You may find yourself in a relationship that is lacking physical or emotional intimacy. So, What can you do about it?
Emotional intimacy is the connection between people. Whereas physical intimacy is the physical connection at a personal level. A healthy romantic relationship involves emotional and physical intimacy. As well as sexual desire for another person. A breakdown on either of these three aspects makes a relationship unhealthy and may lead to many problems and struggles.
In this article, you will learn about intimacy, common issues, their causes and your options on how to deal with them.
What Is Intimacy in a Relationship?
Intimacy is the feeling of physical closeness and emotional connection. Intimacy is built on trust and understanding. There are two kinds of intimacy: emotional intimacy and physical intimacy. In a relationship, you can develop emotional intimacy through effective communication.
Intimacy is a connection that you feel with your partner. Some people are afraid of having this connection for fear of losing it. Ironically, it’s the fear of losing this connection that gets in the way of a person having this connection, to begin with.
Physical Intimacy vs Emotional Intimacy
Many people think that intimacy is sex. While physical intimacy does involve sex, intimacy as a whole is created with trust and connection between two partners.
A healthy relationship needs a balance of physical and emotional intimacy. Physical intimacy is closeness, touching, kissing, and sex. Emotional intimacy is the feeling of connection to your partner.
Physical and emotional intimacy in a relationship are equally important. Having a romantic relationship where you cannot be physically intimate with your partner isn’t healthy. As well as having a relationship where you don’t feel emotionally connected. This may get you feel distant from your partner and not wanting to be with them anymore.
Physical closeness helps you feel safe, calm, and content. Without it, it’s hard to judge the state of your relationship. It’s challenging to maintain your relationship without physical affection. You don’t get the comfort of physical touch, a kiss or a hug.
When you have a lack of emotional intimacy, it can be caused because your feelings changed, or developed feelings for another person.
Having a sexual life with your romantic partner is healthy. When you don’t get to fulfil your need for physical intimacy for a long time, it’s normal to feel sexually frustrated.
When you’re feeling sexually frustrated, this frustration will spill into other aspects of your life. If it lasts for a long time, it can harm your relationship.
What Causes Intimacy Issues in a Relationship?
Nobody comes into a relationship completely free from their past. Previous experiences affect your behaviour, your thoughts, and your beliefs. People can be afraid of intimacy because of their previous experiences. When you’re in a relationship, both you and your partner have a history of your own.
Let’s have a look at some common causes for intimacy issues in a relationship.
Physical Intimacy Issues
- Too much work
- Personal insecurities
- Unresolved problems
- Anger and resentment
- Lack of sexual desire
- Lack of physical attraction
- Lack of romantic feelings
- Lack of emotional connection
- Physical health problems
Emotional Intimacy Issues:
- Lack of emotional connection
- Communication breakdown
- Lack of understanding
- Lack of common interests
- Lack of shared values
- Lack of excitement
- A boring relationship
- Personal insecurities
- Fear of intimacy
Other Causes of Intimacy Issues
- Financial problems
There’s one thing you can do while in your relationship. You can talk about intimacy issues with your partner. If you recognise that you are afraid of intimacy, you should speak to your partner about it. The only way you can sort out your intimacy issues is by facing them.
How Does Intimacy Issues Affect a Relationship?
Intimacy issues are a big deal in a romantic relationship. When you share significant amount of time with someone is important to feel emotionally connected and physically satisfied.
As couples go through different stages of their relationship, they face a variety of challenges. Working through these challenges together builds a stronger bond and a healthier relationship. When the challenges are too much for a couple to handle, they can lead to many issues. When these issues are left undressed they can turn into problems. In turn, over time, unresolved problems can lead to a toxic relationship.
At that point, a couple has two options:
- Recognise issues, challenges and problems in your relationship and try to fix them.
- End the relationship and move on.
