfortable with intimacy?

Some reasons for being uncomfortable with intimacy include:
Fear of being with someone
Fear of being alone
Not understanding what intimacy is
Not knowing what to expect from yourself and another person in terms of intimacy.

Can you learn emotional intimacy?

You can learn about emotional intimacy and improve your communication.

How do you express emotional intimacy?

Emotional intimacy is being and feeling connected. Healthy intimacy is based on effective communication. Good communication means you are comfortable sharing your thoughts, feeling, needs, preferences, worries, doubts and concerns.

How do you know if you have emotional intimacy?

You feel connected, heard and understood.

Can a relationship survive without emotional intimacy?

You can stay together even when you are not feeling emotionally close. Such a relationship, however, is unhealthy. And, the longer it lasts, the more toxic it becomes.

How to fix the lack of emotional intimacy?

A lack of emotional intimacy can be caused by poor communication. In this case, work on your self-expression, listening and understanding. That said, it is also possible that your romantic feelings have faded, and you are no longer interested in this relationship. If this is the reason for the lack of emotional intimacy, you may need to reconsider staying together.

Why is emotional intimacy hard to achieve in relationships?

Emotional intimacy is hard for partners who have poor communication and are not interested in sharing their feelings.

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