The significance of intimacy in a relationship can never be underestimated. Statistically, there are quite a few couples that fear intimacy, which consequently can create trust issues, unresolved conflicts, and sometimes even break up between partners.
Issues with an intimacy not only depend on the cultural, religious, or ideological aspects of the partners but also on their psychological condition or preceding traumas. Surprisingly, not all couples have the courage to explore this topic together and resolve the obstacles they face. The good news is that fear of intimacy can be conquered and once you cope with your insecurities and fears, you will learn how to be open to communication with your partner and to fully commit to your relationship.
If you are avoiding intimacy, it could also mean that you are not yet ready to commit to the relationship.
What is Intimacy in a Relationship?
In the first place, intimacy in a relationship means a feeling of being close and emotionally connected while feeling supported. When you are in an intimate relationship you can share a whole range of thoughts, feelings, and experiences. You and your partner will be responsive to the needs of one another, which in turn will lead to an emotional sense of well-being in a relationship.
Intimacy is much more than just a sexual connection and there are several types which we should be differentiating:
- Emotional – sharing feelings
- Intellectual – sharing thoughts and ideas
- Sexual – sharing yourself
- Experiential – sharing experiences
Lack of Intimacy
Not enough intimacy causes partners to feel abandoned and lose interest or desire leading to inhibited sexual desire when their partner becomes emotionally unavailable. This, in turn, can lead to the gradual dissolution of the relationship.
Arguably, a marriage does not need intimacy to survive. But in fact, the marriage cannot function in a healthy way without emotional intimacy.
Fear of Intimacy
Both physical and emotional intimacy go together. If you have a problem sharing your thoughts, feelings, or ideas with your loved one, you may become anxious about it. Often these reasons are caused by experiences that happened in childhood and prevent you from genuinely sharing yourself with your partner.
Sometimes, you may need a few psychology sessions to illuminate intimacy issues and improve your bonds. However, it may require constant self-improvement of some of the following factors which most probably are the reasons that influence the closeness between you and your partner:
- low self-esteem
- ongoing trust issues
- self-imposed isolation
- trouble committing
- a series of unstable and unrewarding relationships
Building up intimacy
Even in the worst of cases when you may feel like your and your partner’s bond is weakening and the relationship is undergoing hard times, intimacy may come to be a magical elixir to heal it. Your willingness to improve and mend the situation, or to maintain a healthy relationship, will always be rewarded. Don’t be afraid to be not understood – make a step, and do all you can:
- Share your feelings with your partner
- Talk about your past
- Make time for one another
- Pay attention to your partner’s behavior
- Talk about your family history
- Don’t be afraid to speak your mind
When we are establishing intimacy with our partner, talking about our past makes us look a bit imperfect, and will ultimately help us to connect in a more meaningful way. Having a strong emotional connection with your future partner is a good start in any long-term relationship. Disclosing weaknesses and sharing emotions requires strength and courage.
Simple steps to improve intimacy
Working on a relationship’s insecurities will definitely reward you both with a stronger and more intimate bond. Showing that we are vulnerable can reinforce this connection even more. In order to break the ice, we should start with emotional intimacy first as at this stage emerges a deep connection with our partner. Therefore, in order to build stronger connection and trust, discover each other better, and become more intimate try practicing the following simple steps together with your second half:
- Stay connected. You surely should give space to your partner – but keep an eye on them to secure the feeling of being around.
- Go on a date night every week. Do you have favorite places that you used to visit together? It does not have to be a very expensive restaurant or a fancy place – sometimes a calm and nostalgic place is the best option to spend some time together.
- Show appreciation
- Try something new that you both have an interest in. It will give you so much more chances to spend time together and express your thoughts. It may range from a hobby like art or music to running a business together.
- Prioritize sex. Please, do, and see the difference. It’s not all about sex, but having sex with your loved one is one of the best things in the world.
- Touch more
- Talk about the good times you have shared
Doing this and forming an emotional connection creates a sense of security within your relationship, leading to an ability to be wholly yourself.
Improving emotional intimacy can take time, and should be constantly worked on – at the beginning of a relationship it often takes time to break down barriers. It is easy to take your partner’s positive qualities for granted, and we need to constantly reaffirm with them why they are special to you.
Try not to get into a day-to-day rut. When we are first in a relationship life seems very exciting. But as time goes on we stop trying to impress one another and life can become a bit mundane. Break out of that mold and go on a special date together, or invite your partner away for a romantic weekend.
Spend time doing something you both love, it may be as simple as a half-day bush walk or a day at the beach surfing.
It doesn’t have to cost money to connect, make sure that it is just the two of you doing a mutually rewarding activity.
Barriers to Intimacy
If you argue or conflict on a daily basis it will be difficult to create intimacy, so it is best to try to resolve the conflict and to put it behind you. Sometimes you may need help to clarify your thoughts and sift through your problems. Talking to a relationship counselor will help you and your partner to resolve some of these issues.
To be intimate in a bond takes both work, time, and commitment, as good relationships and marriages don’t just happen. Even people who have been together for 50 years have to continually work on their intimacy to continue to enrich their partnership.