Common Intimacy Issues in a Relationship
Issues with Emotional Intimacy
- Growing apart
- Emotional cheating
- Losing interest in your partner and your relationship
- Other underlying problems in the relationship
- Feeling disconnected from your partner
- Drifted apart because of other issues
- Feeling unheard
- Feeling unloved
Issues with Physical Intimacy
- Flirting with others
- Being sexually frustrated
- Being edgy
- Different sex drive
Cheating can be a cause and a result of intimacy issues, both physical and emotional.
Signs of Intimacy Issues in a Relationship
- You or your partner don’t want to spend time together
- You or your partner withdraw from having sex
- Being edgy
- Resentment towards one another
- Feeling disconnected from your partner and your relationship
- Having a higher/lower sex drive than your partner
How to Deal with Intimacy Issues in a Relationship
- Recognise that you are having some intimacy issues.
- Discuss these issues openly and honestly with your partner.
- Try to find a loving way to fix these issues, while respecting yourself and your partner.
- You may find a way to fix your issues or you may choose to take some time apart.
- If you really want to stay together, but can’t find a way to solve your issues, you may need professional help. If this is the case, feel free to get in touch.
How to Discuss Intimacy Issues with Your Partner
- Set a specific time that suits both of you to discuss your intimacy issues.
- Take turns expressing yourselves as clearly and objectively as you can.
- Hear each other out by paying attention and avoiding interrupting the person who is expressing themselves.
How to Fix Intimacy Issues in a Relationship
If you are struggling with the lack of physical intimacy. The first thing you should do is to talk about it with your partner. If you don’t share your troubles with your partner, they won’t help you. A relationship is a teamwork. So, help each other and love each other.
Here are some ideas of things you can do to bring your physical intimacy back:
- Go on dates frequently (even home dates are ok, as long as you establish it is a date and make the time to actually spend that time together)
- Make trips together
- Go on fun holidays
- Share a hobby
- Play games together
- Laugh and enjoy each other’s company
- Have fun together
- Spice up your sex life
- Share your fantasies and desires
You can maintain emotional intimacy with your partner through trust and effective communication. Maintaining physical intimacy is not as easy and can lead to many problems in your relationship.
You can fix your emotional Intimacy issues by:
- Working on your communication
- Sharing your feelings
- Talking about the future of your relationship
- Making plans about things you both want for your life together
- Listen to your partner
You can ask some questions to build intimacy and learn more about your partner:
- What are your likes and dislikes?
- What’s important to you?
- How do you feel about … ?
Ending a Relationship Because of Intimacy Issues
After discussing your intimacy issues and taken the time to express yourselves and hear each other’s out. You may discover that your relationship has run its course and it may be best for you to take some time apart.
The more openly and objectively you can discuss your issues. The more loving, harmonious and healthy your relationship can be, even if you decide to take some time apart.
Intimacy is an integral part of a romantic relationship. A healthy relationship requires both physical and emotional intimacy.
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 bigger 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 an emotional turmoil and stop caring for each other. In this article, we described a loving way to deal with intimacy issues, even if it involves taking some time apart.
Help and Advice with Intimacy Issues in Your Relationship
Tips to Deal with Intimacy Issues in Your Relationship
- Work on your communication
- 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, tried to share them with your partner as soon as you become aware of them
- Bring more excitement into your relationship
- Spice up your sex life
- Explore common interests
If you don’t know how to deal with the intimacy issues in your relationship and you need professional help and advice, get in touch and we’ll be happy to help!
Frequently Asked Questions
How to deal with a partner who has intimacy issues?
Both you and your partner need to find an understanding and have the willingness to fix these issues.
What happens when a relationship lacks intimacy?
It’s very hard to have a healthy relationship without intimacy. If you are not feeling emotional close, not having physical intimacy, why are you together?
How to get close to someone with intimacy issues?
1. Identify what issues are present.
2. Be supportive
3. Address the causes of these issues
How to solve intimacy issues?
You can solve intimacy issues by discussing them openly, honestly and as objectively as you can. Maintain love, respect and care for each other, regardless of how you choose to solve your issues.
How to overcome intimacy issues in a relationship
Stop seeing issues as a barrier. Instead, see them as an opportunity to learn about yourself, your partner, and your emotional and physical needs.